The Worried Writer Episode #47: Adam Croft ‘Just Crack On’

My guest today is Adam Croft. With more than a million books sold to date, he is is one of the most successful independently published authors in the world. His psychological thrillers include the hugely successful Her Last Tomorrow and Tell Me I’m Wrong, and his Knight & Culverhouse crime thriller series has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide. Adam’s Kempston Hardwick mystery books are being adapted as audio plays and he has just stepped into non-fiction with The Indie Author Mindset. Adam has been made an honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his achievements and he runs a crime fiction podcast with fellow author Robert Daws.

For more head to AdamCroft.net or find Adam on Twitter or Facebook.

Adam’s podcast for crime fiction fans: Partner’s in Crime

IN THE INTRODUCTION

I recorded this introduction on 20th December 2018 when I wasn’t quite ready to set my 2019 goals. They will go up in a blog post next week and I will discuss them in February’s episode.

Also, I reveal another new novel! My supernatural thriller, THE LOST GIRLS, is out this month. Huzzah! If you are interested in my fiction, do visit sarah-painter.com and sign up for my reader newsletter.

I give thanks for the wonderful Patreon support. 

I love the ‘community within a community’ that we’ve created over on Patreon and I really enjoy making the audio extras (which go up in the middle of every month).

Thank you so much to everyone supporting The Worried Writer in this way – it means so much to me.

To become a Worried Writer insider and to support the podcast head to The Worried Writer on Patreon.

THANK YOU!

 

LISTENER QUESTION

If you have a question you would like answered on the show

contact me via email or Twitter or leave a comment on this post.

 

IN THE INTERVIEW

On the pressures of success:

‘When I’m writing a book and when I finish it, the thing I always ask myself is is it better than the last one… So I think for me I’ve always had that pressure that I put on myself.’

‘I was an overnight success between my eight and ninth books, I guess, as it was my ninth book that really took off and did anymore than just paying the bills.’

On staying fresh:

‘It’s one of the reasons I dipped into non fiction and I write plays…

 

On self-doubt:

‘They all cause me trouble… I always thought that once I’d written more books I would get more confident at it… But I still get that sense of dread on release day. I still think this is the one where I will get found out… Those things don’t change, the only thing that’s changed is the amount of money that comes in from the books.’

 

On The Indie Author Mindset:

‘I get lots and lots of emails from authors asking for help and advice which is great and I’ll always help if I can, because when I started that help simply wasn’t there… I think we should all help each other. But one of the things that struck me was that a lot of the questions had their root in mindset…

 

On being professional:

‘It’s the attitude you have… You’re turning up, you’re getting the job done… You are focusing on the task.’

 

On writing life:

‘I wish I had a typical day, to be honest with you… I’m releasing normally four books a year so when I’m gearing up to a release, which is regularly, things change completely and I do a lot more of the marketing. I spend hours a day on Facebook ads and tweaking those.’

‘It moves in waves, but there’s not a typical day… I’m an author and I run the publishing company.’

 

Coping with overwhelm:

‘I’m currently working on a machine which turns 24-hour days into 43-hour ones, so that’s gonna help!’

If you can, outsourcing stuff is vital… It’s also focusing on what’s most important. Writing is what’s most important… There’s only one thing which is guaranteed to make you more money and secure your future as a writer is to get more books out.’

‘If you learn too much beforehand, things like Facebook advertising can seem like a really big and scary thing but it’s not… If you dive in and learn as you go along it seems much easier… Just crack on and do it.’

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can spare a few minutes to leave the show a review on iTunes (or whichever podcast app you use) that would be really helpful. Ratings raise the visibility of the podcast and make it more likely to be discovered by new listeners and included in the charts.

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Also, if you have a question or a suggestion for the show – or just want to get in touch – I would love to hear from you! Email me or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

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The Worried Writer Episode #19: Mark Edwards ‘Just Do It!’

ww_markedwardsMark Edwards is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers such as Follow You Home, Because She Loves Me and The Magpies. Before going solo, Mark published a number of police procedurals written with Louise Voss including Killing Cupid and Forward Slash. He and Voss also have a series featuring DI Patrick Lennon, starting with From The Cradle and followed by The Blissfully Dead which came out last year.

 

 

Mark’s latest thriller, The Devil’s Work, is out on 13th September. You can pre-order it here.

You can find out more about Mark and his books at his website, MarkEdwardsAuthor. Or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

In the introduction I reference this wonderful podcast episode from Joanna Penn and talk about my own journey over the last eight years.

Joanna talks about the value of measuring your progress in ‘Olympics’ and seeing how much you have got done or how your life as changed in four-year cycles.

It’s important to look up from the day-to-day grind and take stock of what you have achieved and to set goals for the future, and I think this ‘big picture’ overview is a great addition to the monthly and yearly goal-setting I already do!

I also mention the audio book for The Language of Spells, which I have commissioned. It should be available to buy in a couple of weeks time and you can read more/see the cover reveal by heading to my author site.

In the interview:

Mark talks us through his long – and difficult – journey to overnight success!

On writing:

‘I think that being a writer is so hard, the process of writing itself and all the stuff that goes around it, that you have to have it in you, you have to have that drive.’

 For people who want to write:

‘Just get started, just do it. And if you aren’t a writer you won’t keep going and if you are a writer, you will.’

On the writing process: 

‘I don’t think you can rush yourself, you have to have time to reflect and let the story settle in your head.’

‘I don’t plot it out, I don’t use any kind of act structure…. Somehow from reading so much, the template is there in my head and I’m writing to that without being aware of it.’

On writing dark or shocking material and self-censorship:

‘To me, books really have to divide opinion. So if I think I’m writing something that some people are going to hate or are going to be offended by, then I think it’s probably good idea to keep it in there’

‘There’s nothing worse than being bland and safe… Take risks!’

 

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

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The Worried Writer Episode #15: A.J. Waines ‘I love deadlines’

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Alison Waines publishes fiction under the name A.J.Waines and has sold over 150,000 books worldwide. Last year, she topped the UK and Australian Kindle bestseller charts with her number one hit Girl On A Train, and was also awarded the Kindle KDP Top 20 ‘Most Read Author’ in the UK. Alison used to work as a psychotherapist before publishing her dark psychological crime fiction, and she is a hybrid author, straddling both traditional and self-publishing.

For more about Alison head to www.ajwaines.co.uk or find her on Twitter or Facebook.


The Self-Esteem Journal by Alison Waines
I’m giving away a copy of Alison’s non-fiction title, The Self-Esteem Journal, as I think it could be useful for those struggling with creative self-doubt, as well as more general lack of confidence.

To be in with a chance of winning, just leave a comment on this post, or send me an email (sarah (at) worriedwriter.com) with the subject ‘win’.*

In this episode, I give a personal writing update, as well as share the news about In The Light of What We See (it’s been a wonderful first month of publication, with 99 five-star reviews on Amazon, already – whoop!).

I also mention brain.fm which uses AI-generated music to promote focus, relaxation and sleep. Although initially sceptical, I have tried the ‘for focus’ music and it seem to improve my concentration.

I heard about brain.fm via Mark Dawson’s new podcast (which is excellent) – Self Publishing Formula.

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

 


Alison reveals what it was like when a high-profile thriller was released with a title which is almost-identical to her own (already published) book.

Alison describes her journey into both traditional and independent publishing and her experiences with both:

‘One of the nice things about being hybrid is that for some of the books I have complete control over everything and I really enjoy that.’

 

 

Alison’s writing process:

‘I love deadlines!’

‘Never leave at the end of a chapter or a scene… I always want to put something that just triggers where I am for the next time I am back at my desk.’

On marketing:

‘People should play to their strengths.’

On fear:

‘I always come back to that awful terror of I can’t do this.’

Alison’s Recommendations:


On Writing by Stephen King


Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg


The Artists Way Julia Cameron


Life Choices Life Changes Diana Glouberman

 

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening! 

*Giveaway is open internationally. Ends at midnight (GMT), 25th May 2016.

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The Worried Writer Episode 13: Mel Sherratt ‘You have to face that fear’

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My guest today is bestselling author Mel Sherratt. Mel writes gritty crime dramas and, as her alter ego Marcie Steele, romantic comedies. Since 2012 she has published ten novels and she has sold over half a million books. Mel started out as a self-publishing sensation when she released her first crime thriller, Taunting The Dead, as an indie author. Within six weeks it hit the Kindle top ten and was number one in Police Procedurals. Mel has since released two more books featuring DS Allie Shenton from Taunting The Dead, four books in The Estate Series and a standalone psychological thriller called Watching Over You.


We discuss daily routine, the importance – and difficulty – of staying healthy as a full-time author, and the how perseverance wins the day. It took Mel twelve years before she became an overnight success and I think her story is both reassuring and inspirational.

 

Find out more about Mel and her books at Amazon or melsherratt.co.uk or find her on Twitter @writermels.

In the interview:

Mel on getting help with research for her police procedurals and how she turned her lack of police experience to an advantage by focusing on the point of view of the criminals and victims.

‘On the third one I think I’d realised that yes, maybe I can do this, it’s just storytelling… It isn’t write what you know, it’s write what you can go and find out and make sure it’s good.’

 

On feeling the fear but self-publishing anyway…

‘I put my women’s fiction out as a guinea pig first. So Marcie Steele I kept a secret for three years.’

 

On routine:

‘If I don’t do it first thing in the morning I will be the worst procrastinator.’

 

And fear:

‘You have to face that fear and you have to get up everyday and face that fear.’

‘I think my self doubt will always be there and I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you grounded.’

 

Books recommended:


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


Quiet by Susan Cain

Mel also loves to read lots of short ‘how to’ craft books to keep her in the right frame of mind.

Other recommendations:

Mel uses a Fitbit to remind her to move around more often and to help avoid the health problems associated with long periods of sitting still.

Mel and I are both fans of Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn). Check out my interview with Joanna in episode #8.

 

Also in the show, I answer a listener question from Susan Mann (@susankmann on Twitter). 

Susan asked:

‘I’d like to ask how you tackle editing after the first draft. I don’t have a lot of time with work & family life. It’s a daunting task of editing the whole book. Writing bit by bit was easy. But how do you break it down into a re-write that doesn’t seem over whelming?’

I give my answer in the show, but if you have any tips on editing that you would be willing to share, please leave a comment on this post.

ITLOWWS_Postcard

I give an update on my experience trying Headspace (meditation app) and mention (oh so casually!) that my new novel, In The Light of What We See, is out in one month.

Here’s the link to pre-order, just in case you are interested…

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening! 

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