SFFMP 170: Keeping an Older Series Selling, Nebula Awards, and What SFWA Can Do for You

On this week’s show, military science fiction author and retired Marine colonel Jonathan Brazee joined us. We talked about the wisdom of sticking to one genre and writing a series and spinoff series all in the same universe, and how that can help with marketing. It doesn’t hurt to be prolific, either! We also talked about SFWA, where Jonathan is the Chairman of the Education Committee and doing a lot to help indie authors inside of the organization.

Here are some more specific details of what we covered:

  • Jonathan’s road from his first published short story in 1978 to being a full-time indie author of more than thirty novels of (mostly) military science fiction.
  • Why he recently decided to accept a traditional publishing contract.
  • The wisdom of focusing on one genre, for the most part, and building a universe where multiple series intersect with each other and can each work to lead readers into the universe as a whole.
  • Some tropes in the military SF genre that authors would be wise to pay attention to.
  • Whether it’s harder now to break into military SF than it was a few years ago.
  • How Jonathan got involved with SFWA and why authors may want to consider joining if they qualify.
  • The networking benefits of going to conventions and getting involved as a panelist.
  • Being nominated for the Nebula awards.
  • What forms of advertising Jonathan is using now that are working for him.
  • What he’s doing these days when he launches new books.
  • The importance of setting realistic expectations and realizing it’s probably going to take more than two novels if you want to make a career of writing.
  • The types of covers Jonathan likes for his military SF and why he’s thinking of redoing some of his early ones.
  • How he keeps his older series selling years after he’s completed publishing them.
  • Advertising older books in a series when it’s time to release a new installment.
  • Keeping in touch with one’s fans and realizing how much your work can mean to some people.

As we mentioned in the show, Jonathan is one of the nebula award finalists in the novelette category with his story, “Weaponized Math.” If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it in the 99-cent Expanding Universe: Volume 3. You can also find the rest of his titles on Amazon.

If you’re a member of SFWA and want to vote for the nebulas this year (or if you just want to read the stories), you can find the list of the 2017 nebula award finalists here.

 

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SFFMP 169: Writing Across Genres, Getting New Books to Stick, and Epic/Military Fantasy with David Estes

This week, David Estes–author of dystopian fiction, children’s fiction, and epic fantasy (with more genres on the way)–joined us to talk about jumping into epic/military fantasy last year, how he managed to launch well into a new genre, and how he’s kept his books in the category top 100s on Amazon for the last year. We also discussed how he got his books picked up by Podium Publishing for audiobook versions and some of the challenges of marketing audio.

Here are some of the specifics that we covered:

  • The various subgenres of fantasy and science fiction that David has written in and whether it’s been harder or easier to find success when he’s been “genre hopping.”
  • The relatively recent addition of “military fantasy” as a category on Amazon.
  • Common tropes or what readers expect from military fantasy as a subgenre.
  • Having audiobooks produced through a publisher verses producing your own through ACX.
  • Some of the challenges of marketing audiobooks and the importance of finding a good narrator.
  • How much better longer books often do when it comes to audiobooks (due to the Audible credit system).
  • Why David rapid released his first three epic fantasy novels and if he’ll do it again for his next series.
  • Keeping the momentum and publishing regularly even when you’re working a day job and writing long novels.
  • The advertising and group promos that helped David with his launch into a new genre.
  • How much he’s spending on advertising and what’s working best for him (hint: Bookbub’s pay-per-click ads) to keep his first book in the Top 100 for epic fantasy month in and month out.
  • Whether people are willing to tolerate a higher price point on longer novels.
  • Adding bonus content such as short stories to the end of novels (especially those in Kindle Unlimited) rather than selling them as 99-cent stand-alones.

Visit David’s website to see what he’s up to or check out his books on Amazon. You can also visit his Goodreads fan group, which he talked about during the interview, or follow his progress with his new Patreon page.

 

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