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Podcast: Download (Duration: 52:58 — 26.4MB)
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In today's show, Amazon UK bestselling author, Mel Sherratt talks about her 14 year journey to the dream publishing deal, and how going indie has turned her into an entrepreneur.
In the intro, I reflect on my own year and the dangers of ‘comparisonitis,' plus I talk about this fantastic end of year reflection post by Dean Wesley Smith on some of the changes that happened for indies and publishing in 2013.
The podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Mel Sherratt is the author of Taunting The Dead, named as one of Amazon UK's Top selling ebooks of 2012. She's also written The Estate series of crime thrillers, and has Watching Over You coming in Jan 2014.
- Mel's journey of 14 years, from the dream of the book deal, through multiple agents and pursuing a traditional book deal, through the massive indie success, and then a book deal with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer that has changed her life. How Mel's dream has changed with the times towards becoming more of a hybrid author these days. She blends self-publishing with the traditional deal, blending the best of both worlds. Mel predicts that more and more authors
Becoming a pro-writer has turned Mel into an entrepreneur
- Aspects of Mel's business include some of the production side of her indie books with print-on-demand, setting up her own business, Blood Red Books, liaising with people. She's been project planning and managing, writing a column for the local paper as well as dealing with her agent and editor. Mel is saying ‘yes' to every opportunity these days. Her life now is quite unexpected, but it is the reality of the modern writer's life. She talks about some of the tools and tips for planning and using To Do lists to achieve goals within specific time-frames.
- We talk about production schedules, and embracing the fact that we are business-women making an income from what we love! Mel explains the books she is aiming to write in 2014.
Writing sparse and then adding layers
- On Mel's writing process – planning in advance, then a fast first draft of ~3000 words a day, then in the next drafts, Mel layers the text with fear, emotion and description in order to add up the words. We talk about Stephen King's advice of removing 10% per edit, but both of us actually ADD words per draft. Mel's strength is dialogue, and mine is description 🙂
On multiple agents
- It's quite normal to split up with agents (as I did with mine last month), and Mel explains her journey through new other agents before she found her current, fantastic agent. We discuss how there are many agents now who embrace the hybrid model, and how a good agent can be a great business partner. You just have to find the right one, and perhaps the best way is to attract them through indie success.
For the love of blogging
- Mel talks about how blogging enabled her to establish the discipline of writing and using emotional resonance to attract people. She also based her blog posts around interviews with other writers, establishing relationships. This uses the principles of generosity and social karma to create a bank of good-will. When Mel was finally ready to launch her own book, people were more than happy to help her.
On writing dark and twisted fiction
- Mel talks about the themes of her gritty fiction, and how her latest ‘Watching Over You‘ is a psychological thriller in the vein of Single White Female. We also have a chat about being perceived as ‘nice girls' in real-life when we both write such dark fiction.
You can find Mel at MelSherratt.co.uk and her books on Amazon, including ‘Watching Over You,' out in Jan 2014.
Mel is also on Twitter @writermels
Do you have any questions for Mel, or comments about her journey into being an entrepreneur? Please do leave a comment below.
Garry Rodgers says
Hi Joanna & Mel,
Thanks for the invigorating interview – very motivational for getting things done in 2014.
I found your discussion about women’s reactions to crime thrillers interesting. In my experience as a police investigator I found women to be much more intuitive and emotional than men. In fact some of the best investigators are women and I think that extends to some of the best crime writers being women.
I think what makes a can’t -put-it-down book is the storyteller’s ability to evoke emotions in the reader. Somewhere around 75% of the crime thriller readers are women so it makes sense for writers in this genre to appeal to the women’s market – seeing their ideal reader as a woman. From a business point, somewhere around 95% of reviewers are women 🙂
Best wishes for everyone’s writing success in the new year!
Joanna Penn says
Thanks for your expert perspective Garry 🙂
Peter J Story says
Fantastic podcast! Really hits home for me right now (and always), as I’m constantly comparing and measuring myself against other authors. Thanks for the encouragement!
Joanna Penn says
Thanks for your honesty Peter 🙂 I think we all have days of comparisonitis, and then we get inspired and then the roller-coaster begins again!
Fabulous podcast- both the intro and the introduction were full of helpful information and ideas to chew on. Thanks for the other resources you pointed out. I read Dean Wesley Smith’s post last night and continue to reflect on his thoughts.
Robyn LaRue says
As Melissa said, the intro was full of useful information, and I really like the idea of layering in emotion as my drafts also come quickly. thanks!
Zara Keane says
Another fantastic podcast, Joanna! I loved your interview with Mel. Great insight into the realities of being an author-entrepreneur. I also discovered a new author to try. 😀 I just bought a copy of Mel’s ‘Taunting the Dead’, as well as your ‘Desecration’.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks for checking out the books, Zara 🙂
Ella J. Smyth says
Hi there, I’m binge-listening to your podcasts in 2015 – can’t stop, they’re so full of information!
I loved to hear that I’m not the only one ending up with a short first draft. I’m half way through filling in the outline of a 60k-words-novel, but I’ll be 20k short. I’ll need to go back over it and add so much more detail. I did actually feel bad about it until I listened to the podcast, so thanks!
Kind regards, Ella J. Smyth
Joanna Penn says
Glad you’re enjoying the show, Ella!