Category Archives: Writing Market

TJ Redig Guest Post: Platform, Platform, Platform!

The following gluten free message for authors (trad or indie) comes courtesy of TJ Redig, creator of the Scrivener Soapbox, where I had my first ever podcast interview. He also has a strange new supernatural thriller out and it looks really cool: The Philosopher’s Load. Be sure to check it out.

Platform, platform, platform!

It’s no secret that agents and publishers want to see one thing (besides, you know, being able to write a good story) from querying writers: a successful platform. That’s how I ended up developing a podcast. Side note, I eventually decided not to go the traditional route, but the same rule applies. If people don’t know about you, they’re definitely not going to know about your novel.

The idea for Scrivener Soapbox was born during a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where I had enrolled in a multi-week course taught by Dawn Frederick from Red Sofa Literary and Editor Jake Klisivitch on the traditional publishing process (e.g., querying, contracts, cover design, platform building, etc). Overall, I found the class to be an incredibly valuable experience for anyone deciding between the traditional and self-publishing routes. Dawn actually sat down with me later on to review a contract I had been offered by a small press for The Philosopher’s Load. Thank God too, because I can’t read legalese.

That was one heck of a tangent. Regarding how I’d build my platform, I had an ace up the sleeve: recording experience. Many years of my life were spent as a musician living way under the poverty line, eating canned beans just to survive. I had accumulated a great deal of equipment and studio knowledge over that time and at one point had a fully functional home studio for demos (you want to shell out the bucks for a real studio and engineer when you’re doing EP/LPs). All the gear has since been sold off, but I knew exactly what I’d need to make a quality production and laid out the figures in a blog post. You could drop the webcam from the final figures too. I stopped doing video when factors outside of my control (e.g., the quality of the guest’s Internet connection) affected the recording’s overall quality

Giving authors, many of whom were relatively unknown but had incredibly interesting stories, a soapbox to talk about their work was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. One, I got to hear from others what worked and what didn’t (often in great detail after the recording ended). Two, I met a bunch of genuinely interesting people. Three, my name got catapulted into the social media stratosphere. Despite being a podcast host, I’m actually a pretty quiet person, so that third benefit was the most valuable.

Here’s the number one, far and away most important thing I learned: A traditionally published author has to sell a lot more books to make a living than a self-published author. I’ve talked to successful writers of both camps and it’s incredibly clear that the far more lucrative route is self-publishing. Increased exposure can come with the traditional route, but you could also end up with a publisher who does nothing to promote your book and yet takes a substantial amount off the top.

Learn more about TJ Redig by visiting his website: TJREDIG.COM.

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Filed under Indie Publishing, Podcasts, Publisher's Advice, Writing Market

Another interview with Russell Blake

I pretty much enjoy all the interviews with Russell Blake, and am about to listen to this one now.


This guy really digs in and asks good questions based on pre-show research, etc.


Filed under Indie Publishing, Writing in general, Writing Market

This is sort of neat — Top Rated Free Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads

I was wondering why I’ve been enjoying a spike in downloads since yesterday. I’m happy.

Screenshot 2015-01-09 22.13.16


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Libbie Hawker: Curation, and shopping by publisher

A long article, but full of tasty goodness, Libbie talks about the old days when you could walk into a bookstore and see the Penguin Books all lined up on a shelf and how people would also shop by brand, and not just by author/title/blurb/cover.  (side note, Libbie Hawker hates the word “blurb,” which she talks about in yesterday’s podcast — hah).

Quick taste of the article:

Torrey House Press has the branding-and-curation gig down to an art and a science. Their focus is narrow – that’s smart. They publish fiction and narrative nonfiction that focuses on the land and culture of the Rocky Mountain West, as well as some general, ecology-themed books that aren’t necessarily set in the Rockies.

Torrey House Press has figured out how to identify and zero in on a niche. They have studied their readers – not the book stores they distribute to – and have figured out what those readers want. They provide more of the same, and they’re defensive of their curated brand – they don’t dilute it by throwing in some Kim Kardashian books or OJ pseudo-confessionals, even though those books might sell a lot of copies. They have figured out the ONE thing they’re doing, and they’re committed to doing that ONE thing, and doing it well.


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Filed under Indie Publishing, Writing Market

A “Goodbye 2014” post, but not by me

Ok, so I didn’t write my own goodbye 2014 post. I’m like the only guy–but I’m shaking things up!  Breakin’ the rules!  It’s gonna pay off one day, I swear.

Anyway, here’s a nice post by a new indie author I admire, EJ Robinson, talking about what he’s learned this year:

“…along the way I discovered a curious thing: there is a community of authors eager to share this experience and help others along the way.  I’m not talking about the hordes of Twitter who “follow if followed” only to spam your feed until you’re blind with images of nude-covered books of bare-chested vampires.  I’m talking about genuinely good people willing to read, constructively critique and promote your work while taking time away from their own. ”


Filed under Writing Experience, Writing Market

Important Indie News for 2014: Sell More Books Show

sell_more_booksWith so much information available on absolutely everything, isn’t it great to have a single place you can go to find out the most important stuff that happened in a year on a specific subject? Well the “specific subject” here is self-publishing, and these guys are the best at what they do: providing information on the self-publishing industry.

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Filed under Podcasts, Writing Market

Sharing virtual real estate with Libbie Hawker today

So “Kick” is up on Kobo today, on the front page of their “New Free Titles” section. It’s a lucky location. But it has an even cooler twist. An author friend of mine, Libbie Hawker, is sitting right beside me today, at least for a little while. The way titles move around, we’re sure to be scattered apart soon, so I snagged a screen shot.  Her book is “The Sekhmet Bed,” writing as L.M. Ironside.




Filed under Just Cool, Writing Market

Russell Blake weighs in on the state of indie publishing

Yesterday, I posted a link to an article by Smashwords creator Mark Coker (scroll down a little). In it, he talks about how sales are down for indies, and partially dings Kindle Unlimited for that. Now Russell Blake weighs in, though he doesn’t appear to be “replying” to Coker’s article. Perhaps great minds think alike?  I should write something like that and up my greatness!

But you know…whatever.  Here’s the link:

Money Quote:

So what’s an author to do? My strategy is to continue writing books I’d want to read, and hope that my readership grows over time, and feels that my stories and prose are a fair value at their $5 or so price point.

One of my favorite indie-publishing posts by Russell is his “Author Myths” series. If you want a little more curated Blake to sift, have a look at these:


Filed under Indie Publishing, Writing Market

Words of wisdom from Smashwords creator Mark Coker

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Permafree, and beyond…

So I’ve finally jumped on board the permafree train with Kick. I’ll have to get the links up to all the various sites that now have it free. But for now, this blog post will suffice 🙂








Filed under Writing Market