A curated collection of the latest and most interesting podcast episodes about the author life.
Hey, it’s Crys! This was the first week in a long while where I had the right kind of brain space to listen to podcasts on my walk to and from my kid’s school, so I had a lot to choose from! I found myself drawn to topics about longevity and joy in the publishing biz, which are both goals and values of mine.
I think one of the things we have to keep in mind as writers and publishers that our goals are our own–our success can’t be compared to anyone else’s.
Top 3 Must-Listen Episodes
The Creative Penn // Writing, Independence, And Selling Books Direct with Derek Sivers
First off, Derek is very open and honest that because his goals aren’t driven by making money (that’s a side benefit), how he does things might not fit someone who needs to hustle to pay rent and the grocery bill. Which is why he is able to follow his ideal of decentralization and do his best to funnel his customers away from Amazon, mostly by selling direct.
He sees the benefits of selling direct as: good for everyone because we give less power to one entity (Amazon), creates a closer connection with the individual buyers, and gives him more power in selling directly to his customers because he can see who has bought what (and what they haven’t), allowing him to make custom recommendation.
While most of us don’t have anything near Derek’s resources—he created CD Baby way back when and retains the rights to the software, which he uses for his direct sales platform and he’s financially set, from his reports—I think all of us who hope to publish more than one book need to be keeping that eye to longevity—what’s going to keep us selling not just this year, but ten years down the road, and all of us should be moving toward direct sales as a goal.
The Rebel Author // EP 135: 6 Lessons from 3 years of writing full-time
Even though I’ve known Sacha for a couple years and she’s done this yearly wrap up three times now, it wasn’t until this episode that I realized we have an anniversary month!
Her six lessons were:
- Surpassing her old income at her day job proved to her that she made the right choice. It increased her confidence and self belief and made her truly feel as if there was no cap, no ceiling anymore.
- She’s not superhuman—she has physical boundaries that she smacked into hard core, and it forced her to realize she can’t do it all and has to know what is important and what she values and focus on that.
- Focus on the money—be aware of what efforts bring in the money and lean into them. Cut down on the things that are equally enjoyable, but don’t bring in the money. This creates space for the things that are most enjoyable but don’t yet bring in the money.
- Be a better publisher—she learned how to write better blurbs, she’s standardizing her process of publishing, making sure all her works are all in the same formats, and being more consistent with promotions.
- Human connection—between moving and the pandemic (especially moving during the pandemic!)—the isolation has been intense, and it was when she was forced out of the house by an internet outage and encountered other humans at coworking spaces and cafes that she realized that part of her life truly needs bolstering—it’s not just a want, it’s a need.
- Your uniqueness is everything—accepting your differences and embracing them—just fully being yourself (she uses the example of Forest Gump on his run across the USA and all the people who followed him)—is what will attract people to you. The right kind of people. And without embracing that uniqueness, you aren’t being yourself and you have little to draw people to you. So f*ck what anyone else says, be you.
When she asked me what my top lesson was, my answer was this: In the early days, your #1 importance job is to create IP until you have enough that your #1 importance job is to create the system that sells the IP for you.
But above all, no one mistake is world ending and it’s better for your business if you seek to eliminate stress in all areas that it doesn’t lead you to happily complete new IP.
The Rebel Author Podcast // Episode 303: Josephine Smith on How to Launch Your Writing Career Fast with Four Books in a Year
Josephine published 4 cozy mysteries writing almost only weekends, which I think is encouraging to other folks with day jobs. The writing comes first, and then she only focuses on the essentials she needs to get the books out.
She had to fight perfectionism, as many of us do, knowing that at some point, she would have to simply send the manuscript out if she ever wanted to be published. For her, the key was to give the manuscript to someone she trusted and get actual feedback, rather than just keep judging herself.
She uses preorders to keep herself accountable, setting the release date a month after her private intention to release—you can always move the release date sooner, but there’s only so many times to push it back!
I don’t believe everyone should rapid release, but I do think rapid release is a great way to build your audience quickly. I published at least a book a month for two years (thank god for co-writers), and definitely credit it with my ability to be a full-time writer. But I’m also not the kind of person who can keep that up forever. Four books a year is still pretty darn fast, and is definitely a goal of mine.
The Latest from The Author Life Podcast
64: How can anthologies be useful to my author career?
This week authors J. Thorn and Crys Cain discuss the power of anthologies and what they’re actually useful for.
The Wildcard: Interesting Episode from a Non-Writing Related Show
Pick Me Up, I’m Scared // 28. The CIA’s Plot to Destroy Fidel Castro’s Beard!
This is one of my favorite podcasts–I encountered Madeline on TikTok talking about her fashion company where everyone makes exactly the same, how terrible capitalism is and how to function in this world.
If that’s not your cup of tea, you won’t enjoy this episode talking about the CIA from its origins (to fight communism) and its crazy missions including: the government funded brothel, the plot to destroy Fidel Castro’s beard and therefore his confidence, hiring his lover to murder him which she used as an excuse for a free trip to see him and boink (and true story, I knew her daughter–we karaoked on Saturday nights for years in Costa Rica), all the LSD, and on and on.
However, if you love true conspiracy theories and are interested in how the CIA came to be, this is a great episode.
Inside The Author Life
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