Drew Hayes, superhero/litRPG/urban fantasy author, joined us for this week’s show. He got his start with web serials before Wattpad was ever a thing, and he grew a fanbase so that when he launched his first ebook a few years ago, it did great right out of the blocks. Since then, he’s started several series, including urban fantasy with a small press, and gone full time as an author.
Here are some of the details of what we talked about tonight:
How Drew started publishing his work on the web and wrote the first year of his Super Powereds story before ever creating an ebook.
Are web serials still popular, and would it be worth starting one as a new author coming in now?
Can a podcast be useful for growing a fan base?
Writing longer books (of 200,000 words or more) and pricing a little higher — will the market accept that?
Succeeding as a full-time author on about three releases a year.
Why Drew decided to sign with a small press after he’d had success as a self-published author.
How long books can be great for the audio format, since some listeners buy the longest books they can get for their monthly credit at Audible.
How Drew uses Patreon to bring in extra income and also keep in touch with his fans.
Why he’s stuck with going wide and hasn’t joined Amazon KDP Select for more than a brief trial.
His thoughts on advertising (he hasn’t done much of it!) and what’s working for others he knows who do more.
His interesting launch strategy to get a lot of reviews on release day…
Today, Seanan McGuire joined us on the show to talk about her urban fantasy and her science fiction, her rapid releases (under two different names) with traditional publishing, how she got started, and what led her to explore Patreon, where she is currently earning nearly $8,000 per short story.
**Note: a few curse words slipped out during the interview, so you might want to listen to this one with your earbuds in!
Here are a few more details on what we covered:
How writing Buffy porn led to Seanan landing an agent
Publishing quickly even with traditional publishers
Why she has two pen names (Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant)
Seanan’s experiences with two different publishers, each with different ways of going about the business (she’s with Daw and also with Orbit)
What kinds of marketing things she does on her own, what she pays for, and what the publisher pays for
Why she decided to start a Patreon campaign and how she got the word out
Why she feels like you should submit to agents and try to make it through the gauntlet of traditional publishing even if you don’t ultimately sign
What a launch of a new book looks like for Seanan these days
Tonight we chatted with fantasy author Abigail Hilton about making money from Patreon, audiobooks, and web comics as well as full-length novels. She doesn’t write in the most popular subgenre of fantasy, and she creates anthropomorphized characters for her adventures, but she’s diversifying her income and making notable money from her work.
Here’s a bit of what we covered:
Supplementing your monthly income with Patreon
What Patreon is exactly and how it works
Patreon versus Kickstarter
Getting people to sign up for your Patreon page and asking for tips versus monthly payments
Choosing rewards that don’t require extra work on your part, because they’re things you would do anyway
Using Podiobooks to find an audience versus publishing audiobooks straight to Audible
The expense of doing full cast recordings for audiobooks and is it worth it?
Finding artists to illustrate your world (and to create extras for Patreon rewards)
Creating web comics as an add-on for your regular fiction series
Hiring reliable artists and whether the expense can be worth it
Facebook ads when you’re an author in a small, less popular niche
Split testing Facebook ads for covers (figuring out which is your most popular cover option before even publishing the book)
Thanks to Abigail for all of the great information. You can visit her website, where she has free ebooks and audios available, and check out her books on Amazon.
You may have heard that the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association) is now allowing small press and indie authors in, so long as they’ve made the earnings requirements. We invited MCA Hogarth onto the show to talk about some of the changes and what they mean for indies, as well as why you might want to join.
After that, we talked a little about marketing, but Lindsay was curious about some of the extra ways MCA is making money from her work, so we also jumped into Patreon, Kickstarter, Paypal tip jars, and coloring books!
Here’s a list of what we hit on:
The SFWA, which has been around for 50 years, is now accepting small press and indie authors.
What does the organization offer and why might authors want to join? (Networking, invitations to anthologies, legal help, and more.)