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Sell Your First 1000 Books

Lesson 15 of 18

Interview with Hugh Howey

Tim Grahl

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl

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Lesson Info

15. Interview with Hugh Howey


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 The Impact of Books Duration:25:28
3 Setting up the System Duration:15:39
6 How to Grow Your List Duration:24:59
10 Q & A w/ Tom and Tim Duration:18:00
11 Outreach: The Attitude Duration:1:09:21
12 Outreach: The How-to Duration:34:35
13 Outreach: The How-to Part 2 Duration:48:00
14 Natural Selling Duration:19:56
15 Interview with Hugh Howey Duration:48:20
16 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Duration:52:16
17 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Part 2 Duration:36:14
18 How to Launch Your Book Duration:57:14

Lesson Info

Interview with Hugh Howey

I'm really excited about this I'm really excited about our guest and who's coming on next. Hugh howey is an author of many many books the most popular is wool and hey recently came out with a great book named dust he's, a hardworking off there on dh he's, a self published author and that's why I really wanted to bring him in as I was excited about what he had to say in the success that he's had and what he's done with his community and what he's done to build a brand around himself and build a brand around all of his books and so I've been working with him for a while he's a really great guy really smart guy and really loves writers and really goes out of his way to help other riders to learn the lessons he's learned to not make the mistakes that he's made and so hugh, how he's here and I want to invite him up and I'm excited to have you so I want to start by just getting a little bit of background on how you got started I know you were riding a long time before anybody actually start ...

reading that right and I just wanted I, uh, hear the background of like, you know, a synopsis of your history where you've come from is a writer and uh kind of how you feel like you got where you are today well, I always want to be a writer since I was twelve years old and I gave up on that as ah career aspiration and got into, uh, working on boats for a living and it wasn't until my wife put me off of boats and maybe settle down that I finally have the time to write you know, it was going to a book conference and seeing someone uh, drill into everyone you've got to stop dreaming about writing and just do the writing and I went home from that like, energized wrote my first book and I was going to give it away. I thought you talked about being your own fan in this last segment like I still have a hard time with that, you know? So you know, the whole fraud syndrome I was so excited, so neat kneel game and has that I figure if he can feel it, I can feel it. But so I had this book that it was I was really happened myself for having completed it, but I was just going to give it away in segments on a website for the two people that might want to read it and I had some early readers say you should really get this published, so I went to the korea process uh with a small publisher was really excited to get anyone to pay me money to publish this thing but I noticed that the tools that they were using to publish the book and the onus for making sales were all goingto fall to me and so when the contract came in for the second book, I thought, well, I can do what they're doing it's just gonna take a little extra work and I'll reap the benefits and have the control so I saw published that second book and I've been doing that ever since you asked how I got to this point a lot of luck putting in putting in the hours and being consistent and releasing multiple books a year being available to the readers and but really the success has been up to them you know, it's they're the ones who who connected each other and sell the books you know your best what you can do what you can control is the book that you write yeah, we're going to talk about some of the specifics let me get this from brian um and so but what was that first book was that wolf that first that was my eighth brighton mollified and some others what were what were some of the original? Is it running? Yeah, I had four books and a young adult science fiction siri's and then didn't anna raimo one year which is uh every november national novel writing month uh have had four books that have written during those periods and some short stories regular fiction horror I enjoy it all and so when you're looking at all those different books you're writing like when you said you decide to self publish and you're like, well they're using the same jules I can what what tools you talking about like well for for the print books print on demand technology so I didn't have to do a big run of ten thousand books and they sit in my the trunk of my car in my garage that um and you know the margin is not as great, but it gives you the ability to have a book on amazon and available through ingram so books order book stores can order them even though they usually don't and this printed when someone orders the book and so uh that technology was was new, you know? Well, five years ago when I started getting into this all this the e books were just coming out um the cost of distribution of production was going to zero and as soon as that baird entry went low, you know, that was what kept people from being able to self publish affordably because now I mean, I spent zero right no money, no money too I did all the pagination for money myself I did editing through being a part of a writing group workshopping having my mom and my wife read and like mark up everything I wrote with a red pen and that's still what is it all right yeah still use the same prime minister that's worked so speed is the same process now I use freelancers for a lot of stuff what your mom still does the first read that she'd be so mad at me if I start my shoulder like no moving on I can't do it yeah you anymore uh that'd be the end of that relationship that she even read I zombie my wife hasn't mom okay mom loved it oh wow my wife every time she reads while she eats remember like senator oto join I think she said there was like a slice of pizza and she's re oh my gosh I was disgusting disgusting whore book it really is beautiful I tell people not to buy that boat and then I hear from people that is their their favorite of my stuff so you know yeah so um I read one tie I read not too long ago an interview with you and somebody asked you about I forgot exactly context but somebody ask you about marketing and you're like I don't do any marketing and like I'm sitting there like that's a lot of the markets it's such a weight why do you say you don't well I don't understand what you think you do such a good job of taking the word marketing and giving it a better definition when I think of marketing, I think of like banging on people's doors and telling someone who's never heard of your stuff like you should try this and I'm so uncomfortable doing that I um I don't know if I can find instances of me telling people to buy my work I spend my time engaging with the customers and already have and for me it's um uh maybe it's some loneliness because I you know, writing is you just kind of in a little cave and my only time to break out is to get on twitter and facebook and interact with people who know what I've done you know, that's that's my social network so, um but I think you give clarity to how that ends up helping you it's self serving for me I get so much out of it enjoy like surprising readers and of I've done all kinds of stuff like yeah okay, so I want to stop you there. So this is this is just a handful of things I've seen you do just over the last few months, so he did probably what a six hour life stream of you signing books and packing books with your mom, you did that twice, um a guy challenged sims did seven hundred books and yeah, and you should, like log in with google plus and like he'd get up in like talk to you hey how's it going someone and yeah sketched uh michael bunker uh one of my fan fiction authors who's a big fan like he had it he was on web cameras like stay right there you want me to do till something in the book and a sight I drew is a horrible drawing but I drew him in the book and his children loved it yeah yeah well so children so one of your fans their kid got mad that he was watching one of your videos and you want to talk back to him yeah so the child was and how it's just kid like too I think the kid is talking watching one of the videos that I put out which I love doing videos and and the kids talking to the screen and I'm not saying thing back and he looks his mom's like why he no talk to me so this is just in a facebook comment she uploaded the I think the video of him saying that so I quickly descend on my webcam and made a video as if I was talking to him and then given him time to talk back just assuming that he would and then responding to it I didn't think anything would you know but I thought up in the comment section and then she videotaped her kid watching it for the first time and he was like yeah is he like he was like me and he was like that's so awesome because we thought we were yes that's that's another one you are getting way we're gonna get to that so uh so another one I saw was you a guy I challenge you to juggle so you made a video of you juggling that's what it is that you continue juggle right exactly so he makes a video of himself juggling videos being not juggling before I finally going so you didn't actually know how to juggle like I could juggle okay but I didn't take like five or six before I had one that I was willing to okay that's pretty funny so you have lots of unboxing video so anytime he gets a new box of books or a new book coming in or a new design coming in video in boxing the book and bringing up and what I watch the one you had these I'm going to try not to refer to you in third person since you're sitting here with me this guy you know I know this guy and this is what he did so so you made these cool little like mp or um flash drive so I do have one always keep one of my okay these flash drives that he gave out you khun by him on his web site so I'm gonna talk your stuff for you and it's a little it's a little flash drive but this fallout shelter matches the topic of wool in his book and when you open it and I don't know treat and do this on purpose you like open the box and the flaps like this and so you can't see it yet and he's just like the's air so cool these air so cool oh my gosh, I can't believe out coolies are and you're like just showing you know and um and on s o s oh that's another thing you did when you first came out with wolves an omni bus she had this really like shitty cover with like this life yeah, but you bought but what you can do with the ugly sorry never shouldn't fuck yeah and then you did that with the second book shift and then all of your when you start coming out with us at this point I had good covers from random ellis uk so I wasn't going to do the ugly cover right? I was going to use the nice pretty cover yeah, but your fans that had the previous two they're like I need the elderly cover they want toe all be ugly together they won't match and so so you went out and you did a whole nother likes but a separate edition and even instead of like first addition e I have a copy I actually you signed it tio I was I bought it on your web site and I was joking around cause I thought you'd see it was me and I put like sign it tio mr fantastic no no it was like t dog or something like that do whatever people I don't think he knew that was a joke because it was like to daddy dog or something like that this is what I do so so so that's just I think all of that stuff is just from like the last like six months of stuff you've done and what I really want to point out here and what I want to talk to you about is how this interaction with readers how do you think it helps because I call of that marketing right so the first day yesterday um early on I define I'm throwing away the old definition of marketing that is no longer relevant and the new definition of market is creating a long lasting connections with people in being relentlessly helpful and relentlessly help l can mean different things that can mean a lot of times for nonfiction it means like here's how to lose weight he's had to make more money but um you know we've read fiction for entertainment and and add value to our lives that way so I think you know being relentlessly helpful is to create those connections to be entertaining so how do you think this has made a difference and how? Your audience looks at you doing this kind of stuff, you know, I don't know I um it's to me it feels like it cheapens the experience to start thinking about how is that gonna benefit me to do those things and I understand you know, I could look in hindsight I realize okay, that probably is some benefit, but if I if I I lose myself in that trap then I'll think then everything feels like it's calculated yeah, like I'm gonna do this and maybe it's going to sell books. A lot of this stuff happens and you have no you don't even dream that it's ever gonna become public talk about I want to talk about how you see your fans that like why um why have somebody put drops that in facebook that you actually, like take the time to make a video talking this some like, two year old kid, you know, like like why the empathy you've mentioned this yesterday? And I think it's I think it's the most important it's the most important thing to feel in in our lives, not just in our you know what we do for a living but putting ourselves in other people's position which I think is what fiction excels at, you know fiction lets you embody the the opposite gender or the opposite sexual persuasion and makes you feel their struggle, their pain all this what it's like to be bullied I've never been bullied before but I can read fiction feel that's like and then gain empathy so I think as a zone author, having that empathy for my readership means doing what I wish authors would do for me you know, when I used to play video games, I used to wish that if I beat the final level that there be some like number to call and then you know, you get like a ribbon sent to your house or something because you did some think really spectacular and then um uh ready player one came up ernest klein, and he gave away a delorean if you solve the thie riddle in his book and I thought, well, there's a riddle that yeah, so the book is about a kid, yeah, yeah suddenly, but really I didn't I didn't know that he did not go back and re read it I thought, well, if I'm gonna dream up how cool this reality would be, why not make that reality myself? So I grew up in north carolina and I, uh, one of my favorite books as a kid was interest game and when I realize that this guy was from north carolina thought, well, that's so cool that he's like a real person he hasn't lived in new york and like the mountains in a cabin, which is where we're like in some alternate reality we're successful writers live exactly and humanizing that made me not just a fan of his work but of a broader work and the same for neil game and neal stephenson, the people that I really follow and I'll follow them to any genre and read whatever they write it's because I feel like I know them they've put themselves out there, they've written blog's and done videos and given talks where I feel like we have a connection and so doing that for meters is a way of don't know, trying to create the kind of relationship that I wish we all had with the people that we look up to, I'm still flabbergasted you tell of being your own fan for me it's about more important than that is being a fan of the process like doing the unboxing because I still geek out over every you know, a book that I get to hold that I wrote or uh I surprised one reader in a bookstore with his mom and like, you know, we according to this for his birthday to have lunch with this kid and like we drove an hour and a half each way and he's looking a bookstore and seize my books, I walk around the corner and surprising and um have the ability to do that toe like make someone's day like that is feels like such a gift for me that it's just, um you do it because it rewards you yeah, you know, um yesterday we had a question from an author and they're saying, you know, they get they get nervous about putting themselves out there too much or like, you know, being too personal with their lives and that kind of thing and, you know, where do you try to find that line of, like, um, just past that one? Yeah, well, I mean, I'm sure there's things that go on in your life that you don't make a video and put it on yes, you know, everyone's benefit, but I mean, like, what? You know, how do you look at that of, like, um, it is for a long time, I don't I don't know if it still is like you like would put yourself out there too, right? It was on the cover of one of my books, they hidden, so the spacing was just different, but yeah, get random phone calls from people and, you know, it's amazing how many people knew that that number was there but still didn't call because I'm not sure what to say so it's not like because somebody got a call from a fan one time because you sent them a signed book that you didn't actually sign and so she like college and was like, hey, you didn't sign my book yes uh yeah then I sent her a book with I think like twenties like assigned it everywhere like under the jacket on the spine so she kept thinking that she found them all that she'd send another video like I found this other one yeah, you know and so what I want to get to so what? I'm one of the reasons I really want you on here because you don't see it is marketing so what I'm going to try to play the role as through this conversation into the next session is extracting out of this what the marketing is and you can continue to think it's not marketing that's completely fine, thanks but you got to tell yourself that's fine, but you know, um you know, one thing that I want to point out here is how important it is to connect with your audience do it in a way that's natural like none of this um you know, it never looks like work when he's doing it's not work right it's you know that whole like if you do what you love, you're not working a day in your life and um looking for ways sick, unnatural for you to connect with your audience, do it in a way because you want good for them like we talked about, right? And I like what you say about that because we all had that, like, actually was listening. Tio I don't know. I listen to my stuff, but this this podcast and this guy told this story about how, like he ran away from home. Um, bought a plane ticket. He was like, fifteen or sixteen flew to florida when he was a kid. And, like, showed up at the house of his favorite science fiction writer, you know? And this guy, like, took him in and had coffee and that was like, dude, you got to go you know what it's like but he but the guy the author was really nice and it was like this for the first time like, this is a real person. This is like somebody and I think you know that, you know, I was talking about yesterday um how how? A lot of all theirs are lamenting all these changes in publishing. Like they wish I could just sit in my whole, write my books and let the industry take care of the rest. Yeah, that's not true for anybody anymore, no matter how you publish there's, just very few people who khun do that and not have to put the time into the to the marketing promotion and part of that is because books are competing with so many other forms of entertainment and I you know, I think that's a reality that people need to be comfortable with it's fine to just right? Uh if you don't want if you don't care that no one read your material that people never find out about it, we were talking about selling books, we're assuming people care exactly case you're gonna have to put yourself out there got to be comfortable, I'm like you, I'm a natural introvert, so going out and doing book signings and meeting hundreds of people at a time and any major city I'd go too. I just let people know like a time and place to do a meet up and anyone who wants to show up they just you know, and we'll have a dozen to thirty people who would just take over a corner of a restaurant and hang out and what do you think that does this far is like for them like so they've read a book, but you know they've read dozens or hundreds of books and now they've had a coffee with one of their authors what do you think that does for, like their likelihood of buying a boat down the road there likelihood of reading your blogging staying connected with you I think the people who come to things like that because some of the people will drive hours to come to an event like that those are the people who are already going to buy everything so I'm not going to sell a single copy of anything to them but they're they're they're I'm most rewarding them for what they've already done which is telling everyone they know to buy my books you know I owe them something so I think when people see that the relationship is possible it makes them more likely to say um I want to support this person's career and that means you know, writing reviews after they finish a book which it's you know you have to really love something or really hated to go and spend time reading review usually you you did this last night you closed the book and you want to grab the next book even though you really enjoyed it. Okay, now I got a good thing yeah so um I see it the other way around where they've already done something for me by being my strongest, most loyal most vocal fans and now if I can hang out with them it rewards that and so you know, the only way you keep doing something is if you see some sort of, uh reward for it and I'll have to do is respond to e mails I think people favor their tweets like them, their stuff on facebook and then they're rewarded for that, you know, it's a two way street just like you say you just keep doing good things in your butt comes back yeah, and, you know, a lot of times, um, so I, uh I get I get asked these questions sometimes it's like what's a super secret thing that you do that nobody else does that you can share with me, and I'm like it's all pretty simple, like, you know, we can talk about tactics all day long, but like, what you just talked about is like, if somebody emails, you email him back, you know, somebody you know, just the other day I mention this real quick, but a real popular blogger, I noticed my ranking, we're going up on amazon, and so I'm like, okay, somebody did something about my book, and so I goes searching on google for anything that's happened in the last forty eight hours I find the blogger posted this pretty popular blogger guy put it out there, so email say, thanks so much for putting that up, by the way, where'd you hear about the book and he's like, oh, I heard about it from this guy, and I never heard of that guy so I track that guy down in the e mails say, thanks so much for giving in my book, you know, where'd you hear about the book and he said, I heard it from this guy over here, you know, that guy I say, thanks so much for recommending my hood went three and now on this block because of you, I really appreciate it, you know, that I'm creating these connections and I think that's what you're talking about and you've got to do it from day one, right? Like this didn't start when you got before day one, I hada blogged about my writing process before my book was complete. No one was reading it, but a content just are there. If you go, if you get on my website and go like to the very beginning, you'll read, uh, me writing in the character of my very first protagonist on dh that's, actually, how the first two publishers to express interest in my book, I was tweeting in the voice of my characters, and I was doing that while I was writing and, um so I think it starts from the very beginning, you know, and it starts by celebrating the process, I really see a lot of the stuff that I do now, a lot of the block pusher, right? A lot of the outreach that do with readers is because a lot of readers want toby writers and I want to turn more people under writing I do not see authors as competitors I see our competition is video games and facebook and tv and all the other things you could do with your time that's not reading readings a huge investment and the media payoff isn't there like it is with a two hour movie so by turning readers onto how much fun writing is how much fun the processes that it's easy to do you know that anyone can just invest the time, create the book, go through these processes and have their book available alongside j k rowling's and she's writing under some other name you might even be out selling her until the secret comes out so that's that's part of aa lot of my interacting with meters is too turn them out we need more people writing more people reading more people interested in literature for the whole industry to do better again that comes back to it seemed you know you're a reader, you know stephen king and on writing which I love you know he's like every writer needs to do two things read a lot right a lot and um you know, a lot of what we're talking about is being fans like being open with your phantom like you're constantly recommending other books that you like right yeah, I mean I don't recommend my own books to people if someone someone people emily all the time I just finished this book which I read next and I'll say lexicon by max berry or you know I always recommend someone else's book and it's not what they're looking for their asking like a viewer should I read next and they have to like explicitly say I want to read one of your books yeah it's still uncomfortable saying that I'll say well, chronologically this one comes next you'll have to things that upset you if you saw him like be smacking me around and that's all right, we're going to get into some of them so um so how long did you right before um anyone read me well before you, you know? So you said you got the initial publishing deal and then you decide to self published like, were you riding for a long time before that were used many short stories in places where you just I was writing a lot, but I wasn't, um wasn't finishing novels, the only thing I could finish were shorter stories like uh, vignettes of my boating adventures, the things that I've done, I would put him on blog's and I'd get a lot of feedback you know, I think the feedback loop is so crucial to keeping up the motivation to write getting uh e mails or even having your spouse re pages and say they don't they don't suck and getting not that they're good yeah exhausted songs this isn't soccer so posting stuff on forums and having people say wow you can really ride or this is an incredible story that motivates youto want to do more of it so I tried to write novels for years and would get eight or nine chapters and give up but I think the short fiction is a great way t used to this the joy of completion and to get some feedback because you won't publish anything until it's finished yeah so actually on that topic you know when you first released rule is only what ninety page yeah short it was like forty eight p okay so forty eight page book that became on actual like long for five hundred facebook and so why did you release it and such a short version of it first like what did you that's the whole story I think means that much to say from as I'm asking the question we're like he didn't have a plan but looking back like how did you feel like how does that help like I'm seeing that show up different ways where you can like release things and like the short versions like it's an old model and especially the science fiction's ana ender's game was a story called the battle room when it first came out fair knight for fifty one was a short story called the fireman, so science fiction authors used to have to submit a lot of short stories and get a lot of them published in as mobs and analog before someone said, hey, uh we'll take a novel from you, you know you have to build up your name this way um, I don't have written seven or eight full novels and I'd just written a novel lot, which was about that size and thought I had this other story wool in mind for about five years and I thought, oh, this is a perfect way to get that story out of my system just put it in this shorter form it was the whole story and I published it and didn't promoted I went back to my novels and my existing leadership uh amazon recommended it to people who had read my other books and at that point over three years and publishing eight or nine were I sold between three to five thousand works, which for self published author is quite good but required putting a lot of the time that you're talking about going to conferences doing book signings uh being in a writing group talking toa college and middle school classrooms um so that three year period I had sold thirty five thousand copies and enough of those people were recommended wall it was ninety nine cents and they started writing reviews and telling everyone that they needed to read it and asking for more and so because they asked for more that's why you didn't have the other stories for someone anyone asked me for anything as a writer you know he's like okay all right yeah I dropped what I was uh the novel I was working on at the time and for the last two years I've been writing what's become now a trilogy you know, new york time that's selling villages all because those people were audacious enoughto like leave a five star review and say the only thing bad about this is the link like where's the rest of this yeah and that was there and I think them in the party description for the book like if wasn't for them the rest of this serious wouldn't have been that that's actually how I came into so before we knew each other you know I picked up I think at that point you're giving it away for free you give it away for free now yeah divert the very first one so I picked it up and I read him like that was bad so I write inside and uh and at that point you had released him all yes I uh picked up it was called the omni bus at the time instead of just wall so it was all five of them together and I got heart of the way through the second book and I don't want to say at what point to ruin it for all the people that should be reading it, but I started crying at one point I tell you off camera and I'm like, this is amazing it's like finished it same day, I'm telling everybody about it and that kind of thing I think what's important here is that, you know, he did it through amazon by riding these novels, putting out the short story, putting stuff on blog's, but he was basically creating content and putting it out into the world like we're talking about and the main tool that he used was amazon to do that, but just like everything else, amazons a tool in the toolbox that you use for a specific reason and I think especially for fiction, it's a really great way to to be found there's this great story that you put on your blogger from this guy that, like, had written this book and it had, like, left it and didn't think much about it and then, like, one weekend threw it up on amazon and went on vacation and came home and, like hundreds of copies were sold he's like, oh, I should keep writing, yeah, you know, and, um and I think that's that's, the thing is like, you know, because I'm trying to again take what you're doing and show that what I'm talking about actually applies, so I keep looking smart here, it doesn't and you know, you're creating content and then putting it out into the world. Yeah, and I've got short stories for free on my web site that that people can read and you try toe, you know if if you can't entertain people with a facebook update, twitter posts and email for your email blast, how do you entertain them with the novel? Um, I think if we're if we're if we think we could be creative and that we can add value to people to their lives, we should be able to do that in shorter segments as well, we have to think of how are we going, entertain someone and give it away and maybe that's part of my motivation for interacting with the readers the way I do, if I see my job, as you know, creating a fiction and entertaining people in some way, I could do that in my real life and enjoy it. And, you know, if you've seen my ballet videos, I mean, I have not seen your valley video showed us anything that but, you know, just making a fool of yourself to other people's delight can can go a long way toward, you know, maybe get some sympathy seventy but yeah I don't know that guy he's working hard I should buy a copy of his book speaking of working hard the last segment you talked about how you were laying out your time and shot by southwest yes and I think it's so I don't know if you know how much harder you work the most people but the people who succeed are the ones who put in all that time and effort and it's true of writers as well um I you have to love what you do I enjoy all the, uh interacting and do with meters and all the social media and writing block post and doing interviews for anyone who asks um if you enjoy that stuff and you're able to enjoy it from six in the morning till midnight now that everyone has to do that because it's crazy to work as hard as I think some of us work I I was just in aa b a in new york and we had a booth of six best selling in the author's who'd all sold a million books self published oh my gosh, it was me and five women because hardly any guys have sold a million copies like the women are killing it when it comes to some publishing but bella andre and we on a hard all these women when they told me like what what their processes and how hard they were just in the wilder, who can publish a book every two months, makes me feel like I don't work hard enough, and I realize these are the people who are doing well and it's because even when he had a full time job, they were making time to write, to respond to every email, too. If anyone says, can I do an interview? Yes. Do you want to do a guest block post? Yes, you say yes to everything, and and you do it because it's your passion and you love it and you see it like a small business owner sees their business where you put your going to put in one hundred hour weeks and go with a smile on your face because it's better than putting that time in in any other way, so I think that's part of the success that you've had a lot of authors, uh, you've had success, I noticed they are, they don't spend a lot of time goofing off. They spent a lot of time doing everything that they do is is in some way bettering their craft in their career, you know? I want to stop there, we have lots of stuff, we're going to talk about lots of stuff I want to talk about amazon world talk about pirating d r a m a little bit I want to talk about some more of the business side of things and kind of see the backbone of how you're you're running your business now um in a couple other topic mississippi sweating great name very great visual when you mentioned about your your ballet mississippi's asking can you talk about your rationale for doing the dance videos for reviews on amazon? Was it because you recognize the need for input on amazon for what tim called social approval? Yeah, probably I er my wife had this dancing game the valet came later. The bali has a very, uh long backstory from having a best friend who's, a principal ballet dancer and taught me some moves enough to make it full of myself. But the first dance video came in wanting me to dance so you can take it. I was getting close to one hundred reviews on amazon, which is something I thought would never happen on any of my books and my editor lisa kelly wilson said you got to do something like if you had one hundred u going to do and I'm like, I'll dance, you know I'll do a dance just like you gotto do it on film, so my wife had this dance game on a console that like this hip hop and all kinds of stuff and I I never played it I had practiced one time and one play through on just to know how the thing works and then record myself dancing teo can room with the name of the song uh and and I, uh part of those and have fun like funny pants that's part of leases and so she just throw that out there is a dare and I don't like you turning down a dare so I did this video of me dancing in my pajamas with a hat on like a wool hat and all this other stuff and put it on youtube thinking, well, lisa, this is the best way to share elisa mixing in the everyone on facebook is sharing it like all my friends and family just can't believe that I've done this and so everyone sharing the why's he doing that? Oh, he wrote a book I didn't write a book and I thought, oh people air people don't care about my block post and I care about my my story snippets of my free short stories don't care about anything, but I make a video of me dancing like a moron and people uh, share the heck out of it you know, I think we had a guy named tom fishburne here yesterday and he was talking about what he's a cartoonist and so every monday he sends out a cartoon um to his list and he's been doing that for years and he's like I have no idea which one's air gonna hit he's like some of them hit and get me gigs you know, doing cartoons for the wall street journal and then some that I think you're awesome nobody I don't get any feedback on that's the same with my stories well and I think it's the same for all of this stuff is like if you're trying to be creative and put yourself out there and connect with people on do interesting things, you know, you know I don't what what when people when you share this story about dancing, I don't want people to hear you have to dance to connect with your audience because you have a really good dancer and then no one was to see someone dance really well that's not funny and so and so but what what what he's doing is like how can I make this fun? How can I bring people into the process? Because ah hundred views is an exciting thing and as a writer and as people that are reading the writing, I want them to be a part of it, you know, and we're connecting with them were and so this is just the way you know he likes to dance you may not like to dance, you could find something else I don't like to dance like that I would do it more to be better at it I think geeking out about the whole process when when my books first started hitting bestseller list on amazon and there's a very small categories with one hundred books on me so you can get into like science fiction short stories at number ninety nine and there you are you're like your you have status on amazon no longer number two million overall, your number ninety eight and science fiction short stories and I screen capture that cause I thought at ninety eight it's like an hour later and you're off and you never see this list again and I would share that on facebook or twitter my blogger everywhere and be like look like I made it this is the pinnacle of my career I'm just so happy that I have I sold twelve books today and I uh maybe it's my pessimism, but I've maintained that level of wonder and just the white I enjoy of this whole process the whole way through and I keep thinking this is the top this will never happen again, you know? Recently dust debuted at number seven on the new york times list and I had people on facebook going late why isn't a number one I think and that's the wrong attitude e can't leave it's on there at all? Yeah, it's and and sharing that enthusiasm I think is infectious not only for people being interested in what you do but for making people want to try it themselves oh my god of this any of this can high school and he like barely made it through english how is he doing this if he could do it I can do it I've always one of the right and now you know I get emails all the time from people who say the only reason they finished a book was because of watching my story and it's not because of I share how much I make it's because of how much I'm enjoying the process and then it's available to someone like me and that makes people wanna partake so just in case anyone is wondering that ballet video has been shared in the chat room the way you jump for joy way have any questions from anyone here in the studio audience to start out greatly enjoy your books and look forward to shift and dust which I've got on order how has it it looks like it hasn't changed your life in the sense of your joy of doing it and your engagement but how has it changed your life to be on the new york times best seller list in terms of maybe on traded places your ability to go places you might not have gotten otherwise I'd just like to hear a little bit about that yeah, well, it does open a lot of doors thie uh keeps you busy I'm I think I've done close to fifty flights this year and I've got like seven more countries I'm going to before thanksgiving so it's it's getting into a lot of bookstores and a lot of hotels and a lot of airports which starts all blend together after a while I you know, tomoe my wife recently said what's it gonna be like we have to write your resume next because I you know, I do stuff like this and I'm doing something every week and I said I don't have to ever write a resume again I'll just see him in new york times best seller and hopefully that'll you know, you know, open a door and they'll say sure you can you can have a job here shelving books in our bookstore on which is like my fallback job like I won't book source to make it so I have something to go back to, but it does it it's been an exciting journey for me to get to come out here and do something for creative live and work with tim to meet the readers I've met it's open people's living rooms to me which is incredible on dh that's that's been the best part of this whole process is being, um kind of a tourist in this journey that readers have put you on uh actually really quick really quick follow up on that patrice fitzgerald so is it harder to find time now too right? Not really I I replaced my day job with this being my day job so uh I could have said well I'm only gonna work forty hours ah ah weak which is still a crazy amount of time to spend writing and instead I still do sixty and eighty hour weeks and I have my writing time and have my time for responding to emails and interacting with people on facebook I don't do anything that's not geared towards this this has been my dream for the longest time I'm like I'm sure that our basketball players in nba basketball players who spend their spare time playing basketball or trying to get better and playing if they play a video game it's it's nba live two thousand thirteen it's like everything is about basketball to them everything's been about reeling a writing video and think gabriel night siri's I think he was a writer but I you know if you really if this is your passion you will find the time uh and that's funny coming from patrice because she's a workaholic says she has the same last night at for dinner it was eight something o'clock and you're like I got to go right you know it's eleven o'clock and that's what you do and you're on the road to is just find the time to write airplanes are great for it and I'm really upset that airplanes are adding wifi to there I'm like what are you doing? This is my writing time don't give me internet horrible idea you admit something in confidence it's it's very understated but it's it's there and we talked earlier about being your own phantom talks about that and but yourself facing you don't wantto promote your own thing, but when you're writing when you're done with your book do you feel this is a great this feels just have it is this is a confidence come from you know the book is good and just take care of itself you just be who you are and it would just present itself the opportunity will show up because the work is so strong it's a great question I have I give myself about two days where I feel my work is good I hate I hate everything I write the entire time I'm writing and I think no one will like this and it's just a mess and then I do like my seventh or eighth revision, which is what I'm going through and not change like moving a comma and not changing much and I get to the end of it and I'm so amped up that I'm almost done I think my mania makes me feel like I've written something great and for two days I'll kind of strut around the house like yeah, wrote another book and it's not bad, and then, yeah, I'm just inside and after those two days were off now, it's in the hands of beta readers. Now my wife and my mom are reading it now, it's going off to editors, I'm hitting the published button and I'm sick to my stomach and that's when I realized it's not just a couple of days of of not thinking straight because I wasn't getting of sleep. Uh, work is horrible, I want to crawl under a rock and only look at reviews with dust. Were you worried that, like people were going to finally realize your frog? I'm terrified of it right now. I got all these people tell me how great it is, and I'm thinking, okay, are the people who just well, like anything that I do look can can read one hundred positive reviews, and I think maybe your taste in books isn't that great on then I read once that gonna review and I'm like, you know, my soul, yeah, you know, and I met on the sony authors you have that same issue where, um and I think it's such a it's, so difficult to put your work out there because you're revealing yourself and you're saying judge me and if the work is not good, it means I'm not a good person that's how it feels to me as an artist it's not like I built a table and I'm like no look, it doesn't wobble it's level you can measure this thing objectively and it does exactly what I said to do with subjective work you know you you're free to hate it or love it, you know going away like when you've written your thirties gun worse everywhere every because the readership is there's more people to hate it now jakey rawling when she released that the galbraith book I had already dreamed of this on now it'll look like I'm copying her when I do it but I think it was so um liberating for her to be able to publish something not under her name and have people review it without any bias and know that may be only a few thousand people ever read this I think that was how I wrote for years and there's something kind of, um pure about that and then writing knowing you have hundreds of thousands of people are gonna be upset about how you ended a siri's it's it's terrifying and if I see if I come across confident it is I have no idea how that's possible because it's not it's not how I feel I and terrifying every career has been in and I've had that kind of fraud syndrome when I was driving motor yachts for living on a yacht captain and I got into it by people saying like I was driving a twenty seven foot sailboat that I lived on and people say can you drive a thirty foot powerboat? Sure, it's only three more feet. Next thing I know I'm driving one hundred fifty foot mega yachts with like other boats that go inside of them in hot tubs and I'm thinking, how did I get tio here from there in just a few years? Hers and this is a twenty million dollar boat and you let me drive it like down to barbados and who in their right mind would give some a fool like me twenty three years old that kind of power and was from just saying yes to every challenge and then you get yourself into a position where you thinking teo teo myself out of this, you have to prove that I can do it. And so I think I think that's inherent in me, but I've met a lot of artists and creative people who feel the same way as you're talking about that I remember, uh orson scott card who wrote ender's game I remember reading at one point, he said, I think it was him who said that you have to simultaneously as you're writing both I think it's the best thing you've ever that's ever been written and to the worst piece of trash so that you can like, keep going on it, you know, because you like all I need to make this better, I need to make this better than expected and then get to the point we're like, okay, this is the best thing ever, so I need to get rid of it and let everyone else see it and you have to have those two mindset simultaneously and I don't know how you do that by my analogy. Well, the way I think about it is I write as if no one will ever read the material I write as if it's just for me, I want to write the best story that's the mindset of to get into in order, sit down to write every day. This is just for me and my wife for my mom, a small group of people when I gotta publish that's what I think everyone on the planet is going to be this so it needs to be error free and used to be a good cover good formatting, good blurb. So I lie to myself both ways like no one's going to read this I confront frida, right? The story that I think needs to be written and then the day that I'm saying I'm done with it I make a huge change in my philosophy, and I say everyone, the whole planet is going to read this. How can I make a fool of myself by, like, what mistakes can I make? And how can I mitigate those mistakes? It has been amazing. First session today, it's been wonderful. That's. The chat rooms have beena been alive. Actually, I have a different reaction to the j k rolling story. I tell everybody now that all my books are written by j k rolling. I haven't seen this fighting sales.

Class Description

Self-publishing has turned authors and photographers into business owners. In this new era of publishing, you are your own startup and your book is your product. In this workshop, self-published author and book marketing expert Tim Grahl will teach you how to help your book find its audience.

Book sales depend not only on the quality of your work, but also on the strength of your marketing. You will learn how to develop a strategic outreach plan to engage your current audience and introduce yourself to the right new communities. Tim will also show you how to develop a reliable email list, use content to drive sales, and negotiate with publishers.

Whether you’re publishing a novel or a coffee table book of lush images, Tim will give you the marketing playbook your talent deserves.


Sonja Dewing

Loved it! A lot of great tips on what needs to be on your author page, even some helpful plugins for WordPress! Love the extras. Well worth it.

Mark Leruste

This was my very first Creativelive class and it was amazing! In short it's the course I wish I took before self-publishing my first book. It covers all the basics and highlights all the mistakes you're most likely to make as a first time author or a serial writer. Everything you need to know about selling and marketing your book is in here. I've been recommending it to everyone interested in writing a book! Thank you Tim Grahl for a brilliant course.

Rachelle Ramirez

I've had the blessing of training directly with Tim Grahl and this class pulls all the basics together. Master these techniques and you've leveled up as professional writer. Why write a book and not get it to its readers? These are the tools that not only sell your book but get readers interested in reading YOUR book when they a million other choices. Worth the money.