Episode 90 – Coloring, Success, and Staying Fresh

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Question of the Week: What does realistic publishing success look like to you? Where do you see your publishing business in five years?

Christmas is in the air, but Bryan and Jim are still telling it like it is. They started with Jim’s big “guess the clip” giveaway! They continued with news stories like KU’s international pages read change, indemnity clauses in trad pub contracts, publishing success, innovation in publishing, the myth of the Everyreader, and the adult coloring craze. Before the took on tips about Apple, staying fresh in a series, and mailing list growth, they re-featured their patron Honoree Corder and her book Prosperity for Writers ( http://bit.ly/honorpro ). This week’s Question of the Week: What does realistic publishing success look like to you? Where do you see your publishing business in five years?
What You’ll Learn: 
  • How to sell more books on Apple
  • What steps you should take to freshen up a series
  • How to radically grow your email list
  • What Amazon will pay out for international KU pages read
  • Why authors should look forward to 35 years in the future
  • What question you need to ask to define your success
  • Whatever happened to innovation in the publishing industry
  • Why you can’t please all the readers, all the time
  • How one author’s art is coloring her bank account
Question of the Week: What does realistic publishing success look like to you? Where do you see your publishing business in five years?

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  • So who’s going to guess the clip correctly first? One guess per comment please.

    • Patrick Stemp

      I think I got it – see above 🙂

  • I have no idea about the movie clip. 🙁 But my answer to the question is two-fold. Success for me is selling books consistently, about 2-3 books per day would be nice (that’s a good place to start!), and being able to earn back money I put into a book within 30-60 days of launch. I prioritize selling and financial success over anything else when it comes to “publishing success.” I have different goals for “writing success.” 🙂 I hope I’m at this goal within 5 years! I’d like to have out another series with at least 3 books in it and 800+ people on my mailing list. Someday I’ll get there!

  • No idea about the film. Sounds really old. As for success and goals. I wanted my full time writing life to be zero stress, so I needed to earn enough to pay the bills and not worry all the time about losing my job. I must have succeeded because I have the perfect life now. Will I always? No idea, but it’s working so far. I guess I’ll keep doing this until something goes wrong and I need to pivot.

    Mark E. Cooper

  • Patrick Stemp

    Movie clip: Shogun

    • Joe Wocoski

      I believe Shogun was a mini series and not technically a movie. Both the book and series were excellent.

  • Nakeesha Seneb

    Curse you Sell More Book Show! Was listening to this week’s episode
    while making dinner and grabbed the curry sauce instead of the spaghetti
    sauce to cover the rigatoni…luckily it works!

  • I got impatient on the movie/book clip and googled it, but won’t post because that’s cheating. Success for me is after five years, have three stand alone novels and one series with three works and more on the way. In other words, I’m consistently producing quality works.

  • Merry Christmas, everyone!

  • Chris Shumate

    Is Dantes Inferno the movie clip?

  • QOTW – For my non-fiction, success is the books bringing in enough readers to support our online programs, consulting, and courses. If the books themselves sell a ton, even better. Our latest is with a specific small press simply because we hope that their contacts will lead to more contacts for us.

    For my fiction, I want to make enough so that when I one day retire (from the fortune 500 world) that I’ll have a good little income stream and something that I still love.

  • Chris Shumate

    Is it Dantes Enferno?

  • jeffadamsnyc

    Merry Christmas!
    Well, no clue on the movie…

    But for the question, I’ve got a few measures.
    For each book, success is having it resonate with readers. I want the books to be meaningful for the readers. All the books mean something to me, but to know that I moved readers, made them think, etc. Obviously I don’t expect to resonate for reader, even within the genre, but as long as I connect with at least a few that’s a success.
    In terms of my business, I want to be able to be a full-time writer within the next five years. I know the figure it takes to get there and I’ll keep pushing my business to get there.

  • Sachin Garg

    No clue about the movie but here’s my answer to the success question :

    I started seriously writing in 2011 and had published four romance novels by 2013 and was making decent income to get by. But around about that time I lost interest in writing romance and went on (what I then thought was) a quest to write a magna opus book and now, sitting at the threshold of 2016, that book is finally done and about to come out and I’m only wondering if that if it’s going to be worth the effort.

    A little more context – I come from India, where ebooks are at least a few years away from reaching any sort of mainstreaming and in spite of having offers from several of the Big 5, I had made up my mind quite early that I’d stay indie. So how does one do that without an ebook market?

    I set up my own indie publishing company in 2011, which has gone quite down in the last three years, in which I haven’t released books of my own and the other authors I’ve tried to launch haven’t shown any sales.

    The reason why I have given so much context is to say this one sentence – for me, success right now is to gain self sustenance and move out of my parents house, who’ve been supporting me while I live on without enough income.

    Cheers and Merry Christmas 🙂

  • Joe Wocoski

    Mutiny on the Bounty

  • Edwin Downward

    My definition of success is to earn enough income from writing to leave the bread and butter job behind and have enough left over to attend a few cons outside the local area.

    No idea what the movie is.

  • Chris Syme

    Because I am a nonfiction writer, success to me means that the books I write produce leads for my business in terms of course enrollments, speaking engagements, and guest blogging which equates to a financial goal I set for the year. Ultimately, and this may bug Jim b/c it is idealistic, I feel I am really successful if my books can give writers the information and tools they need to successfully navigate book marketing on their own.

  • therealcromar

    I see success as three stages. The first is being able to publish a sellable novel that draws excellent reader feedback and gets people clamoring for more. The second is to earn a livable income from book sales, and I am very flexible about what exactly “livable” means. The third is to accomplish what Joanna Penn has, namely a six-figure business centered around fiction writing. I want to expand the pie to include podcasting, lectures, for-hire work, and anything else that fits on the platform.

    I definitely hope to hit stage 3 in five years. On a past episode of the Creative Penn she interviewed the guy behind the 4 Hour Work Week, and he talked about viewing your life in a series of 5 year blocks, where each one is radically different than the other. I’m kind of shocked to find out how perfectly that lines up with my own life. I’ve already spent about five years self employed (long story) and now I would like the next five year block to be building up to becoming a professional author, leading into the next block where I’m either fabulously wealthy or retiring on all those sweet Amazon pennies. I’m fine with not hitting that goal in that timeframe; I’m not going to quit because I’m only making half that or less, but I might quit if I’m not even at stage 2 yet.

    Really, I’m not picky. I just want to write about people hitting each other with swords and get paid for it. Is that so much to ask?

  • Patrick Stemp

    QOTW: Success for me first of all is simply having published several books. A lot of people don’t even make it that far. Then I’d like to turn that into a full-time income so I can quit my day job. Ultimately, I also want to be a voice in the industry, a trusted source, and a mentor to people who are where I was five years ago (five years from now).

  • Right now, success to me means selling the next book in the series after someone reads the first (and second) book. 🙂
    Success five years from now, I should actually BE a publishing company, selling and writing books full time.
    As for the movie clip, I’ll guess A Tale of Two Cities (?)

  • Success for me would be seeing something other than a flat line of zeroes on my KDP report page haha.

    Seriously, I’d like to reach a point where I’m able to devote a couple of days per week to writing instead of the day job. Now that my wife is working I’m going to start taking one day per week on a semi-regular basis.

  • Crissy Moss

    Realistic success is being able to write full time and make a living. For me that’s only $2k a month. I’ve lived off less than that every month for the last twenty years so I’m okay living off that now. It’s what I realistically need to live without a “real” job. That’s where I want to be within the next five years.

  • Can someone enlighten me how the freak I leave a review that joins the 108 reviews? I only see a write review option on iTunes, but there are only 5 reviews…

    Success for me is about earning enough to make it worthwhile. It’s about family and friends accepting that my writing is a job, not just a daft hobby.

    • It’s country specific, Patty. In Norway (where I am), I’m the only review 🙂

      So the ones Bryan and Jim are talking about are in the US.

    • Bryan

      Exactly, I’m gonna figure out a way to incorporate the other countries in the future. Thanks, Patty!

      • You can see the other countries, if you click on the little flag at the bottom right corner. It’d be quite a big job to go through more than a hundred countries individually, though 🙂

  • Daniel Martone

    Simple, publishing success equals me being able to pay my bills and tell my stories… if something bigger happens, that’s awesome… if not, I’m ok with that.

  • Bryan

    Great answers to the QOTW and the contest everybody! Gonna try to respond to everybody as promptly as possible. It’s been a crazy Christmas week as per usual :).