Audiobook Production And Marketing Tips with Jeffrey Kafer

I’m super excited about growth in audiobook sales in the coming year and today I discuss lots of interesting aspects with Jeffrey Kafer, award winning voice talent and narrator for one of my latest audiobooks, One Day in New York.

In the intro, I mention my tech and health gremlins, the KDP Select page count freak out, the Self-Publishing Summit and the webinar with Nick Stephenson on finding your first 10,000 readers. I also update on my writing: How to Make a Living with your Writing is out now in ebook formats, and Deviance is out on pre-order.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription, and if you enjoy the show, you can now support my time on Patreon. Thank you for your support!

jeffkaferJeffrey Kafer is a professional audiobook narrator and an award-winning voice over artist. He recently narrated my first male character audiobook, One Day in New York, and he also runs the audiobook promotion site, AudiobookBlast.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher, watch the video or read the notes and links below.

  • On changes in the audiobook market and why it’s a good time for authors to do audiobooks.
  • The pros and cons of ACX and options available to US & UK authors who use the service, including royalty sharing with the narrator.
  • On ways that authors can get the attention of good narrators.
  • Whispersync explained and how it effects royalties for narrators.
  • On audiobooks in languages other than English.
  • one day in new yorkOn Jeff’s audiobook promotion site, called audiobookblast.com, how it works and how it differs from BookBub.
  • The frustrating lack of granular categories on Audible and whether this could change.
  • The importance of quality audio clips when marketing an audiobook, ways to get these and what to avoid.
  • Working collaboratively with a narrator and the resulting new piece of art.
  • The future of audio, including Google Auto, CarPlay and streaming services.

You can find Jeffrey at www.JeffreyKafer.com and you can find One Day in New York in audiobook format here on Audible and here on iTunes.

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Writing Habits And Routines, Filling The Creative Well And More Tips On Writing And Productivity

This is an excerpted chapter from my latest book, How To Make a Living with Your Writing.

typing laptopYou can’t make a living from your writing if you’re not actually writing.

And while writing may seem easy to some and it has its fun moments, it’s actually really hard work!

I think it’s the best job in the world (for me) but it’s certainly not for everyone. Here are my tips on getting the words out.

(1) Sort out your routine and writing habits

Every writer is different but every professional writer also has some kind of routine to get the words onto the page. You can call this discipline if you like, but it’s better to think of it as a habit.

Habits are things you do without having to debate whether to do them or not. Like brushing your teeth, which you likely do at the same time every day and miss if you don’t do.

In my first four years of writing books and blogging, I also had a demanding day job as an IT consultant. Because I was drained by the end of the day, I would get up at 5am and write before going to work and also set aside a bigger chunk of time to write on the weekends. In the evenings I worked on my website, blog, podcast and social media, connecting with other authors and building my online platform. I wrote several non-fiction books and also my first three novels this way.

In many ways, it’s easier to write when you have a day job.

alarm clockYour time is restricted so you have to make the most of the time you have and you’re driven to achieve in that period. The financial side is also taken care of so you have less pressure. But of course, you’re likely reading this because you want to switch!

I switched to being a full time author entrepreneur in September 2011 and in the first year, it was very hard to find a routine. After 13 years of commuting and office work, it was difficult to adapt to working from home alone. I solved this problem by joining a library and taking the train into town with my husband, then working “office hours” and taking lunch or coffee breaks with other author friends, most of whom I met on Twitter.

You’ll need to play around with what works for you, but here’s what I’ve found for my own routine:

  • I’m a morning person so I need to write fiction in the morning and then do marketing/running the business activities after 2pm. I can also write non-fiction or blog posts/articles in the afternoon, but then I wind down in the evenings. Work out when your most creative time is and use it for first draft material.
  • Creating things is tiring. Writing fiction in particular can really take it out of you, so getting enough sleep is critical. I usually get 8 hours a night and sometimes I’ll sleep 10 hours after a big writing day. Our brains pay the bills so we need to look after them.
  • I need to write new words away from my home desk, because I also use that for podcasting, accounting and other things. So I write in libraries or cafes and I always plug in my headphones, listen to rain and thunderstorms album on repeat, turn up the volume and start to write.
  • Diarize your time and make slots for your writing as you would for any other appointment. If you think you don’t have enough time, then look at what to eliminate to make the time. You’ll find a way if you really want to write. It’s all about where you choose to spend your energy. You get what you focus on.

(2) Get the right tools for the job

We are super lucky as authors because the tools we need are minimal and cheap compared to other businesses. I used to run

jo tribeca

Running a boat is super expensive!

a scuba diving business in New Zealand – we had a boat and loads of dive gear, not to mention the costs of fuel, insurance, wages etc.

Now all I need is a laptop and an internet connection!

I have a MacBook Pro and I use it for writing as well as making videos, podcasting and emails, etc. Pro writer Dean Wesley Smith recommends having a separate computer for writing so you can get into focus without distraction, but I’ve managed this by changing location.

However, if you can’t escape the addictive pull of the internet during writing sessions, then maybe getting something basic to write on and disabling the internet on that is a good idea.

The other tool I couldn’t do without is Scrivener software. I use it to plot and (roughly) outline as well as write, organize and manage my books. I also use the Compile option to create my ebook files for Kindle and ePub formats. It’s incredibly powerful software and if you want to maximize your usage, I recommend the Learn Scrivener Fast training course.

You can also watch a 36 min video here where I talk you through my writing tips as well as how I use Scrivener for fiction and non-fiction.

(3) Understand first draft writing vs editing/redrafting

Words do not stream from a writer’s fingertips perfectly in order, each word exactly as it will be in the final draft.

Writers will usually create a first draft, a splurge of words and ideas that definitely will NOT be seen by others. They will then spend time rewriting, editing and polishing until the manuscript is ready for public consumption. I’ve also found this is true for blog posts and articles as much as books.

birdbybirdYes, there are some exceptions but understanding this freed me up enough to write books. I recommend you read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird where she talks about this saying, “Write shitty first drafts.” Then clean them up!

Remember, you can’t edit a blank page. So just get black on white and work through edits later.

Here are some tips for getting that first draft done.

(4) Fill the creative well and then trust emergence

If you want to write for a living, you need to have a consistent flow of ideas that can be used in whatever you’re writing next. I still remember when this seemed impossible to me but once you start the flow, ideas will never be a problem again. The problem will be turning those ideas into words and finished products.

So how do you start the flow of ideas?

For me, it’s all about research – this can be online or through books, but I also like to go visit places, immerse myself in new experiences and give synchronicity a chance.

I often find things in museums that end up in my books, or I am at an event and get an idea, or I’m watching TV or a film and something springs to mind. For example, I was watching a documentary on sharks and wondered how biohacking could be used to make human skin more like a shark’s. I just write stuff like that down. I don’t have to do anything with it now, just log it and I trust that I will come back to it another time. Or not, it doesn’t matter. But just getting used to the process of noticing ideas and writing them down will prime the pump.

Trust those impulses and write them down.

things appI use the Things app on the iPhone which syncs to my Mac and I have a special folder for ideas where I just log a line or two per idea. You can use a notebook or any other app, but definitely have some way to note them down.

When I write, ideas filter up from my subconscious, often from things I saw or experienced years ago. In Gates of Hell, I ended up writing about Safed, a little town in Israel that I visited way back in 1990. It emerged in the story somehow and my memories of it came back, aided by Google, of course!

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think it’s a symptom of letting the creative well run dry. Go fill it up, get excited about things again and then come back to the page.

(5) Find your voice by writing lots

Here’s a question for you to consider.

If someone writes 10 books, which book will be the best? Number 1 or number 10?

Hopefully the answer is obvious, because practice and experience result in better everything.

But so many writers get obsessed over their first book, spending years writing, editing and polishing it without moving on to the next. We all have self-doubt, we all suffer from fear of failure, fear of judgment. That never stops, even for the most experienced writers from what I’ve heard.

How to Make a Living from your Writing 3DThe best thing to do is to write that book, then write another, then another, then another.

Work with a professional editor on every book, learning from their experience. Read loads and loads and learn from other writers. Practice technique as you write, focusing on different aspects per book.

Also, relax into it and have fun.

I used to take myself so seriously, but these days, I try to bring joy into my writing. This is not war and peace. No one is going to die (except in your stories!).

Focus on entertaining, educating or inspiring your readers and just write more.

This is an excerpted chapter from How to Make a Living with your Writing, available in ebook formats.

Images: Flickr Creative Commons: alarm clock by H is for Home.

Do You Want To Move From Author To Entrepreneur? Check Out The Self-Publishing Summit

I’m super excited about the Self-Publishing Summit, coming up July 12 – 23 – and you can access the amazing speakers for free! Read on to find out more.

SelfPubSummitSocial35 top authors and entrepreneurs will be speaking and the event’s broken down into 3 steps so it’s easy to navigate.

You can get access to all the sessions for free, as long as you watch live or in the first 72 hours after each session runs.

You can also get an all-access pass for US$97 so you don’t have to rush.

Click here to find out more or register for your free ticket

I’ll certainly be listening in as some of my favorite authors are speaking – Jack Canfield (author of The Success Principles which changed my life back in 2005) and James Altucher (whose book, Choose Yourself, is a rallying cry for indie authors and entrepreneurs.)

I’ve highlighted some of the sessions I’m particularly interested in below, and yes, I’m speaking too :) Here are just a few of the speakers’ presentations:

Step 1: Becoming an author (writing the book)

  • speakers2How to Boost Your Writing Productivity in 1 Hour Using Scrivener — Joseph Michael
  • Productive Writing: My Exact Process for Writing 16 Books (including a NYT bestseller) and How I Shortened The Writing Process From 16 Months to 3 Months (Joanna Penn). I’ve already recorded this session and I definitely share some things I haven’t shared before :)
  • Clinton White House Speech Writer at age 23. How I did it & how I’ve used guest posts to build my list by 10,000+ people in 1 year — John Corcoran
  • 0 to 160,000 email subscribers in 2 ½ years. Building successful writing habits to grow your audience & get your book done — James Clear
  • How to Turn Pro As A Writer (And My 3-Step Approach For Writing My Books & Blog Posts) — Jeff Goins

Step 2: Marketing & Publishing Mastery

  • Behind the Scenes of The Most Successful Book Launches of the Decade: Lessons From Working With Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Tucker Max & Ramit Sethi (including The 4 Hour Body & Play It Away) — Charlie Hoehn
  • Growing A 5-figure a month Kindle Business: Getting ATTENTION & standing out from the crowd — Ty Cohen
  • Selling 40,000 Copies of Your First Self-Published Book (how I did it) — Justin Mares
  • How I crowdfunded $11,000 for my first book in 21 days (and how to use crowdfunding to fund & market YOUR book) (Ryan Hanley)
  • The Fundamentals for Success Inside the Amazon Kindle Store (ignore these at your peril) — John Tighe
  • How to Build an Author Platform And Make $20,000-$50,000/month From Books & E-books — Steve Scott

Step 3: Monetizing (Making Money From Your Book)

  • Building A Successful Backend To Your Book: Lessons From The Godfather Of The Kindle Revolution — Hollis Carter
  • How To Self-Publish Your Way To #1 on the Amazon & USA Today National Bestseller Lists — Ryan Levesque
  • How I Doubled My Speaking & Coaching Business To Multiple 7-Figures With My First NYT Bestseller (Christy Whitman)
  • How I Used My Book “Podcast Launch” to Help Create Podcasters’ Paradise AND Bring in 5-10 Leads + $600/Day To My Business — John Lee Dumas
  • $72,000+ in backend revenue within 3 months of launching my first book (The Book on Facebook Marketing Case Study) — Nick Unsworth

And there’s so much more.

Click here to find out more or register for your free ticket

I hope you’ll find this useful :) I expect to take a lot of notes from the other speakers! Please do leave any questions in the comments below and I’ll “see” you in the Summit.

On Writing And Mindset For Indie Authors With Susan Kaye Quinn

So much of becoming a successful author, indie or otherwise, is about mindset.

Today I talk to Susan Kaye Quinn about some of the biggest issues we all have as writers: self doubt, fear of judgement and comparisonitis. We also go into branding and tips on organizing your marketing.

SelfPubSummitSocialIn the intro, I mention the fantastic line up for the Self-Publishing Summit – including Jack Canfield, James Altucher, Steve Scott – and me :) – plus many more. It’s free to attend live or listen in the first 3 days, or just $97 for access to all the replays. Click here to register for the event.

Also, I have a free webinar coming up for my audience with Nick Stephenson: Put your book marketing on autopilot and find your first 10,000 readers. Register here for your free place or if you can’t attend live, you can get the replay.

I also mention my fantastic night at CrimeInTheCourt – you can see the pics here on my author FB page – the launch of How to Make a Living with your Writing, and the audiobooks of Gates of Hell and One Day in New York. It’s been a big week!

99designs-logo-750x200pxThis podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to: 99Designs.com/joanna

SusanKayeQuinnSusan Kaye Quinn is a former rocket scientist now bestselling speculative fiction author and today we’re talking about her super book, The Indie Author Survival Guide.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher, watch the video or read the notes and links below.

  • On the journey from rocket science to writing books.
  • On making a living as a writer and the indie-author revolution that the mid-listers are spearheading.
  • IndieAuthorBookOn the toxicity of comparisonitis and setting reasonable and personal writing goals and objectives.
  • The big lie of traditional publishing and the areas of validation and approval, as well as writers’ mission statements, and the personal reasons why we write, which can help with decision making in our writing careers.
  • ForLoveOrMoneyOn experimenting with what works for us and what doesn’t in our writing careers. Also fear of judgment and how it can hold us back from fully expressing ourselves in our work, and what we can do to deal with that. Susan has a video on dealing with fear on her site here.
  • Susan’s top recommendations for book marketing including the three key elements. What to do if your books aren’t selling and knowing your target market.
  • The longevity of writing careers, the long tail of book sales and the possible cycles of sales through a writer’s lifetime.
  • Using Scrivener for organizing book marketing materials and how this serves to keep marketing in a separate mental space from writing. [I also recommend the Learn Scrivener Fast training for getting the most out of Scrivener.]
  • The differences between writing for love or for money. The speed with which writers can now bring new works to market and the gap that is rapidly closing between writers and readers.

You can find Susan at SusanKayeQuinn.com and her books,, The Indie Author Survival Guide and For Love or Money: Crafting an Indie Author Career, on all online stores.Continue Reading

New Book: How To Make A Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn

Here’s my latest book for authors!

Now my business has ticked into six figures, I wanted to share how that breaks down and how you can do it too.

Would you like to leave your job and make a living with your writing?

How to Make a Living from your Writing 3DThis book will show you how.

I spent 13 years working as a cubicle slave in the corporate world. I was miserable in my job and my creativity was stunted by the crushing daily grind.

Then I started writing books and blogging, using my words to create products and attract readers.

In September 2011, I left my corporate job to become a full-time author and creative entrepreneur and since then I’ve grown my business year on year – all based on my writing.

More importantly, I’m finally living the happy life I always wanted.

I’m not a Kindle or blogging millionaire and this is not a get rich quick scheme. But I will share with you how I make a six-figure income from writing books, blogging and marketing in an ethical manner.

This is the best time ever to make a living with your writing! Read on to learn more.

Buy the book in ebook format for US$2.99. Coming soon in print.

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Table of Contents:

Overview of how I make a living and income split
First principles
Tips on writing and productivity
Tips on mindset

Part 1: How to make money from books

It’s not just one book
Your publishing options: Traditional publishing
Changes in the publishing industry
Your publishing options: Becoming an indie author
How to self-publish an ebook
How to self-publish a print book
How to self-publish an audiobook

Part 2: How to make money online in other ways
A business powered by content marketing
Product sales
Affiliate income
Consulting or coaching
Professional speaking
Advertising and sponsorship
Freelance writing
Tips for content marketing

The transition and your next steps

Plus/ Companion Workbook so you can answer the questions in the book for yourself.

Buy the book in ebook format. Coming soon in print.

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How is this book different from Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur?

Business for Authors 3DBusiness for Authors is essentially a manual for how to run a business. It’s aimed at authors in a mature phase of their career, with several books and who already make some kind of living from writing. It contains things like how to do taxes and accounting, as well as building teams and production plans!

I’ve learned from feedback that it is perhaps a little too much, too soon, for many authors!

So, How to make a living is for authors in the phase before that. Authors who have one book, a couple of books or who are writing their first book, with an eye on a future that involves writing. It outlines how I make a living and directs you to lots more resources so you can take things further.

Please do let me know any questions below in the comments, and I hope you find the book useful. Thanks!