Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Episode 45 features an interview with USA Today Bestselling author Julianne MacLean, author of THE COLOR OF HEAVEN series, THE HIGHLANDER series and THE PEMBROKE PALACE series. Julianne is interviewed by Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life and they discuss:

  • Julianne's first visit to Kobo HQ in Toronto, Ontario
  • How Mark fell into Julianne's first contemporary novel, THE COLOR OF HEAVEN during a flight, and could not put the book down
  • The manner by which Julianne adapted what she learned from James Patterson in structuring THE COLOR OF HEAVEN and her desire to create a book that was suspenseful on an emotional level, producing what she likes to think of as: "Women's Fiction for Thriller fans"
  • The fact that THE COLOR OF HEAVEN was released in 2011 and how Book 9 in the series (THE COLOR OF TIME) was coming out in September 2015
  • How, immediately after the success of THE COLOR OF HEAVEN Julianne couldn't immediately return to writing in that universe in order to fulfill a traditional publishing contract
  • How Julianne is breaking things up in 2015 and writing both historical romance and contemporary fiction
  • The fact that THE COLOR OF HEAVEN was originally written with the intention of being sold to a traditional publisher, that it was meant to be a stand-alone, and how readers often assumed that the novel was based on a true story
  • The very "meta" manner by which the rest of the novels in THE COLOR OF HEAVEN series are about fictional characters reading the book THE COLOR OF HEAVEN
  • How a traditionally published series Julianne had written was cut-off by the publisher before the end of the series (The Pembroke Palace Series), and how, to please fans, she continued the series. That's how the first three books were released by the publisher and books four and five are controlled by Julianne.
  • How, on release day of Book Five for The Pembroke Palace Series, Julianne made Book 4 FREE, which not only boosted sales of the new release: Book Five, but how the publisher also sold a signifiant amount of Books 1 through 3, backlist titles that hadn't been expected to see such a dramatic increase in sales.
  • Julianne's perspective on how her "New York Published" titles can help lend credibility to an author's platform
  • The adoration JUlianne has for her agent, who she has been with since 1999 (Paige Wheeler)
  • Interesting facts about Julianne including the fact she was a dance club DJ in the 1980's (and the only female dance club DJ in Halifax at the time), how she has to dance when she hears the song called "Cheerleader" and what she is listening to when she wears headphones while writing
  • Julianne's thoughts about the cadence and rhythm of the sentences while she is writing
  • The fact that Julianne still enjoys writing the first draft of novels in long hand, how, when starting a novel she always has to write the first sentence long hand in pencil and the way she uses different forms/methods of writing to help "unstick her wheels" when in the process of writing
  • How she will sometimes set a book up for pre-order before a book is even started in order to keep her on track
  • What she might do differently if she were starting again but without any regrets

Mark then talks a bit about some of the new features on the KWL Dashboard, specifically, Author Services and the two new types of Notifications added.

Direct download: KWL_EP045_JulianneMacLean.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm PDT

This episode features Mark Dawson, the bestselling UK author of the John Milton and Soho Noir series. Mark has become a go-to expert on Facebook ads and building your mailing list, so we dig into each of these topics and more. Listen as Mark and KWL Manager Christine Munroe discuss:

  •  In 2001/2002, his first novel was published traditionally in the UK and Russia. Mark secured nice advances, but no marketing from sale date onwards. The whole experience soured him to writing – he stopped for 6 years.

  • Given what happened, would he do a traditional deal again? “All options are on the table.” But he can work out with relative accuracy what the books are worth, and it’s hard to imagine a traditional publisher delivering that amount upfront.

  • He is, however, interested in working with publishers in foreign markets. Mark is currently lining up translation deals with the help of an agent. Translations are expensive and time-consuming, and he's not confident in his knowledge of each foreign market to recoup the loss of time and money.

  • The benefits of BookBub. The day of this recording a BookBub ad landed Mark at #8 in his category in the Kobo store. He does them as often as they’ll take him.

  • His extensive knowledge of Facebook advertising. Spends $600 a day on Facebook ads, earns $750-$800 back per day, every single day. To find out more about his strategies in this workshop website, www.selfpublishingformula.com

  • Advice for facebook advertising: use it for two objectives 1) build your mailing list 2) sell books

  • Study carefully. Use Power Editor and figure out the intricacies of how it works - it's not an easy process. Dawson worked tirelessly at it for 6 weeks, losing money at first as he learned how to calibrate the ads. Starting at $5 a day, invest the profit, growing gradually and reinvesting as you go.

  • The strategy behind his recent cover redesign. His designer looked at trending designs for his comp titles, and created several options within that spectrum so his books will both fit in and stand out alongside authors like Lee Child.

  • When he writes about a city he hasn’t visited himself, he uses resources like Google street view to make it as accurate as possible – when his books say a building on a certain corner looks a certain way, that’s factually correct.

  • How he uses free today. It is a fundamental part of his sales strategy. First in each series is a free novella. That free novella also includes a call to action to join his mailing list.

  • Speaking of mailing lists...a mailing list is the most important marketing tool an author has today. You can get a free package from a service like Mail Chimp.

  •  For those just starting, or hoping to grow your list: Broadcast a call to action as widely as possible. He advises giving away a free book—even if you only currently have one book ready—so you can build your platform and have a few hundred people on deck to buy your next book. A subscriber is worth more for your career than one sale. Competitions and giveaways are not a very good way to build a quality mailing list. You want your mailing list to be people interested in your books, not in a free eReader.

  • Dawson doesn’t message his mailing list very often. Only messages when he has a new book out, or if there’s a significant deal happening.

  • How his craft has developed. In the early days, he desperately wanted to win literary prizes, and was much more immature as a writer. Now his goal is creating page-turning books that readers can’t put down. The best validation he gets is notes from readers saying they love his books. ]

  • Last advice: you cannot just upload your book and leave it there. You have to put your business hat on. Build your platform, build your readership. If you’re diligent, the book will stand a much better chance of getting discovered by additional new readers. "It’s an amazing way to make a living."

     

Mark Dawson's books are available on kobo.com. For more information, visit www.markjdawson.com or www.selfpublishingformula.com.

Direct download: Mark_Dawson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02am PDT

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