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Writer On The Road - Melinda Hammond 24th July 2016
Enthusiasm, Entrepreneurship and Indie Publishing
00:00:00 00:52:24

Enthusiasm, Entrepreneurship and Indie Publishing

Joanne Dannon is an Indie author who is as generous with her advice to others as she is with her enthusiasm for everything to do with the business of writing. It is Joanne’s enthusiasm that attracted me to her while I was completing Mark Stephenson’s online marketing course for writers, Your First 10k Readers. If you’re interested in building your writing business then listen to Joanne’s journey where, through sheer tenacity of spirit, she is succeeding in building a loyal fan base and keen readership. She speaks of how networking with other writers sees her collaborating on a book bundle project and how she donates a proportion of her sales to worthy causes of her choosing. Being in control of her own destiny matters to Joanne and if sheer bloody-mindedness and determination is what it takes to be noticed in the ever-burgeoning online ebook space, then this woman will be not only noticed but talked about in the most positive of ways.

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Joanne Dannon
Duration: 52.00
Melinda: Welcome to another episode of Writer on the Road. Today I have with me a beautiful romance author Joanne Dannon. Joanne's website says some very nice things about her that she writes "sparkling sassy romances with sigh-worthy endings."
So in order to set the mood to talk with Joanne tonight I've lit my candle in the background so that we have the romance, I've got my glass of red wine sitting over here so cheers to you Joanne. The only I haven't got is a handsome hero, but Joanne's hubby has been helping us set up tonight. So we do have our handsome hero floating around in the background here. Welcome Joanne.
Joanne Dannon: Thank you, thanks Melinda. Nice to be chatting with you, I do like your podcast so thanks for inviting me to part of one.
Melinda: Well I couldn't resist, Joanne and I are members of some writing courses that we're doing online together one of those is called "Your first 10,000 Readers" with Mark Stephenson. Joanne has been experiencing quite a level of success although she'd be a little bit shy about that, with her promotion and marketing of her work.
Joanne and I, before we started tonight were discussing the concept of overnight success and we had a little bit of a chuckle because although Joanne is now an overnight success, there's been ten years of hard work going on behind the scenes. So Joanne the quote that I wanted to start with tonight, which I've lost in all the chaos that we've been experiencing, is she writes handsome, "She wrote a story about a handsome, mysterious Englishman, a feisty nanny, an exotic setting, what more can you ask for in a romance novel?" So welcome, would you like to introduce yourself for our listeners please?
Joanne Dannon: Okay, my name is Joanne Dannon, I'm an Australia romance author, I love romance, I like romance books and romance movies. So when I started writing it was pretty easy that I would go into the genre that I most liked which is romance.
I like to write contemporary romances and I like to make my heroes a little bit different, I've been a long time fan of Mills and Boone, to the presents or the sexy line as it's known in Australia. But most of the heroes are bankers or business man or tycoons and I just wanted to do something a little bit different, so my heroes a little bit different.
So with my book that's coming out in October for example he's a scientist looking for a cure for ovarian cancer. I've got the reporter which is obviously with the one that you're talking about with Falling for Mr. Wrong, I've got a lawyer, okay but he's a pretty sexy lawyer. I try to shake it up a little bit and make it a bit different, I just, I write the books that I love, that I want to read.
Melinda: I think one thing that we have to remember here is that writing romance is one of the biggest genres in novel writing all around the world. Second, I think coming second are thrillers and adventure novels but romance is right up there. So Joanne has, I guess, cracked it in a market that is considered to be the biggest and the best. Joanne the two novels that I found for you were Falling for Mr. Wrong and Wanting a Mr. Right. So I'm assuming there are going to be more novels in that series.
Joanne Dannon: So Falling for Mr. Wrong is actually a standalone book which is lots of fun, it's set in Israel, we have a nanny who's on the run from the London press and she goes and hides out in Israel thinking no one will find her and of course not only does the hero find her but the London press find her. So they're sort of on the run, running across the country. So that was, that's really fun.
Then I start off with a series and at the moment two books have released. The first one is Kisses Under the Spotlight and we have a superstar as the hero, again something a little bit different, so he sings, he tap dances, he can tap dance upside down, he's a superstar, he's got billions of fans, everyone loves him and I've put him up against a very feisty physio who looks after him. Then Wanting Mr. Right is the second book in the series. That one's set in Hong Kong, again lots of fun. I just, I really like doing what I do and I like to put the fun of what I like to read into my books. The third book in the series is the one that's out in October.
Melinda: I think the interesting thing as I'm sitting here chatting with Joanne and we had a bit of a chat as we were trying to get the technology working as usual, Joanne felt a bit bad that we couldn't get things working but what she doesn't know is that I've been in her position for the last 10 episodes. Nothing ever goes to plan Joanne, it's normal and we all push on and we all get there eventually. But what you said I'd like to pick up, you said everyone loves your stories because they're feel good and as I'm talking to Joanne you guys can't see it, but she's glowing, she's happy, she's vivacious, she's smiling. Writing romance is obviously something that suits your personality very well.
Joanne Dannon: I think so. If you see on my Instagram and my Facebook pages I have things that are romantic, I got to weddings dressed in '50s dresses with my hair done up. It's just,
I dress the way I like to dress, it suits me and I'm not trying to make a statement, I just wear things that I like so I like things with hearts on them, I like things with big skirts and petticoats. So the things that I love I put into my life, I put it into my writing as well. So this is me, I don't create an image to try and fit into this romance genre, this is me.
I am part of a romance, I love the [00:06:57] (unclear). Every time I go and get new shoes that have got hearts or something on them my friends will go oh that's so you because that's how I am. I mean people don't know me yet because as a public persona, but my friends who know me know exactly what I'm like, they know that I like these 50's style shoes and big skirts with the petticoats because that's who I am.
Melinda: If you look at Joanne's website, which I'll put in the transcript notes so that everyone can go and have a look, it's this beautiful bright pink color and it says that Joanne's interested in reading, writing, cooking which I thought yes give me some cooking, vintage inspired dresses and all things romantic. I'm guessing that brings us into why I've invited you on today and it's, or tonight because it's now 9 o'clock at night here. If you write and you write successfully, you have to write from the heart.
Joanne Dannon: I've said that. When I first started writing I tried to put my writing into a box. So because as I said before that I love these Mills and Boone books with these amazing alfa-heroes and I tried to replicate that, and every time I did I didn't get a good story because I was writing something that wasn't me. So I think, I can't remember exactly when it was, but it was a few years ago and I took six weeks off work, I did a Margie Lawson course and I sat down and I wrote the book that I wanted which was a superhero, basically someone like Michael Bubble mixed with Adam Garcia, so he can dance, he can sing, he's got millions of fans.
Everyone said to me no one will buy it, no publisher will buy a hero that dances (tap dances) and sings. They were right, no one bought it. It was rejected by every romance publisher but the thing is that I love that book, I poured my heart and soul into it, and because I love jazz and I love the tap dancing I but all the stuff that I loved into this book. So yes it never got published by a traditional publisher, but I was able to publish it myself. If you have a look at the reviews people love it. The thing is people also like bankers, but they also like something a little bit different and that's why I think that my readers really like that I'm writing things that are little bit quirky, a little bit different to what is out there for romance.
Melinda: I'm just picking up on what you're saying there. You talked about courses, you talked about reader reviews. So I want to pick up on both of those things because a lot of our listeners will be on their own writing journey. You mentioned a Margie Lawson course. Who is Margie Lawson?
Joanne Dannon: She's awesome. She's been out to Australia a few times and if you do her course she's amazing. I couldn't afford to do her courses when she comes out to Australia, but I know people have done them and she is really brilliant in what she does.
She helps you in editing, but not editing as in picking up words, but how to make things really good in your sentences and how to really lift it and make it a little bit interesting and exciting. So I did her course, which is an online course and I did it with a couple of friends and we worked together and I learned some amazing techniques from her.
I think that started me off, I'd done a lot, I've belonged to Romance Writers of Australia, so once a year I go to their conference and I learn and they've got amazing people who come out. But I think you still got to keep learning especially when you're a new writer, you've got to keep learning, you've got to keep doing courses and finding what suits you. So you got to keep reading your craft books, I mean if I spin you around you'll see my cupboard there and it's full of craft books and I've read a lot of them and I think it's really important to do courses and also to find the ones that work for you.
So Margie is amazing and when I became a self-published author I've been told oh it's really easy, you just stick a book on Amazon and the money just come in. I'm like yeah I wish, can I tell you how many people have got books on Amazon and they make no sales unless you do a course. Unless you know what you're doing you may as well just go and find a job working in a shop because seriously it's so hard, it's hard to write the book, it's also hard to sell the book as well.
There are a lot of courses out there, some are better than others. I've done a number of them, some are really good and the one that's been the best one is the one where I met Melinda, which has been great. Not only was the course amazing and you could do it at your own speed I should say, is that there's an online community so you can chat to other people and I've also met other romance writers, so also self-published that we can work together. So really what I always recommend to people who want to be self-published is that you need to work with someone. If you work on your own you won't do as well as if working with someone else.
Melinda: I've got to tell you Joanne your cheating here. I actually did a lot of research today and I read Joanne is a contributor to an online magazine called 'Savvy Authors' www.savvyauthors.com. A lot of what Joanne has just told us has just thrown my notes into the bin because all of the things that she just told us are the things that I was going to draw out of her tonight. So Joanne already is being very, very generous with us. Don't write alone, get support, prioritise your education. As Joanne said the course we're doing together is Nick Stephenson's First 10,000 -- or 'Your First 10,000 Readers.' The reason I brought Joanne on tonight is because she's having success with her marketing. Now a lot of us have novels finished some of us have novels up on Amazon, but not all of us are seeing that monetary success for our very hard work. I'd like to take you back to the beginning of your marketing journey and tell us some of the things that you've tried and what worked and what didn't.
Joanne Dannon: A lot of it was I became a self-published author and I had no idea what I doing to be honest. I belonged to Romance Writers of Australia as I mentioned before and most writeres are traditionally published, so that means with a publisher and the publisher does all of that marketing for them. Then you have those who are hybrid. So they're basically traditionally published and they may do one or two books on the side, self-publish but they have a name for themselves as well. That makes it easier to sell their books.
Then you get people like me who come along and have no support and don't even know what they're doing and have been told oh it's so easy, money's going to fall from the sky once you go and you put a book on Amazon, which couldn't be further from the truth. So I tried some paid advertising, which did quite well, not hugely well, but it did quite well. But the thing is it's expensive. You can run an ad with these companies and you pay $70 USD and you'll get some sales. But I found that sales didn't cover the cost of paying for the $70. So it's a way of getting you readership.
I was sort of doing this things and these companies promise you, then you find them on Fiverr and they promise you oh we'll do this and I can sell this and they promise you the world and I didn't see one sale from it. So I went through this whole, it was just really exhausting and I got to the point where I thought you know what I don't know if this is what I'm going to be able to do, maybe I do need a publisher because I can't sell my books. Anyway, then I found this promotion, I don't know how I found them. Anyway, I found this one called Loved Kissed and they've been amazing and the writers, we all work together and the other thing is that once you start working together then you hear about others that are working well.
For example with one of my friends that I met from the U.S., she was doing really well on another, with another organization, I guess it's an organization company doing marketing and promotions. So she invited me to hers, I invited her into mine, we're working together. We're doing boxed sets together. So by working with other writers in the genre you can do better that way then just paying for a marketing. So there's heaps of these companies out there. They take your money, but most of the time they don't really deliver.
Melinda: We've written our novels, we're looking at how to promote them, we're creating our networks, but really we're here for the long haul. Joanne is very young, compared to me, I'm 55 and I can give Joanne quite a few years. But, I should imagine Joanne that you'll be writing for many years to come.
Joanne Dannon: I hope so!
Melinda: I don't think it's the immediate sales that you're trying to build here, I think it's that you're trying to build a career.
Joanne Dannon: Correct, definitely trying to build a career. So at the moment I have three books, I have four more coming out. What I'm trying to do is build my subscriber list. So what that is when I send an email out I send it out to people who are interested in my writing and want to buy my books. It's sending out through paid advertising, where again you can pay 70, 100 U.S. dollars. You don't know if you're targeting the people who really want to read your books.
That's where Nick's course comes along and really does a great job. Nick, the reason why he is so good is because he's a writer. He started off like us not making any sales. He worked out a really good way of making sales and obviously now he sells that information to other writers but then he has a community so you can all work together.
As I've said so many times that if you don't work together you can't do well. You have to work together. The thing is I always said you had to work in your own genre, romance. However, I've actually just joined up with another group of non-romance writers and we've been working together and that's actually going really well.
For example I love thrillers, I like James Patterson, I like John Grisham, all of these big names I enjoy their books as well as romance. So there are also other readers out there who may like these thrillers, but may like a romance. So we're actually all working together. So I have to clarify that sometimes working with someone in a different genre, yeah for a different genre can still work as well as working in the same genre as yourself.
Melinda: I think all of us are starting to get the idea now that Joanne may have more energy than some of us, but she's not sitting flat-footed. She's out there, she's pushing, she's promoting, she's networking.
I'm a recent convert to social media. I fought against it for so very, very long. Now I have more best friends in the world that I could ever count, but I'm starting to make some genuine relationships and Joanne you, I'm hoping are one of those genuine friends that I'm connecting with. I'm guessing that a lot of your success is through your social network.
Joanne Dannon: Definitely. So obviously Facebook is really important. I went to, again going to courses learning from learning from experts is really good. My local council had this amazing speaker who spoke about social media. One of the things that she said is that you can do everything but not all of us have time to do it, so she said focus on two.
I chose Facebook and I chose Instagram. Firstly I love taking photos and Facebook is fun. So not only do I have my personal page, which is separate, that's for family and friends and pictures of my kids. I'm not going to put that on my Joanne Dannon page because my Joanne Dannon talks about my writing. It talks about what I love, which is vintage stuff, cooking, dresses, my books. I don't talk about my kids because that's my personal stuff, so that's pushed aside and I get surprised at how many people on their public persona will talk about politics and things because really that's not what people want to know about you, they want to know about your books in my opinion, maybe I'm wrong.
I think developing your social network is really important and people want to be, sorry to interrupt you, but they want to get to know you, they want to know what you're like. Do you like cats, do you like knitting, do you like coloring in? What do you like? Because they want to get to know you as a person, once that and they get to know your books as well.
Melinda: We were talking earlier about success and what it takes to be successful. Again we're hearing it in Joanne's voice, I'm just blown away by your enthusiasm. You were talking about some fellow writers who have written 15, 16, 20 books over several years and they're still writing. It reminds me of a quote that said "You will only fail if you stop."
Joanne Dannon: I agree. The thing is you've got to keep the momentum. Being a writer is actually really hard. I know people think it's just so easy, we're just sitting around turning out books. You get writers block, it can be hard, you can sit there and write a whole chapter and go wait a minute this is not working, or your critique partner and goes no that's not working or your editor. It's actually a lot, a lot of work.
As a self-published writer I think people are surprised that I spend more time on promotions and social media than I actually do on my writing and I have to do that because you have to get out there, you don't have a publisher supporting you in what you're doing. You have to do it all yourself.
I've got a team behind me, I have an editor, I have an artist who does my covers, I have a formatter, I've got critic partner, I've got writing friends. It's a big job to get a book out, it's not just sort of sitting around and enjoying it, it's a business and if you don't treat it as a business then really just go find something else to do. If you don't love what you do and really treat it as a good business you just won't get anywhere.
Melinda: Joanne's giving us all a message and none too gently.
Joanne Dannon: No! The thing is that I'm very honest and I'm very open. I mean this in a nice way, if you're not prepared to put in the hours and work and you just think it's going to be easy just to stick a book and really to write something that you haven't put your heart and soul into, then why should someone read it? Why should someone pay that, that 3/4 dollars to buy an e-book which really you don't really care about, you just think it's easy money. Why should people pay for that? I put my heart and soul into every book that I write because people are paying money for what I deliver.
Melinda: I think in the last five years we have in the indie publishing world a site called Author Earnings and it's run by a very highly regarded independent author called Hugh Howey and he has a guy called Data Guy that crunches all the numbers for him. People are starting to really take notice of what these guys are doing and what they're saying.
The latest Author Earnings that came out said that in the last five years there is a real trend towards indie publishers or self-publishers as Joanne says of being the way to go nowadays. I personally could not imagine giving away the rights to my books and I have always refused and I'll continue to refuse. But Joanne, you are starting to see success in your indie publishing world. Are you going to push on and take advantage of that and look at other markets, look at audiobooks, look at other things to increase your income?
Joanne Dannon: Definitely. I've already started looking. I was looking at ACX which is one of the most popular to have an audio, however they're actually not available in Australia just yet. So the other option is to go and get an actor to read my book and it's actually just a little bit too hard at the moment so I have spoken to ACX and they are coming to Australia sometime. When they come I will look at it, I'm also looking at translations and I've actually have a translator who actually turns out to be a romance writer and I'm looking at doing some translations there.
I did get a quote ages ago and it was just a little bit too much for me. Now I've found someone who's a little bit more affordable and I think putting translations is a great idea. It's a good way to connect with other readers who may not be able to read in English. They may be able to speak English, but if they can't read it, well that's a great opportunity. So yeah, it's on the cards, I'm looking at. But I've only been doing this for a year so there's only so much I can get in every day, cram in each day.
Melinda: Let's pick up on that. I was going to talk to you about audiobooks because that's one of the courses I'm doing. As you notice everyone we're talking about the courses we're doing because we're trying to up-skill. We're not, we've always been writers but we now need to upskill and get those business qualifications under our belt. I've chosen to do the First 10,000 Readers, I've chosen the Facebook advertising, which I haven't even opened, sorry Mark Dawson. Then I've been doing Derek Doepker, who will be on my podcast next week, I've already spoken to him and I'll be putting that one up next week.
Joanne Dannon: That'll be great.
Melinda: He's into audiobooks. He's also going to be my personal coach which I'm a little bit excited about. If I could ever find the time to allow him to coach me. That's another story and that goes with kids and jobs and all the rest of it. But in Derek's course, or in his audiobook course there are ways of getting our audiobooks up there Joanne that you might be interested in. So that we can go around that ACX thing.
The other thing is I will be recording my own books, I've now got some of the equipment that I need and hopefully down the track I'll be able to record books for others as well. But there's degrees of skill and there's degrees of competency and the big names and the people with millions of dollars they actually don't, they don't report one voice recorder they have a team of actors who come in and do that and I've got my very own theater person who you saw earlier tonight, Samantha my daughter, she's doing theater and I said eventually you can record all my books for me please, make them into stage plays and we'll all live happily ever after. But in the meantime we plod on as best we can.
You talked, when we were going through there and I totally distracted you again with the audiobook stuff. Yeah, you were talking about moving forward and doing so much and there's only so much you can do in a year. Joanne actually started her journey back in 2005. Now I was already old by then but from 2005 to 2016 you've got, as you said you've nearly got seven books coming out. What is going to happen down the track for you? What are your plans for the next little while?
Joanne Dannon: At the moment I'm just going to continue with what I'm doing, I've got the four books coming out, then I actually just want to take a step back because by Christmas time I will have seven books out and I just want to go and have a look again and have a look at my marketing plan and reassess.
I've got a book planned for February but at the moment I've just been focusing on getting all the books out as quickly as I can. But I think I need to go back, redo the courses and just take some time out to reassess what I've done, can I do it better, is there any other way to do it? The other thing is that I finally got around to writing a book which I, well in our terms we refer to it as a lead magnate. What that is that I give that out to people if they subscribe to my list. By them subscribing then I can talk to them directly because the thing is that, Melinda you'll probably give me your email address because you know me. But if I go to the person down the street and I go can I have your email address they'll go no. Then I go, oh but I'm a writer, if I give you a book and you like it will you give me your email address and they'll probably go okay. So then I can start interacting with them directly. So I think that next year that's where my focus is going to be on targeting new romance or, sorry, new romance readers who like contemporary romance and to say look here's my book, I'll give it to you for free and then let me know what you think.
Melinda: I just happened to subscribe to Joanne's list today, I did give her my email and I clicked on her website and that's where I found the sparkly, sassy romances with sigh worthy endings and I went oh I'm in love. When I signed up for Joanne's page it comes up as a lead page or an opt-in page and it's a very simple thing, it's just I put in my name and my email address and because I've signed up to Joanne's page I'm now going to, I'm now subscribe for competitions, free eBooks, giveaways, and updated on any new releases that Joanne has. That's a fairly standard format now for getting people to sign up to your list.
Before we can do anything else like Facebook ads we have to have a list or before we start our online course, all those kinds of things. That's something that I'm really struggling with, with my podcast at the moment because I've got my lead magnate book and I've got the cover designed and I've got it drafted and it's all very ready to go but it's finding time to do it. How much time a day on average do you think you'd put into first writing and second your business?
Joanne Dannon: I reckon I spend, it can vary, but I think it's almost half-half. Sometimes the business can take over the writing side of it. I know there's been a couple of weeks where I didn't write anything at all and I was working full time and every day and weekends and nights on the marketing and the business side of the writing. So going back to that lead magnate, you'll see as of tomorrow I'll be sending you another email welcoming you and thanking you for trusting me with your email address. So that's something else that takes time to set all of that up.
I'm not savvy, I actually just prefer to write books and here I am having to try to and work all this optimization and auto-things and I just, I don't like doing stuff like that but you have to do it because otherwise I won't have a nice sign-in page, I won't be able to welcome you and I hope that when you signed up and thank you for signing up that you felt welcomed and you'll get your welcome email automatically tomorrow and that all takes time to set it up.
As you'll see with the welcome page it wasn't just the standard one. It was tailored for me, I had the photo of me, I wrote my own words in there, I didn't use what, I use MailChimp, I didn't put the MailChimp blurb I actually changed it to what I wanted. All of that takes time to set up. I do that on purpose because I want my readers to feel welcome and that I appreciate them giving me their email address.
Melinda: Once you've got all this in place and you're doing it step by step and it does take time.
Joanne Dannon: It does.
Melinda: It will be in place forever, until you're ready to change it and do something else or change your color, whatever you choose to do. This stuff is there and then you can relax back into your writing because it's, Joanne's mentioned the word automation.
Joanne Dannon: That's right all of that. Even just the setting up, when you want to have your books on Amazon and have your books with iTunes and Kobo and Barnes and Noble, all of that takes time. It really does. It's a very time consuming process. Once it's all done it's great. But until then, it's stressful. You've also got the business side. You've got to keep an eye on everything for your business, you've got to do all your taxes. It's, you're running business.
Can I also add I actually do have a business as well where I help mentor and help up and coming writers. So not only do I have my writing and the business side of it, I actually own a business where I'm helping people with their writing as well.
Melinda: We'll put those things in the show notes as well because I'm sure there will be people who are interested in that coming up. Another thing that Joanne does is on her blog I found just a few articles, and there were pictures of shoes and there were some wonderful photos there that I had a bit of a delve through, but I think I was sitting in a Year 8 Japanese class at the time, so I had to sort of keep my Year 8s under control as well.
A couple of the articles that I found, and I found myself having a little bit of read of them, one of them was "Top Tips for Do-it Yourself Publicity" which you've covered. But just for my audience here today the things that Joanne suggested, and then I'll get you to expand on them Joanne, is be approachable. Joanne is certainly that, I adore her already. The website has to be live and up to date.
I saw something on my website as the techies were checking for it today, our Latin ipso-bitso thing. It went live, it's across all media, including my LinkedIn address and it looks very unprofessional. You don't need those blips as you're moving forwards. Professional photos, be polite, and have a great angle. If I said to you is that it in a nutshell or have you got anything to add?
Joanne Dannon: I went to go and see, I've forgotten who the lady's name, it was Jules and-- anyway I went to see her. That was put on by my local council and that was PR, how to get free PR for your business. I should plug her business because she really is amazing. What she does is she shows you how to get publicity.
So the thing is again you're an independent or a self-published author and you see all your other friends who were with traditional publishers like Mills and Boon and all the others and they're getting articles in the paper and they're in magazines. That's because they have a publicist okay. But we have to do it all ourselves.
So that's why going to and learning, I had no idea what PR was, I'm in corporate, well I was in corporate. I wrote business documents, I was a project manager. I didn't know anything about PR. So you go and learn from the expert. So I went along to this course and it was amazing and that's why I put it there so people can learn and go and have a look at this woman, she's got this amazing website. I think the whole thing is learn from experts.
Next week I'm actually doing yet another course through my local council and it's about Instagram. Okay I know how to put a picture on Instagram but I certainly don't know how to do it for my business. So what am I doing? I'm learning from an expert. That's the whole thing.
Both you and I Melinda we went and learned from Nick, okay. Then we're going to learn from Mark on how to do Facebook ads because you know what, Facebook is just it's own world and it's very complex. Again, you need to learn from someone who understands it to make it easier because I just like to write. I don't like all of this other techie stuff, it's too complicated. So we learn from other people and that's for me really important.
Melinda: How much would you write a day? How much writing? Would you write two, three, fours or how much time can you carve out?
Joanne Dannon: It depends, it really depends. It just goes up and down. So for example I had some opportunities and I had to get two books out in six weeks. So it meant that I wrote like a machine. So there was days that I just sat at my desk and we had takeaway that night and I just wrote and wrote and wrote. But then at the moment my children are on school vacation, school holidays and there's no writing being done at the moment. So it just depends and at the moment my books are with the editor and when it comes back it'll be the end of school holidays and I can get back to writing.
Sometimes it really depends. So some days I can spend 6 hours writing and some days I'll spend none. It really depends also where I'm up to with my books and where they are and if they're being edited or formatted or whatever.
Melinda: I've got this little thing called the Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas. He runs a wonderful website called EoFire and I think he's got a podcast that he puts out daily, heaven forbid. One of the things that I've picked up is as long as you do something little everyday you're still moving towards your mountain. There's another thing, I think it's called inch by inch. I guessing that's what’s you're doing.
Joanne Dannon: Even today, I may not have done writing but I was up at 5 o'clock this morning and I posted on Facebook, I was on there. So at the moment I'm working with, there's nine of us altogether, we've got a bundle together of romances. I did a bit of on Facebook and Instagram and promoting it because it's, and that's part of the job as well as writing. I also have to promote the books that we're selling at the moment and we've got nine books for 99 cents, that's U.S. cents which is a bit of a bargain even if you put it to a $1.30 Australian, it's still a bargain to get nine books.
We all have to work together, I can't expect the others to do all the work, we all have to work together as a team and promote our writing. If you can see it's doing really well the bundle. Again, working together.
Melinda: That bundle, it is written on page one of my notes, I don't know how I missed it Joanne. It's called Eight Beach Reads: Summer Bliss- Nine novels for 99 cents, chick-lit and romantic comedy. What I picked up about that is it's going to be eight beach reads coming into the Australian Summer, forget that Joanne's sitting in Melbourne at the moment where it's almost snowing and it's the middle of July.
Joanne Dannon: Yes.
Melinda: Eight beach reads coming into summer, you're going to do a blog tour in October. Now I read a little bit about what you were doing there on Facebook I think it was today, somewhere in there. Blog tours are now quite professional and that you'll be paying for that tour, is that correct?
Joanne Dannon: Yes definitely. Going back to the beach reads you've got remember that most of the people that I work with are actually American writers, they're a very, I think there's only one Australian writer that I work with, they're all American. All awesome writers and yes it's summer there. So there, that's why the beach reads and I just have to accept that. I'm just pretend it's summer, I've got the heating on so.
Melinda: I think by the time, and this is the wonderful thing with indie publishing, if you're in a shop your book would be on the shelves for a month, maybe two months if you're lucky then they would disappear. With us we can chose how much to promote our books. Your beach reads, your eight beach reads and summer bliss, you can really ramp that up as you said with your book tour in October, kicking right into our summer. Now we all live on the east coast of Australia, or you and I do. Taking along nine novels to the beach sounds fairly enticing. Are there any other Ozzie writers in there or are they all American?
Joanne Dannon: Actually, one is because I invited her in, it's one of my writing friends Charmaine Ross and she's fantastic. I just, sometimes I get envy when I read her books, she's just a beautiful way with words.
She's been traditionally published, she's now self-published as well. She actually lives in Melbourne, so it's really nice we can actually catch up and talk together face-to-face which is amazing. Yeah, her book is called Bogan Chick and if you get a chance to read it is so good. I was reading it thinking oh she's such a great writer. She just, I get envy reading her words, she has a beautiful way with words. So yeah, but I do agree like the thing is like okay it may not be summer here but you can still pick up a bargain to get nine books for 99 U.S. cents. I mean that's just a bargain.
Melinda: Yeah and it's a big, wide world now I think the fact that we can go out and we can cross promote. My guests on my podcast I don't care where they're from, I actually look onto our social media, I look at the courses and I find the people that I'm interested in talking to because I'm following along in your footsteps and the people who I think might interest my readers who are also on the story telling journey. We don't have to restrict ourselves to who are in our guests’ immediate vicinity. But there's something I’d, look I've taken up so much of your time now.
Joanne Dannon: No, that's okay.
Melinda: One question that I've got for you and it intrigues me and I love it. There's something on your website, or no it was on your article with Savvy Authors where you went through your background and you've gone through it with us in a very generous manner tonight. But next time in Savvy Authors or Savvy Writers you're going to talk about the confessions of a romance writer. I don't wait until that article comes out Joanne, I want to know what you're talking about.
Joanne Dannon: No, it's not that exciting.
Melinda: I don't want to hear that.
Joanne Dannon: It's just more how I became self-published because I do have to confessed I never wanted to be a self-published, I always to be published through a traditional publisher,
I had no idea what I was doing and it was just circumstances that I have become one and it's been amazing and even if I go where someone wanted to sign me up, I don't really think I'd want to do it. I actually like having full control over my books. I've been a project manager in my pervious corporate life so it actually suits me doing this because really I'm project managing. As I said I've got a little support team, I'm doing the writing, I get someone to do my editing, someone does the formatting which is basically putting the word document and making it available to read on your kindle or your phone or your smart phone. I have someone who does my art. I mean I'm not going to sit there and try and do a cover art, I don't even have any idea. I pay someone to do that and she does beautiful work and that frees me up to do the stuff that no one else can do and that's write the next book.
Melinda: I have to admit that Falling for Mr. Wrong has a lovely, lovely color- cover and I've had it up on my social media, I've had it up on my Instagram and my Facebook. People are commenting on it, they're saying that it is a beautiful cover. So what we have to do now is get inside it, I'll have to start putting up some of the stuff that's inside the book and see what people think about that for you. It's interesting that both and you have chosen Instagram and Facebook. I've also got a Twitter account and I send everything to Twitter and my Twitter account's growing. But I just don't know how to use it.
Joanne Dannon: Well again you need to find the right person who can help you. I actually don't do Twitter because I actually feel like I don't even have enough time to do what I'm doing at the moment. But you really need to find the right person to help you with Twitter because Twitter can be great, it's just there but learning how to use it, which is why I'm doing the course on Instagram. So I'm happy to share some tips with you next week once I've done the course. It's really showing you how to use it in a business sense, not just for fun and sharing photos, there is better way of using
Instagram. Same thing with Facebook. That's why we're learning from the best.
Melinda: I think I heard somewhere on one of the podcasts this morning that only five percent of businesses, and this was in America, taking advantage of social media. Yet another person who I interviewed who I'm actually putting up live tomorrow Brian Crisp of News Limited here in Australia and he was head editor of travel Escape Travel in all our newspapers. He now works for content marketing and he said by 2017 all our, I guess, marketing and advertising will be visual and most likely through the social media outlets because that's how we reach the new millennials coming through. I did a little experiment, I tried Facebook live which was interesting sitting here in my jammies at 6 o'clock in the morning very, very popular. I noticed there are other authors doing that. I think Rachel Johns had one out this morning.
Melinda: Yes, and Maisey Yates does it as well. Both her and, they work together so yeah Maisey Yate and Rachel Johns have both done it. They do a very good job when they Facebook live, I think that scares me a little bit to admit.
Melinda: If you can do this you can do anything.
Joanne Dannon: It's amazing, all the different media and what's available, it's fantastic.
Melinda: I tried YouTube live last weekend but my internet speed and internet connection, I notice even here tonight it's fading in and out a little bit. I'm in a major city in Australia, Joanne's in a major city in Australia. But we cannot hold a stable internet line which is pretty, pretty scary. So I could not get my YouTube live happening but I'll keep trying because if at first you don't succeed try and try until you do.
The last thing, because I already said it was my last thing, but I want one more last thing. You've got the word inspiration and it's a Tab on your website. Come on confess, tell us what we need to know to keep us inspired.
Joanne Dannon: It's actually a little bit different, it's actually the inspiration what I had for each book and I do like to share that. So with Falling for Mr. Wrong I was very, very lucky to be part of a very dynamic women's program and I went to Israel and it was a fully included trip. It was studying and learning and we heard speakers and they were inspiring and it was just the best nine days. I can't even put it into how amazing it was. So when I came back I was able to write Falling for Mr. Wrong, the words just tumbled out and I put a lot of the experiences that I had gone through into the book. So this is what I talk about.
The other thing then I talked about Kisses Under the Sunset, why have I got this clean-cut crooner and some people thing he's like Hugh Jackman. I talk about what inspired me to write some someone who's like that rather than a bad boy rocker with tattoos and piercings, which is what's really popular at the moment, I went against the grain. Why did I do that? That's what I write about. Again, it's coming from why I write what I write, coming from the heart and writing what you love because if you don't love what you write it's going to come through your writing, it's just not going to be good enough.
Melinda: I think you have to do what you love to do despite the money, not because of it. Truly successful people are following their dreams, being passionate about what they do, and the money will come along behind.
Joanne Dannon: We're talking about romance being one of the most popular genres and I think there's a statistic that 40% of every book sold have romance. The thing is if you just go and write a romance book because you think it's going to make money, I tell you, you won't do well. You only do well if you really love it. You see the best romance writers is because they actually love what they do, they pour their heart and soul into every book and if they don't you can tell. So it is really important.
Melinda: I noticed, and I think that's how I've gravitated back to you and I had Melinda Hammond on and I had Victoria Black on and I've got a couple of others coming up as well. I put up on Instagram I think 25 years ago my first, very nice rejection from Mills and Boon.
Joanne Dannon: Yes, I saw that!
Melinda: I wonder if I'd kept writing for 25 years would I have made it by now. But it's never too late.
Joanne Dannon: It's never too late. The thing is if stop where you can't get to your dream and also if you know that, I can't remember the exact amount, but with Colonel Sanders and his KFC recipe he was rejected something like 1500 times and I remember when I was doing my business degree they said to me well when would you have stopped? At the 300th rejection? The 674th rejection? The 900th rejection? When would you have stopped? He didn't stop and then you look at what KFC is today which is amazing whether you like it or not. But it is still an incredible brand of what he has achieved because he didn't stop.
Melinda: I think you can see, everybody who's listening here today, the passion is there in you. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you're where you're at, because of your drive, because of your ambition, because of your motivation I guess, and I can see why you would be such an excellent mentor for people coming through behind you. You have so many five star reviews around the various sites that I found and I started to copy them down and I went oh there's just too many of them. So you're going to go on and I'm assuming now you're at the start, you've got that ball rolling, that things are just going to explode for you.
I'm hoping that you'll come back on down the track and let us know how you're going and how famous you are and I'll say I knew her when she was putting out Falling For Mr. Wrong. Is there any last piece of advice and you've been so very, very generous as writers tend to be I can tell you. What is something that people can take away after listening to you for the last hour, and I apologize for taking so much of your time, but it's happening.
Joanne Dannon: It hasn't felt for so long, it feels like it's been like 10,15 minutes, I've enjoyed myself so much.
Melinda: I set it for thirty minutes but I'm just now going to say forget it, you're here for an hour everybody if you come and talk on Writer on the Road just put aside an hour because none of my interviews have gone any shorter because I get you and you're so fascinating and I can't stop. So give us something to take away. What's a little word of wisdom from Joanne Dannon?
Joanne Dannon: I don't even know where to start. I really think that the best thing is to work with other writers and to help each other out. The ones who do well are the ones helping each other out, not trying to stab each other in the back. I really believe that, I really believe that especially as female writers in a genre that so many people look down on and snigger at and laugh at, and it's a fantastic genre, I love it. But you need to work together, support each other work together and you'll do well. It's also nice to be working with other people rather than by yourself.
Melinda: I think that's a beautiful way to end so thank you Joanne. All the contact details and everything will be up on Writer on the Road. While you're there don't forget to subscribe, I'd like to have my opt-in page ready and my do you have a story to tell giveaway book ready, but of course it's not but it's gunna, it's gunna, gunna, gunna, so just hang around and it will happen. Joanne will come back and join us. I'll put this podcast live as quickly as possible. I'll put our interview up on YouTube because I want you to see how this woman just glows and gets so excited with her passion. Ignore the old lady in the corner, but the young pretty lady with the big smile will go.
Joanne Dannon: No stop it!
Melinda: Alright thank you Joanne.