This week we have a very special guest – Glenna Mageau, book blurb coach and writer extraordinaire – who takes us through how to write a blurb that sells more books. Glenna has a proven system she uses to improve her own book blurbs and she’s been teaching other authors how to do the same thing as well. This is a fantastic episode – we really enjoyed chatting to Glenna, she’s a lovely lady with a wealth of knowledge. We all picked up loads of useful blurb writing tips and we’re sure you will too!read more
This week we tackle the topic of formatting your ebooks. We talk about the difference between outsourcing the formatting and doing it yourself, and the pros and cons of each option. Then we talk about what we’ve done in the past and how we do it now, what we think are the best practices, the programs that we recommend, and why we like them. If you’re about to start formatting, or even considering a change to the way you’re currently doing it, this is a great episode to listen to!read more
Publishing your book to Amazon KDP is the first step … then the second VERY important step is setting up your Amazon Author Central account and optimizing your Amazon Author Page. Too many new self-publishers miss the second step and it’s costing them sales! It’s easy and it’s free, so listen up and we’ll share how to ZHUSH up your Amazon Author Page to make it sparkle!read more
This week we talk about a subject dear to our hearts – author overwhelm.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed in this digital age, with everything that we are bombarded with and told we “have to” do to succeed as a self published author.
This episode we talk you through the tips and tricks we use to help us work through the overwhelm and keep writing. It’s another fun episode, the SPA Girls were together in person this week, so we had a laugh as usual…read more
Good things take time, as they say, and we’ve been threatening for a while now to post a weekly blog. Watch this space!read more
This week we talk through the basic marketing principles that you need to make sure you’ve got in place for promoting your books. Think of it as a 101 class in marketing, just for you. 🙂
We talk through tips like ensuring consistency of brand, having the right kind of bio and blurb, and being professional.read more
This week we give some of our best writer productivity hacks – ie a big ole list of tips to increase your productivity, based on things that we do each week to help us write more!
From exercise tips and the best writing apps to use, to setting routines and ways to stay in the flow, we give you the best tips that we could find to help keep you writing!read more
In honour of Valentine’s Day, the SPA Girls fought it out to come up with our list of the Best Romance Novels of All Time. Listen to this episode to see if you agree with our choices… 🙂read more
This week we decided to talk about etiquette for authors; or how to talk to other authors, your fans and your service providers, especially online.
It’s really easy to get carried away, to start acting badly in the online space, and we wanted to give you a few tips on how to keep your online relationships strong and healthy. It’s all about treating people as you would like to be treated yourself – a good mantra to use everywhere in your life. 🙂read more
Wendy, Cheryl and Trudi talk through some common writing mistakes and give suggestions for how to avoid making them yourself.
Based around Jack Bickham’s book, The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, we talk on topics from not making excuses, lecturing your readers, dropping alligators through the transom (don’t worry, we figure that one out), stopping too soon, giving up and not just sitting there.read more
This week we talk about writing the book of your heart versus writing a book to market. What do these terms mean, and why should they matter to you? Writing the book of your heart means writing what you love, the book you’ve been dreaming about for your entire life, with the characters who feel like they’re your best friends and the storyline that is going to rock the world. You know, that book.
Writing to market is about researching the genres that are selling, finding out what the most popular tropes are and finding a storyline that you feel fits into the research you’ve been doing, and then writing that book. It could be a book you love, but that isn’t always the case.read more
This week we were lucky enough to talk to Zoe York, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, and all around lovely lady. She gave us some fantastic tips on writing in series, including craft considerations, marketing ideas, and some best practice tips for making it work. Zoe really knows her stuff, so it’s yet another don’t-miss episode!read more
This week we get the show number wrong, yet again, and the sound quality is a little bit off, but we still manage to get out an episode talking about our goals for 2017 and how we’re going to achieve them.
It’s a fun, motivational episode that will get you started thinking about your self publishing goals, and how you’re going to make them happen in 2017!read more
This week we talk to screenwriter Kathryn Burnett about planning writing projects, as well as setting goals as an author and keeping them – just in time for the start of the year. We went to a fantastic workshop (on creativity and how to keep it flowing) given by Kathryn at the 2016 RWNZ conference, which is why we thought it would be a great idea to get her onto the show. It was a fun interview; Kathryn gives a heap of valuable information for organising new projects and making sure you stay on track, plus she has some really interesting stories about how she got into screenwriting, and the kind of work she does now for clients.read more
This week we come to you live from our local cafe as we eat, drink and be merry, and discuss the highs and lows of self publishing in 2016. We call it our Hit, Miss and Maybe list, and we talk through the things that worked, the things that definitely didn’t work, and the things we might try again to see if they work better a second time.
It’s a great episode, we give some of our top tips from the last 12 months, and spread a little Christmas cheer!
Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year! xx
This week we had the honour of interviewing the one and only… Joanna Penn! She’s a best-selling author, an international speaker, a podcaster, and a trainer, and one of our role models in this industry. We were super-excited to have her on the show, and she didn’t disappoint. She gave us a huge amount of self publishing advice in this information-packed episode – making it an episode that you don’t want to miss!read more
This week we talk to Olivia Ventura from Hot Tree Edits about being a full time editor. She was a fantastic person to interview, and gave great advice on how to work with editors and how to find someone who will do the kind of edit you want for your book. She talks about the most common grammar mistakes that authors make, how to do edits on your own in preparation for sending your manuscript to an editor, and some best practice ideas for making sure your book is as tight as you can make it.read more
This week Wendy, Cheryl and Shar tackled some of the questions we’ve been getting from eager listeners to the show. The team were without me (Trudi) because I was off celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary, but it’s good to know that they can manage to pull together a show without me… 🙂 The topics covered included how to keeping writing when you have a family, how to find the right editor, and what to do if you hate social media (hint: it’s not throwing out your computer).read more
This week it was just Shar, Cheryl and Trudi, and we talked about writing and publishing a book in an Amazon Kindle World. Cheryl has just published her second book in the Laguna Beach Kindle World and she gives us the inside story on how it works – plus the benefits and the issues around writing in a Kindle World.read more
This week Wendy, Cher and Trudi talk about dealing with unavoidable distractions, and how to maintain a writing schedule even when things get busy.
With Christmas coming up we thought we’d talk about how we personally keep going when it seems that everything in the world is out to stop you writing the next book.
It’s a great reminder that we’re all different and we all deal with distractions and problems in our lives differently, and however you deal with them, as long as you’re still progressing forward, it’s okay.read more
I don’t actually know how many mistakes we covered in this episode, but I thought that title sounded great. 🙂 But we definitely do go in-depth on all the terrible, dastardly, embarrassing mistakes that we’ve made in the process of self publishing our books.
From not getting our books properly edited and rushing through the process of publishing and putting our books up before we should have, to not being organised enough, to not knowing and understanding our genres – we’ve done it all!
Don’t make the same mistakes that we have – listen to this episode and find out how to avoid them all!
This week we talk about the launch of a project dear to our hearts – our new non-fiction book about author overwhelm.
We’ve been working on this project for a while, and we’re really excited about bringing it to you. It’s something we’ve all experienced, and we don’t think people talk about it enough, so we’ve decided to put it out there in book form!
This episode we talk about the book, what it involves, and what we’re going to do over the next three months before the launch to try and make it a success.
One of the big aspects to this launch process is the expansion of our mailing list. We made a goal of getting 1,000 people onto our mailing list by end of February 2017, and we brainstorm some of the techniques we’re planning to use to get our numbers up.
Join us on the journey, and go sign up to our mailing list!read more
This week the SPA Girls chat to three experienced authors – two Indie authors, and one traditionally published author – about their writing tips, their favourite technology as a writer, and why they all say you need to find your writing tribe to succeed.
Join us as we get the inside story from contemporary romance author Talia Hunter, pacific billionaire romance author Toni Kenyon, and author of 35 Harlequin romances Yvonne Lindsay in this hilarious, informative, and insightful episode into the life of an author. If you don’t come away from listening to this episode with a grin on your face, I’ll eat my hat.read more
This week we’re all back! The SPA Girls are reunited again, and we’re on fire with useful and relevant information for you as a self published author. We talk about launching your latest book into the marketplace, and the do’s and don’ts, plus tips and tricks that you might want to try out when you’re publishing your novel to get some of those golden sales…
From when to put the books up, what to price them at, what kind of advertising to do, and when to use your social media and your mailing list, we cover it all in this episode for you. Just listen and take loads of notes! 🙂read more
This week we’re joined by the lovely Kelly McClymer, an indie author who writes in multiple genres, including historical romance, fantasy and cosy mystery. She tells us the story of how she got into self publishing, the kind of marketing and promotion she does for her books, and talks about what she’s been doing in the last week or so in an attempt to get her book onto the USA Today Bestseller list, for her historical romance book, The Next Best Bride. This is a fantastic interview with another smart, savvy indie author!read more
This week we crawled out from our sick beds to provide you with this delayed episode of the SPA Girls Podcast. We managed to talk semi-coherently about creating amazing characters that your readers will love. As far as we’re concerned, it’s all about creating characters with flaws, who your readers can relate to and fall in love with through the course of the story. We gave away all our secrets, so that you can learn to write the best characters you possibly can.read more
This week we celebrate the 50th episode of the SPA Girls Podcast! We’re pleased as punch that we made it this far, and we hope we’ll make it to another 50! We talked about what’s changed for us in the last year, where we are at in our careers, and the highs and the lows of a year in self publishing. A kind of retrospective on what we’ve learned, what we’ve seen, and what we think about it all.read more
This week we’re still without the lovely Cheryl, so we decided to do another interview, this time with Tracey Alvarez, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand and writes contemporary romance based in New Zealand. I (Trudi Jaye) met Tracey in person at RWA in San Diego this year, and had a great time hanging out with her and Talia Hunter. As you’ll see from the interview, Tracey is also a very knowledgeable indie author, with heaps of pro tips to share. This is another ‘don’t-miss’ episode!read more
This week we interview paranormal romance author Steff Green, who writes as Steffanie Holmes and fantasy as SC Green. Steff was a speaker at the recent RWNZ conference and we were keen to get her on the podcast to give us the inside information on her self publishing career.
She was a fantastic guest, and talked to us about her journey toward self publishing, and some of the ways that she’s been able to make self publishing work for her, including topics like box sets, writing in series, and cliffhangers.read more
This week we’re without the delightful Cheryl, the light of our lives. It’s a bit chaotic, but the three remaining SPA Girls managed to talk about the advertising that we’ve done recently and how it worked. We talked about the mailing lists that we’ve advertised with – think Book Bub, Ereader News Today, Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, and Robin Reads – how we organised it, when we booked them for, and the results that we had.
We also talk briefly about Amazon ads, and how you might use those kinds of ads in your promotional routine. We hope it helps you get an idea of the kind of advertising promotion that you might choose to do for your next launch or advertising schedule.read more
This is another bonus episode from the SPA Girls – a collection of three short interviews that we did at the RWNZ16 conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Firstly bestselling author Heather Graham talks about how she wants to take us all home with her (we didn’t say no…); agent Courtney Miller-Callihan gives a few tips on the kind of books she likes best; and the incomparable Michael Hauge talks about how to create a story that works.read more
This week I (Trudi Jaye) was away, so against my better judgement, I let the other three do the podcast without me. Surprisingly, against all expectations, they managed to do an episode that was moderately okay. 🙂 Don’t miss this episode as Wendy, Cher, and Shar talk about writing in series – why you would do it, what it involves, how to remember all the characters, and some hot tips on marketing your series.read more
This week we had a huge amount of fun talking about the RWNZ conference that we just had here in New Zealand. With an all-star international line up including Hollywood Script Consultant Michael Hauge, multi-award winning author Heather Graham, Australian Superstar Rachel Bailey, Scriptwriting Extraordinaire Kathryn Burnett, Self-Publishing Gurus Leeanna Morgan and Steff Green plus many more, we had a whole heap to discuss. We break down Michael Hauge’s amazing story structure ideas, discuss regency dancing, and talk about why conferences are so amazing. It’s a fun episode, and we hope you enjoy it! 🙂read more
This week we bring you a special episode direct from the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Wendy Vella and Trudi Jaye snuck out of the workshops, grabbed the incredibly talented Leanna Morgan along the way and hid out in one of the conference rooms, making her spill her guts on her self publishing career. And boy, does she deliver. This is a must listen episode for our listeners – Leanna knows what she’s talking about. 🙂read more
This is a special bonus episode of the SPA Girls Podcast, hosted by Trudi Jaye and Talia Hunter and recorded live at RWA in San Diego. We recorded this little snippet on our last day in an attempt to give SPA Girls listeners a sense of what it was like to attend the conference. At the start of the recording we’re joined by Allyson, a Harlequin editor that we harangued into joining us in the recording. 🙂 We talk about some of the workshops that we attended, the people we met, and what we learned while we were there. I hope you enjoy it!read more
This week we talk about covers for ebooks. We’ve mentioned self publishing covers in passing on previous episodes, but this week we put the microscope to the topic and try to work out what makes them great. We talk about our experiences on our own covers, the changes we’ve made along the way, and why we’ve made them. We also discuss how to work with a designer, how to decide what you should put on your cover, and what your readers want from your cover. And finally, we talk about the idea that sometimes the cover you love isn’t the one that’s going to sell your book, and you need to put aside your fragile writer’s ego, and go for the one that’s most suitable to the type of book you’ve written.read more
This week we talk about our experiences (all family-friendly) at writers conferences and give tips on how to get the most out of conferences (aka overcome the sudden urge to hide behind a large pot plant and not talk to anybody). In a cunning plot twist, we got confused at the intro and said this was episode 41 (instead of 42). Our excuse? Too much heat in the SPA!read more
This week’s episode talks about what to post on your Author Facebook page to keep fans engaged and coming back for more! We’ve all experimented with different kinds of posts – from thoughtful quotes through to “let it all hang out” videos, and have been surprised at what’s worked best! Facebook can be an author’s friend, but it’s also a beast that needs constant feeding. Hopefully you’ll get some “feeding tips” from us this week!read more
This week we talked about tips and tricks to keep the pace of your novel moving at the right speed, all the way to the high impact ending. We each talk about the tricks we use to make the pace of our novels work for our readers. We talk about genre and how it affects pacing, also things like sentence structure, word sound, chapter length, and other methods you can use to keep your pacing fast or slow. It’s all about creating the right rhythm for your novel, so that your reader follows you through to the end. 🙂read more
This week we decided to bring back the challenge episodes. It’s the middle of winter here in New Zealand – it’s cold and wet and dreary, and we’re all feeling a little frustrated with where we’re at. So we decided to talk about finding our focus again and pushing forward in our writing careers.
We all talk through the issues that we’re each having, from changing family schedules, to slipping in our usual writing and marketing routines or recovering from illness. And then we talk through the plans we have to solve some of these issues and get ourselves back on the track that we’re aiming for.read more
This week we decided to talk about Wendy’s favourite subject – sex! 🙂 Just kidding, it’s the favourite topic of all the SPA Girls… When you’re writing romance, there will generally be some form the physical activity that happens when people fall in love. ie Sex. The different genres have different heat levels, and it’s partially about knowing the conventions of your genre, but also about knowing what you’re comfortable with personally. This week we talked through what each of us personally is comfortable with, what we like when we read other romance books, and how to write a sex scene that will knock the socks off your readers. I hope you enjoy it! FAIR WARNING: The language in this episode is a little grittier than we normally go for, sorry about that. If you’re not keen on bad language and talk of genitalia, you might want to skip this episode (we’re pretty tame, really, but just in case…).read more
In episode 37 we were all together in person again and we talked about Twitter. It’s probably the second most popular social media platform after Facebook, and it’s definitely one worth investigating. We give some basics on the platform, how to get started, what some of the jargon means, and a few tips on the best ways to build up an audience and connect with others on the platform. It’s probably more of a networking opportunity than somewhere that you will make a huge number of books sales, but it’s a fun way to connect with readers, authors, publishers and other industry folk.read more
This week is episode number 36 and we decided to talk a little more indepth about the kind of content you might provide in your newsletter for your subscribers.
They’ve signed up to your list, now what? It’s all very well being told that you need to write to your email subscribers regularly – but what on Earth do you write to them about? Your latest doctor’s appointment? Which politicians you hate most? NO! That’ll just get you a nice high UNSUBSCRIBE rate.
This week we give you a whole bunch of ideas on the best way to connect with your readers, how to keep them engaged and interested in you and your books, and how to figure out what they will be most interested in reading about. Enjoy!read more
This week we’re up to episode number 35, and we talked about brainstorming your next novel. We each talked about how we do it, the kind of methods we use and what we recommend for people wanting to create a solid book idea. At the end we decided to do an impromptu session where we actually brainstorm a brand new novel together. It was a huge laugh, and we hope it’s both entertaining and helpful to you when you start planning your next novel…. 🙂read more
This week – episode 34 – we talked about reviews – what they are, why you need them, and how you might go about getting some more!
The best thing about Amazon is the ability to leave reviews and to gather momentum for your books through word of mouth, and we love them for it. Even better, they’re pretty good at trying to make sure those reviews are legitimate reviews, rather than people trying to game the system (and okay, there will always be peeps trying to game the system, but at least they’re trying).read more
Welcome to another episode of the infamous SPA Girls Podcast, where we break down the journey to self publishing one step at a time. This week we talked about newsletters – what they are, why you should have one, and how to go about getting one sorted. Setting up an email newsletter is often quoted as being the number one top priority for a self published author – it gives a direct line between you and your readers, which can be invaluable.read more
In this week’s episode we tackle the always-changing topic of pricing in self publishing. It’s a biggie, and it’s sometimes hard to distill this one down, especially because most people who are new to self publishing just want those who are older and wiser (haha) to just say – “You must do it this way!” Unfortunately there is no “one true path” for pricing, especially given the vast array of differing goals and aims of authors, and the constantly changing nature of the industry. What worked two years ago won’t necessarily work now.
We suggest that you research the price of other books similar to your own (in genre, length etc), and then determine what your overall strategy is for the launch (eg discoverability vs sales), before you decide what to price your book at. The main thing to remember is that you can always change it later if you decide you’ve done it wrong. That’s the best thing about self publishing, you can test and experiment to find out what works best for you!read more
This week, in lucky number 31, we talk about self editing – what we all do, the kind of techniques and strategies that we use to make sure we don’t make mistakes in our work, and how we work in with professional editors to make sure we catch as many of the mistakes in our work that we can. And that’s a very valid point – no matter how good you think you are, you will ALWAYS miss something in your own work, which is why it’s vital to get outside people looking at your work as well as editing it yourself. Don’t miss another fascinating episode of the SPA Girls!read more
This week we talk about our favourite self publishing resources to help make your writing life just a bit easier. From writing tools like Scrivener and writeordie.com to editing support with grammarly.com or the best courses on Udemy and CreativeLive.com, we’ve packed this episode full of information for self publishers!read more
This week we went with a baking theme, and talked about the ingredients that we think are most important when ‘cooking’ a novel. This wasn’t an exhaustive list, just a few of the things we think you should work on first, to make sure your novel is going to be the best it can be. We know most about, and are most focused on, the romance genre, so it’s a multi-layered Black Forest chocolate gateau cake. Just saying. But for anyone who’s interested in a little bit of help with writing craft, listen in to our discussion of the most important ingredients…read more