Tips for the Author Journey from Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

Photo by vesnacvorovic/

Photo by vesnacvorovic/

Today we continue our series of takeaways from Author Marketing Live with Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant who talked about what it means to be an artist and entrepreneur and how to find success. Platt and Truant are members of the self-publishing trio (including David Wright) who host the Self-Publishing Podcast and run Sterling and Stone, their story studio where they make stuff up and talk about it. These three storytellers are in it for the long haul and experiment with abandon. Here are five takeaways we gleaned from Platt and Truant at Author Marketing Live.

1. Be an artist first and marketer second. Be true to your art when you’re in creation mode, but then recognize it as a product when it comes time to sell. It’s easier to put your product on sale than your art.

2. Understand the difference between strategy and tactics. A strategy is a plan of action, and a tactic is a single goal in support of your strategy. If you rely too heavily on a single tactic, you may get caught short if that avenue closes. You want to be ready to shift direction quickly because there are plenty of surprises in publishing right now.

3. Observe other authors and then do what works for you. Pay attention to people who are successful at what you want to do, but chart your own path. Keep experimenting to see what works best for you.

4. You can’t plan to bottle lightning. Planning to get lucky is a bad strategy Lightning strikes rarely occur and almost never without substantial time and effort. To the extent that there is a formula for success it is this: Write good books that people love and want to talk about.

5. Selling direct is the future. Amazon has done a lot for indie authors, but you should understand they have a very different relationship with your readers than you do. Find as many ways as possible to interact with readers directly. One way the writers of Sterling & Stone do this is with their Platinum Readers program, a monthly subscription where readers get early access to their stories.

What’s next in your own journey to success? We invite you to share in the comments below what’s working for you and what you want to experiment with. We’ll keep providing resources and tips for your authorial journey right here. Sign up for regular updates from the Captain’s Blog: Publishing so you won’t miss any of these posts!


More Tips From David H. Lawrence XVII to Create and Profit From Amazon ACX Audiobook Projects

Today we’ll continue our series of takeaways from Author Marketing Live with David H. Lawrence XVII and his tips for creating and profiting from Amazon ACX Audiobook Projects. Lawrence is an actor, voice talent, audiobook narrator, and voice trainer. Through vo2gogo, he trains people in the technical and business aspects of voice work. In a recent post, we shared takeaways for authors who want to narrate their own audiobooks. Today we offer tips for authors who want to hire a professional narrator.

1. Decide what type of voice you want for the narration of your book. When you submit your project to ACX for auditions (the first two pages of your manuscript in PDF format), invite narrators of that description, but stay open. An unconventional voice might be just the right one for your book.

2. Look for Audible approved producers and ACX master class graduates. Listen to their auditions, research their sales, and check out their social media reach. When you find someone you like, make an offer with your requirements. Payment is usually arranged in one of two ways: You can pay a fixed rate per finished hour (e.g., $225 per hour for an eight hour audiobook would cost $1,800). In the alternative, you can propose a royalty split. Keep in mind that some books are eligible for an ACX production stipend.

3.  Stay in touch as your book is produced. Approve the first submitted segment quickly, or ask for an adjusted read. Respond to questions about pronunciation and approve chapters as quickly as possible. Memorialize your communications through ACX messages.

4. Be open to corrections to your text. Your professional narrator may catch errors that you missed and will probably have suggestions for rewording to make your audiobook more pleasing to the ear. Unless there is a compelling reason not to, follow the professional advice of your narrator.

5. Be open to being surprised and delighted. Good narrators are looking for good books to narrate and good authors to work with. Be loyal, responsive, and promote your narrator along with your book so that you both get the most out of the project.

We invite you to share in the comments below what’s next in your own journey to successful authorpreneurship. Are you ready to have a professional narrator record an audiobook for you? What other steps are you taking in your publishing career? We’ll keep sharing more Author Marketing Live takeaways and other resources right here. Sign up for regular updates from the Captain’s Blog: Publishing so you won’t miss any of these posts!