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The Story Studio Podcast - Writing, Storytelling, and Marketing Advice for Writers & Business
62 minutes | 10 days ago
State of the Industry with Craig Martell
“There’s never been a better time to be an indie author,” Craig Martell says on this episode of the Story Studio Podcast. Craig Martell runs the 20 Books to 50K facebook group and events with Michael Anderle who we also interviewed in this State of the Industry series. In this interview, Craig shares the behind the scenes of both his own wildly successful author journey and how he came to host live author events with Michael. Listen in to learn all about Craig’s take on current industry trends and how he uses his catalog and ad dollars wisely to assure ongoing full-time income, based on years of experience. Click HERE to learn more about the 20 Books to 50k Facebook Group.And you can find LMBPN publishing where both Michael Anderle and Craig Martell HERE.
63 minutes | 17 days ago
State of the Industry with Erin Wright on Apple
Erin Wright is a contemporary western romance author who also runs the fantastic online/Facebook Group called Wide For The Win. Erin was initially invited onto the podcast in place of having someone on from Apple since it is very difficult (maybe impossible) to get someone from Apple on a podcast to talk about the state of the industry, but her interview gave us all so much more. Erin has been very successful with her books in the Apple store, but she also has an excellent track record of making her catalog sell well wide, across multiple bookselling sites and platforms, (as in providing a full-time income), and she has been helping others to do the same. Listen in to find out how Erin does it and how she helps others do it too. If you are an author who wants to publish your books wide (rather than exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program) then check out the Wide for The Win Facebook group here. You can also learn more about Erin Wright here.
62 minutes | a month ago
State of the Industry with Mark Lefebvre from Draft2Digital
When the guys first met Mark Leslie Lefevbre, they got to know him as Mark Kobo, because he was working for Kobo back then. Now Mark works for Draft2Digital, through which he continues to promote wide publishing options, including Kobo, but, through the easy-to-use Draft2Digital dashboard interface, also Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and more. Draft2Digital also makes it easy for indie authors to get their books into library systems, which has recently seen some pretty incredible growth in market share while much of the country (and the world) has been rotating through various levels of lockdown and quarantine. Listen in to learn more about Mark’s journey and about what Draft2Digital can do for the modern indie author, now and into the future. You can also learn more about Mark through his Stark Reflections podcast.
75 minutes | a month ago
State of The Industry with Andre Chaperon and Shawn Twing
Andre Chaperon and Shawn Twing are writing and business partners. Together they run a website called Tiny Little Businesses (which you can find at https://tinylittlebusinesses.com). Sean first found Andre through his Autoresponder Madness course. Andre also spoke at the very first S&S event (after at first refusing to). Shawn has been in digital marketing for more than two decades and, at one point, was a customer of Andre’s Sphere of Influence product. It’s so refreshing to hear online marketers say that a smaller, more engaged list that is genuinely interested in hearing from you is better than having a huge list of people who only rarely care whether they hear from you or not. Their focus in writing emails is on quality communication and storytelling through email. How can you best connect with your audience through writing emails? Anyone with an email list should definitely listen in to learn more about what Andre and Shawn have to say.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
State of the Industry with Damon Courtney from Bookfunnel
Once upon a time, there was a fiction writer who wanted to send a free copy of his book to his mom. But he didn’t want her to have to read it in a word doc on her desktop. He wanted her to see the book in its finished form, with the cover and copyright and all the rest. And he wanted her to read it on her e-reader, just like any other published book. Back in 2015, the solution didn’t exist, but luckily Damon Courtney had the drive and technical know-how to create it. Damon is the founder of Bookfunnel, which is now the industry standard for delivering free books to readers. Whether it be getting advanced copies of books to ARC teams, or rewarding subscribers to newsletters with extra “secret” stories, Bookfunnel has become the very best way to get free books onto the electronic reading devices of readers everywhere. Listen in to hear more about the Bookfunnel story, why you need it, and go here to get your own account: https://bookfunnel.com.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
State of The Industry with Will Dages from Findaway Voices
It’s no secret that the audiobook segment of the publishing industry has been growing in recent years. In the last 9 months of stay-at-home orders and quarantines, people have been listening to audiobooks more than ever. But a lot of indie authors don’t know how to break into the audiobook market. How do you find the right narrator and get the right recording quality necessary for platforms like Audible and Chirp? Well, Will Dages from Findaway Voices is there for you. Findaway Voices is as close to being the Draft2Digital of audiobooks as anyone in the industry is. They have a whole host of narrators that they help match to the books that are best for their voices and match the voices that are best for your books. Or if you have the setup and the voice for it and really want to read your own books, you can upload the audio files yourself. Listen in to learn more about Findaway Voices and all things audiobook, and when you’re ready to set up a Findaway Voices account yourself, go to https://findawayvoices.com.
57 minutes | 2 months ago
State of The Industry with Jane Friedman
Sean has known Jane Friedman since before the beginning, way back when Yesterday’s Gone was just the seed of an idea and he approached her to talk about a series of Shel Silverstein-like children’s poem’s that he wanted to write. She invited him to talk to one of her college classes about copywriting, and they have been close friends ever since. Jane has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry and is an expert in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020. Jane’s most recent book is called The Business of Being a Writer. Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing. Learn more about Jane Friedman here: janefriedman.com/about/
58 minutes | 3 months ago
State of The Industry with Alex Newton from K-Lytics
As powerful people are so fond of saying, “Knowledge is Power” and in the world of ebook publishing, Alex Newton’s K-Lytics is a powerful thing. Knowing the real numbers about the category, genre, and subgenre that you publish in can help to give you a deeper understanding, more realistic expectations, and help to make ebook launches and sales a little more predictable. Niamh has been a huge fan of K-lytics from even before she entered the publishing space and was eager to ask Alex a lot of questions. Listen in for all of his helpful answers so you can join Niamh, Bonnie, and the guys in all getting a whole lot smarter about analytics during this interview. You can learn more about K-lytics and sign up for your own account right here: www.k-lytics.com
75 minutes | 3 months ago
State of the Industry with Becca Syme
Knowing what to quit doing can be just as important as knowing what to do. Sean and Johnny first encountered Becca Syme through her book, Dear Writer, You need to Quit. Listen in to learn more about how Becca helps authors by leaning into their strengths and quitting the things they don’t need to be doing. Becca Syme holds a master’s degree in transformational leadership and has been a success coach (primarily utilizing Gallup’s CliftonStrengths® assessment) for almost fifteen years. She’s coached 4500+ individual authors and creatives through her Write Better-Faster and Strengths for Writers classes: six- and seven-figure authors, major award winners, mid-listers, and new authors alike. Becca is the host of the YouTube QuitCast channel and a mystery author. She lives with her wine-drinking cat in the mountains of Montana. Learn more about Becca at her website: http://betterfasteracademy.com And check out her podcast the Quitcast here: http://betterfasteracademy.com
59 minutes | 3 months ago
State of the Industry with Mark Dawson and James Blatch
In today’s episode, the guys sit down with their old friends Mark Dawson and James Blatch to check in on what they’ve been doing and what they see coming in the near future for the self-publishing industry. Mark and the guys met early on in Mark’s career when he was just starting out. Listen in to hear that story and to find out what Sean said that pissed Mark off and made him feel determined to prove Sean wrong! Also find out what Mark and James think about the current pay-to-play landscape of advertising for authors, algorithms, and how to set up your series for maximum profits. Mark Dawson is an internationally best-selling and award-winning author with over two million books sold. He also runs The Self Publishing Formula where he helps authors make a living with their art through renowned courses like Advertising for Authors and Self Publishing 101. You can also find him on the podcast he co-hosts with James Blatch, The Self Publishing Show. James Blatch is co-host of the Self Publishing Show podcast. He is a former BBC Television News reporter and is currently writing his first novel, a military thriller set in 1960s Britain.
74 minutes | 3 months ago
State of the Industry with Michael Anderle
State of the Industry with Michael Anderle The Guys first met Michael Anderle right at the start of his journey in Self-Publishing. He had the (dubious) pleasure of riding in a car with them at a very early Smarter Artist Summit and immediately realized that the guys are exactly the same in person as they are on their podcast. Michael is the award-nominated, internationally-bestselling author of more than 40 urban fantasy and science fiction novels. He’s also the co-author of many more with other authors under his company, LMBPN Publishing, which has now sold over 3 million books. Michael is also the co-founder of the popular 20BooksTo50K Facebook group and does events with Craig Martelle. Listen in as the guys catch up with Michael and get real about shared universes, collaborations, rapid release, box set plays, KU vs. wide, where traditional publishing is going, international markets, and so much more. You can find Michael Anderle at LMBPN.com and on Twitter @lmbpn.
56 minutes | 4 months ago
State of The Industry with Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn is a North Star in the Self-Publishing Industry. She is someone who was already there when the guys first got started, and most people think of them as being there from the very start. She has written, published, and podcasted consistently for over a decade. She has seen fads and trends come and go, and through it all, she has kept her focus, (only occasionally and momentarily letting herself get distracted by any shiny object). Sean says her podcast, The Creative Penn, was the first podcast he ever listened to and Niamh also says that she followed Joanna even before she started following the guys. For all of these reasons and many more, Joanna is someone worth listening to when it comes to the current state of the industry. Listen to this episode to learn why she is as excited right now as she has ever been for indie publishing and why she never believes the hype when anyone claims that the sky is falling. After listening to this episode, be sure to go to The Creative Penn to tune in for Episode 500 (yep, that’s right, she has recorded 500 episodes!!!) for her lessons learned in over a decade of self-publishing.
50 minutes | 4 months ago
Welcome To The State of The Industry
Welcome to The Story Studio Podcast Season 1: The State of the Industry. Yes, after 131 episodes of The Story Studio Podcast, the show is finally transitioning from Season 0 to Season 1. For the next 15 episodes the guys, along with Niamh and Bonnie, will be interviewing leaders, thinkers, and doers in self-publishing to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant overview of what’s working for indie authors now, and into the future. In today’s episode, the gang talks about this brand new season, why they are doing this, what they have learned in the past year, and what they are planning for the immediate and near future. They also drop a few hints about some of the guests coming up in Season 1. You don’t want to miss any of these great upcoming episodes, so make sure you are subscribed to the podcast or check back here each and every week!
46 minutes | 4 months ago
SSP131 Big Changes Coming
In today’s episode, the guys, along with Bonnie and Niamh, talk about the big changes coming to the Story Studio Podcast in the coming weeks. This episode is the last episode of what we are calling Season 0, and starting next week we will be embarking on Season 1 at last! Season 1 will focus on The State of the Industry. This will include interviews with a wide variety of guests who have their fingers on the pulse of different areas of the self-publishing industry. 15 episodes of deep dives into every area of the industry where we want to know more about what is working right now. After that comes Season 2: Core Curriculum with Bonnie. Everytime Bonnie is on the show, we get comments and emails asking for more. So Bonnie is going to deliver! We have a whole season full of episodes where Bonnie focuses on every aspect of craft. It’s basically a masterclass in craft delivered to you weekly. So buckle up and get ready for some fantastic new seasons of The Story Studio Podcast!
56 minutes | 4 months ago
SSP130 How To Write Anything with Sean
Out of everyone in the story studio, Sean is probably the most versatile author who can dexterously turn his hand from one genre and form to another quickly and with ease. Maybe it’s because he started his writing career as a copywriter who wrote sales copy to spec and got paid per word. He has written, co-written, and ghostwritten sci-fi, horror, thrillers, literary fiction, poetry, children’s books, erotica, romance, non-fiction, and just about any other genre you can think of. So how does he do it? How does he write so much and collaborate on so many projects with so many other authors too? Listen in and hear Sean explain in his own words what his writing process looks like from the inside of his own brain.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
SSP129 Pantsing Complex Plots with Johnny
Johnny B Truant writes complex stories. Stories with plots that tend to branch out and get more complex by the chapter and book throughout a series. If you’ve read Invasion, The Beam, Fat Vampire, or The Inevitable, you know just how complex his stories can get. He creates not only fascinating characters living in richly textured worlds but multifaceted societies based on advanced science and technologies with fighting factions of political parties and communities crumbling under socioeconomic pressures. In this episode, Johnny talks about his journey from panster to plotter to something in between, and finally moving back toward being a pantser again, once he realized that really is what comes most naturally to him. Listen in to learn more about how he has been so incredibly prolific while writing such long and complex books.
33 minutes | 5 months ago
SSP128 Raising Tension with Dave
If you’ve ever read a David Wright story, you’ve experienced narrative tension. But how does Dave do it so well? And how does he crank it up a notch higher when your heart’s already beating out of your chest? One of his secrets: he’s really good at finding ways to make any situation worse. No matter how bad a situation already is, Dave can double-down. It’s his superpower. In today’s episode, you can hear Dave, Niamh, and Bonnie discuss all of the subtle and not-so-subtle techniques Dave has developed over the years to increase the anxiety levels in readers everywhere. And find out what he discovered about fear and anxiety when he became a parent.
52 minutes | 5 months ago
SSP127 Creating Culture with Vered
Worldbuilding is about building both the hardware and software that supports a story. Culture is the software. How we interact with the hardware, how we view it and use it, and what kind of subcultures grow up around different views and uses, those are the kinds of cultures we want to explore. Today’s Story Studio guest, Vered Ehsani, who was raised in Canda and now lives in Kenya, believes that we all need to get out of our own cultural ghettos and explore beyond what we know. Even in what appears to be a homogenous culture, there are always off-shoots and subcultures. Pretending cultural differences don’t exist feels flat and disingenuous. Include cultures beyond your own in your stories, not as a token or a political gesture, but because it reflects how vast and multitudinous the world genuinely is. It will make your story world richer, more authentic, and believable. Go to sterlingandstone.net/stonetable to sign up to learn more about Vered’s forthcoming book, Creating Culture, and other nonfiction books.
66 minutes | 5 months ago
SSP126 Commercialism and Trends with Niamh
When the critics can’t stop talking about something, and people can’t stop talking about it too, you hit that sweet spot we all look for in terms of finding ways to make our art commercial. Commercialism is particularly important in terms of outreach. When no one knows who you are they don’t have any reason to choose you. You have to give them those reasons upfront. Make your most commercial ideas the fishhooks that you cast out into the world to find the people who want to read your stuff. Then you can use those works to lead them into your world where you can offer your less commercial, more artistic, or off-the-wall work. Listen in to today’s episode to learn more about Niamh’s thoughts on commercialism and trends in fiction.
58 minutes | 5 months ago
SSP125 Evolving Writing Process with Ninie
Ninie Hammon wrote in the newspaper world for 25 years before she started writing novels. When she started writing novels, 12-13 years ago, she never thought about the process. She just started and wrote until she finished. Then she revised and revised and revised. She wrote stand-alone books and did all she knew to sell them. She would give them away with promotions like Bookbub, and then sell books for a while until the sales slowed. She grew a following who loved her and all of her books got great reviews. But then they would stop selling after awhile. Ninie first joined Sterling and Stone as part of the Clocking Out group. She learned to write fast, or rather faster because she was already writing fast. She also did genre therapy and realized she needed to think more about what genre she was writing in. During the Clocking Out course, she wrote rough drafts for 3 novels in 3 months. Then she joined the Sterling and Stone Story Studio and wrote 4 more novels in 4 months. But then Ninie needed to edit close to 800,000 words to get all those novels to publication. And that was when she realized she needed to streamline her whole process. Listen in to find out more about how Ninie has evolved her process and what she is working on now.
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