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The Bestseller Experiment

Join author and screenwriter Mark Stay with coach and entrepreneur Mark Desvaux, as they discover the secrets to writing a bestseller and challenge themselves and you to write, market and self-published a bestselling book in just one year. Each week, they are guided by and interview million-selling, chart-topping authors, publishers on the inside, editors, agents, social media specialists, and many more big names who play a part in the bestseller process. From the writing to marketing, plotting to publishing, learn the secrets to help you write your way to the top of the charts.
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Now displaying: Category: Writing
Sep 16, 2018

Lisa Cutts works for Kent Police as a full-time detective constable, but when she’s not solving murders and other serious crimes she writes bestselling crime fiction. We caught up with Lisa on the hottest day of the year after an event at Harbour Books in Whitstable and discovered how Lisa’s experience gives her crime fiction added authenticity...

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Sep 7, 2018

Miranda Dickinson is a Sunday Times bestselling author, shortlisted twice for the RNA Novel of the Year, and has sold over half a million books. Her story is one of determination, rejection, grief and triumph.

In this episode you will discover…

Why Doctor Who fans can make for brilliant beta readers (and a great publication community)

How a cool opening line can lead to a fully-fledged bestseller

And why you should never listen to advice from a 17-year-old guy you fancy...

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Sep 7, 2018

In this Deep Dive we explore newsletters with digital marketing consultant Julia Pidduck who brings years of experience working with indie authors and bestselling giants like Ian Rankin.

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Sep 2, 2018

John McGhie has been an investigative journalist for the BBC and Channel 4 News and was the Observer’s political correspondent, and his debut novel White Highlands looks at the Mau Mau and a dark period in history.

In this episode you will discover…
- The pros and cons of adapting recent history into fiction

- The challenges writing a story set in two time periods

- The essential resources for writing historical fiction

- The challenges of cultural appropriation

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Aug 7, 2018

In this week's Deep Dive is a discussion, Mr. Stay discusses Romcoms with literary agent and romcom devotee Federica Leonardis in this special Deep Dive.

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Aug 5, 2018

This is not the usual ‘How do you get an agent?’ show, instead we talk about money, author’s earnings, shrinking advances, publishers’ profits, and that letter from the Society of Authors to the Publishing Association (and we get sidetracked into a conversation about socks)…

In this episode you will discover…
- How the income from a typical book sale breaks down between retailer, publisher, agent and author

- Should you check an agent’s credentials before signing up with them?

- How else can you make money as an author?

- And why you should never send an oven glove in with your submission...

- Here are some of the links we talked about in the show…

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jul 29, 2018

You may know CL Taylor as the Sunday Times bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Lie, The Accident, The Fear and more… but it wasn’t always that way. As Cally Taylor she wrote romcoms, and has a career with more than her fair share of ups and downs that might have made a lesser mortal give up. But not Cally! Get inspired with a fun trip through an incredible career...

In this episode you will discover…
- How marking-up the best bits of a bestseller can help you

- Why you’re never too young to get a rejection or indeed have a rivalry with another author...

- How a baptism of fire in a short story bootcamp changed her writing style

- How CL Taylor came from a voice in Cally’s head (when she was heavily pregnant)

- Why a big advance doesn’t necessarily equal a successful book

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jul 23, 2018

Veronica Henry is a Sunday Times bestselling novelist who started out as a writer on BBC radio’s The Archers after being kicked out of university, and then went on to win the RNA novel of the year award for her book A Night on the Orient Express. When we caught up with her, she had been indulging in cake and champagne… and we find out why...
In this episode you will discover…
- How a recipe book inspired a bestseller

- Why Veronica is sort-of both a plotter and a pantser

- Tips for working with editors and why they’re not as savage as TV script editors

- And why we should all worship Jilly Cooper

Jul 16, 2018
  • Steve Cavanagh is the author of the Eddie Flynn legal thrillers The Defence, The Plea, The Liar and now, with his new book Thirteen, he is on the verge of a bestselling breakthrough. Steve brings his legal expertise to his writing and creates compelling characters and nail-biting thrillers, and co-presents the Two Crime Writers And A Microphone podcast… Which we’re not going to plug on the show. No way.
    In this episode you will discover…
  • Why a screenwriting rejection from Frances Ford Coppola shouldn’t get you down
  • Why holding your nerve when told to scrap your book can pay dividends
  • Top tips on keeping your series character fresh and making your antagonists compelling
  • Why it’s so important to be a fan of your genre and to become a member of the genre’s community
  • And how to announce to an editor that what you’ve written is something different...
Jul 13, 2018

This week's Deep Dive is a discussion with Julian Barr about Beta Readers.

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Jul 8, 2018

Warren Adler is best known for his classic bestseller The War of the Roses and has had the most incredible career as a writer of novels, stage plays, poems, essays and short stories. He was also an eBook pioneer and paved the way for countless indie authors. Warren’s first novel was published when he was 46, and his story is one of dreams and determination.

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jul 3, 2018

This week's Deep Dive is a discussion with Sam Missingham.

 

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Jul 2, 2018

The highlights from our live show with Children’s Literary Agent Amber Caravéo! Amber was formerly a commissioning editor at Random House Children’s Books and Editorial Director at Orion Children’s Books and is co-founder of Skylark Literary - an agency specialising in children’s authors. Amber has worked some incredible children’s authors including Liz Kessler, Caroline Lawrence, Holly Black and the Rainbow Magic series.
We were delighted to welcome her to the Youtube Live show that we host exclusively for our Patreon Chart Topper supporters.

 

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jun 22, 2018

Mr. Stay spoke to a pair of his TV writing heroes at the MCM Comic Con in London recently. Rob Grant is the co-creator of the classic science fiction comedy Red Dwarf, and Andrew Marshall is best-known for the BBC comedy Two Point Four Children. Together they have created a fantastic BBC radio comedy series and accompanying novel The Quanderhorn Xperimentations. They talked about its creation, how they work together and with the cast, and we also get a mini-comedy writing masterclass and an exclusive excerpt from the audiobook (with thanks to Orion Audio).

In this episode you will discover…

  • Tips on writing with a partner and why visualisation is so important
  • Why it can be important to have your concept clear before you write
  • How situation, character and comedy come together for the perfect sitcom
  • And why writing is like looking for a perfect table


The Quanderhorn Xperimentaitons will start on BBC Radio Show 4 on Monday 25th June at 11:30 am, or you can listen via the BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b8cx2z

Jun 16, 2018

Crowdfunding is an increasingly common and way for authors to make their project come to life. But how to do this if you’re queasy about asking for money? Jimmy is the Head of Crowdfunding at Unbound Books and he talked us through to dos and don’ts of raising money for creative projects.

In this episode you will discover…

  • Effective strategies for making your crowdfunding campaign work
  • What motivates people to pledge and why the personal touch works so well
  • Why you shouldn’t rely on social media alone, and how to use it more effectively
  • And how to build your crowd, realise your value, and what do when people say no...

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jun 10, 2018
  • Gareth L Powell is one of the most generous authors on social media and a font of writing wisdom. He’s also the award-winning author of the Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy, his short stories have appeared in Interzone, Clarkesworld, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and he has written for The Guardian, The Irish Times, 2000AD and SFX. With his new book Embers of War he has returned to his love of space opera. We discussed apes, outlining, and answered a few listener questions...
    In this episode you will discover…
    An outlining method that will help you work through the muddy middle
  • What you can offer to your Patreon and Kofi supporters to create a community and generate revenue
  • How to deal with characters who insist on hanging around in your story
  • And how a short story about a monkey became an award-winning trilogy...

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

Jun 10, 2018

This week's topic of adaptation came from one of our Patreon supporters and listeners Julian Barr, who joined me to discuss the various methods for adapting from one medium to another, including radio, epic poems, novels, TV and feature films. 

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

 

Jun 4, 2018

In this Deep Dive we take a look at one of the hardest parts of being a writer: coping with criticism. It can come in many forms: from writing groups, reviews, social media and more. We look at strategies on how to deal with criticism and how you can make it work for you.

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Jun 3, 2018

Julie Wassmer is an EastEnder who has written for EastEnders and she’s now bumping off the locals in her wonderful series of novels The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries. I met Julie by the seaside on a beautiful summer’s day at Whitstable and we chatted about the town, its strong sense of community, and how it has influenced her writing. Julie’s new book, Disappearence at Oare, is out now!

In this episode you will discover…
- Why location is so important to a novel

- How to keep a series character fresh

- And why you should live in fear of a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

May 25, 2018

Sharon Bolton (aka SJ Bolton) is the bestselling and award-winning thriller author of the Lacey Flint series and her writing continues the tradition of gothic mystery, mixed with the pace of page-turning modern crime thrillers. It was great fun to discuss her new novel, The Craftsman, we played backlist bingo, and we answered listener questions.
In this episode you will discover…
- Tips for historical research and how you can turn local history into thrilling fiction

- How you can keep readers on the hook with delayed gratification

- How your short stories can interlock with your novels and create a greater universe

- And why you have to write the books you love to read

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

May 20, 2018

This week we go to the movies with writer/director Deborah Haywood whose debut feature film Pin Cushion will be released in cinemas in July…

Deborah is BIFA-nominated and was one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow and she’s an incredible writer who deftly combines the deeply personal with the magical.

  • In this episode you will discover…
    How an obsession with being a writer can get you on a movie set
  • How writing without compromise and self-censorship can pay off
  • How the screenplay development process works for independent filmmakers
  • And strategies for dealing with notes (involving a hot bath, long walks and chocolate)

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

May 14, 2018

Another special YouTube Live episode featuring Orion editor Ben Willis with contributions from our wonderful Patreon supporters! Ben worked in book publicity for Transworld and Headline before joining Orion, where he now works as a commissioning editor for Orion Fiction. If you want to get involved with our live shows, become a chart topper patron here: https://www.patreon.com/bestsellerexperiment

In this episode you will discover…

- Some top tips for your book’s metadata to make it more visible online

- We talk style, language, character perspectives, voices and tenses that you can use to make your work stand out

- What publishers look for in indie authors

- And is there such a thing as too much editing…?

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

May 5, 2018

Win Kelly Charles is a bestselling indie author who has publicly declared that she’s stepping away from Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. We talked about Win’s decision, how it affects her reach as an author, and her inspirational writing journey as someone born with cerebral palsy.

In this episode you will discover…

- How you can write a bestseller with an iPhone

- Why you’re not alone in struggling to reach readers on Facebook

- And should you delete Facebook?

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support
Our novel Back To Reality is out now bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

May 5, 2018

Writing short stories is hard! Cramming great character and story into just a few thousand words is a skill few writers master, but here are some tips to help you get started...

Hear more at http://bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Apr 23, 2018

Ed McDonald broke onto the fantasy scene with his incredible debut Blackwing in 2017 and has had an amazing year. He’s living the dream! Then a few weeks ago he wrote a very honest blog titled ‘Dear Debut Authors of 2018’ in which he asked the question, “What next?"

In this episode you will discover…

  • How to prepare for and navigate the first year of the publication of your book
  • Sales anxiety and why you need to treat your writing as a business and a career
  • How much should you act on reader feedback for your second book?
  • Top tips from Ed for writing fight scenes (he’s handy with a sword in real life, too!)
  • And here’s Ed’s original blog: https://edmcdonaldwriting.com/2018/03/10/dear-debut-authors-of-2018/

To support the show go to bestsellerexperiment.com/support

Our novel Back To Reality is out now  bestsellerexperiment.com/backtoreality

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