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Six Figure Authors is the show that helps you take your writing career to the next level. Lindsay Buroker, Jo Lallo, and Andrea Pearson are sharing their own insights, as authors who’ve been publishing since the beginning of the e-reader revolution, and they’re also interviewing industry experts and other successful authors to help you figure out what’s working right now.

Six Figure Authors Lindsay Buroker

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Six Figure Authors is the show that helps you take your writing career to the next level. Lindsay Buroker, Jo Lallo, and Andrea Pearson are sharing their own insights, as authors who’ve been publishing since the beginning of the e-reader revolution, and they’re also interviewing industry experts and other successful authors to help you figure out what’s working right now.

    SFA 025 – Having a Series Take Off, Merchandising, and Co-Writing with Jason Anspach

    SFA 025 – Having a Series Take Off, Merchandising, and Co-Writing with Jason Anspach

    This week, we interviewed successful science-fiction author Jason Anspach, who writes with Nick Cole in the popular Galaxy’s Edge universe that they created together.

    They’ve had fantastic success with the ebooks and are also doing extremely well with the audiobooks. We asked Jason about how they got the first series off to such a great start and also about the merchandizing they do (Jason is one of the few authors doing quite well selling merchandise based on his own world).

    Here are some of the specifics we asked in the interview:

    Your first few books weren’t super successful — what did you do differently with the launch of the Galaxy’s Edge series?You mentioned being a big Star Wars fan. How did that play into the creation of this series?Do you have any advice for those who are thinking of co-writing? Any challenges that have come up as a result of having two creatives working together on one project?What does the division of labor look like between you and Nick? Are you both involved in every stage?The series had a great launch and took off right away with Book 1. Did you start building a fan base or do much preparation ahead of time? Did you plan out the whole series and for spin-off series at the beginning, or have you been taking it one book at a time?You’ve worked with both Podium Publishing and later Audible Studios for the audiobooks, and you’re doing audio-first books now. How has that changed things for you?Your Book 1 cover (with a dark armored guy in a desert) stands out from the typical spaceships against starry backgrounds common in the military sci-fi and space opera categories. What made you go a different route, and do you think it’s played into your success? How involved are you in the cover design process? Do you generally give your designers complete creative control, or have you found you like being involved in most aspects? Something I’ve noticed about your ebook covers that runs counter to one of the common wisdoms of series branding is significant variation in style from book to book. What is  your approach to series branding with your covers? You’ve put out a lot of books in your Galaxy’s Edge universe, but what else are you doing with marketing to keep the early books selling month in and month out?If you had to launch the series again, is there anything you would do differently?At one point, you brought in some new co-authors beyond your writing partner Nick. How was that experience, and did you learn anything from it?What made you get into merchandising, and who handles the extra work of packing up and shipping orders?One of your tips is not to put the brand or world in the merch but to do cool “in” things from the series. Can you explain why that works better?What sorts of things make for worthwhile (and profitable) merchandise? And is there an ideal price range for the readers?You’ve got a subscription program where readers pay $10 a month to belong and get stuff early. How does that work?

    That’s it for this week. We hope you got a lot out of the interview with Jason. Make sure to check out his books and everything he’s doing with the Galaxy’s Edge universe.

    If you haven’t signed up for the Facebook group yet, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/504063143655523/

    • 1 u. 11 min.
    SFA 024 – Ebook Pricing Strategies + Listener Questions

    SFA 024 – Ebook Pricing Strategies + Listener Questions

    In this week’s “just us” show, Andrea, Jo, and Lindsay discussed ebook pricing, i.e. what they do for stories of various lengths, if they do something different for series starters, and when permafree can make sense. These thoughts aren’t meant to be a definitive “this is what you should do” guide, just some food for thought.

    In the second half of the show, they answered listener questions. Here’s a list of the pricing topics and the questions:

    A general overview on ebook prices.How length (word count) plays into their pricing choices.Whether or not they price differently for books in Kindle Unlimited.Whether or not they price differently for introductory books in a series.If they ever discount later books in a series.When it can make sense to use Kindle Countdown deals or discount pricing for running a sale on older titles.Pricing tactics for bundles or boxed sets.How long you should wait after a launch before dropping the price or running a sale.

    Listener questions:

    Paddy asks:  If you could start all over again, what would you do different?Celine asks: Is it better to have a really long/deep series (like say 15 books or more) because that then increases read through value and therefore ROI on any advertising of book 1, or is it better to divide it into smaller series to have more points of entry for new readers? Olivia says: I would love to hear more about the guidance given on the show to wait until your series has five books before marketing. Was that advice regarding paid advertising only?Deb wants to know: When to make the leap to full time writer. I nearly did it at the end of last year but I’m not wide (I was and it didn’t work out) and I started to worry about a downturn in my books and whether I could write some more dependable sellers… and then people started telling me how they were having to go back to work. So what are the signs??

    That’s it for this week’s show. If you want to join our listeners-only Facebook group, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/504063143655523/

    • 1 u. 18 min.
    SFA 023 – Publishing Nonfiction Along with Fiction, Audiobooks, and Preparing for an Audio-First Eco-System with Joanna Penn

    SFA 023 – Publishing Nonfiction Along with Fiction, Audiobooks, and Preparing for an Audio-First Eco-System with Joanna Penn

    This week, non-fiction and thriller author, creative entrepreneur, and podcaster Joanna Penn joined us on the show.

    Chances are, you’re already familiar with Joanna, but in case you’re not, she writes non-fiction for authors and is also an award-nominated New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author under J.F. Penn. She is the host of The Creative Penn and Books and Travel podcasts. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com has been voted in the Top 100 sites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

    Since Joanna has a new book coming out (Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasting, and Voice Technologies), we spent some time asking her about changes coming to audiobooks, podcasting, and what authors need to be aware of as we enter a world where potential buyers are looking for books with audio searches as often as typing in terms on Google or Amazon. We also wanted to ask her about her business model and how she makes money from her website, podcasts, books, courses, and more–she has over 200 different streams of income–so we started with that.

    Here’s a list of what we asked her:

    How has your background in theology and psychology shaped your writing and does it come into play at all with your marketing?How did you first get your start in podcasting, blogging, and creating courses and non-fiction for authors?Do you find the author services/author advice niche saturated, and should fiction authors thinking of branching out into non-fiction try to find another market?When writing non-fiction, how do you go about building yourself up as an authority in your niche?As a non-fiction author, how do you avoid just regurgitating what’s already out there?Some of your income comes from affiliate programs. How do you choose programs that mesh with your business and add value for your audience while also earning money?How big was your site and your podcast following before you were making substantial money from affiliate programs?In your new book, you talk about how there’s growth in both audiobooks and podcasting and also the audio-first eco-system. Could you explain that for us?Is voice search something we need to worry about/prepare for as authors?For authors who want to record their own audiobooks, how feasible is it for them to make high-quality enough audiobooks to be accepted by Findaway Voices/ACX without a dedicated studio? Does it make sense for fiction authors to start a podcast? It seems like fiction and fiction-related podcasts struggle to find a decent listenership. In your book, you say, “There’s more to the voice ecosystem than just podcasting and audiobooks.” Then you proceed to outline some of the main technologies that might be useful to authors. Would you give a brief overview on that?Now that Bookfunnel has given people a relatively easy way to sell short audio directly, and may one day give an equally easy way to sell full audiobooks, how has that changed the landscape? Are direct sales something to keep in mind?You mentioned you have 200 individual streams of income. How has that come about and how do you keep everything organized? With so much to keep abreast of, and you writing fiction and non-fiction and producing two podcasts, how do you choose what to focus on?

    You can find Joanna Penn and her podcasts, books, and courses for authors at The Creative Penn. You can find her thriller novels at J.F. Penn and the Books and Travel podcast on its own website. If you’re interested in her new book, you can find the links to Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasting, and Voice Technologies on her main site.

    You can also join us in our Six Figure Authors Facebook group to chat with us and other listeners of the show. If you have a question for a future show, you can leave it here in the comments or ask in the group. Thanks for listening!

    • 1 u. 6 min.
    SFA – 022 Discussing Mark Coker’s (Smashwords) 2020 Indie Author Predictions + Questions and Answers

    SFA – 022 Discussing Mark Coker’s (Smashwords) 2020 Indie Author Predictions + Questions and Answers

    On today’s show, Andrea, Jo, and Lindsay pick out some of the predictions that Mark Coker of Smashwords made in his January post 2020 Publishing Predictions: House of Indie on Fire. They agreed with some of what he said, disagreed with other points, and were a little less doom-and-gloom overall.

    To set the tone, here’s a bit snipped from the article:

    “To my eyes and ears, indies are experiencing increased pain, anxiety, desperation and depression.

    Many bestselling authors from four or five years ago have seen their sales plummet.  Some have cut back production or quit writing altogether to take on a “real” job that pays…

    When I meet an author who’s suffering, they’re often quick to blame themselves for any misfortune.  This year I heard each of the following repeatedly:

    I need to learn how to do better on Amazon ads.

    I need to learn how to do better on Facebook ads.

    I need to find more paid marketing opportunities.

    The above answers are like a moth saying, “I need to fly faster toward the flame.”

    After discussing some of the predictions in the Smashwords article, Lindsay, Andrea, and Jo also answered listener questions on topics such as advertising audiobooks, reviving sales of backlist books, holiday anthologies, and when it makes sense to rework and relaunch an early novel.

    Here are specific questions they went over:

    “Could you cover what goes into making and planning a successful holiday themed anthology?”“My question has to do with newsletters. One of my worries is that I tend to bounce between series when sharing with my newsletter. So I might share one thing for one series one week, then totally pivot to a different series the next. Do you all focus on one series for a set time, or do you also find yourself bouncing between different series? Do think one or the other is more effective? Do you think bouncing back and forth is confusing or a turn-off for readers?”“I would love to know all your thoughts on effective branding. How to achieve that as whimsical story tellers who have to figure out how to best present ourself to the world to sell books when really all we wanna do is hermit and hide.”“Have you ever gone back well after publication and reworked/rewritten some of a novel to improve it? When is it worth the time to do so, given that writing a new book is usually the best use of time. I’m talking more than a new proofread. More of an overhaul.”“Related question: Have you ever pulled a book from the earlier part of your backlist due to sub-par craft of the book? Or would you let it stand as is as an early work.”“My backlist has historically performed very well. In September/October it dropped off quite a bit. None of my books performed the way they had previously. Even newer titles weren’t selling like I would have expected. What tactics work well to keep your backlist lively?”“I’m about to start dabbling in audiobooks. Is there a good platform to advertise those?”

    That’s it for this week’s show. If you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comments. If you want to join us on Facebook, we have a new group there. Search for “Six Figure Authors” or check the show notes for the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/504063143655523/

    • 1 u. 16 min.
    SFA 021 – Making a Full-Time Income on One Novel a Year with Romantic Comedy Author Jami Albright

    SFA 021 – Making a Full-Time Income on One Novel a Year with Romantic Comedy Author Jami Albright

    This week, we’re joined by romantic comedy author Jami Albright. She is a born and raised Texas girl, former actress and comedian, and writes the multiple award-winning Brides on the Run series.

    She published the first novel in 2017 and published the fourth in the series last summer. We’re going to be talking to her about how she got off to such a good start and how she continues to sell well enough to make a full-time living on about one book a year.

    Our questions for Jami:

    What took you from stand-up comedy and acting to writing romantic comedy? What are some books or movies that influenced you?Is the romantic comedy category as competitive as it sounds, and were you daunted about jumping into such a big sub-genre of romance?You launched your first two novels in 2017 and did well right from the start. What did that first launch look like and how did you get the ball rolling?How much research did you do into self-publishing and marketing before publishing?Have you always been exclusive with Amazon and in KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited? Do you have a contingency plan in case anything ever happens with that?You have your novels priced at $5.99, which is on the high end for an indie author, especially in romance where there are lots of 99-cent titles. Was that always your price point? What made you choose it?What kind of advertising do you do for book launches these days? How much do you leave running in between books?Since romance readers are known to be voracious and many can devour a book a day (or more), do you get any backlash from readers when you only publish once a year? What marketing tactics have you tried that haven’t worked that well?You rely a lot on Facebook ads – could you tell us what kind of copy and images you use and what works best for you?Are there other advertising or social media platforms that you find beneficial? Aside from Facebook ads, what are your go-to methods for finding new readers?As someone who does author coaching, are there some mistakes from newer authors that you see over and over? What are they?If you were to write in a different genre, how would you go about getting started and launching anew?

    You can visit Jami on her website, where she does some author coaching, and you can get her Brides on the Run series on Amazon. The first book is Running from a Rockstar.

    Jami is also starting a new podcast for authors on the topic of things they wished they’d known when they started — you can visit the site here.

    In the meantime, don’t forget to join our “Six Figure Authors” Facebook group.

    • 1 u. 2 min.
    SFA 020 – Mistakes We’ve Learned from and Our Plans for 2020

    SFA 020 – Mistakes We’ve Learned from and Our Plans for 2020

    It’s just Andrea, Jo, and Lindsay on this week’s show. They did a little masterminding with each other in regard to their book plans for 2020 and also shared some of the mistakes they’ve made on their ways to becoming successful authors.

    During the mastermind session, Jo brought up the urban fantasy series he launched in 2019 that didn’t do as well as he’d hoped, and Andrea and Lindsay offered some ideas for a possible relaunch or reinvigoration of it when he goes to put out more installments.

    Andrea brought up all the things she’s thinking of working on in 2020 and wondered where it would be best to focus her efforts (beyond, of course, writing new books). Audiobooks? Kickstarter? Patreon?

    Lindsay talked about her plans for launching a new series in a sub-genre of fantasy she hasn’t written in much before. Andrea and Jo added their ideas for getting it off to a good start.

    In the mistakes section, Andrea, Lindsay, and Jo talked about impatience, making assumptions based on your preferences as an author, and struggling with focus (both in hitting daily writing goals and in planning series). They also talked about failing to plan for success, taking poor advice from so-called professionals in the field, and investing too much time and energy into one book launch.

    They ran out of time to get to listener questions but will do a Q&A show soon.

    If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, you can find it by searching there for “Six Figure Authors” or follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/504063143655523/

    • 1 u. 15 min.

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