Listen in as KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews nonfiction author Michael Rank, whose titles include HISTORY’S WORST DICTATORS and FROM MUHAMMED TO BURJ KHALIFA: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History. Mark and Michael discuss Michael’s podcast, History in Five Minutes, self-publishing from a nonfiction author’s perspective, and the challenges and rewards of translating self-published titles. Michael shares his thoughts about:
- His History in Five Minutes podcast, where Michael works to share stories about things that challenge our assumptions about the past, and the people who “shouldn’t be there” in a moment of history, according to our idea of that era of history.
- Utilizing the podcast to develop a readership, connect with fans, and promote his books.
- “Think global, act local.” There are many opportunities for independent authors to go broad and deep: broad, by reaching a global audience through online sales and translations; and deep, by cultivating relationships with niche and local readers.
- Michael recommends trying Babelcube for their translation services.
- Through Babelcube, translators earn a share of royalties, so they are invested in your success. Michael has worked with translators to get help with foreign marketing, for example, through translating reviews, Facebook posts, or tweets.
- It is important to educate yourself about writing and self-publishing, but mistakes and failures are inevitable as you work through the process of publishing. Accept and learn from these failures, and find the opportunities that work best for you. The podcast worked well for Michael, but he tried many other things along the way that did not.
- Similarly, find a writing schedule that works for your life and goals. As a PhD candidate, Michael knows that he can realistically only write for one to two hours per day.
Following the podcast interview, KWL US Manager Christine Munroe shares an exciting update: for the second year in a row, KWL is sponsoring NaNoWriMo! Starting November 1, hundreds of thousands of writers will endeavour to write 50,000 words within one month. Several KWL and Kobo staff members are participating this year, carrying on our KoBoWriMo tradition. We’ll keep the KWL blog updated with the trials and tribulations of our fearless WriMos, the great prizes we are offering this year, and more. Stay tuned!
Michael Rank is a doctoral candidate in Middle East history. He has studied Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Armenian, but can still pull out a backwater Midwestern accent if need be. He has also worked as a journalist in Istanbul where he reported on religion and human rights.
Michael’s My Writing Life feature on our blog.
Find his titles on Kobo here.
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