This week we’re featuring indie author and podcaster, Matty Dalrymple, host of the The Indy Author Podcast. Matty shares insights she has learned from her podcasting career, how she has found success in publishing short fiction, and why she loves writing about the supernatural.
- Matty explains how the process of producing her podcast has created a writing community and how this helped her when she left her corporate job to become a full-time writer
- Matty and Shayna compared their experiences of co-writing books with former KWL director, Mark Lefebvre, and Matty explains how she Mark were able to bring different areas of expertise to their project
- She also explains why she believes writing and publishing short fiction is a great strategy for indie authors, and how this has benefitted her in her career
- Matty talks about rapid release as a strategy, and why it’s important for writers to find what works for them individually
- She also shares some insights about producing a podcast and gives listeners tips on how they can go about starting their own podcast
- And lots more!
Matty Dalrymple podcasts, writes, and speaks on the writing craft and the publishing voyage as The Indy Author. She is the host of THE INDY AUTHOR PODCAST and the author of THE INDY AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO PODCASTING FOR AUTHORS. She is also the co-author, along with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, of TAKING THE SHORT TACK: CREATING INCOME AND CONNECTING WITH READERS USING SHORT FICTION.
Matty is also the author of the Lizzy Ballard Thriller Trilogy, beginning with ROCK PAPER SCISSORS; the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, beginning with THE SENSE OF DEATH; and the Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts, including CLOSE THESE EYES.
Matty lives with her husband and three dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
The Indy Author Website and Podcast
The Indy Author’s Guide to Podcasting for Authors
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
Wool by Hugh Howey
Transcript provided by Speechpad
Rachel: Hey, writers. You’re listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast,” where we bring you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We’re your hosts. I’m Rachel, promotion specialist at Kobo Writing Life.
Joni: And I’m Joni, author, relations manager at Kobo Writing Life. Before we get into today’s episode, we wanted to give you a heads up that, for the time being, we will be releasing these episodes on a bi-weekly basis instead of weekly. So if you miss us on those alternating weeks, we do have a large back list of over 280 episodes. It’s a great time to catch up on some of those old interviews.
Rachel: As for this week, Joni and Shayna sat down with Matty Dalrymple, who is a author of Suspenseful Novels. She is a speaker on The Craft of Writing, and is the host of “The Indy Author Podcast.”
Joni: This was a really fun conversation. It was interesting to talk to somebody else that does a podcast with Indie authors and who is, of course, an author herself, as you mentioned. Matty had a lot of great insights about things that she’d learned from people she’d interviewed on the podcast. And it was also really cool doing this with Shayna because both Shayna and Matty have collaborated with Mark Lefebvre, who is the former Kobo Writing Life director, on different projects and books. And so that was really cool to hear about. It’s a great interview and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Shayna: Okay, we are here today with Matty Dalrymple. Thank you so much for joining us.
Matty: It is super fun to be here. Thank you for the invitation.
Joni: Can you start by telling our listeners a little bit about yourself and about your podcast?
Matty: Sure. So I started out in the writing and publishing world as a fiction author. I am the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels and Suspense Shorts, and the Lizzy Ballard Thriller Trilogy. And then after a few years of writing fiction, I started “The Indy Author Podcast,” and that’s Indy with a Y. I-N-D-Y. And I talk to people about the writing craft and the publishing voyage, as I like to say. I’m very much into using nautical metaphors to frame up those activities. I’ve never found a part of the writing craft or the publishing voyage that didn’t lend itself to a nautical metaphor. So yeah, we address…
Joni: I noticed that! I thought that was cool. Are you a sailor?
Matty: I used to go boating more than I do. I had a period of time when I’m spending a lot of time on sailboats, and I had a period of time when I was spending a lot of time on motor boats. And unfortunately, I’ve sort of lost some of my entrees to those worlds. But I do have friends who are sailors or boaters, and then when I’m looking for a good metaphor, sometimes I’ll call them up and say, as an example, with the book I co-wrote with Mark Lefebvre, “Taking the Short Tack.” “It’s about short fiction. So I need a nautical term that has the word short in it.” And so that’s how I came up with “The Short Tack.” But I looked through, you know, nautical dictionaries and things like that, looking for phrases and then saying, “Oh, man that is perfect for such and such.”
Joni: I spent a lot of time sailing this summer. So I was very tickled by the nautical references. And then also when you start sailing, and people start using the language around you, you realize how, like, every single idiom in English, just about, originally has a nautical background. It’s very cool.
Matty: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Joni: Awesome. And can you tell us how did your podcast come to be. You started out in 2016? Is that right?
Matty: Yes, I started in 2016, on a very informal basis. So basically, I was a member of a local writers group, The Brandywine Valley Writers Group. And there were people in that group who had knowledge that I was hoping to gain for my own publishing voyage and writing craft. And so one person who was really expert at preparing for and giving readings, somebody else who had experience with a small press publisher, someone else who had experience reaching media outlets, and so I would interview them. And almost as a thank you to them for spending the time to talk to me about their areas of expertise, I would record the interview at that time, it was audio only, and I would put it out as a podcast, which meant that, you know, some months, I would have two or three episodes a month, so I didn’t have any, you know, it was very sporadic. And it was really, for me as a community building activity. And for other people, mainly in the writing group, who knew these people, knew them to be experts in I thought, well, I can share this information out with them.
And then in 2019, when I left my corporate job, and I decided to make a go of full-time job as a writer, and publisher, and podcaster, I realized the importance of coming to a more regular and reliable schedule. And so I started…well, by that time, I was also publishing video, which was helpful, and then I went to a weekly schedule. So every Tuesday an episode of “The Indy Author Podcast” comes out. But I have to say it’s still largely both a community building and a networking effort on my part. I would like it to become an income earning opportunity as well, but that’s definitely a long goal, not something that I’m saying it’s gonna happen in the near future term, but the opportunity to speak to people that I admire and then to share their insights with my fellow authors.
Joni: Is there anything in particular that stands out to you or a particular guest or something that you’ve learned from your years of doing the podcast?
Matty: Oh, wow.
Joni: I know it’s a big question.
Matty: Yeah, it is a big question. Well, I started down the Indie route because I’m a huge fan of Joanna Penn of “The Creative Penn.” And I’ve been thrilled to have Joanna on my podcast talking about futurist topics. So many of the things that she recommends are things that I strongly believe in, like I already mentioned, the idea of multiple streams of income, the power of Indie, and in some cases, the conversations I’ve had with my guests about, let’s say, the publishing voyage have reinforced my belief in the route I’m taking. In some cases, they’ve offered alternative perspectives that I’ve at least considered in some cases, I’ve decided they’re not for me, in some cases, I’ve tweaked my approach to accommodate them. But I just think it’s, in general, so helpful to listen to people, to speak with people who have thought deeply about a particular topic, and to exchange ideas with them.
And I’ll just also put in a plug that I just had landmark episode 100 with our mutual friend, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, talking about being the relaxed author. And then the following seven episodes 101 through 107, are with Orna Ross of The Alliance of Independent Authors, and we’re talking about the seven processes of publishing. So we’re having a series that…within a series, it’s editing, design, production, distribution, marketing, promotion, and select rights, licensing. And that was so valuable to me, because, you know, some of the things were very familiar to me. And this was going to be a good base-level resource for people who are new to it. Some of the ideas she brought up were things that I should have remembered, but had sort of drifted off the radar.
And so it was a good reminder to me, and some of them were net new ideas. And so I don’t know that I can put my finger on one topic, but it’s just that idea of always tickling the brain, always making sure that you’re keeping fresh and not getting in a rut with one’s approach to either the craft or the publishing.
Shayna: So I have something in common with you. Actually, I have a few things in common with you, which is funny. So I’m a writer also. And I see that you…like, you were just saying you wrote a book with Mark Lefebvre, called “Taking the Short Tack.” So I also co-wrote a book with Mark called “Macabre Montreal,” it’s in his series of books.
Matty: Oh, okay.
Shayna: Yeah, his series of books…
Matty: I did make that connection.
Shayna: …about ghosts stories. And was this your first co-write when you’re recording with Mark? Or have you-co written before?
Matty: No, this was my first experience. And it came about because when I had written the first two…I wrote the first two Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels “The Sense of Death,” and “The Sense of Reckoning.” And then I had an idea for a story that didn’t really fit into the Ann Kinnear world. So all my books have a theme of what happens when an extraordinary ability transforms an ordinary life. And Ann Kinnear’s extraordinary ability is that she’s a woman who can sense spirits, but I set this against the very kind of everyday world of, you know, it’s business. It’s run by her brother, they signed contracts, she has engagements, you know, as if she were a business consultant, which she kind of is.
And so I had written two of those, but then I had an idea for another story, but it relied on an extraordinary ability that was somewhat different. That became the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers. And so I started on the first of those books, “Rock Paper Scissors,” thinking that it was gonna be a standalone. And then I finished that. And I was telling the Ann fans, you know, “Just standby as soon as I’m done with “Rock Paper Scissors, I’ll be back to Ann.” And then I realized that the Lizzy story was a trilogy. So I was working away on stories two and three, but I wanted to give the Ann fans something to sort of tide them over. So I started writing the Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts. So I was publishing those as standalones on all the various retail platforms. And I contributed one to an anthology that was put in a local library, I kept one as a reader magnet for people who signed up for my newsletter.
And then I thought there’s got to be more I can do with these stories that I have. And so I was listening to Mark’s “Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing” podcast. And he made a kind of passing mention of short fiction. And I sent him a note as a patron of the podcast and said, “I would love to hear more about this idea of what can you do with short fiction, you know, would you be willing to do a podcast episode on it?” And, you know, Mark, he very graciously did. I think the title of the episode was, “10 Ways You Can Use Short Fiction to Earn Money.” And he did 13 because he’s that kind of guy.
So after that, I got in touch with him. And I said, “I think we have a books worth of information here.” And so again, he very graciously agreed. And it turned out to be a great partnership, I think, because he has huge experience in the short fiction world. I was newer to it. He also has experience on both Indie and traditional sides of short fiction, whereas I was coming to it with a strictly Indie publishing point of view. And then I think the other thing that made us, you know, it could have been a problem but turned I think out, I think, to be a strength is that I spent several decades as a project manager in the corporate world.
So I’m all about spreadsheets, and efficiency, and going through checklists. And Mark is just a people person, right? So we were able to bring both of those perspectives to the information we shared in the book. So that was a great experience. I think I got spoiled because my experience with co-authoring with Mark was so good, I’d love to hear your story about how your experience with Mark was.
Shayna: Oh, yeah, it was good. But mine was more like, he was my boss here at Kobo Writing Life. And I just badgered him into…I’m like, “Oh, so you did one about ghost stories in Hamilton and one about in Sudbury? And oh, well, maybe you wanna do one in Montreal? You know, because I’m in Montreal, so maybe we should just…” And that’s how that happened.
Matty: Yeah, it referrers to the theme of, “Come on Mark co-write a book with me.”
Shayna: Yeah, Mark’s always up for writing new books so it wasn’t hard to convince him. But yeah, anyways, that’s funny. So what do you think like, in your opinion, by using your short fiction, like, what’s the avenue that has worked out the most for you in terms of like actually being profitable?
Matty: Well, I am a big fan of putting short fiction up as standalones on the retail platforms. So I sell my Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts for 99 cents on all the retail platforms. My goal is, once I’ve gotten 12 of them, I’m gonna put them together in a collection called “A Year of Kinnear,” and then have one story that’s set in each month of the year, so that will be you know, 12, 13 new offerings I’ll have for my readers. And it’s very interesting that I can see that when somebody buys one of the shorts, they normally buy all of them, because I’ll go for a couple of days, I won’t have any sales, and then I’ll have like, one of each, you know, one of each of the stories.
So the last time I checked, I had made little over $200 from my Suspense Shorts. And that is, I think, more than I could have made if I had sold them to the kinds of traditionally published platforms that were willing to accept stories.
Shayna: Yeah, like a magazine or…
Matty: Right, from somebody who didn’t already have a big name. And so I’ve been pleased with the results. And the other thing is, of course, I’m gonna be getting whatever it is, 35 cents, 40 cents, whatever the platform supports. I’m gonna be getting that money every time somebody buys it, you know, for the rest of my life. And so that’s worked out very well for me. When I was working on “Taking the Short Tack,” with Mark, I thought, “I’m gonna try everything that we put in here,” you know, many of which I did not have experience with, but Mark did, and I did try to go down the traditional publishing route.
And also followed some of the advice of a book that I recommend people read along with “Taking the Short Tack,” which is Douglas Smith’s “Playing the Short Game,” which gives great information about the rights considerations for how you can make the most from your short fiction by making sure you retain the rights to reuse it over and over again. And I was submitting to, you know, the big names in the crime, suspense, mystery genres, because both Doug, and Mark, and I, recommend start with the top because, why not? And it was just so tedious. And it took forever. And there are still submissions that I’ve not heard back from. And that’s been a year, a year and a half, I don’t know. And I just found that the whole short fiction traditional publishing market was really not for me, because it took too long, it didn’t pay enough, and I didn’t have the patience to wait it out. It would have been fabulous to have the cachet of saying, “Oh, yeah, my story has been in “Alfred Hitchcock Magazine,” or wherever, but it just wasn’t worth it to me.
And so I found that the best route for me, both from a satisfaction and a money-making point of view has been putting it up on the retail plartforms for standalones.
Shayna: Yeah, for sure. I mean, like, because they’re shorter. So you can write them more quickly. And that’s perfect for self-publishing right? So just get them out there and use them as you can. I was also published in a couple of literary magazines, you know, right out of university after I did my creative writing degree. And yeah, I’ve been working those ever since those two dropping the name, you know, with publishing this little head and then like, never, really happened.
Matty: Why not? I mean, it might be worth it to people to pursue that for at least one story. So you do have that bragging rights. I mean, bragging rights are fun, right?
Shayna: Yeah, get that one and then you can move on.
Matty: Yeah, I would.
Joni: But the other thing is like, it’s, yes, prestige, but it’s gonna reach more readers on the retail platform. People are gonna still be reading that for as long as you have it published. Whereas I feel like the length of time when it’s a literary publication is not as long.
Shayan: Absolutely, like, that magazine has been published, not many people are reading back issues, you know.
Matty: Right the trick there would definitely be to make sure there’s a reversion clause in the contract that you’re signing with that publication. So that when a year goes by or whatever, you yourself are able to make sure it gets out in front of people again, or pursue anthologies or something like that. Because, yeah, short fiction, in my opinion, is not a moneymaker unless you can use it over and over again, in many different scenarios.
Shayna: Yeah, exactly. And now, so after writing “Macabre Montreal,” there was like, I don’t know, like year and a half ago, or maybe a little bit more. Mark was like, “Oh, we have to publish a book of shorts,” like, because there were a couple of chapters that got excluded from the book. He’s like, “We’ve got to resue this stuff.” I feel like it must have been around the time that you guys were writing your book, because he was so excited about it. And I’m just like, “Okay, we’ve got to.”
Matty: Yeah, I hope that Mark, like got something out of that experience as much as I did. And it sounds like maybe he was channeling the book when he gave you that advice?
Shayna: Yeah, that’s really funny. So we have something else in common too. So when I was looking at your Ann Kinnear’s series, and you were talking about how she’s a spirit sensor in the book, so I also write about spirits and ghosts, in my fiction. So that’s just funny. So I was just wondering how you became interested in like, you know, people who can see spirits? Do you have this power? Does someone in your family have this power? Is this just something that you’ve always liked?
Matty: Well, as with, subsequently, many of my books, the idea for “The Sense of Death,” which was the first Ann Kinnear book, started out as a scene in a movie, it played out very visually for me. And the scene, as I originally pictured it, is a woman who is able to sense spirits goes to a house at the time. It was a beautiful Victorian in San Francisco because my sister lived in San Francisco and I was visiting her a lot at the time. And she arrives at the house and she’s been contracted, you know, she has an engagement to go to the house and check it out for someone who’s thinking about buying it, because her client…she has kind of a crazy client who just wants to spend all her time looking for ghosts with Ann.
And so she shows up, and she can’t go into the building, because she has this horrible sense. The reader knows, but Ann does not know that a murder took place there. So I framed them up in Suspense Novels, because that first one was definitely you see the murder, it happens right up front, you know who done it? So it’s not who done it, it’s a “Will he get away with it?”
So I have to say that I don’t know why that first scene was so focused on someone who could sense spirits, I have never had that experience. Although my husband has had an interesting experience that he and his family many years ago, went to the Gettysburg Battlefield. And they were there at night. And they were walking across, they were going to, you know, like a particular site where a particularly bloody battle during the Civil War took place. And they were walking back in a line. And his dad was behind him. And my husband felt his dad kind of pushing him between the shoulder blades as if he wanted them to go faster. And so my husband turned around, and there wasn’t anybody there. I know.
And so, I love stories like that. And although I don’t know that I thought it through completely when I was working on, “The Sense of Death.” It’s great fodder for mystery and suspense, because there’s really no limit to the trouble that Ann can get into by talking with dead people, and either finding out things that no one else can find out or, you know, conveying messages that no one else would be able to convey. So the topic interested me and, as I said, my books are what happens when an extraordinary ability transforms an ordinary life? And I just think that that idea of you change one thing, you change one thing in an otherwise normal world, I think it’s fascinating.
So a couple of books that I have seen that do that are Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly books. So her Sookie Stackhouse books are sort of different. There’s a whole big world of weirdness going on there. But I didn’t discover her Harper Connelly books until fairly recently, because I was watching a thread on social media. And one of my Facebook ads that I’m running says…bless the heart of whatever reviewer wrote this, but the review quote was, like, “Charlaine Harris at her best.” And then someone had put a note on that comment saying, “I read it, and it doesn’t sound like Sookie Stackhouse.”
And then someone else said, “Oh, it’s not really like Sookie Stackhouse. It’s much more like, Harper Connelly.” And I was like, Harper Connelly, never heard of that one.” And it’s very much like that. So Harper Connelly is a character. I think that Charlaine Harris was in an accident. I think her brother runs her business. And she can sense where body’s are, you know, similar kind of scenario. And also with the Lizzy Ballard, my own Lizzy Ballard books. Again, Lizzy has a special ability, an extraordinary ability. I won’t say what it is because it would be a bit of a spoiler. But just that idea…
Shayna: Yeah, I noticed that in your description. I’m like, “Well, what is it?” Like, there’s something left.
Matty: Yeah, I’ll have to read to find out. But I love that just tweaking one thing?
Shayna: Yeah, that’s really cool.
Matty: And having it be a what-if scenario.
Shayna: Yeah, for sure. So what are you working on now?
Matty: I am working on Ann Kinnear book 5. And I had my learning from this for those in your audience who are authors who are listening is that I, especially when I left my corporate job, I had a goal of writing two novels a year. And so I had one come out in October of 2020, I had one come out in April of 2021. And I was like, “Oh, this is great. You know, I just have to get one out in October of 2021.” Okay, so now it’s October 21st when we’re recording this, and it’s not gonna be out this month because I…
Shayna: And that’s okay.
Matty: It is okay. Because what I realized is that I might be able to write a book in six months, but it’s not gonna be a book I wanna share with readers because I need a period of time when I’m just thinking about it, you know. And so I decided that I’m more of a nine month gestation period kind of writer. And so actually, I’m gonna try to get Ann Kinnear 5 out by the end of the year. But I think one of the reasons I need some time is I’m just kind of bored with it at the moment.
Shayna: That’s never good. To force yourself to keep going when you’re bored with it, it’s always really painful.
Matty: Yeah, I’m looking forward to giving it to my editor at the end of the month, and he’s gonna have it for a couple of weeks. And I actually already have an idea for Ann Kinnear 6. And so I’m gonna…it’s in a particular location that’s near where I live. And so fortunately, I have a friend who has a place there who’s letting me use it. I’m gonna be there for several days and start outlining Ann Kinnear 6. And then I think by the time I get back to Ann Kinnear 5, when I get the editors comments back, I’m gonna be excited about it again. Yeah. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment.
Joni: Interesting. Like when you mentioned, the time it takes to write a book, I think there’s a little bit of a sense in the Indie community that people are writing really fast, and they’re releasing all the time. And do you find that, as an author talking to other authors all the time, do you find that you actually realize that people…that’s not really true, that people take different amounts of time? Or what do you find that most people do? Do you think that that is as pervasive as it seems, is really what I’m trying to say? Because I feel like when we talk to people, the amount of time it takes to write a book varies so much more than the sort of very noisy narrative that like, you got to get it out every two months.
Matty: Yeah, it is very interesting. And I think it’s hard to get, you know, even with all the people I talk to on my podcast, even with all the people you talk to on your podcast, it’s hard to get an objective sense, because no one’s out there saying, “And then I took three years to write my book.” Like, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not gonna be a headline like someone says, you know, “I release every two weeks.” You know, that’s a headline because it’s so bizarre.
And I also think that if people are wanting to make a career of being an author, and that’s all they’re looking at, then they’re kind of forced into that scenario where they’re having to release very rapidly. So I know, I could never do that, which is why I rely on multiple sources of income. And I also think it depends on the kind of book you’re writing. So I started hearing these, you know, releasing a book a month. And of course, you think, “Well, you know, if they can do it in a month, I should at least be able to do it in six months.”
And so I finally went out on a Facebook group, I can’t remember what Facebook group it was. And I said, “I’m writing in the Suspense Mystery Thriller genre. And what would you say is a series of books that’s being rapid release that you think is high quality? You know, it’s not just cranking out junk.”
Shayna: Yeah, key word there.
Matty: Yeah. And so I got a name. And I read the book. And I was like, “That’s pretty good. It’s not my kind of thing.” But I realized that I think that what the author did in order to be able to produce it quickly, was to leave out a lot of the color commentary, I’ll say. Like, she would have a scene where, you know, the characters walked into the bar and went over to the…you know, sat down on the barstool and ordered beer. I was like, “Okay, but I kind of wanna know, like, is it a biker bar? Is it an elegant bar? Are there other…?” Like, I want more.
Shayna: Like, more description.
Matty: Yeah, I want more description. And I think the person was writing quickly, because she wasn’t spending a lot of time on that kind of detail, which I like, as a reader. So even though I could recognize that the quality was good, it wasn’t my kind of book. And then the other thing is, it was a pretty straightforward storyline. And so in all my stories, who knows what, when, is always very important. I think, especially in a suspense or mystery novel, this is gonna be very important to the extent that, when I’m nearing the end of the draft, I have to put together a spreadsheet that has all the characters across the top, all the chapters down the side, and then in each cell, I put, “Well, Fred, in chapter two, thinks this.”
And so when I’m done, I can read across to see everything that’s going on at that time. You know, at the time of chapter two, what’s going on with everybody. And then I can read down the Fred column and say, “Is Fred’s progression logical?” Oh, you know, here, he’s acting like he knows somebody that he hasn’t met before, I’m gonna have to go back and fix that.
So if you start introducing those kinds of complexities, then it’s just gonna take longer, if you’re writing more of like, just a straightforward narrative, you know, one person is chasing another person, and will he catch up with them or not? It’s less complex. So I think the writing fast thing is such a tangled web. And I think I’m seeing, at least in the people I’m talking to, that authors are backing off a little bit from this faster, faster, faster. In fact, last year I took a business strategy course with Nicholas Erik and Lisa Dino [SP], and one of the things they did at the time was that at the end, you would write up your business plan, and then you would review it with them. And at the time, I don’t know what I was on, but I not only had the two novels a year plan, but I also had a nonfiction book pegged into that.
And they basically said, “Just calm down a little bit.” And they even said to me, as people who they themselves publish rapidly, “This isn’t right for every book.” And they even said, I think they’re the, you know, I can credit them for saying, “If you’re writing a more complex book, you need more time to do it.” And so thank heavens, because it saved me a lot of headache. But it’s a tough question.
Shayna: It’s not for everyone. And you can’t…like, I can’t see how, writing that fast, there is not like a sacrifice like you’re saying. It’s not necessarily a sacrifice of like quality, but they are leaving out description. Like you can’t have complicated stuff going on if you’re writing that quickly, or even things that need excessive amounts of research, right?
Shayna: So like, people who write that quickly, and they’re writing like fantasy, I don’t even understand how they’re doing it. Because you have to make a whole world right? And keep track of everything that’s going on in that world. So yeah, it’s nice to hear other people, like, you said you were trying to do three books a year, and they were like, “Whoa, okay, you don’t have to do all three.” And there’s other people who are releasing like, 12 a year, and they’re just like, “Oh, yeah, that’s totally normal.” They write daily.
Matty: Yeah, and you also don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. You know, it might be someone who spent five years writing 12 books, you know, bless their heart, and then release them quickly. So you can’t, as a reader, assume that if book one comes out in January, and book two comes out in February that the person’s spent four weeks writing it, so…
Shayna: No, that actually literally happened to me, like, the two books that I released more recently, I released them a year apart, which is still a year. But people are like…my uncle’s like, “Oh, how are you writing these so fast?” I’m like, “Oh, no, no, that was 10 years before that.” So you know, it’s not that fast at all.
Joni: But I think this is where these like conversations in the author podcasts are really valuable. Because if there’s one thing that we’ve learned is that there isn’t one correct way to do this. And everyone’s doing it differently. And it does depend on your circumstance. And I think that can be quite reassuring to get those different perspectives. I think it’s really important.
Matty: Yeah, actually, if there’s one theme that, almost universally, every person who’s come on the podcast to talk about craft has said, it is that there are no rules, there are only suggestions, and the importance of making sure that the suggestions that you’re assessing are right for your own preference, your own style, your own circumstances.
Joni: So you have a book that is kind of a guide to setting up an author podcast because…okay, here’s the thing I don’t think doing a podcast is for everyone. It’s a lot of work. And it takes time away from your writing. But it is also a really, really valuable thing to do. If somebody’s listening, and they’re kind of interested, like, what do you think people should know, before they get into this? Like, who do you think is the ideal person to start something like this?
Matty: Well, I think it’s completely a matter of aligning what you want to achieve, what you feel comfortable doing with what your approach is going to be. And so if anyone is thinking of starting a podcast, what I would recommend is that they go to my web site, the Indy author, it’s Indy with a Y, I-N-D-Y, and there’s a tab that says, “Podcasting for authors.” And if you scroll down, there’s a downloadable document called The Captain’s Log, because, you know, nautical metaphors.
Joni: Love it.
Matty: And it walks through…actually what I’ve done there is I’ve extracted the questions that I ask at the end of every chapter of the book, The Indy authors Guide to Podcasting for Authors, and the early ones are really focused on understanding your goal, and then considering what your preferred approach would be.
So as an example, I think earlier we’d been talking about when I first started “The Indy Author Podcast” and that I was really looking at it as an educational and network building effort. And then it also became a paying it forward to my fellow authors effort. Those were my driving circumstances at the time. And then later when I left my corporate job, I added the desire to at least make it self-sustaining from a financial point of view. And so the approach I’m gonna take is gonna be different based on that than if I had a different goal.
So because the networking and community building aspect is so important to me, I’m gonna do an interview show, because I really have no interest in just gassing on for 45 minutes about whatever I’m doing in my own writing craft and publishing voyage, I wanna share out information that other people have. So that kind of defined the approach I was gonna take, which was gonna be an interview, you know, those decisions about what is your topic? And then how many episodes do you have there?
My recommendation is be able to write down two dozen things that you’d wanna talk to people about before you start talking to them. Because if you think, “Oh, I really wanna do a podcast on how to format eBooks.” And I think there’s really a trend toward niching down on topics. I’m not complying with that rule because it’s a guideline, not a rule. But you can only come up with three things you wanna talk about, then maybe either hold off until you can come up with more, because otherwise, you’re gonna have a podcast series that has three episodes in it, and then the pod fades, or reconsider what you wanna focus on. Maybe it’s not how to format your book, maybe it’s more generally the book production process or, you know, keep playing with it.
So there was a statistic that I kept coming across. And I was never able to find like the actual source of this. But it came up so much that I think there must be some anecdotal truth to it, which is that 70% of podcasts never get beyond seven episodes.
Joni: Yeah, I think, I’ve heard that.
Matty: Yeah. And there would really be nothing more painful than investing the time, and the money, and everything, into getting a podcast up, you know, investing your personal capital, and then getting to seven and going like, “No, like, I’m out.” And so a lot of The Indy Authors Guide to Podcasting for Authors, the early chapters are about, Here are the considerations you wanna think about before you launch that podcast?
Joni: Yeah, I imagine that your background as a project manager has paid off in this also. It’s a lot of moving parts.
Matty: Yeah, the later chapters then are sort of assuming, okay, you’ve gotten this far. Now you’re really into it. And so I also offer, I think, another free resource on the website, is the checklist, like, “Make sure you’ve turned notifications off, make sure the dogs have just been out, make sure you have your mic turned on,” you know, those kinds of things. So it really runs the gamut to very strategic considerations to very tactical assistance.
Shayna: We should give people these lists.
Joni: Sure. Actually that’s a good idea.
Matty: Well, there is a chapter on being a good podcast guest and taking a good approach to pitching yourself to podcasts too. So you know, there’s something in it for both sides of the interview format.
Joni: Do you find that you are not short on content? Do people reach out to you? Do you do most of the outreach? How does that work for you?
Matty: I have been doing most of the outreach just in the last several months, maybe a year, I’ve started getting more people pitching me. And it is super annoying to get a pitch letter that is very, obviously, a form letter, and the only change they’ve made is to replace like, “Hi, Matty.” And, in fact, I got one back when Jay Thorne and Zack Bohannan had, “The Career Author Podcast.” And they evidently had just send an email pitching Jay and Zach for “The Career Author Podcast.” And now they were sending one to me, but they forgot to change the stuff.
Shayna: Oh no.
Matty: So it said, “Hi, Matty, I think I would be a great guest for “The Career Author Podcast.” And I was like, “Dude, it’s not even my podcast.” So that’s one of the tips, like know the podcast you’re pitching to and make sure you make sense. And so I have found I’m still sort of preferring to solicit guests myself, because then I know that there’s a tie-in. I generally solicit people that I’ve heard on podcasts, or seen them in video, so I can tell whether they’re gonna be comfortable or not. I’ve also had the experience of having a publicist pitch me for their client. And I was very excited to get the client. I mean, I looked at the client, I was like, “Whoa, yeah, that’s definitely somebody I wanna talk to.” And it seemed clear to me that the publicist had not okayed the pitch with her client before she made the pitch because I kind of sensed that the client wasn’t all that excited, you know, being on the podcast. So if you do it yourself, you can get a sense of the enthusiasm level.
Joni: But one of the best things of a podcast though, is that most people actually do say yes. Sometimes we will ask people that really, like, are far too big for our podcast, and they’ll say, “Yes.” Because it’s like 40 minutes of their time, and a lot of people are quite happy to chat. It’s great.
Matty: Absolutely. I have been so thrilled. I’m not gonna…well, I might name a name if I can think of one.
Shayna: Name names.
Matty: So the one I’ll name is Ben Winters. So Ben Winters is one of my favorite authors. He’s the author of “The Last Policeman,” series and “Underground airlines” and “A Golden State” and many others. It’s definitely one of those sort of like a normal world, but something has been tweaked. And so I had listened to…I was following his book tour for his most recent book. And so I was part of the audience when he was doing one of these interviews, and he was just so interesting. And I thought, “Hey, why not?” And exactly like you said, I sent him a note, I had actually interacted with him, I had submitted questions. And I said, “Oh, I’m the person who asked this question.” And he was super gracious, and we had so much fun, and it’s somebody I would never have gotten a chance to talk to otherwise. I mean, I think that’s still what’s driving me with the podcast, that I get to talk to these people I would never otherwise.
So that was kind of my personal satisfaction out of it. But from a purely practical point of view, you get people on the podcast who have a large…maybe a podcast of their own, or a large social media following or a large fan-base. And then you make it very easy for them to plug their episodes to their fan base, you know, you give them the social media graphics, you give them all the links, you set an expectation about what they could play up in their material. And it’s a great way of attracting additional people. So it’s a factor to consider, you don’t wanna be totally cutthroat about it and only get people on that already have big followings. But it’s a consideration. It’s a great way to increase your reach.
Joni: Do you have an ultimate dream guest that you would love to interview?
Matty: Well, you know, it’s funny, I think I was…who was I talking to? I was talking to Dale Roberts of “Self-Publishing with Dale.” Dale has been a frequent guest on my podcast, and a super nice person. And so he asked that question, and I said, “Well, I have to say Joanna Penn.” And then he did this whole, like, “Joanna, are you listening to us? Matty wants to talk.” And then he did this whole…oh, so he was doing that and I said, “This is kind of like proposing to someone on the Jumbotron.”
And so he did this follow-up video. That was he had gotten like a graphic of a jumbotron. And he had put my picture on it saying, “I would really like to have Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn on my podcast,” and then he put it out on social media and flagged Joanna. So then pretty soon she was on my podcast. But I have to say that I kind of feel bad listing out because I know I’m gonna forget somebody I’m sorry. But, you know, Mark Lefebvre, has been on the podcast a number of times. Zach Bohannan, J. Thorn, we had talked about earlier, they’ve been on the podcast, Orna Ross, of The Alliance of Independent Authors, Michael La Ronn.
Like, I’ve kind of worked through the people who were on my bucket list to begin with. And now of course, I’m formulating more people for the bucket list. Tiffany Yates Martin, on the craft side, has been on several times she’s an editor with FoxPrint Editorial. So yeah, I feel like I’ve checked off a lot of my heroes. And now as, you know, new heroes come along, I’m preparing my pitches to them to be on the podcast as well.
Joni: That’s really cool. And I love that story.
Shayna: That’s great. Dale’s a great guy. [inaudible 00:37:59]
Matty: He is. I’m like, “How much time did you spend on that? It was quite elaborate.” The like jumbotron video he had done, so that was super fun.
Shayna: That’s awesome.
Joni: Very cool. And where can listeners find you online? You’re at “The Indy Author Podcast?”
Matty: Yep. If they want to go to theindyauthor.com, it’s Indy with a Y, I-N-D-Y, they can find my nonfiction platform material on the writing craft and the publishing voyage. And if they want to look at my fiction work, they can go to mattydalrymple.com. And that’s Matty with a Y, M-A-T-T-Y, and find all the links to social media and other resources and so on.
Joni: Amazing. We will include those links. And then we always like to finish off by asking you some rapid fire questions about what you’ve been reading and what you’ve been enjoying. So let’s do that. Do you have a favorite author?
Matty: Well, Ben Winters, as I mentioned. Another author that I’ve really been enjoying is Ben Aaronovitch. And he similarly has a kind of what-happens-when-an-extraordinary-ability-transforms-an-ordinary-life theme because his books are kind of traditional British police procedurals, except there’s magic. So there’s magic in the world. It’s kind of accepted, but people don’t really talk about it, because it’s kind of, you know, considered not very polite. But there’s this one division within the London police department that is specifically aimed at addressing issues for magic seems to be involved. So it’s called the “Rivers of London” series. So that’s been great.
And I actually just…I was embarrassed that I’ve never read anything by Anne Rivers Siddons until recently. And I was on vacation. I went by a library that had one of those, you know, pick up a book, leave a book kind of things out front. And so I picked up a book by Anne Rivers Siddons called “The House Next Door.” And I just loved it was kind of a super creepy haunted house, it’s sort of like, “The Haunting of Hill House” except slightly updated. I think it was from the late ’70s or early ’80s, maybe but that was a super fun to read.
Shayna: What is the best book you’ve read this year? This might overlap.
Matty: Yeah, I’m gonna say the Anne Rivers Siddons book.
Shayna: Is there another genre that you wish you could write in but you don’t? Like , for example, for me, it’s definitely a fantasy. I don’t think I can create a whole universe like that. It’s a hard one, eh?
Matty: That is a good one.
Shayna: Not a quicker, it’s not a quick question at all.
Matty: I would say fantasy also, because I love the idea of when I read books that are really thoroughly fleshed out like that. One I just read recently that I really loved was the Hugh Howey book. Sorry who…
Matty: Yes, yes. Thank you. I came up with Dust and I know, that’s not it. Yeah, well, thank you.
Shayna: It’s one word.
Matty: Yeah. It’s that noun series by Hugh Howey. I would love to do that. Yeah. So I’m gonna go with sort of that sci-fi fantasy genre.
Joni: And then moving away from books, because you’re a podcaster, I had to ask, are there any podcasts that you have been listening to and loving lately? And they don’t have to be book ones anything at all?
Matty: Well, I have to say that I generally do listen to craft or publishing voyage ones. I had mentioned Mark’s, Stark Reflections. Joanna Penn’s “The Creative Penn Podcast.” Actually one that I listened to recently that was not about the writing craft and publishing voyage is that I was…earlier in the year, I was driving from my home outside Philadelphia to Maine where my husband and I frequently vacation, and I decided that in order to miss the New York City metropolitan area, I was gonna go quite far west and I had friends who lived in New Hampshire and I decided that I would stay with them.
So we drove up there, it was in New Hampshire, it was right near where the Man on the Mountain used to be before it collapsed. And then the next day, I was driving over across New Hampshire in western Maine to Mount Desert Island, which is where we were vacationing, and I was saying, “Oh, are there any podcasts? Is there anything you’d recommend I listen to?” And he said, “Oh, you have to listen to this podcast called “Blackout,” because it takes place right near of where I was driving through. So I thought, “Oh, that’s great.”
So I started it up, it’s one of these kinds of radio drama podcasts. Very, very well done. And it was all about a blackout hits…actually, I think it turns out to be the entire world. But you know, a blackout hits New Hampshire and then they realize no, it’s not just in New Hampshire, it’s all of New England. Oh, no, it’s Canada too. And, you know, it gets worse and worse. And then the survivalists are hoarding food. And it took place in Keene and Berlin, I think is how they pronounce it. So I’m driving along at like, the most creepy part of the podcast, and something’s happening in Keene, and I go by the sign for Keene. I was like, “This is like, if I’m driving alone through this kind of remote area. I don’t think I can listen to it.” But it was…I should get back to it now. It was too creepy for me for the drive through New Hampshire, but that was a fun podcast.
Joni: That sounds terrifying.
Matty: It was.
Joni: So it’s a fiction, a fictional story, then?
Joni: Oh, that’s kind of cool. I don’t know if I’ve really listened to one. I’ve listened to dramatizations of real things. But I haven’t ever listened to one that’s fully fictional. That’s kind of cool.
Matty: Yeah, I think that now with all the emphasis on audio, and the recognition that so many people are looking for audio, that whole idea of sort of the radio drama is coming back, and there are a lot of fantastic ones.
Joni: Awesome. That’s cool. And what can readers expect from you next? When is your next book out?
Shayna: Oh, we were talking about that.
Matty: Yeah, I’m still hoping before the end of the year. So I hope that Ann Kinnear fans will be able to look for Ann Kinnear book 5 before the end of the year, which is 2021. And then nine months after that, I’m gonna say they can ready for Ann Kinnear 6.
Joni: So I think by the time this comes out, it’ll be out because we have a few episodes coming up. So we will definitely include the link to that book. Well, check with you. Thank you so much for doing this.
Matty: Thank you. This has been such a fun conversation. Thank you for having me on the podcast.
Rachel: Thank you for listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast.” If you’re interested in picking up Matty’s books or listening to her podcast we will include links to both of those in our show notes. If you are enjoying this podcast, please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe. And if you’re looking for more tips on growing your self-publishing business, you can find us at kobowritinglife.com and be sure you are following us on all of the socials we are @KoboWritingLife on Facebook and Twitter and @kobo.writing.life on Instagram.
Joni: This episode was produced by Joni Di Placido and Rachel Warden. Co-host was Shayna Krishnasamy, our music is provided by Tear Jerker, editing is by Kelly Rowbotham. And a big thank you to Matty Dalrymple for being our guest. If you’re ready to start your self-publishing journey, sign up today at kobo.com/writinglife. Until next time, happy writing.