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
This week we thought we’d take a quick detour into ideas-land to answer the most common question that writers get – where do your ideas come from? If you’re feeling lost or lacking in inspiration, just pinch a few of our ideas for gathering new stories and get going!read more
This week we’re without the delightful Wendy Vella (who is off on a romantic holiday in an exotic location for her daughter’s wedding), but we managed to put an exciting episode together anyway. We’re talking about some of the more recent self-publishing trends that we’ve noticed (and some that aren’t so recent, but are still relevant) and how you might be able to use them to your advantage.read more
This week in episode 26 we talk about exercise! It’s a challenge episode, so we mentioned it a few weeks ago, and challenged ourselves to put more exercise into our daily routine. This is the show where we talk about what we did, how we did it, and what we learned about exercise and the writer’s mind (and body).
As a writer, you probably spend the majority of your day sitting down – and all we can say is… DON’T! The latest research shows that sitting down all day at work – even if you’re not overweight and exercise every day – can be just as detrimental to your health as eating fried food and never exercising. Listen to this episode to find out more about it, and what you can do to ensure you’re not at risk.read more
It’s episode number 25, and we’re talking about Amazon again this week. It’s the second in our two-part Amazon special, and this episode we walk you through the process of loading a book onto Amazon.com. We go through each of the sections and tell you what we do/answer for each one. If you’ve never put a book up on Amazon (or even if you have) this should help you as you as you go through the process. We give tips and advice on the best way to answer the various sections, how to find the best keywords, and what categories you should be in. It’s an information packed episode, so be sure to take notes!read more
It’s the episode you’ve all been waiting for… This week, in lucky episode 24 (I love that number, it’s my date of birth), we talk all about the retail site Amazon. It’s the first of two episodes on Amazon, and this week we start by giving a bit of an overview of Amazon’s history, what they do, and how they came to be such a powerhouse retail site. Then we talk about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) where indie authors load up their books, the pros and cons of KDP Select, talk about Kindle Unlimited (KU), and how to use Author Central.read more
Welcome to episode 23 of the SPA Girls podcast. This episode we’re talking about Author Overwhelm, one of those insidious blockages sent to distract us as authors. When you’ve got so much on, and so many things that you’re trying to do, and it’s making you feel panicky and frustrated – to the point where you’re not actually doing anything useful at all… that’s author overwhelm. We’ve focused on giving practical tips on what we do when author overwhelm hits, how we keep going through the tough times, and what we do to try and avoid author overwhelm in the first place! I hope you enjoy it, it’s a great episode!read more
Welcome to episode 22, and the second in our pre-publication special episodes. In these two informative sessions, we talk in depth about the things you need to take into account before you hit publish on your self-published book. This episode we talk about things like formatting, categories, key words, book descriptions, covers, pricing and your title/subtitle of your book.read more
We’re officially 21! Well, at least 21 episodes into the SPA Girls Podcast… This week we dive into some really meaty content – it’s the first of a two part series on what you’ll need to have organised before you publish your book onto the various retail platforms.
This first episode talks about tax numbers (ITIN and EIN etc) and whether you need them, ISBN numbers (what they are, and why you might choose to get one), copyright for your books, bank accounts and accountants, pen names, and front and back matter in your book.
This week it’s a challenge episode, and we talk about the ways we decided to meet new people – preferably other authors who could help with the self publishing process. We all found ways to get into Facebook groups, Google + hangouts, and forums and online groups. Listen in and find out how you can find the kind of people who will support you through the ups and downs of the self publishing process.read more
This week we’re up to episode 19, and it’s an interview with paranormal romance author Trudi Jaye, yet another member of the SPA Girls.read more
Welcome to the 18th episode of the SPA Girls Podcast. This week we delve into the fascinating topic of the mental attitude you’ll need to succeed as a self publisher. It’s not a matter of just posting your book up on Amazon and waiting for the money to roll in… You’ll need a few things like grit and determination to see you through to the end result that you’re aiming for.read more
Thanks for joining us for episode number seventeen! We’re at the time of the year where we like to set some goals for the year, and we decided to sit down and discuss how we do it; things like the kind of goals we like to set, how many we set, and the things we’ve done to make our goals work for us.read more
Welcome to episode 16 of the SPA Girls podcast. I hope the new year is treating you well, and you’re excited and motivated to make this year your best one yet! In this episode we talk about a few of the different sites where you can put up your books once they’re finished and ready to go.read more
It’s our Christmas episode, and we’re hanging out at our favourite restaurant, chatting about our year, and talking about what we hope to achieve in 2016. Join us for this celebration of all the goodness in 2015, and the greatness that will be 2016!read more
This week we talked about author websites and why it’s vital for self publishing authors to have one, despite the naysayers (mostly from traditional publishers who don’t see the point).
We talk about what you should include on your website, the kind of content you should be writing, and the style of writing you should use on the web. We also talk a little bit about the technical aspects of setting up a website.read more
This week was lucky thirteen, so we decided to do an interview… with one of our own. The lovely Cheryl Phipps talks about her writing journey, from right back when the kids were little, to now, with eight books published, and more on the way! Cheryl’s the wise member of the group, so be sure to listen in and get some self-publishing and writing gems!read more
This week’s episode is number twelve – that’s right, we made it to three months! This episode was a challenge episode, and we each talked about the research we’d done on our particular genres – Trudi looked into the genre conventions of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (with a little bit of comparison between them along the way), Cheryl investigated Chick Lit and what makes it so good, Wendy waxed lyrical on the conventions of Historical Romance, and Shar rounded it all out by telling us about Contemporary Romance.read more
Welcome to the 11th episode of the SPA Girls Podcast! This week we’re talking covers. It’s a massive subject, and we’ve tried to cover the basics in this show. Having a really good cover in this crowded marketplace is a must-do. Not just a good cover, but the right cover for your book, and your genre. This will take time and research on your part, but it’s time well spent in your self publishing journey. Basically, in a nutshell – don’t try to do it by yourself! Hire a professional cover designer (not your next door neighbour’s kid) who knows and understands the industry to create a cover for you.read more
Thanks for joining us for episode number 10 of the SPA Girls Podcast! We made it to double digits! This week we talk about a really important topic for self published authors – editing. What it is, why it’s important, the kinds of mistakes we’ve made along the way and who you can get to help you through the process. Don’t miss this vital episode!read more
This week’s episode was a huge amount of fun for us… We did our first ever proper interview (if you don’t count the one we did with SPA Girl Wendy Vella) with author Toni Kenyon! Toni was a delight to have on the show, and she was a wealth of information on being a self publishing authorread more
For the eighth episode of the SPA Girls podcast we talk about finding your tribe. But what if you’re shy? No problem! We give ideas, advice and actual resources for a wide range of places you can go to meet other authors and discuss writing and self publishing.read more
Today, we give you an overview of the whole self publishing process from start to finish!read more
We all think it’s important to have someone you aspire to be like in any career, and self publishing is no different, so we set the challenge in episode one to research someone who is successfully managing a self publishing career. Today we report back on our own personal self-publishing heroes: Joanna Penn, Courtney Milan, Lindsay Buroker and Marie Force!read more