5 Top Podcasts For Indie Publishers

mbIf you are wanting to find out about the latest new in indie publishing as well as hearing from those who have trodden the path before you, there is no better way to stay up to date than tuning into some podcasts.

I will be honest with you there are a lot of indie publishing podcasts out there.  Indie publishers are, by their nature a very entrepreneurial bunch and the chance of running amock with a mic and a great idea is hard to resist.

I have listened to many and the list below are the ones that I consistently come back to.  Mainly for their enthusiasm but also for the quality of the information and the interviews themselves.

The Creative Penn

cpp podcast

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts

Joanna Penn is a non-fiction writer who has now very successfully entered into the Thriller Genre and is going great guns.  There is nothing but lovely things to say about Joanna.  She is onto it big time, works her backside off, and is unerringly generous in her sharing.  I love the diversity of her choice of guests and the fact that Joanna is plucky and perky but with a lovely insightful way of interviewing.  These are a pleasure to listen to.  Thanks Joanna.

Simon Whistler – Rocking Self Publishing

rsp podcast

http://rockingselfpublishing.com/

Simon’s shows are awesome and genuine.  He is a real pro at delivery and his interviews are always a fun and informal journey with a diverse range of guests. I find this show to be one that I can listen to without feeling intimidated and there are some genuine takeaways without unneccessary self-promotion.  I think his show notes are also really thorough and definitely worth checking out.

The Self Publishing Roundtable

spr podcast

http://selfpublishingroundtable.com/

This show is part of the tornado that is Truant and Platt, though this is down to their rather taciturn third partner – Dave.  Again a good show with lots of great info and useful takeaways.  Very much part of the indie publishing company.

The Self Publishing Podcast

spc podcast

https://selfpublishingpodcast.com/

If Hugh Howie is the Dashing Duke of Indie Publishingville, and JA Konrath the Baron of Selfpubland, then Seam Platt and Johnny Truant are the loud and cavalier Knights of the realm.  They are cross genre writers who are willing to try anything and succeed.  Their enthusaisam is contagious and no subject will escape their gaze.  These guys area  real inspiration and their book ‘Write, Publish, Repeat’ should be essentail reading for anyone playing with the idea of doing it themselves in the publishing world.

Savvy Self Publishing

ssp podcast
http://www.savvyselfpublishing.com

Lindsay Buroker is a fantasy novelist who has broken the 3k per month mark and lives a lifestyle of writing and travel.  She started her indie career in 2010 and has learned the lessons through experience.  This show, and her blog, is a really good place to be inspired by what is possible with persistence and a sprinkling of luck.

Do you have a favourite indie publishing podcast?  Add it to the comments below.

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The book trailer is unveiled….

Here is the book trailer that I cobbled together using Movie Maker.  I have watched it too many times to be objective but I do like it.

What do you think? Would love to have some feedback…

Making a book trailer with free resources

To be honest when you are self publishing any book, your budget is going to be at best limited.  I would hazard a guess that your budget may be less than limited.  My own personal budget is just ever so slightly above well… zero really.  And lots of things seem to cost some money.  Making an ebook cover using an online creator was about 5 bux and then there is your time and possibly an editor, a proofer…. oh sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all, does it!

Still one way in which you can have some fun and not spend a penny is on your book trailer.  I made my trailer this week for zero budget.  And yet it has about 80 images on it plus some footage including timelapse loveliness! So how can you make a book trailer without hiring a professsional?

Two main options really:  you can powerpoint it or you can go Moviemaker (not sure about the Mac equivalent on this but if you are a mac user then you will know, right!).  I decided to go with Movie Maker.  Not sure why really – I think I just like the fact that it is designed to be seen as one clip without pauses, there are plenty of flashy little effects and it feels quite an intuitive user interface for me.  Still whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Then I while away many a happy hour on public domain and creative commons sites downloading footage from the 1930s and images from all over.  All for free and me likey the freebies!  I started the trawl with a google search for ‘public domain video clips’ and then went to here which led me down all sorts of rabbit holes of public domain wonderlands.  Two episodes of I Love Lucy and some Harold Lloyd later, this girls was feeling good and armed and dangerous with some lovely little black and white clips of all sorts of stuff, as well as some awesome timelapse footage.  Yay!

Next I wanted some images so I typed into google “creative commons images free”.  This brings you to lots of available images sites.  Flickr obviously although you have to be in it for the long trawl there.  There are some free images available here which is as good a place to start.  You can also search  for public domain images.

Add some music and some captions and bob’s your uncle.  Ok so mine won’t win any oscars but I tried to incorporate the key elements of an ad which are:

  • Problem
  • Outcome
  • Solution
  •  Benefits of this solution
  • Actionable step

or POSBA which is not memorable at all but does play into the always popular acronym trap.

OK so quick word – don’t be too precious about this.  People are not expecting Hollywood, or even Bollywood.  It is just a way of letting people know about the book by using Youtube rather than relying on your blog, or FB page or very loud voice and incredibly large extended family, in the build up to launch date.  Have fun with it.  Be professional in your approach but, unless you area  professional filmmaker or a very keen hobbyist, be realistic about your results.

I like mine.  I have tweaked it and tweaked it and it’s almost ready to reveal but I will keep you hanging on that one….

Duh doh darrrrr

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Why choose self publishing?

It’s a good question really?  Sure, ten years ago, I wouldn’t even have been considering self publishing my book.  I would have resigned myself to the whole rigmarole of finding an agent, who then finds a publisher, who then finds an editor etc etc.  The whole process would have taken me years of my time and a hefty amount of plucky resilience.  I would have gone to the stationery store and bought  a pretty,new file which I would entitle ‘Rejections’.  My poor little fragile ego would have taken a bashing and many times I might have given up the ghost and ‘got a proper job’ instead.

However times have changed.  The beauty of the internet is that it has opened up the door to people like myself.  Writers of niche books which do not have mass market appeal are now able to offer their thoughts to the world and anyone with a credit card and an internet connection has the chance to join the party.  At the moment, it’s like a street party and anyone is invited.  I would predict however that, just like any evolutionary cycle, it will be survival of the fittest before long.

So what makes you ‘fit’ in the self publishing world?  I would say that approaching self publishing as a business is the best way to go.  Seeing yourself as a professional who is duty bound to put quality work out into the world and package it as professionally as an established publisher would is essential to success.  Building a robust author platform is also a must.  You can’t be a reclusive Lee Harper type anymore.  No, no, no.  Now you’ve got to get out there and tweet and poke and post and link like your life depended on it.  Truth is that choosing the self publishing route as a writer doesn’t always leave you much space for writing.  And essentially, writing is what I love to do.

Sure I am enjoying learning about all this marketing stuff.  Truth be told, I am becoming a bit of a geek really.  I find myself downloading books about online marketing, building followers, creating platforms, branding, finding my authentic voice, publishing by the moon calendar… you name it, I am reading it.  I have spent whole weekends rebuilding my website, and lost what feel like months of my life trying to decipher twitter. (I still don’t know my @ from my elbow!)

There’s another reason why I have chosen self publishing and that is my location.  I live in New Zealand.  Not just in New Zealand, I live in Dunedin which is one of the southern most cities in the world.  In New Zealand, sheep outnumber people 4 to 1 and sheep don’t buy books.  Due to its isolation, books in New Zealand cost A LOT.  Your average paperback is around $25 which is double the minimum hourly wage.  In this country, unless you are an ex Rugby player or a soap opera actress or both (I am neither) the chances of even getting a foot in the door of a publisher are greatly diminished.  Even once your foot is in and you nab an elusive publishing deal, your sales figures are only likely to get into hundreds.  It’s not a great numbers game really.  Factor in the wait time between being accepted by a publisher and making it into print and suddenly you are collecting a pension before your first royalty check for $3 or thereabouts hits the doormat.  I am not a very competitive person.  I don’t fancy my odds.

So I have chosen to self publish.  It’s not the easy route.  I am developing a Jack of all Trades attitude and, I fear, mastery of none.  But you know what?  I am having a ball.  I love the idea of taking my destiny in my own hands.  I like ‘workin’ it’ like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and putting myself out there day after day.  It’s fun learning about SEO (WHAT?!?) and meta tags (double what?!?).

So why choose self publishing?  Because I am lucky that I can.  Because I have a product that I am proud of.  Because I want to share my message with as many readers as I can. Sure, I live in the back of beyond but I have the internet and I am darned well going to use it!

Why have you chosen the self publishing route?  Any cautionary tales for those of us just venturing out into the big bad world of self pub?  Any of you ex-Rugby-playing-soap-stars who still chose this route??  Love to hear your thoughts!  Post a comment to make me smile!

Kettle’s boiled – it’s teatime!

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Do I need a blog?

Ok, so the irony is not lost on me that I am blogging about blogging.  Thing is someone out there is currently blogging about blogging about blogging.  Crazy times, my friend…

As part of the self publishing journey, I am given to understand that me as a writer needs a blog.  Or is it that my product needs a blog?  What exactly is the value of a blog if you just want to get the word about your book out there?

I have been reading blogs for years and love them.  Why?  Because they give me a chance to get to know the person behind the product and the hype.  They give a personal insight into who has created the product and what their goal is.  It helps me to connect with where they are at as a writer and a human being.  If I like the person, then I might take the next step of visiting their Facebook page or signing up for email updates.  I am tentatively creating a relationship, saying ‘hey that’s cool, let’s keep in touch” albeit at an anonymous distance.

I created a blog to go with my professional website as a way of getting content out to potential clients.  Now I am not sure how to use that blog to convert clients to buyers or friends into customers….  I have had to think about how to use my blog in such a way that it doesn’t feel like I am giving the hard sell every other sentence.   Fine line stuff…

So how does creating a blog help to market a book?  Well first of all don’t make your blog all about your book.  Give your reader a chance to get to know you and what you are about.  Share your dazzling insights and give them tips that they can use today.  Remember that a blog is about building a relationship and letting your potential reader know that there are people out there who are creating products and general niceness for people like them to enjoy.  Write a blog not to sell but to enrich and connect.  Not every reader will come back or sign up.  Not every reader will buy your book.  And that is ok.  The important thing is to keep connecting and putting your energy out into the webosphere.

Yes and that is all lovely and esoteric and good etc.  But what about the nitty gritties of creating a blog.  Here are the questions I found myself asking:

  1. Do I need to self host? And what does that mean anyway?
  2. Can I really create a blog in 20 minutes?
  3. How can I make my blog appear on Google?
  4. What if nobody reads my blog?
  5. Can I sell my product through my blog?

Righty ho.  We have our list of learning objectives for the first part of this challenge.  I will post about these things in my experience over the next few days.

One thing I have learned is that I should give my reader an actionable step to complete on reading this blog.  So your actionable step is to comment below if you have a question about blogging that you would like me to investigate. And also to find five blogs that you like in your chosen field – what do you like about them?  Is it the tone?  The looks?  The content?  How could you learn from these bloggers in your own blogging?

Gosh have a great day.  Got to dash xxx