SPA Girls – EP92 – Interview with Mark Dawson
Before I say anything else, let me get this out of the way… Sqeeeeeee! We interviewed Mark Dawson! OMG! *coughs* Right. Now back to the regularly scheduled blurb about this episode… This week we have a very special episode all the way from the Romance Writers of America conference where Cheryl and Wendy just spent the week schmoozing and mingling with romance writers from all over the world. They were lucky enough to tie down…er…interview a couple of great Indie authors while they were there, and this Mark Dawson interview is the first of our RWA special episodes this week. Mark was, according to Wendy and Cher, a lovely, gracious interviewee, and despite being completely starstruck, they managed to squeeze out a fantastic episode full of great advice, tips and insider information from the great man himself. 🙂
I’ve been a writer for years. I had a couple of novels published traditionally fifteen years ago, but no-one read them. (Truth be told, they’re not very good.) It was only when self-publishing became a viable way to get my books into the hands of readers that things really took off. These days, I’m a best-seller on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple. But it wasn’t always like that. I remember, very clearly, when I couldn’t sell a thing. I had good books, but no-one could find them. Reviews were impossible, and I used to do a little dance of joy whenever MailChimp emailed me to let me know that I had a new subscriber (who wasn’t also a member of my immediate family). But I am tenacious, and I love to learn. So I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars teaching myself how to make my books visible so that readers could find and, hopefully, buy them. I worked out what works and what doesn’t work, and then I used that knowledge to:
- grow a mailing list of over 40,000 readers;
- turn those readers into fans (and often friends);
- build launch strategies that have allowed me to launch my books into the top #100;
I’ve had a series bought by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint. I’ve sold the movie rights to a series to a very well known Hollywood producer. Audible have bought the audio rights to all of the books in one of my series. I speak at conferences. I consult for traditional publishing, and teach them how to use the modern marketing methods that have been at the heart of my success. Other indie writers started to ask me to help them, too. I’ve always loved the give and take in the community, and I have always been happy to do what I can. In 2015, I was persuaded to do something that could be scaled: an online course. I contacted two old friends – James Blatch and John Dyer – who I had worked with when I was in the film industry. James and John have backgrounds in journalism, education and video production. We realised that we had a very complementary set of skills. We started working together as The Self Publishing Formula and launched our first course: FB Ads for Authors. We have since added a course on Twitter advertising and now we are working on YouTube and an entry level course, too. At its heart, SPF is about teaching. We give away free master classes that hold nothing back (for example, you can use our FB entry level course to start adding to your mailing list right away). We have a podcast, where we speak to some of the biggest names in publishing. And we have lots of big ideas for the future. And we would love you to be a part of it.