Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 7: An Interview with Author and Story Coach, Devlin Blake

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Guest Bio:

Devlin Blake believes that craft matters and that great stories need structure and rhythm. Learning structure early in her publishing career changed everything for her. And now she coaches emerging horror and suspense writers on everything from craft to pacing to doing away with writers guilt. Devlin is able to write four books a year thanks to the systems she’s created in her writing life. Get free access to her best systems for writing your novel in between work, life and family here.

Show Notes:

I randomly met Devlin Blake one day while I was hanging out in a Facebook group. We bonded over the fact that we’re both story coaches who had our lives and writing careers changed by finding story structure, and now we help other emerging authors with the same thing.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • You can “write” your books faster if you speak them–until I interviewed Devlin I never even considered dictation software, but her success with it has inspired me to give it a try.
  • Your first draft should tell, not show–I loved this advice, because when I write a first draft, it’s often the bare-bones story and not much else. She says that’s a good thing and she believes your first draft should be just the bones of the story, and then when you revise you find places to turn telling into showing.
  • Finding balance with writing, working full-time and having a life–even though I no longer work a traditional day job, this was advice I’d wish I had back when I was still working a job and trying to figure out how to write books and not become a social hermit.

Devlin also runs a free Facebook group for emerging horror and suspense authors. You can join her group here.

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 6: An Interview with Memoirist Marion Roach Smith

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Guest Bio:

Marion Roach Smith believes that everyone has a story to tell. The author of four books, all of which contain a large degree of memoir, her most recent book is The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing—and Life, an irreverent, quirky, provocative product of the countless memoir classes she has taught for more than a decade.

Under the name Marion Roach, she is the author of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair; the co-author with famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden, M.D., of Dead Reckoning; and of Another Name for Madness. A former staff member of The New York Times, she has written for The New York Times Magazine, Prevention, The Daily News, Vogue, Newsday, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Discover, and The Los Angeles Times. Since 1998, she has taught classes in writing memoir and now does so both in person and online. She can be found at MarionRoach.com.

Show Notes:

I had the pleasure of not only hearing Marion speak on memoir writing at the 2016 TRIBE Writers Conference, but I also was lucky enough to sit at a table with her for three days. She is FANTASTIC and has so many incredible insights about writing memoir.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Memoir is about moments of transition and transcendence–this is one of my favorite pieces of memoir-writing advice Marion shared. I’ve always thought memoir was a genre I’d never touch, and now she has me thinking about writing a memoir (listen to the episode to hear the topic I’m considering!)
  • Write from a place of phobia–I loved hearing her say this, because I’m someone who overcomes fears by facing them head-on.
  • Read above you–rather than reading at the level you’re used to, if you want to learn how to write better, you must read above you, by finding authors who are better writers and studying what they do.

Be sure to check out Marion’s book–The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life, available now! 

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 5: An Interview With Best Selling Author Chandler Bolt

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Guest Bio:

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-4-06-03-pmChandler Bolt is the author of 5 best selling books including “Book Launch” and his most recent book, “Published.” He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Through his books, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.

Show Notes:

I’m not gonna lie–I was geeking out a bit when Chandler agreed to be a guest on my podcast. I’ve been following his work for a while now and I’m a huge fan of him and what he’s created in the world (not to mention he has some pretty good travel hacks 😉 ).

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Don’t take your old book down, even if you write an updated version of it–this was something I was actually thinking about doing because I’m in the process of updating some of my eBooks. Until I heard Chandler’s reasoning for why you shouldn’t do this.
  • Meditation app recommendation: Headspace
  • Book recommendation: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Be sure to check out Chandler’s new book, Published, it’s available now!

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 4: An Interview with Kindlepreneur Founder, Dave Chesson

You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Dave Chesson is an 11-year veteran of the Navy and the founder of Kindlepreneur.com, a site that provides Kindle authors with the tools they need to help more readers find their books.

Show Notes:

I met Dave at Jeff Goins’ TRIBE Writers Conference, and right away knew he was someone I needed to talk to for this podcast. He not only runs a popular website that helps Kindle authors find more readers, but he’s also a best selling author himself, and has created a successful business where he now gets to work at home and hang with his kids.

In other words, he’s freaking awesome.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Amazon keywords don’t just work for nonfiction books–fiction authors can also take advantage of keywords to help more readers find their books
  • When you search for keywords on Amazon, you should use “incognito mode” on the Chrome browser, so Amazon doesn’t know it’s you searching (apparently if Amazon knows it’s you, it skews the search results and shows you different stuff than if it’s someone else searching)
  • You can use the same keywords from Amazon to create your Facebook ad copy, which can help you convert readers into book buyers

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 3: The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes

Show Notes:

In this episode, I talk you through my bestselling author mindset formula–the one that helped me go from unfulfilled author to 2x best selling author in multiple categories, with 5 new books written and launched in the past 5 months, and selling an average of 1,000+ books a month. THIS will change EVERYTHING for your writing life, if you let it.

Here are links to things I mentioned in the episode:

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 2: An Interview with Best Selling Novelist, Rocky Callen

Guest Bio:

Rocky Callen is a bestselling novelist and the author of the forthcoming nonfiction book, The Audacity of Creation. She pulls on her writing and publishing experience as well as extensive behavioral therapy background to create a experiences that not only allow a women to finish their manuscripts, but also support them in their journey so that by the end they are confident authors ready to be seen and celebrated as a thought leader. The same framework of mindset, strategy, healing, and expression is the same for any creative struggling to bring their art to the world. She supports her community through her free Facebook community (The Bleed Ink Tribe — facebook.com/groups/TheBleedInkTribe), and through international workshops and retreats.

Show Notes:

I loved chatting with Rocky! Mindset is a big part of how she’s created her success. In fact, it’s a big part of how she got up the courage to finally write and publish her novels. Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • A mantra for any writer who needs to give herself radical permission to do the writing: “I am worthy and able”
  • Relationships and connections are so important to successfully marketing a self-published book, so build these up as much as you can prior to launch day
  • Search Twitter (and other social sites) for hashtags people are using in order to find people who are interested in your book topic (Rocky shared a killer tip for how she used this strategy to get major visibility for one of her books)
  • See yourself as a servant leader for your target readers–connect your books to your bigger purpose
  • Find ways to associate pleasure with doing your writing, that way your mind is tricked into actually wanting to sit down and write

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The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 1: An Interview With Trade-and-Self-Pub Author, Elizabeth Craig

You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes (it’s free!)

Guest Bio:

Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink, and also writes and publishes independently. She blogs at ElizabethSpannCraig.com/blog, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. Elizabeth curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine WritersKB.com.

Show Notes:

The thing I enjoyed most about talking to Elizabeth is how freaking strong her Pro Writer Mindset is. She was rejected by agents 110 TIMES!!! Most writers would’ve thrown in the towel long before that, but she just framed it in her mind as “this wasn’t the right agent for me.”

Some additional takeaways I had from this interview:

  • Elizabeth actually got the “rights to her characters” back from her publisher so she could continue writing stories about those characters and their worlds, but self-publish them instead.
  • She recommends using your book reviews as feedback for how you can improve–especially if the same problem is mentioned over and over again.
  • Collect all the stuff you’ve written that you really love–blog posts, passages from your fiction, emails from readers–and keep them all in a folder on your computer. On the days when you’re feeling like you suck, are feeling overwhelmed or like you can’t do this, you can go back and read through these passages and be reminded of why you’re doing this and how good you really are. It really puts it into perspective.
  • Ask yourself–what’s the bare minimum I know I can write every day? 100 words? 1 page? Figure out what the bare minimum is for you, and then commit to doing at least the bare minimum every day. This will create consistency and progress, and that will motivate you to keep going.
  • Pro writers have a BUSINESS mindset–they think about their readers when they’re writing and creating their books and other content.

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