The Happy Writer
By Patty Jansen
I've been self-publishing since 2011 and have made a stable income at it while jumping on new platforms I liked, but staying off the ones I considered a time suck.
I'll be talking about things like: do you really need to spend so much time on social media? How can you set up passive advertising? How do you diagnose what you need to improve?
I sell fiction, nothing else. This podcast is for fun.
The Happy WriterOct 25, 2022
The Happy Writer 73: Returns on Amazon
This episode of The Happy Writer deals with the infuriating issue of ebook returns, which seems to be so much more prevalent on Amazon than on other platforms. Why is this, can we do anything about it, and how can we not let it get to us?
The Happy Writer 72: Self promotion
This episode of The Happy Writer talks about self promotion, which if often an uncomfortable subject for writers. Some do too much, others do too little. But how do you know which is which?
The Happy Writer 71: When should you start advertising
When new writers ask when they should start advertising, they may be given a number of confusing, overwhelming or mutually exclusive pieces of advice. Why is this and how do you pick what's useful for you?
The Happy Writer 70: Book lists have stopped working
If you hang out in writers' groups, you will hear people say that book advertising list sites have stopped working. And while most people who regularly book promotions with these sites report that the results are genreally less, does that mean you shouldn't use these services?
The Happy Writer 69: Benefits of selfpublishing
This episode of The Happy Writer mentions some of the main benefits that I have experienced when selfpublishing, something that does not get talked about often enough: that you are liberated from the feeling that you have little chance of landing a deal and the world is rigged against you. You learn to not stake your emotional wellbeing on the chances or the outcome of a submission, and that makes you a happier person.
Here is the article I referred to in the episode:
The Happy Writer 68: Vanity presses
The Happy Writer 67: Writing diverse characters
This episode of The Happy Writer deals with using characters who are not like you in your fiction. Should you (spoiler: you should!), what are the pitfalls and how can you avoid them?
The Happy Writer 66: Building characters from lived experience
This episode of The Happy Writer discusses lived experience and how it shaped and form characters and their reactions to events, and why you should use real experiences from people you know, or published experiences, to build your character's background.
The Happy Writer 65: Point of View
Point of view is one of the bugbears of beginning writers, and one that, poorly handled, can make your book confusing. Without going into nitty-gritty, this episode explains the major principles and guidelines to adhere to.
The Happy Writer 64: AI narration
We hear a lot about AI narration becoming good enough for audiobooks, while thousands of writers hold high hopes of being able to press a button for an audiobook that they can sell. The reality is not quite like that, so this episode looks at the current state of AI narration and how and where you can use it.
The Happy Writer 63: Infodumping
If you've ever spent any time in creative writing groups or have read any of the creative writing books, you'll probably have heard that infodumping is bad. But does that mean all dissemination of information needs to be banished from fiction? Quite the opposite. There is such thing as a "good" infodump. But how would you know which is which?
The Happy Writer 62: Writing mistakes
This episode of The Happy Writer covers a few ways that editors can tell that a writer is inexperienced and that are likely to cause trouble with reader engagement.
The Happy Writer 61: The Writers of the Future workshop
Many self-published writers are seeking to cast a wider net than just to publish on Amazon. Many are looking once again at the venues that were available before selfpublishing came on the scene. Competitions, and awards are part of the industry.
What is the Writers of the Future contest, does it make sense to submit, and what about the controversy?
I attended in 2011, and in this episode I talk about mingling with big name authors, and yes, controversy.
The Happy Writer 60: Book links
This episode of The Happy Writer looks at book links: how and where to link your catalogue of books and the different options available.
Here is the URL of the Kindlepreneur QR code generator I mention: https://kindlepreneur.com/qr-code-generator-for-authors/
The Happy Writer 59: Quit being precious about words
This episode of The Happy Writer looks at a writer's relationship with words: writing the right words, or the wrong words, how many words to write, and how we should treat those words we have written.
The Happy Writer 58: The Survival Mindset
This episode of The Happy Writer deals with the mindset necessary to survive long-term in a writing career. What is the most important attribute that will guarantee that you'll be able to do this for many years?
The Happy Writer 57: The Forbidden Words
This episode of The Happy Writer goes into writing craft. Is it really true that there are lists of "forbidden" words that you don't need and what do writing teachers mean when they say your writing must be "active"?
The Happy Writer 56: Using Dictation In Your Writing
The Happy Writer 55: Mistakes beginning Writers Make
Episode 55 of The Happy Writer looks at common issues that beginning writers face, and deals with misconceptions about the writing career that beginning writers will probably need to understand before they can find success.
The Happy Writer 54: using series to increase sales
Episode 54 of The Happy Writer goes into way you can use the readers' tendency to want to read series to your advantage to passively market your entire catalogue.
The Happy Writer 53: How to get accepted by promotion sites
This episode discusses best practices for submitting books to many of the smaller promotion sites to give yourself the best chance of being accepted. Also how to make the most out of promotions.
The Happy Writer 52: Promoting audiobooks
This episode of The Happy writer looks at the very limited options we have to promote audiobooks, and what are best practices if you want to have regular audiobook sales.
The Happy Writer 51: Free or 99c?
When you promote your book, is free or 99c the best option? The Happy Writer 51 discusses your options and advantages and disadvantages of each.
The Happy Writer 50: Has publishing become too competitive?
Episode 50 of The Happy Writer looks at the claim that publishing has become too competitive and whether you should let this influence your decision to publish.
The Happy Writer 49: A Career Without Bestsellers
The Happy Writer 49 looks at how it is possible to have a successful writing career without ever having a bestseller.
If a book you wrote becomes a bestseller, that's great, and secretly we all wish for that to happen, but it's mostly out of our control, and trying to engineer a bestseller is expensive and stressful and dicey at best. It may not be a productive use of your money or time.
Not worrying about sales rankings is enormously liberating and leaves you more time for creativity and to concentrate on where you get the most benefit per sale.
The Happy Writer 48: Book Trailers
In episode 48 of the Happy Writer we look at book trailers and other book-related video, how you can produce it and what you can do with it.
With the advent and popularity of short video content on social media, the traditional "book trailer" concept is outdated, and so is its hideous price tag. You can easily and cheaply produce book-related video that you can use on social media, in ads and even on your Amazon page.
What do you need and what apps to use? Listen to this episode.
The Happy Writer 47: Drip Ads
In The Happy Writer 47 I talk about drip ads, what they are and why they can be beneficial, especially when you're just starting with ads for your book marketing.
The Happy Writer 46: Turning Ideas into Stories
The Happy Writer 46 is a craft episode in which we look at how to use your ideas and craft them into stories. Most writers have ideas files, and files of notes from which they borrow all the time. One idea is usually not enough to fill an entire novel, but it can enough for a shorter work. I discuss how short stories can be training for writing longer works if you have trouble with plotting.
The Happy Writer 45: choosing an email list provider
In The Happy Writer episode 45, we will go into the things you'll need to consider when choosing an email list provider. In the first place, why do you need one? What is the purpose of your list? How do you intend to recruit people onto the list?
The Happy Writer 44: Book covers that sell
In The Happy Writer 44, we look at how to determine what makes a good book cover, how to evaluate cover design portfolios and about having a cautious attitude towards cover design.
The Happy Writer 43: Things you don't need to focus on, ever
The Happy Writer 42: Things you don't need to focus on right now
In episode 42 of The Happy Writer, we look at a few things that are advanced strategies that you can safely ignore for the time being when you're just beginning.
The Happy Writer 41: Things you should focus on
In The Happy Writer 41, we talk about the things you should focus on for a long-term career. There is only so much time in the day and a vast array of things you can do. Which are the things that are vital for a sustainable writing career?
The Happy Writer 40: Where to keep up to date
Episode 40 of The Happy Writer deals with finding a community of fellow writers that is useful to you.
Some writing and marketing books that have author communities attached:
Help my Facebook ads suck - Mal Cooper
The Indie Mindset - Adam Croft
The Indie Author Unleashed - Robert Ryan
Advantage - Joe Solari
There are far more of these, of course. Feel free to comment with extra communities based on books.
The Happy Writer 39: What to put in your newsletter
In episode 39 of The Happy Writer, we discuss the things you can put in your newsletter. Especially if you commit to sending a newsletter more often than you have new releases, what do you put in it and how can you make sure that sending out your newsletter results in sales.
The Happy Writer 38: ARC teams and reviews
In episode 38 of The Happy Writer, we talk about ARC (advanced reader copy) teams and how to get early reviews on your books. This is important both for the presentation of the book and to cushion against early one-star reviews.
The Happy Writer 37: Trials and tribulations of editing
In episode 37 of The Happy Writer we talk about getting your book edited, especially if this is your first foray into selfpublishing. What are the types of editing? What can you expect? What do you need to look out for? What are the trade-offs you should consider?
The Happy Writer 36: Does a one star review sink your book?
In The Happy Writer 36 we look at why people write one star reviews and how you can deal with and shield yourself from the effects when this happens. Do you even need to worry?
The Happy Writer 35: becoming a better writer
Episode 35 of The Happy Writer deals with how to keep improving our writing craft, where to look for options to learn and where improvements are likely to have the greatest impact on your sales.
You can find a curated list of books for writers here: https://shop.aer.io/BooksForWriters
The Happy Writer 34: Promotions
In The Happy Writer episode 34, we explore what to expect from promotions, your tactics and strategies for getting started with doing paid promotions.
Here are some links that you may find useful. These sites list a huge variety of free and paid promotion sites that you can try:
Do realise that the last three sites are commercial and will point you at their products. I am not an affiliate of any of these sites and get no money from mentioning them.
The Happy Writer 33: Should you write about the pandemic
In The Happy Writer 33, we look at how major events, like the pandemic, and politics, will inform your fiction, and that it will be hard to avoid to at least mentioning them in passing. But you can also use events and political situations to add colour to your setting and characters.
The Happy Writer 32: Services all writers should use
In episode 32 of The Happy Writer, I give a list of services that are beneficial to the writing, publishing and selling of books.
Services mentioned are:
Email list services:
For making promotional graphics:
The Happy Writer 31: Is Bookbub worth the money?
In The Happy Writer 31, we look at the high-end advertising list service Bookbub. New writers are often advised that that is the panacea of list-based advertisers, but the cost is very steep. Are you likely to earn your money back, and how do you optimise your listing when you get accepted?
The Happy Writer 30: Aggregator or Direct?
In episode 30 of The Happy Writer, we talk about whether you should open accounts with all the retailers direct or use an aggregator. We go through the pros and cons of each and talk about some of the considerations.
The Happy Writer 29: Improve Your Newsletter
The Happy Writer 29 looks at what to do when you're unhappy with the results you get from your newsletter emails. What are the causes and what can you do to increase the number of sales you get? What should you consider?
The Happy Writer 28: Print Books
The Happy Writer 28 looks at print books. Where to upload your books, what to consider and about the traditional publishing industry and their model for distributing print books.
The Happy Writer 27: Piracy
As soon as you publish your book, it's probably going to pirated.
Why would pirates steal books from completely unknown writers, and do you need to worry about it. What are the types of piracy that will cause problems for you?
The Happy Writer 26: Social Media
The Happy Writer 26 looks at social media. Do you need to be on all of it? Is it necessary? Why should you be on social media? What are the considerations?
The Happy Writer 25: Building Your Mailing List From Giveaways
In The Happy Writer 25, we dispel a few notions about building your mailing list through giveaways. These promotions, where readers sign up in order to get something for free, often get a bad name. But is the reputation deserved?
What do you need to know about these giveaways and how should you treat the subscribers you get from them?
Listen and find out.
The Happy Writer 24: Comparisonitis
All writers deal with comparisonitis at least at some stage in their career, or even continuously. It's horrible and can be debilitating, even kill your love of writing. What can you do about it?