From Unpublished and Unknown to Amazon Bestseller in 6 Weeks

Brain Burps About Books Episode 192

From Unpublished and Unknown to Amazon Bestseller in 6 Weeks

An Interview with Author Beau Blackwell

  • Club Burp-a-Palooza is having it's first Prize bomb on Monday! Imagine: you sign up, it's only .19¢ a day, and you win something worth $25 or $50, $100 $300 or more! You gotta be in it to win it!
  • Did you hear about the free course I'm giving away on It's called 100 Things Every Writer Must Do To Succeed Online
  • For the Brain Burps 200th episode, what do YOU think we should do to celebrate? What should the show be about? I discuss an idea I have but I want to hear from my listeners so please leave a comment below!
  • This week's guest is indie bestselling children's author: Beau Blackwell.


  • Beau started out unpublished, made up his mind to write a book for his kids and became an Amazon bestseller in 6 weeks. After that he created a course for people interested in publishing their own books on Amazon and basically shares everything he knows from his own experience (listen, and you'll hear about that!) You can find the course here: Beau has generously offered a huge discount for my listeners if you use the code Katie. Clever code, huh? 😉
  • Before you publish your book, edit it with Emma Walton Hamilton's Editor-in-a-Box. Not only will it teach you how to write better, but it will save you a ton of money if you're hiring an editor. Why? Because you'll skip a lot of the editing errors you would have paid for with the editor! (I suggest that you still hire the editor, but with Editor-in-a-Box you'll be able cut to the meaty part of what you need to do for your book.) Cool part is you get to use it on every book you plan to publish! You can get it here:


Recent Comments

  • Shawna JC Tenney
    August 26, 2014 - 2:55 pm · Reply

    I enjoyed hearing about indy publishing, and I think it is so great that people are now able to publish their own books. It’s wonderful to hear that Beau has had such great success in the indy publishing scene. There was one thing that really bothered me. I am an illustrator and make my living from my illustrations. Beau talks about finding illustrators that will do illustrations for a small price. I hear this all the time, and I find it pretty upsetting as people are not considering illustrators professionals. It’s a big topic for illustrators- the fact that fees keep going down. This is partly because of the international market. But international illustrators deserve to be paid a fair price also. We are professionals. I think people who sell and market their own books should at least think about giving a percentage of the income from the books to the illustrators especially if they are not able to pay them a fair price up front. Better yet, those illustrators should just make their own books.

    • Katie
      August 26, 2014 - 9:03 pm · Reply

      Shawna, first I want to thank you for writing, and writing such a reasonably thought out response. I know this is an incendiary topic. I had the same reaction when Beau said that at the time and chose not to corner him, as I don’t run that kind of show. However, here I will say this about your point, and I’m in the same situation, as I’m an illustrator as well as an author.
      1 – I’ve experienced this competitive issue with my products, causing me to adjust and lower prices. I’d charge more for certain things, but because so many writer products are given away free, things have been devalued. Many writers have actually written me in indignation that I’m charging anything at all!
      2 – People in other countries have the right to make a living and choose their own fees.
      3- There are a lot of ways in which the work force is globalizing. People hire from Odesk or wherever, and the people who are being hired have a right to earn a living, too.
      So though I feel your pain, I also see the other side. There just isn’t anything fair here. It just is what it is. And that’s again why we need, as artists and business people, to fend for ourselves by creating strong business models, and not depend on one income stream. I try to teach that to my clients, and teach how to do monetize in different ways, because of all the competition.

  • Beau Blackwell
    August 29, 2014 - 11:21 am · Reply

    Hi Shawna,
    Thanks for the comment! I totally understand where you’re coming from. The tricky thing about this brave new world of self-publishing is that it’s equally tough for most self-published children’s authors to earn any kind of living from their books (especially when they’re just getting started) since they have to pay for all of the costs themselves.
    It can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to get a book illustrated, which is all up-front cost for the author that may take months or even years to recoup. That’s why I generally recommend that new authors use less expensive illustration while they learn the ropes of publishing and promotion. As much as I love illustrators and have massive respect for what you all do, I can’t in good conscience recommend that indie authors spend thousands of dollars to get a book created and end up going broke if it doesn’t become a huge hit 🙂
    Up to now, I’ve mostly stuck with the international market for illustrators because I can afford the illustrations and still pay the illustrators what is a fair wage for their locations and experience levels. My main illustrator has increased her prices since I started working with her, and I’m happy to pay the increased rate. I’m also not against splitting royalties, but for it to make sense for indie authors, illustrators would need to charge a lower up front rate to make it worth it (in my opiniong). Splitting royalties also causes some legal/administrative headaches that make it harder to manage and less attractive for authors.
    As Katie mentioned, unfortunately there’s just no easy solution to this conundrum. Both indie authors and illustrators are trying to make a living from their work, and the economics of this system are tough on both sides of the equation. Personally I still prefer this system to the old publishing world where only a tiny number of authors and illustrators would ever get their work published, but that’s a call every creative has to make. I truly hope that someday we get to a point where both authors and illustrators feel like they’re getting a fair shake, and all the work they can handle!
    One final thing: I totally agree with you that more illustrators should write and publish their own books! I think there’s a huge untapped opportunity there in the self-publishing market.

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