There’s something about chatting with bestselling thriller author and podcaster Nadine Matheson that made me all confessional! We talk about all sorts, including being made redundant, dealing with Amazon, being skint, being old and going for job interviews, why I insisted on getting a proper lunch break and much, much more! This is one of my favourite new podcasts, and I was honoured to be a guest. It’s available on all the usual podcast providers, or you can click on the link below…
Andor on the Authorized Podcast
I’d had such a great time discussing the novelisation of Rogue One and its prequel Catalyst, that it was real treat to be invited back onto the Authorized Podcast to discuss my favourite TV series of the year ANDOR!
We discuss all our favourite moments and characters and I ask the key questions: How many parents will be using ‘On Program!’ on their own children? How long before we see Judi Dench flying the Millennium Falcon? And why is there a frog man hopping around Ferrix?
You can listen to the podcast on all the usual podcast providers, and here’s a link to Spotify.
Rogue One on the Authorized Podcast
I had a blast chatting with the Authorized Podcast gang about Alexander Freed’s excellent novelisation of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We discuss capes, Andor, Tony Gilroy, whether George Lucas ever expected to make a sequel to Star Wars, and the novel’s wonderfully catty memos between Krennic, Tarkin and Galen Erso…
It’s available on all the usual podcast providers, and here’s a link to Spotify.
E.T. The Book of the Green Planet on the Authorized Novelizations Podcast
Following on from last week’s lively discussion of William Kotzwinkle’s daring novelisation of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, I rejoin the gang at the Authorized Novelizations podcast to delve into his follow-up, E.T. The Book of the Green Planet.
So what do you think happened after E.T. went home? Turns out he was spurned by everyone he knew, got demoted, drugged a whole bunch of his aliens friends and stole a turnip spaceship. Yes. Really.
You can listen to our increasingly exasperated conversation here.
And, if you’re playing along, here’s the slideshow used to befuddle special guests Max Fitzpatrick and Gavin Smith. Happy listening!
A Public Declaration
We had a pivotal episode of the Bestseller Experiment podcast this week. We finally revealed if we made our target of ten thousand copies sold of Back To Reality by the end of Glastonbury weekend. You can listen here…
It’s not much of a spoiler to say that we didn’t make it. However, if failure is a teacher then we learned an awful lot. Here were the big lessons for me…
- Write a series – It’s much more difficult to sell a standalone book using advertising tools (Amazon Merchandising Services, Facebook Ads, Bookbub, Publisher Rocket) that are best designed to sell more than one product. So guess what I’m writing next…?
- Not being able to use AMS in the UK hurt our chances of success. Yes, I know some authors have managed to use loopholes to run ads in the UK, but that wasn’t available when we signed up. I did ask Kindle’s Darren Hardy at the London Book Fair when it might be available and he said it was coming soon, but couldn’t give a fixed date. I’m not holding my breath. Back to Reality is very British in its humour and tone — and it’s been great to get such a wonderful reaction from readers all over the world — but it would have been great to sell more effectively to our Amazon readers in the UK.
- It might just be that I’m bad at marketing. This is very likely my biggest issue… I did the Mark Dawson course, I read the David Gaughran books, I did everything I was supposed to… but marketing is a skillset you have to develop over years, and I was hardly going to master it in a few months.
- Genre and readers are key. Back to Reality is a little bit of humour, a little bit contemporary fiction, a little bit science fiction, and a little bit rock n roll, so pinning down one genre was nigh-on impossible. And it’s tricky trying to identify just who your readers are, especially when your “also boughts” on Amazon are mostly for non-fiction “How to write” books (a byproduct of the podcast: our first readers were our listeners who are all writers). Compared to straight-down-the-line thrillers or romance, our novel wasn’t quite as straightforward.
But I’m not complaining!
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (I guess that makes every author insane). With that in mind, I’m going to repeat this experiment with The End of Magic, but I intend to make ALL NEW MISTAKES!
We’ve long banged on about writers making public declarations on the podcast. They put a fire under your bum and, combined with a firm deadline, can spur you on to great things.
So here goes with my NEW PUBLIC DECLARATION:
I will sell 1000 copies of The End of Magic by Christmas 2019
A few caveats…
- I can only do this in the USA… Unbound have the UK rights and I have no visibility on sales other than the twice yearly statements.
- I’m going to stick with Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
- I’ll be counting both Kindle and Paperback sales.
Wish me luck! I’ll chronicle my progress here on the blog and in my newsletter. I’ve already started with a couple of AMS ads and Bookbub newsletter ads. I’ll let you know how they get on. Current sales are zero. The only way is up…
If you want to help, why not buy a copy right now? It’s right here.
Listen to my writing retreat diaries…
The highlights of my audio diaries from my recent writing retreat were aired on the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent these last couple of nights.
You can hear me interview Marcus Sedgwick (in a hot tub!) here. Skip forward to 1 hour 29 mins.
And I spoke to YA author Dawn Kurtagich (not in a hot tub) here. Skip forward to 2 hours 10 mins.
The full-length diaries will be on the Bestseller Experiment podcast soon, so for more hot tub action (and insight into the writing process, of course) don’t forget to subscribe to that here!
For regular writing tips, news and other stuff to help a writer get through the day, sign-up to my monthly newsletter, and grab a FREE eBook while you’re at it!
More podcast goodness for your ears (and mind…)
We’ve had two cracking – a very different – episodes of the Bestseller Experiment recently. First up is a report from The Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in Leeds where I spoke to Rhoda Baxter, Nicola Cornick and Sheila Crighton (aka Annie O’Neil) about all sorts of love including instalust, passionate blur and the scale of hotness. And it was great to finally meet Rhoda Baxter (aka Jeevani Charika), who also proved the Lego image above! Listen to the podcast here.
This week’s podcast features John McGhie, an investigative journalist who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4 News and the Observer. John and I met on Whitstable beach at the peak of the football world cup at what felt like a brief moment of optimism in an otherwise politically depressing 2018. We cheer ourselves up by talking about the historical atrocities chronicled in John’s excellent new book White Highlands! No, really, it’s a fascinating episode and we cover writing historical fiction in some detail. Listen here.
And if you want to know more, the documentary that inspired John’s book can be seen here…
And last but by no means least I was once again on the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent in the conversation slot. We chatted about YALC, YA fiction, The End of Magic, podcasts, soundtracks and I even wheel out my Sean Connery impression. You can listen here and for my bit skip forwards to 2 hours and 11 minutes…
Here are links to stuff I talk about on the shows below…
- The Romantic Novelists Association:
- The Julie Cohen episode: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep31-julie-cohen/
- Find Jeevani Charika online:
- Please Release Me: https://rhodabaxter.com/my-books/please-release-me-choc-lit/
- The Martin House Children’s Hospice: https://www.martinhouse.org.uk
- The How To Get An Agent episode with Federica Leonardis: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep16-how-do-i-get-an-agent-federica-leonardis-sonya-lalli/
- Our episode with entertainment lawyers where we discuss literary law, privacy, libel and defamation: http://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep32-legal-eagles/
Put these in your ears…
Safer than Q-tips and a lot more educational and edifying, you can hear me waffle on not one, not two, but three podcasts this week!
First up, of course, is the Bestseller Experiment where I speak to the wonderful Pernille Hughes about her road to publication, why she shared a photocopier with La-La the Teletubby, and we play a game called ‘Getting to know you’ where there are no right answers. You can listen here.
Secondly, comes the second part of an epic three-part trilogy on The Hero’s Journey that I’m recording with the wise and learned Julian Barr. We look at tricky middle acts, inmost caves, and that sort of stuff with examples from The Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars and The Notebook. But the best part of these is the thoughtful, polite noise Julian makes when I say something stupid… These are for our Patreon supporters, but if you’re not one of them (and if not, why not??), then you can listen to a sneaky peek here.
And third is this interview with Tim Clare on the Death of 1000 Cuts podcast. This is especially fun as Tim laughs at most of my jokes, I drop some truth bombs about marketing and publishing, and then a fire alarm goes off during the interview and Tim keeps it in. You can listen on iTunes here, or the thingy below…
What I Did On My Holidays
I’m now fully rested after a week or so off from the usual routine of commute/write/day job/commute/write/fall asleep in front of the TV. The family and I explored Kent, the county we moved to a little over a year ago. We found castles, wind farms, sea forts, crypts, a submarine, a shell grotto, and an ossuary with skulls lining the walls:
For more photos pop over to my Instagram here.
The podcast continues, however, and we’ve had some cracking episodes. I talk about determination with Cally Taylor, we had a very lively Youtube Live Show with my agent Ed Wilson where we talked very frankly about authors’ earnings and where all the money really goes, and last week we had Sam Missingham on a show entitled A Massive Boot Up The Arse For Publishing, which got an amazing reaction online.
The Deep Dive episodes for Patreon supporters continue with Federica Leonardis and I talking about romcoms, and Julian Barr joining me on an epic three parter to look at The Hero’s Journey.
I was back on BBC Radio Kent with Dominic King, where we talked about authors’ income (it’s the hot topic, dontcha know!), crowdfunding, and the RNA Conference. Click here to listen and skip forward to the 2 hour 12 min point.
And if you’re feeling stuck, here’s an excellent video from award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick on writers’ block. I think we can all find something useful here:
Until next time!
My current favourite podcasts
I’ve blogged about my favourite podcasts for writers before, but today I wanted to bang the drum for the other stuff I let into my earholes to on a weekly basis, and how it inspires me as a writer…
Ancient History Fangirl is a gleeful run through the ancient world’s most gory bits. Every fortnight Genn and Jenn regale us with tales of sieges, cannibalism, war elephants and flaming pigs used as munitions. Almost every episode I find myself taking notes for some future story. The presenters’ enthusiasm is infectious and they’re already developing a nice line in running gags and in-jokes.
The Filmmakers’ Podcast (yes, I’ve added the apostrophe even if they’ve recklessly abandoned it) is essential for any aspiring filmmaker, especially if they live in the UK. The presenters, led by the very charismatic Giles Alderson have walked the walk in indie low-budget film and their passion shines through. A recent two-parter with actor Timothy Spall and director Stephen Cookson talking about how they developed the film Stanley, A Man of Variety is inspiring stuff and a great place to start.
I probably look forward to my weekly dose of Smershpod more than any other, simply because of the number of times it has had me weeping with laughter when I’m supposed to be doing something constructive. Each week the wonderfully dry John Rain and a guest discuss either a Bond movie, or a movie with a tenuous connection to the Bond world. They’ve almost run out of Bond films (just Spectre to go), but my favourites have been the side episodes, with Meteor and Highlander being among my favourites, and I would not have discovered the classic horror flick Death Line (aka Raw Meat) were it not for Smershpod. Even if you hate Bond films (and a fair few of the guests do!) I would heartily recommend this weekly pleasure.
If your memories of ’80s movies are all Goonies and Ghostbusters, then you’re in for a shock. In ‘80s All Over, presenters and esteemed film nerds Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg trawl through every US release in the 1980s month-by-month, a boy there was a ton of crap released back then. Each episode is thoroughly researched and full of surprises and forgotten gems that you’ll want to watch (only to find that it’s only available in the bloody States). Their knowledge is second-to-none and though they’re currently suffering through the hell that is 1983, they have the joys of 1985 still to come.
If you love movie soundtracks as much as I do, then we still have some way to go to meet the passion of Edith Bowman. Edith can sometimes be heard as a stand-in presenter on the Kermode and Mayo Film Review (another great podcast, but one that hardly needs introduction, surely?), but with Soundtracking she talks to actors, directors and, crucially, composers about their work and their favourite film scores. One of my favourite recent episodes featured the lovely Garth Jennings, and Edith also compiles a Spotify playlist for each episode. Every week, something new gets downloaded to my iPod.
Film Stories with Den of Geek‘s Simon Brew is the newest podcast – only two episodes released at the time of writing and I already love it. Simon is a delightful and enthusiastic presenter, and the podcasts are like gossipy chats with an old friend. He’s covered the tumultuous productions of The Addams Family, Tomb Raider, Patriot Games and Dirty Dancing and they’re choc full of great movie stories. I hope this one runs and runs.
And finally an honourable mention for Junkfood Cinema with Brian Salisbury and C. Robert Cargill. Not one that I listen to every week, but they cover the films that no one else does. This gets a thumbs up for the episode on Sneakers alone. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who still loves that film.
Agree? Disagree? What are your favourites? Let me know below…
Oh, and don’t forget my podcast The Bestseller Experiment! Subscribe now and get scribbling.