Episode # 57 – On Using a Pen Name and Selling 1000 Books a Day

In Uncategorized by Julius S13 Comments

TW cover

“Tattooed Writer” or “TW” for short, is a pen name for an author who writes under many pen names! In this episode of the podcast, we talk about how over just the last few years he has managed to see consistent sales of 400-600 books per day. We look at his inspiration for getting started in self-publishing, how he chose what to write, and how he actually puts together his books.

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Links:

The Secret Lair – Where TW posts about writing. No book or website links to share this week because of the pen names.

Mentions:

Armcast PodcastLong form author interviews from Armand Rosamillia

Amanda Hocking 

John Locke 

Office SpaceGreat movie

Show notes:

Pen Names

TW writes under pen names. This is so that he doesn’t have to worry what people he knows thing about his work. One of his pen names has hit the USA Today bestsellers list, the only problem with that is that he can only attach that credit to that one pen name.

Getting Started

TW started writing in the 1990s with Westerns. These were short pieces for a publisher. He submitted them to a publisher, they accepted, and from there he wrote two more. This is what he describes as his “writing practice” and where he learned to put a longer story together.

A decade later he was self publishing but in the meantime he wrote some articles for magazines and failed to get some other stuff published. In 2011 he realised what was going on in the self-published world seeing the success of Amanda Hocking and decided to start afresh.

When TW started he heard that Amazon was favouring authors that had more books on the site. He thought that by writing short he would get more attention and sell more books. He wasn’t sure in the end that having many books was helpful, so started writing longer form stuff. Longer form writing became more possible after leaving his job.

Immediately after quitting he started writing a huge amount in a panic that money needed to be made. The panic subsided after a while and production slowed to more sustainable levels. Before TW quit he was doing 15k words a month, today he is writing about 50-60k a month.

Length

Started writing serials, but has moved to series. The serials were particularly useful when he was working a job as it allowed him to get work out without having to wait long times between releases.

Switching Genres

TW writes in many genres, and does this because it keeps him interesting in the writing. He bases what he writes on two things 1) what he is interested in, and 2) what is selling on Amazon. In regard to factor two, he always aims to add a spin to the genre that will make it interesting for him to write.

Currently he is thinking that thrillers are going to be a big thing in indie writing soon, he currently thinks they are underrepresented. Thrillers are typically in the novel length so he knows that in order to test the market here is going to have to write at least one novel. In fact he says that he thinks he wouldn’t be able to know whether it is successful or not until there are three books on the market.  This makes testing the market a pretty big investment of time and money.

Writing Craft and Rules

TW and I talk for a while about the Lester Dent Plot Formula, and Heinlein’s Rules. Rather than rehash them here, I’m going to link you over to two resources:

Heinlein’s Rules

Lester Dent Plot Formula

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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Julius SEpisode # 57 – On Using a Pen Name and Selling 1000 Books a Day
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  • Shelfbuzz

    First two links in the show notes are broken

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for the heads up. Fixed!

  • Philip Harris

    As usual, I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks, guys.

    Best part for me? The shout out to Peeping Tom magazine, that’s was the first magazine to accept a story of mine 🙂

    • SimonRSP

      Ha! Excellent. In issue number 17, right? The power of the internet 😉 http://www.bbr-online.co.uk/catalogue/Items/PeepingTom.php

      • Philip Harris

        That’s the one. I can’t believe it that magazine is still available! My story is actually a piece of flash fiction but back in those days there was no such thing so the editor just called it a “short short story” 🙂

        At some point I need to post it on my site.

        • SimonRSP

          The internet never forgets…

  • LisaGraceBooks

    Great interview. Nice to be able to put a voice, accent, and a country to the person I “speak” with in the Writers’ Cafe 😉

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for listening Lisa.

  • Omigoodnessgosh, Simon–I can’t begin to tell you how much this interview resonated with me. Like TW, my bread and butter lies in novellas in multiple genres, but I’m still at the beginning of my journey, building a catalogue, and I’m always wondering if I’m doing the right thing. To find someone else who has successfully walked the path I’m following makes me feel incredibly bucked up–as opposed to something thing else, several letters further along the alphabet. 😉
    SO much relief right now!

    • SimonRSP

      Awesome Cate. I love it when RSP can inspire someone (although really, that’s the guests 😉 ) and it sounds like this episode did the trick for you!

  • Tia Davis

    LOVED this episode. I found it so very helpful and enjoyed listening to your interview with TW. I am inspired to try his method of writing novellas in a series. Also, I decided to start stalking his blog. Once again, you delivered a high quality interview, packed with relevant useful information for new writers and more accomplished writers alike. Well done Simon!

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for the nice comment Tia :). TW’s blog is excellent!