Name: Nathan Meunier
My two (most relevant to the Nonfiction Writers Conference) Indie Author Success Series books:
1) Write Short Kindle Books: A Self-Publishing Manifesto for Non-Fiction Authors
2) Simple Self-Publishing Success Strategies: How to Sell More Books and Build Your Audience
And I’ve also published 6 other books for freelancers and writers.
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You’ll be speaking at this year’s Nonfiction Writers Conference—May 4-6—can you give us a sneak peek of what you’ll be presenting?
Absolutely! Like a lot of indie authors, my first book project was this massive thing that took me years to write and finally publish. That feeling of launching my first book and generating positive buzz and sales was amazing, but there were so many times along the path of creating it where I became overwhelmed and bogged down in the process. I almost gave up…or at least I wanted to.
Writing and self-publishing a book can sometimes feel like climbing a steep mountain while dodging falling rocks, which is why so many writers lose momentum and abandon their projects.
But here’s the thing…the rise of Kindle books has spurred a massive shift in how people read, what they’re willing to pay for ebooks, and what their expectations are in terms of how long a book should be. Savvy authors can use this to their advantage.
When it comes to non-fiction books, a lot of Kindle readers prefer short, snappy reads they can get through in a single sitting. If you can deliver great info, solve your readers’ problem, and leave them feeling inspired, then it doesn’t matter if you managed to do so in only 15,000 words instead of 75,000. They’ll still find value in your books. And it doesn’t make sense to spend years writing 75,000+ word tomes in ebook format when most readers on Kindle expect to pay only a few bucks for them. Why not write shorter, high-quality books; write books faster; and write more books in a year?
Shifting away from longer books to writing shorter books on a faster cycle has been a real game-changer for me, and it’s revolutionized the way I approach self-publishing, authorship, and entrepreneurship. I’m really excited to share my experiences and tips on this topic!
In my upcoming presentation, we’ll deep-dive into why short ebooks offer such a great opportunity for authors, and how you can create amazing, successful Kindle books while keeping them narrowly-focused and targeted to very specific needs your audience has. I’m also going to talk a little about taking your books to the next level by creating short online courses to offer a more premium option for readers who want to delve further into your content and information.
We’re going to have a lot of fun!
What is your latest book about?
It’s been a busy year juggling a few different projects, but I’m excited to be close to wrapping up the next title in my Indie Author Success Series. This next book, Day One Kindle Book Reviews: The Proven 5-Star Formula for Getting Launch-Day Reader Reviews to Drive Book Sales is based loosely on a successful online course I put together late last year.
In this short info-packed read, I’m going to share my proven step-by-step formula for getting tons of honest day-one customer reviews for your Kindle books.
Anyone who’s launched a book knows how agonizing it is waiting for those first few reviews to appear. I’ve launched eight books and several online courses to date, and I’ve found that one of the most important aspects of any successful launch cycle involves building valuable social proof for your books as early on in your launch as possible. Reader reviews are critical for this, and they can have a huge impact on your launch.
So I’ve developed a system that really works well for connecting with readers and building those initial launch day reviews in an honest, non-sketchy way. Everybody wants lots of positive reviews and a ton of them at launch, but it’s super important to get honest reviews and keep everything white hat in the process.
This book digs into that. It shows you how to get dozens of honest reviews up for your book by the time you launch, and it also explores other facets of building a launch team and generating ongoing organic reviews in the months following your launch.
Anyone who wants to be notified when the book is out, and a have a chance to grab it at a huge discount, can join my Indie Author Success List over at www.nathanmeunier.com—you’ll also score a free copy of my book Simple Self-Publishing Success Strategies when you do! Cool? Cool!
Can you describe your writing process?
I’m a freelance writer by trade, so I write almost every single day. Sticking to a daily writing routing has been super helpful when it comes to getting new books projects rolling. In most cases, I can get a polished first draft written in under a month. And if I get into a steady groove, I can shave that time down to a week or so.
The fact that I focus on writing shorter books these days helps a lot—both in terms of getting book projects done quickly without losing momentum, and in keeping my topics very focused and manageable. It’s a lot easier to complete a book when you’re not trying to cram every possible angle on a given subject into your draft. Instead, I pare my core book topics down until they’re hyper-focused and then aim to provide as much useful info on that targeted subject as possible. I ditch the fluff and focus on value, and I find that really resonates well with readers.
Another critical piece of the puzzle for me is having a good outline together before I even write a single word of the book. I always spend a few days brainstorming and whittling down topic lists until I’ve created a solid book outline to work from. Then, when I sit down to write, I know exactly what I’m going to cover and I have detailed notes to reference if I start to go off the rails. This helps speed up my draft-writing process and makes writing sessions go a lot smoother.
Once a draft is done, I usually tuck it away for a while and come back to it after a few weeks or longer with a fresh eye. That gives me some breathing room and distance, so that when I dig back in to edit and fine-tune, it’s a lot easier to ditch the wonky bits and keep that forward momentum rolling.
Because it’s so easy to lose momentum, get sidetracked, and abandon book projects before they’re done, I also find it’s vital to push hard to finish that first draft as soon as possible once I start writing. Even if it sucks, even if it’s a mess, I hustle to just get the draft done so I have something complete to come back to during the editing phase. The longer it takes to get through that first draft, the greater the chances are of losing momentum and interest before the book is finished.
And finally, I usually set personal book writing goals each year, so I have a target to aim for. Even if I don’t hit my goals, it feels good to make progress towards them. Last year I set out to write and launch six books. I got a little sidetracked by some other projects (game projects and online course creation), but I’m happy that I managed to put out four books in 2015. That felt great, and it inspired me to keep plugging along on many other upcoming book projects.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I’ve always wanted to write books, even since I was a young kid. It took me many, many years to discover that the path to authorship, for me at least, hinged on my passion for helping other people overcome the obstacles I’ve faced in my own professional world. I love talking shop about writing, self-publishing, and finding inventive ways to earn a living from stringing words together. I never knew what to write, book-wise, until I started writing books to help others work through the struggles I’ve faced as a writer. And now? That’s my jam. I love learning new things and sharing them with my readers.
At this point, I’ve been writing professionally as a journalist and freelance writer for over 12 years. Self-publishing was a different animal a decade ago when I first got more serious about plans to write books, but the rise of Kindle and ebooks changed the game and made it possible for independent authors to find their audience outside of traditional channels. I’ve always had a strong DIY spirit, which is why self-publishing is a perfect fit for me. The past few years have been exciting ones, for sure.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Writing and creating is a magical experience. It’s not always easy, but there’s something about turning ideas and information into books that’s so interesting. I’ve always been a tinkerer and closet entrepreneur, so being in a place now where I can create and launch books on my own and find a decent amount of success in the process is amazing. But beyond the personal thrill of creating new things, I enjoy connecting with my readers and finding ways to inspire and empower them to take their own creativity to the next level. It’s awesome to be able to share what I’ve learned and see other writers run with it.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
Gosh, this is super tough. I’ve been inspired by so many people and so many books over the years, it’s hard to pin down a list that’s concise. Aside from being a cool and quirky dude, Chuck Wendig was a great source of inspiration and insight when I first started delving into Kindle publishing a few years back. I’ve also learned a lot from other amazing folks in the author realm, including Joanna Penn, Steve Scott, The Self-Publishing Podcast guys, and many more. There’s no dearth of great people to learn from in this industry.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
Sure, here are a few weird fun facts about me:
-I used to play drums in a bunch of heavy metal and noise rock bands.
-I’m a huge geek and love all things sci-fi, techie, and fantasy.
-When I’m not slinging words and working on book projects, I’m a part-time indie game developer. That’s partially why I’ve slowed down my book output of late. I’m working on prepping my indie studio’s upcoming Sony PlayStation 4 game for launch, among some other solo projects.
-I’ve struggled with ADD and focus issues all my life, though I’ve manage to channel this into my assorted creative endeavors as much as possible.
Above all, I think it’s important for aspiring authors out there to know this: I’m no guru—just a person who loves writing and has a passion for creating neat things and helping others. I’ve got my hands in the dirt, and I’m working hard. I’m learning as I go, experimenting, taking lots of notes on what works and what doesn’t, and sharing it with fellow writers.
We’re all human…which means YOU can do everything I’ve done and much more. You just have to believe in yourself and put the time into making it happen.
What’s next for you?
2016 is flying by already! Right now, I’m pushing to get a few more books out this year, and I also have several video game projects that are slated to launch in the coming months. Most of my writing is very non-fiction focused, but recently I’ve had an interesting shift. I doubt I’ll ever write traditional novels per se, but I’ve found that game development is an awesome vehicle for world building and crafting unusual fiction in interactive form. So game dev has sort of become the fiction writing side of things for me. I’m excited to keep cranking out non-fiction books and quirky game projects throughout the year and beyond! I’ve got a lot of interesting stuff coming out soon, and I hope folks will follow along for the wild ride ahead!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat with your readers! I’m looking forward to the conference presentation, and I hope to connect with a lot of awesome writer folks out there! If anyone wants to talk shop, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow me on Twitter! Always happy to chat and help when and where I can.