Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Future Publishing and Book Selling – An Insight

The Flinch - The latest mini-book by Julien Smith to come out from The Domino Project.

I’ve been a follower and big fan of Joanna Penn for quite a while now … And never cease to learn from her personal book writing and publishing trials and successes, which she has published in the form of blogs … sort of like a reality show journaling her blossoming as a writer, author and teacher.

One outstanding thing about Joanna is her completely open mind and willingness to accept and try new concepts first and not accept prevalent prejudices and fears about them. She is like a sponge, absorbing new ideas and readily making them work.

The following post from her The Creative Penn blog is visionary, informative (full of incisive links) and indicative of her growing and unique abilities:

The Flinch, Newsjacking And Digital Publishing

The Flinch is the instinct to draw back and shrink away from pain or what is perceived to be dangerous, difficult or unpleasant.

  It’s also the title of the latest mini-book by Julien Smith to come out from The Domino Project. Right now, you can get it for free on and’s the book cover shown left). It’s a short, challenging read with one main point.

Embrace the flinch regularly, push yourself out of your comfort zone and get on with doing the important things in life.

Stop avoiding pain, get some scars and achieve something worthwhile. If you need a kick in the pants, go download it and share it with others.

The Flinch is important for you because of the changes in the publishing industry.

I was at the #FutureBook conference earlier this week and although it was filled with positive, forward thinking book-lovers, you could also sense the fear and concern amongst those who still believe print is the only way forward. My article on what authors can learn from the conference will be on the Future of the Book blog soon, but today a few things happened that illustrated the changing times we’re in and I wanted to share them with you.

People buy from those they know, like and trust.

One of the buzzwords of the FutureBook conference was ‘discoverability’, how to help people find books they want to read in the mass of information online.

Well, people buy from people they know, like and trust which funnily enough, I learned from Julien Smith & Chris Brogan in their book Trust Agents. I downloaded The Flinch on the strength of my respect for Seth Godin as well as Chris & Julien. Yes, this book is free but I have also bought 90% of all books from Seth Godin’s Domino Project because I’m in his tribe. He doesn’t have to ‘sell’ me anything, he just has to tell me the books are available and I click to buy.

John Locke in his ‘How to sell 1 million ebooks’ said that authors need to have a list of fans who will buy their next book, in the same manner as Seth has done as well. Locke was the first indie author to reach 1 million Kindle sales so he knows what he’s talking about.

You can do this too.

Read and learn more

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A Self Publishing Odyssey

Long and Winding Journey

I dearly love Australian (actually English) writer and teacher, Joanna Penn, and have followed her and her mentoring for some time … Well, she has a great guest post written by author, Andre Gerard, on her Creative Penn Blog really worthy of paying forward.

It details one man’s adventure from being repeatedly rejected, his discovery of modern self-publishing and his rewarding journey to literary success.

Here then is How To Succeed As An Accidental Publisher, A Self Publishing Odyssey by Andre Gerard:

This is a guest post from Andre Gerard, author of Fathers: A Literary Anthology. It’s a lovely story of how self-publishing can be a rewarding journey, which I have also personally found to be true … Joanna Penn

When I first started thinking about editing an anthology I was fifty years old, and I knew absolutely nothing about the book trade. I had a decent idea for an anthology, a deep belief in the importance of my subject, a marathoner’s tenacity, and not much more. While I had heard of slush piles and rejection slips, I didn’t even know about query letters or query packages.

Four years later, I knew far more than I wanted to know about query letters and rejection slips. I did not, though, know much more about the book trade, other than it was frustratingly opaque. Unable to interest an agent in my project–anthologies are not money makers and agents don’t seem to like to work for free–I was still wasting inordinate amounts of time and emotional energy sending off packages and waiting for replies, which, more often than not, never came. Occasionally a kind, small publisher would offer me a crumb of encouragement. All I had to show for four years of work was half a manuscript.

But several small publishers had told me that my project was worth doing, and their words  strengthened my self-belief. Also, because of the effort and time I had invested–easily some four thousand hours –my project had become an obsession. If I could not find a publisher, I would simply have to become one.

Becoming a publisher is surprisingly easy. Because of vanity presses, Espresso Book Machines and print-on-demand services, almost anyone with a manuscript and a few hundred dollars can self publish. There is a massive industry which preys and feeds on the hopes and dreams of unpublished authors. By way of proof, just cut and paste this paragraph into Gmail, and read the targeted advertising bar which forms to the right of your newly created letter. But if you are serious about publishing, there is more than enough genuine help available.

The problem is one of efficiency rather than possibility. How do you publish a book without spending thousands of unnecessary dollars? How do you publish a book you can be proud of?  In my case, I started by taking a couple of university courses. Very quickly I knew about freelance editors, proof readers, layout services, and graphic designers and publicists. I had not only other writers to talk to, but also small press editors and even agents who would answer my questions.

Read and learn more


There’s No Such Thing as Easy in the Writing Biz!

Joanna Penn is one of my favorite mentors and I have learned a great deal of insight from her. Two days ago she had a guest post on her Creative Penn site by Grant McDuling titled “Write For A Living In Seven Easy Steps”

While reading this post, two things struck me right off…First, I thought, NOTHING is easy in the writing business world; unless it happens by accident, it seems!

And second, after Mr. McDuling lists his seven easy writing steps (which I respectfully disagree with as being easy and are much too broad and generic), he goes on to say (and rightfully so) that “Launching out on your own in business – any business – takes courage and a great deal of faith in your own abilitiesJohn’s Note: and here comes the kicker: But it also takes a whole lot more; money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness. But there’s another absolutely important ingredient that no university, school or college teaches, and that’s ATTITUDE. You have to think of yourself as a businessperson and not a writer. You are a businessperson whose business happens to be making a profit – through selling words.”

All true enough. But even MORE true is Mr. McDuling’s statement about it taking a lot more than intimated in the seven easy steps…and included in this “more” is money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness…The money part is especially true. 

I loved the post, though, because it got my juices going!

Write For A Living In 7 Easy Steps (from the Creative Penn):

This is a guest post from ghostwriter Grant McDuling. You can also listen to an audio interview with Grant on making 6 figures as a writer here.

As a full time writer, I get asked so many times by all sorts of people what it takes to give up the day job to become a full time writer. This was a question I too had pondered long and hard years ago.

You see, I had been dabbling in writing since a school boy back in the 1960s and always felt this inner urge or compulsion to write. But as time went on and I grew up, realizing this goal became harder and harder because I found myself going down a path I didn’t want but had to pursue because commitments came along that had to be tended to. Commitments like paying the rent, buying food, paying off a car, to mention but a few.

The road to becoming a full time writer seemed to be an impossible one to follow — until I couldn’t resist the urge any longer and decided to do something positive about it.

My experience in the business world convinced me that, if I was to be serious about it, I would have to treat writing just like any other business. I was going to have to set about developing a plan of action.

This I did, but mostly by relying on non-business-like behavior; a healthy dose of enthusiasm mixed with gut feel and a liberal sprinkling of trial and error got me to the point where I at least had a system to work with. And it was a system based on business lines.

This gave me the courage to take the proverbial plunge, and I have never looked back.

So what was my system?

In simple terms, it consisted of 7 basic steps:

(1) Take control of your own future. Here I am referring to assuming responsibility for your own future. And become accountable. Have a plan to get rid of debt. You can read more about this in my Kindle book Write for a Living in 7 Easy Steps

(2) Getting into the writing profession needs the right ATTITUDE. It’s about seeing yourself as a professional writer.

(3) Become a PRACTICING writer. Just like lawyers or doctors are in private practice, so too must you be. Understand and make use of the principle of leverage to achieve more with less. Syndication is a good example here.

(4) Concentrate on sales and marketing. Understand that, as a practicing writer, you should be spending around 50% of your time on sales and marketing.

Read and learn more


A Growing Love Affair: Authors and Ebooks

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote these immortal words and I’m going to borrow them to introduce a counting of the ways authors are loving ebooks more and more!

One of my favorite mentors and writing-publishing-advice-givers is Joanna Penn from that great country “down under”…Australia.

Joanna has put together a comprehensive list of 10 reasons why authors love ebooks and it is so clear and concise that I want to repeat it here. A real eye-opener:

10 Reasons Why Authors Love Ebooks 

You might have noticed that ebooks are being talked about a lot at the moment. The growth of ebook readers and ebook sales plus the success of Kindle authors have made headline news in even the most traditional press. A few days ago, bestselling thriller author Barry Eisler announced that he was turning down a half million traditional publishing deal to self-publish, primarily because of the potential of ebook sales. And do I need to mention Amanda Hocking’s Kindle millionare status?

If you’re not convinced yet, here are ten reasons authors love ebooks and at the bottom, introducing my new multi-media course on ebook publishing if you’re ready to poke your toe into the water.

1) Ebook sales are growing which means the number of readers is growing. I’ve certainly been noticing more ebook readers on the train and also people in my office are buying the new Kindles and loving them. Ebook sales have been reported to be up 115% this year, and even though that’s growing from a small base, the pace of adoption is speeding up. Your book can be available to this growing market.

2) You can reach readers globally. This is amazingly exciting when you think hard about it. Anyone can now publish their book on, the biggest bookstore in the world, or on a site like Smashwords, also open to all.  Anyone can buy your book as long as they have some kind of digital device to read it on. Since Kindle app, Stanza and other apps are now on the majority of smart cellphones, it won’t be long before even the developing world can be reading your books (since cellphones have a much larger penetration than computers). I’m in Australia and yet my major market is in the US, thousands of miles away. Some US authors I’ve spoken to have said how well their books sell in Europe. It’s a small world when our work is digital. Brilliant!

3) You can publish your book within 24 hours – and for free. Speed to market has to be one of the most annoying factors of traditional publishing. It can take 18 months – 2 years to reach bookstores after you’ve finished writing a book. Perhaps that can be chopped down to as little as 6 months but with ebooks, you can publish to the Kindle store within 24 hours. You should absolutely be using professional editing, cover design and formatting but once the book is ready for the market, you can publish fast and easily. Oh yes, and it’s free to publish on Amazon and Smashwords. They just keep a small % of sales.

4) Ebook readers buy more books. I know this from experience as I read at least 3x more books now than I did before because the price enables it. My husband just bought 5 novels over the rainy weekend which he devoured. They were indie priced at $2.99 and so there’s not even a question that’s a bargain. New books in Australia are around $30 each. The price alone means that people will read more books electronically. There are also studies out that show this too, so it’s not just my opinion!

Read and learn more


More on Self-Publishing with Smashwords

Filed under: Joanna Penn,John R. Austin,Mark Coker,self-publishing,Smashwords — gator1965 @ 6:49 pm

I have mentioned Smashwords before. It is one of the first, if not the first, to offer indie authors a self-publishing portal with premium distribution deals to multi-eBook platforms such as Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and others.

Well, Joanna Penn…a British author, blogger, writing and book-marketing mentor…based in Australia (and one to whom I’ve been subscribed and followed for some time now), met with Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords, last week and shared an insightful post (with videos) about their meeting on her website The Creative Penn.

This is a must view. You will enjoy and learn…Rush over to The Creative Penn while it’s fresh in your mind! You won’t regret it, pilgrims…

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