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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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The Bestseller Experiment
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Now displaying: 2021
May 10, 2021

When Andrew Hunter Murray decided to end the world with his novel The Last Day he had no idea how hard it would be. His research involved astrophysics, climate migration, geopolitics, sleep cycles and much more. Andrew tells us how he achieved a balance of storytelling and worldbuilding to write what became one of the top ten bestsellers of 2020.

May 3, 2021

The dream for many authors is to see their novel made into a big-budget Hollywood movie. Debut author D. Eric Maikranz decided that he would make his dream a reality. His novel, The Reincarnationist Papers, has been adapted into a Paramount movie starring Mark Wahlberg, and directed by Antoine Fuqua. Taking a tip from his day job in IT, he was able to get the attention of Hollywood in the most extraordinary way...

Apr 26, 2021

Ellie Barker had always dreamed of becoming an author, and her debut novel The Pink Coffee Shop was ten years in the making. Ellie talks honestly about rejection, dusting herself off, finding the right editor, rolling with the punches, and discovering that dreams do come true… but might look a little different to how you imagined them.

Apr 19, 2021

How do you touch the heart of your readers? We get emotional over tea and cake with bestselling author Erica James. Erica has sold over 5 million copies of her twenty books, is winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and she never fails to break her readers’ hearts. We discover how she does it…

Apr 12, 2021

Adele Geras is one of Britain’s most acclaimed writers, and has written over 100 books for both children and adults. With her latest novel Dangerous Women she’s written her first historical thriller under the pseudonym Hope Adams. We talk about writing under a pseudonym, taking liberties with history, the challenges of writing a thriller for the first time, the benefits of editors, and why she still wants to be Judy Garland.

Apr 5, 2021

Mark Edwards is a bestselling author, having sold over two million psychological thrillers including The Magpies. Having been self-published and traditionally-published, Mark is now one of Amazon’s ‘Thomas & Mercer’ imprint’s most successful authors with five number one bestsellers. His extraordinary story will be an inspiration to any writer who’s ever faced rejection, bad publishing, bad agents, and financial ruin!

Mar 29, 2021

Catriona Ward’s first two novels Rawblood and Little Eve won awards and critical acclaim, but her new novel The Last House on Needless Street got the kind of pre-publication buzz that comes along very rarely. We spoke to Catriona about the changes she made to her career and her writing that led to her writing what Stephen King called “a true nerve-shredder”.

Mar 26, 2021

Anne Cater is the founder of Random Things Tours and has been organising book blog tours for over four years. She answers our listener questions on everything you need to know about blog tours, including when to book them, how to find a reputable organiser, how much they cost, what to expect, how to make the most of them and much more.

Mar 22, 2021

We welcome Sarah Pinborough back to the podcast to celebrate the release of the Netflix adaptation of Sarah’s bestselling novel Behind Her Eyes. We first discussed the book with Sarah way back in episode 18, and Sarah spills the beans on the TV show’s production and we discuss plot spoilers throughout, so be warned!

Mar 15, 2021

Mitch Benn is a comedian, songwriter, musician, actor and author of the Terra Trilogy, a science fiction adventure series that Neil Gaiman called “Wise, funny and human". Mitch takes us through the extraordinary story of how the first two books were published, how he overcame what could have been a disaster and completed, self-published and re-invented the trilogy.

In this episode you will discover:

  • Why it’s important to define what you’re writing as soon as possible
  • Why you don’t need to write in chronological order
  • How fonts can be your friends
  • How publishers' acquisitions process have changed recently
  • And why you should stick to your guns more often

 

Mar 8, 2021

John Yorke is one of the world’s leading lights in the art of storytelling. As former head of Channel Four Drama, Controller of BBC Drama Production and head of Company Pictures, he has worked on shows like Shameless, Life On Mars, and the UK’s most popular soap opera EastEnders. He is also the author of Into The Woods, one of our favourite books on the craft of storytelling.

Mar 8, 2021

Justine Solomons is founder of Byte the Book, an organisation dedicated to getting authors published, traditionally or self-published. Justine answers our listener questions on networking in publishing with tips for authors, what NOT to do, networking in lockdown, online events, how to prepare for networking and how to follow-up.

Mar 1, 2021

Linwood Barclay is the international bestselling author of over twenty novels, and his latest thriller Find You First is a fast-paced, high-concept, page-turner. In this jam-packed chat we discuss head-hopping, point-of-view, flashbacks, fan fiction, deadlines, writer’s block, self-doubt and more!

Feb 22, 2021

We get lawyered-up in this fascinating episode where we talk to a pair of top entertainment lawyers: Keith Mathieson is an expert in defamation and privacy law, and Paul Joseph specialises in intellectual property cases and we quiz them on the pitfalls authors should look out for when writing.

Feb 19, 2021

Maria Dismondy is the author of inspirational and award-winning children’s books such as Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, she is also the CEO of Cardinal Rule Press, a publisher dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness in children’s publishing. Maria tells us what inspired her to write, why she started her own publishing house, how she built her team and the first person she hired (and fired!), and the challenges she has faced during lockdown.

Feb 15, 2021

DV Bishop’s historical thriller debut City of Vengeance vividly takes the reader to 1530s Renaissance Florence. Writing historical fiction creates all kinds of challenges and DV Bishop tells us how it’s okay to not know everything about your chosen historical period, and why it might be a good idea to resist writing straight away...

In this episode you will discover:

Tips for historical research and exposition
Why you should let your characters drive the plot
The pros and cons of outlining and pantsing
Mr. Stay discusses his online book launches and blog tours

Feb 8, 2021

Julie Cohen is the author of over twenty novels, including the Richard & Judy bestseller Dear Thing. She also teaches creative writing workshops and is a goldmine of writing wisdom. Julie shares some insights that are game-changers when it comes to writing, from dealing with failure to planning and storytelling. Her latest novel Together is featured on the BBC’s list of books to watch out for in 2017.

Feb 1, 2021

Some chancer called Mark Stay hijacks the podcast to shamelessly plug his new novel The Crow Folk. He gets all evasive about listener questions, refuses to discuss his murky past and almost storms out of the show… three times. Nevertheless, Mark Desvaux manages to pin him down and gets the answers we all want, not least: how can I get a bar of that Crow Folk chocolate? We also have an exclusive clip from The Crow Folk audiobook read by Candida Gubbins. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for the clip.

We discuss:

Choosing and developing ideas
Working with agents and editors
Writing non-sweary period dialogue
Comparing Mr Stay’s experiences in traditional publishing, self-publishing and crowdfunding
And how you really can get your hands on that chocolate...

Jan 27, 2021

John Jarrold is a literary agent and editor who has worked with the likes of Michael Moorcock, Guy Gavriel Kay and John Courtney Grimwood. He answers our Patreon and Academates’ questions on pitching to agents, common mistakes, how self-published authors can approach agents, genres, self-representation and editorial tips on point-of-view, dialogue, words to avoid and more.

Jan 25, 2021

Bestselling indie author Caimh McDonnell makes a triumphant return to the podcast as Transworld author CK McDonnell with his new novel Stranger Times. Caimh tells us how he took everything he learned as an indie author to pitch this book to traditional publishers. We discuss launching a book during lockdown, inventive book marketing ideas, why selling humour is tricky, and being a squeaky wheel...

Jan 18, 2021

Rich Leder is a screenwriter and novelist who tells us why our brains are always lying to us, why he writes with the door open (even with young kids running around), why finishing is so important, and why — despite all that’s going on in our lives — we should write anyway. And he reassures us that his latest book — Cooking for Cannibals — is a work of fiction. We think.

Jan 16, 2021

Welcome to the first of our occasional Academy All-Stars mini episodes, where we talk to writers who have joined our academy and have done something extraordinary. JW Atkinson is a writer and teacher who in 2020 wrote 52 stories — one a week! — for his Patreon followers. JW tells us how he has been using writing as part of his healing process after an accident and how the academy is helping him achieve his writing dreams.

Discover more about the academy here: https://academy.bestsellerexperiment.com

And you will find JW Atkinson's writing here: https://jwatkinsonauthor.com

Jan 11, 2021

International bestselling author Michele Campbell’s new novel The Wife Who Knew Too Much combines thrills and glamour. Michele talks to us about the balance between plot and character, the importance of editors, breaks in writing, and making writing one of your top priorities in life.

Jan 4, 2021

Kate Harrison is a rare breed. A fiction and non-fiction award-winning author who used her insight experience with the BBC to produce a huge bestselling series of non-fiction diet and lifestyle books. We discuss with Kate about her phenomenally successful 5:2 Diet series, how she straddles the life as both a fiction and non-fiction author, and how her experience on shows like Panorama have shaped her storytelling.

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