Ask Us Anything 5/28/2015

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In the indie publishing world of rapid releases and blistering word counts, it's easy to end up burned out with subpar work, and a loss of the enjoyment that once fueled your craft.

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39 Replies to “Ask Us Anything 5/28/2015”

  1. Terry

    This is a two-parter:
    1) What role does Sterling and Stone serve versus your various imprints, Collective Inkwell, Realm & Sand, etc.? Are they set up as separate businesses?
    2) What did you have to do (legally or otherwise) to establish them?
    Regards, Terry M.

  2. S T Cameron

    I just listened to Episode 10 of Smarter Artist and noticed that you have hardcover versions of some of your books. I would love to hear who you use to print your paperbacks and hardcovers.
    Thanks for putting out so much information about what you try and do.

  3. Margarita Gakis

    HI There, I have a question I’m hoping the guys could address in one of their podcasts. Over the last year, the big thing I’ve heard about is building the email list. While I think it’s a great tool, what about “List fatigue” of readers? I ask this because as an author, I’ve started building my list and would like to continue as I can see the value in contacting readers directly. But as a READER, I see it EVERY WHERE now and it’s starting to wear me out. I’m getting a lot more emails than previously and I’m considering unsubscribing. I’m interested to know what the group thinks of this. Valid concern? Or worrying for nothing?

  4. Michael Coon

    Is there a list of the podcasts on your new network? The /FM page on the site redirects to iTunes and wants me to install their app, but I’m on Android. Given the title, my podcast app will find the feed just fine, but I can’t find titles and descriptions outside of iTunes except for what I remember from the podcast.
    Thanks for all the great content you guys create!

    • Maya

      On the front page of the site, there is a navigation field called “sterling & stone FM podcast network. If you hover over it, a dropdown menu appears of all the podcasts. I hope that helps.

  5. Kirsten Snead

    Hey guys I don’t know if you will see this but I have a question about how you plot out your stories. I’ve been doing a lot of research and many people have their opinions about plot structure. I’ve researched dramatica and it is very complicated. Some are not as complicated. How do you guys ensure that you have all the elements a good story should have? Do you have a specific method that you use? I want to just say I love your show. I’m 22 years old and you guys are my Hero’s. Thank you for being awesome.

      • Jon

        You do realize you included chapter one of Contact on the Invasion audiobook, right? A teaser for something that doesn’t exist. Sorry, but that’s pretty sh*tty business practice.

        • Sean Platt

          We have nothing to do with that. Podium Publishing has the rights to Invasion audio. And Contact is in post-production right now. But having said that, I have no problem with a teaser chapter at the end of Invasion. That makes perfect sense and is something that books do all the time. Often before the second book is even fully written, let alone published. This will have a short time between them (I’m not even sure what’s holding it up now), but I hardly think that’s “shitty.” Thanks for reading, though. I’m glad you enjoyed Invasion enough to want the next one!

  6. Jason Eric Pryor

    I’ve been watching some of Mark Dawson’s videos on book marketing. He just mentioned a product that will be available soon. Have you guys heard of Book Funnel? It sounds amazing! Basically, it provides your readers the option of how to download your book. For example, if you’re giving away a freebie, they can click on the link and it takes them to a download page for your freebie. They have options like, “Download to my Kindle”, “Download the file manually”, etc. This takes away all of the questions from those that don’t really know how to side load the book to whatever device they’re using. This sounds like a huge leap forward for those trying to give away freebies or those that simply want to sell books directly. I’m just curious what your thoughts on this are and if you guys plan on using it. If so, how do you plan to use it? Thanks!

  7. Richmond Camero

    This is a question about your podcasts. Not sure if I’m just missing something. I’ve been wanting to listen to the other podcasts (i.e. The Walking Dave, Smarter Artist, etc.) but when I check the podcast feed in iTunes, the ones listed are only the latest 10 episodes. So when I subscribe to the feed, I don’t get all of the podcast episodes. I’m aware that I can listen to them here in the site or that I can download the mp3 files, but if there’s a way where I can load all the episodes through the feed, I would love to know.
    Thank you very much for your time. Can’t wait to listen to all of your podcast episodes!

    • Maya

      Thank yo so much for bringing this to our attention. We are working at a way to fix the feeds so they’ll hold more episodes, but it may be a bit before the feed is adjusted.

  8. Katie

    In the itunes podcast app, today’s episode is called “Staying Healthy White Sitting as a Writer”. I think it’s supposed to be “While”, not “White”.

  9. Brian Switzer

    Hidy, fellas-
    I’m having trouble with my chapters, specifically their size and uniformity. Is there a word count range that my chapters should aim for, and does it matter if some are much longer than others?
    I’m going to publish the first two books of a series and an introductory novella at the same time. I’m halfway through book two.
    In the first book, most of my chapters tied up neatly between 1800 and 2700 words. There were a few longer ones, but not by much. But so far this second book is all over the place. I’ve written eleven chapters. Six of them range from 2,000 to 3400 words, but two are in the four k range and three are in the fives.
    I try to contain each beat in its own chapter. What I mean is chapter one is my characters getting ready for a meeting, chapter two is the meeting, and chapter three is how the meeting impacts the story, with a cliffhanger to the next beat at the end of the third. (That’s just a made-up example.)
    So what I’m trying to figure out- if there are ‘normal’ chapter-lengths, is it better to violate those norms, or to spread a particular beat out over more than one chapter. If none of this makes a bit of sense let me know and I will send you an outline of the chapters and scenes I have so far- that’ll make it clear, I think.
    I’ve absorbed just about everything you guys have produced since November 2014, and I don’t recall anything about chapter length coming up. I don’t know if that means I’m the only person who’s ever been dumb enough to wonder if it matters or if I’m giving you guys the chance to discuss an overlooked topic.

  10. Jennifer

    My question is about when you give away a book for free. Do you create a code for a free ebook? Are you giving away a pdf file they can copy and share or is it a one time download code? Getting ready to self-pub my first book so maybe I’d figure this out along the way, however I haven’t yet.
    Thanks!

    • Jennifer

      Just got the answer by listening to Podcast #189 with CJ Lyons. She uses book funnel to do the job. Looks great. Thanks for all the time you guys put into sharing the self-pub nuggets with us newbies!

  11. Peter Knyte

    Hi Guys,
    I’ve just published my first title on Amazon called ‘ The Flames of Time’ and have opted into Select because of the various promotional advantages, inc KU, fixed term price discounting/free download etc, but ultimately I’d like to go wide.
    Having said that I have no idea what promotional tools exist on the other platforms, though I’m guessing they’re going to be similar to Amazon.
    Can you shed any light on the subject please? As a newbie author I’m not thinking of looking at any kind of paid advertising until I’ve got a few more books out.
    All the best
    Peter Knyte
    UK

  12. Mark

    Hey, first off thanks for the podcast, and I’m enjoying write publish repeat! I’m writing my first novel. It’s literary, but highly plotted. It may even be a mystery! Anyway…my question: I’m concerned that anything I write now ties me to a certain kind of fiction, or gives me a certain aesthetic. Should I be worrying so much about a “brand” at this stage? Cheers ,

  13. Mary

    Not a question, just a comment: been listening to your podcast for several years since being introduced to you on Joanna Penn’s podcast. Have grown to love you all and really look forward to your show. But particularly appreciate your last cast on gratitude. I so needed to hear what you had to say, and the timing was perfect. I appreciate all of you and have a particularly warm place in my heart for Sean because he’s relentlessly positive and seems like a great dad to his kids and devoted partner to Cindy. Gives me something to aspire to in knowing that you can have a healthy, balanced life and still do what you love for a living. Rock on, you guys. So grateful for YOU. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO FOR THE REST OF US WRITERS!!

  14. liz

    Sean mentioned in a Smarter Artist podcast that he uses Asana. I love Asana but don’t really know how to use it for writing workflow. I find it either tedious or useless for writing as I either doesn’t break the task down enough (“book due 5/2!” — which, no shit, I already knew that) or break it down too much (“write 1,000 words a day” “write 1,000 words a day” “write 1,000 words a day”…and then give up because ain’t nobody got time for inputting/checking off tasks). A blog post or a video or podcast on this would be so helpful!

  15. Lizzi Tremayne

    Hello gentlemen!
    Thanks for the opportunity to ask!
    I use Scrivener, and now have both a Mac Mini desktop and a Macbook Pro.
    I can use iCloud, and am wondering how the best way to work on both laptops on same project (novel), NOT simultaneously, but sequentially, might be.
    I make more backups than you can imagine, but wonder if there’s a way to synch them automatically that any of you have found?
    Thanks in advance,
    Kind regards from NZ,
    Lizzi

  16. Penny

    I heard a quick reference while listening to your podcast this morning about signing up for a writing ‘bootcamp’, but don’t see anything about it on your website. Where do you go to sign up or say that you’d be interested in signing up?

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