Podcast: Crime Writer Seth Harwood On New Publishing Paradigms And Author Marketing

It’s great to have crime novelist Seth Harwood on the show talking about the new publishing paradigm for his latest novel, Young Junius available for special edition pre-order on May 5th.

Seth Harwood is the author of several crime novels including ‘Jake Wakes Up‘ published last year and his latest book, ‘Young Junius‘ . Seth is also a podcaster, writing teach and co-creator of the Author Bootcamp program.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The publishing world does not quickly recognise new novelists, so Seth used podcasting to build an audience for his crime novels.
  • Pre-release of ‘Young Junius’ is inspired by Scott Sigler’s self-publishing run of ‘The Rookie’ and now ‘The Starter‘ which his publisher didn’t want to publish as it didn’t fit the genre. Seth has partnered with a small press, Tyrus Books to organise a special edition that is only pre-sold on the internet with tons of special extras, photos, cover art, embossed and more. People pre-order on Amazon so why not skip them as the middleman and do this directly.
  • The possibility of mainstream authors doing this is out there i.e. avoid the middleman and publish straight to the market. We will likely see more authors using this model for publishing.
  • Young Junius’ is a crime novel, fans of ‘The Wire’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Law & Order’ and authors Richard Price, David Simon, Michael Connelly will enjoy it. It’s available for pre-order on May5th – Cinco de Junius! If you use promo code ‘PENN’, you’ll get $3 off. Go to SethHarwood.com on May 5th.
  • How podcasting can still benefit new authors by getting your work out there to new fans. You need to have a presence where people can find out about you, and podcasting is ideal as you can podcast your actual work and people can listen when they are doing other things. [Seth has an online workshop with Writer's Digest webinar on podcasting coming up if you want to know more]. The podcast version of ‘Young Junius’ is here.
  • Don’t worry about your voice! Fans like to hear the author’s voice reading the book.
  • How to balance your time between writing, marketing, revisions, online promotion. It varies depending on the phase you are in for your book. But it is definitely tricky!
  • It’s important to write well but also sell a lot of books. Write what you love to read and create, not something that is ‘literary’ if that is not the genre you love.

You can order ‘Young Junius’ special edition at SethHarwood.com on May 5th. You can connect with Seth on twitter @sethharwood

Podcast: Writing Romance And First Time Novel Experiences With Dean Mayes

On writing romance and the experience of being a first time novelist with Dean Mayes.

Dean Mayes is the author of romance novel, ‘The Hambledown Dream‘ and a pediatric nurse based in Adelaide, Australia.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • How Dean’s 7 year journey has played out from first ideas to published author, and how the idea for the novel just didn’t go away
  • About his book, ‘The Hambledown Dream’, a paranormal romance, and how it just so happened that paranormal romance became popular while he was writing it
  • How Dean started writing the book on a blog for free, and was ‘found’ by publisher, IReadIWrite Publishing through his site
  • How a typical Aussie bloke came to be writing romance (see The Paperback Hero for inspiration!)
  • Some keys for writing romance: solid and believable relationships based on solid and believable characters
  • Writing sex scenes that are appropriate but also are a key part of romance genre. Drawing the line between romance and erotica. Deciding on what to include is a fine line and you need to be true to your character and what you want people to judge you as.
  • How Dean launched the book and how he is promoting it. A comparison between online and offline promotion, what has worked for Dean and what has been difficult/time-consuming and also the best for sales. How he used his existing online presence to start selling the book (even though it was not in his exact target market). How to use your time wisely for online marketing.
  • How the writing and blog community is fabulous and supportive – we all need to support each other! A great example of marketing is the Reader’s Gallery where you get people to send in pictures of them with the book.

You can find Dean at his blog Dean from Australia, as well as on Twitter @DeanFA and on Facebook here. You can buy ‘The Hambledown Dream’ at Amazon.com or at iReadiWrite Publishing.

Podcast: Crime Writing and Tips On Getting An Agent With Sam Blake

This is a fantastic, lively interview on crime writing and getting an agent, packed full of information for authors and writers!

Sam Blake is a crime writer of 6 books who just signed to literary agency Curtis Brown in London, England, although she is based in Dublin, Ireland. Sam Blake is the pen name of Vanessa O’Loughlin who runs Inkwell Writer’s Workshops.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • How Vanessa started writing, and how her journey to becoming a published author has unfolded. 10 years and 6 books later, she has been signed by one of the world’s best literary agencies, Curtis Brown.
  • How she started Inkwell writer’s workshops in order to network with published authors and how that has made a big difference to her own writing, as well as helping other writers
  • On the crime genre: Mo Hayder says “crime novels start with a violent act’
  • Some of the key aspects of the crime genre: violence, plot that suits intelligent people who like solving problems/puzzles. It doesn’t have to have a detective in it, but it does need a character who wants to solve the puzzle.
  • We discuss the difference between thriller, horror and crime as genres
  • Why genre is so important for publishers and authors who want to sell. You need to know where your book will fit on the bookshelves, even if you don’t feel you want to be ‘boxed’ as an author. It is necessary for marketing and sales.
  • The reader also wants to know what genre your book fits into and how to find you.
  • Tips for writing antagonists/bad guys that are 3 dimensional, for example, something that will make the reader empathize with.
  • Getting to know your character – what’s in their pockets, what happened in their childhood that informs them now. Using a character question sheet that you fill in per character. You’ve got to know them. Aspects of the character will change as they develop in your mind.
  • It is surprising, but these characters do come and you find you will be able to write this information. Just try it!
  • Tips for getting a top agent to represent your book. Put your work out there. Enter short story competitions, and network with other authors, publishers and agents. In this way, Sam/Vanessa won 2nd place in a romance contest and then got a story into a compilation book with top authors, ‘Mum’s the Word’.
  • Be careful what you say to people in the industry as it is a small world and it will come back to haunt you
  • Go to events and meet people in person. You have to be out there, away from your desk and making sure people know about your work.
  • Publishing is a business, and you need to know the business and the people in it before you will be able to crack into it.
  • Why Vanessa uses a pen name. It is important for marketing and branding in a genre, plus crime writers try to use ambiguous names as women’s names can be less successful. Also Vanessa O’Loughlin is long and difficult to pronounce, as well as hard to remember. So be open to changing your name to sell books. You need to be memorable.
  • How crime writing is researched. There are great forensic sites on the web with pictures. Vanessa’s husband is also a member of the Garda, Irish police. It is important to get people who know the details to read your book. Details are important. Readers mustn’t be jarred out the story by something that they know is untrue.
  • Inkwell Writers have workshops in Ireland, but also have online workshops. They connect bestselling authors with aspiring writers. The best piece of advice is “Just keep writing“. Also, make sure you know what your character’s fears are(I have asked Vanessa if she might consider making audios available as these workshops sound fantastic!)

Sam Blake has a blog with information about crime writing. It has a page on getting published. You can also connect with Vanessa at Inkwell Writers, and also @InkwellHQ on Twitter.

Podcast: Book Design With Joel Friedlander

Joel Friedlander has an extensive background in printing, graphic design, typography and book publishing as well as being an author and blogger. His business, Marin Bookworks, is based in Marin County, California and helps authors and publishers get to market on time with a great looking, properly constructed book. Joel’s fantastic blog, TheBookDesigner.com is packed with resources for writers and publishers.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • What exactly a book designer does – and how this can give you a checklist of things you need to do for your book
  • What are your goals for your book? This will shape the design and many other questions about your book
  • You need to be in print, AND in business, so you need to consider the business aspects of your book
  • 3 things that self-published authors do that make their books stand out as unprofessional – and how to avoid these mistakes
  • Remember: Odd numbered pages go on the right, Blank pages are truly blank (no page numbers, no heads) and be consistent. Bonus tip: Keep a style guide to use as you go through(you can use Microsoft Word Styles)
  • Joel is doing Book design reviews at Self Publishing Review now – click here for an example
  • In terms of software, if you want to DIY, options include MS Word, MS Publisher, all the way up to pro packages like In Design
  • Font advice – try Garamond, Bembo, Caslon, Janson. Avoid Times New Roman for books. Click here for Joel’s article on fonts.
  • Designing books for the ebook formats vs. for print books. Currently ebooks are not well formatted, but that will change as the technology changes. Currently PDF is the best option for fully formatted ebooks e.g. photography, tables etc.
  • Tips for cover design. It is a marketing decision, not based on emotional creative expression. Keep the cover simple so it is obvious when people see it on a digital screen i.e. make the text readable at 1 inch high. Also, don’t use a white background as it fades into the background on Amazon.com
  • Tips for a successful blog. How Joel’s blog got so big, so fast. Success is a combination of a) free writing experience and ability to write and create b) passion for the subject of book design and self publishing and c) expert advice from Yaro Starak’s Blog Profits Blueprint.
  • How blogging is so rewarding for its own sake, let alone for marketing and platform building! Focus on a topic you love and can think of many articles to write on. Joel now blogs every day, and we discuss tips for what to write.
  • On blog design: People come to your blog to read so don’t obscure this reading area. Start on the left, have a white background and make sure there is lots of white space.

(Note from Joanna: I also learnt from Yaro Starak and highly recommend his Become a Blogger program – affiliate)

You can connect with Joel at his blog, TheBookDesigner.com (there are loads of free resources for authors there as well). He is also on Twitter @JFBookman

Here is the transcription of this podcast with Joel => Transcription

Podcast: Writing Supernatural Themes and Fight Scenes With Dark Fantasy Author Alan Baxter

This fantastic podcast roams over some interesting topics so I hope you enjoy it!

Warning: There is some questionable language and talk of horror, violence and religion so please don’t listen if you might be offended.

Alan Baxter is the author of dark fantasy novels Realmshift and Magesign as well as many short stories. He owns an independent publishing company, Blade Red Press and his novels have just been picked up by Gryphonwood Press. He is an indie author success story! You can find his blog, novels and stories at AlanBaxterOnline.com

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • How indie author Alan got a deal with Gryphonwood Press and also his opinions on how self-publishing can help authors who take it seriously
  • Why writing about myths, religion and the supernatural are fascinating topics and can help readers resonate with the story
  • How these topics can offend people, but writers need to write what is driving them and not be concerned about what others think. Don’t compromise your story.
  • To write in a genre, read as much as possible. If you are using established mythologies, you must stay true to the myth.
  • On writing graphic violence and horror vs thriller
  • On making bad guys who are demons and therefore not 3D. Does this go against the writing ‘rules’?
  • Tips for writing interesting fight scenes by Alan, who is a Kung Fu Instructor and personal trainer. No 1 rule: Run away!
  • Can an author go from self-published to indie author/small press to being picked up by a traditional publisher? Yes, and how Alan’s journey has developed.

Definitely check out Alan’s books if you enjoyed the podcast. You can get free chapters here – Realmshift and Magesign

You can connect with Alan on twitter @AlanBaxter