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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 29, 2020

In this episode Mark interviews Brian Rathbone who is an international #1 Bestselling author on Google Play with both audiobooks and eBooks. Brian talks about the strategies and things he has learned about success in selling audiobooks, a market he has been playing in for two decades now, so he has a lot of learning to share there - as well as how he reached #1 on Google Play, a market that a lot of authors are struggling to learn and understand.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes and reminds listeners of their chance to win a signed copy of Sacha Black's latest book, Anatomy of Prose, by commenting on Episode 133 as per the episode and show notes details, prior to the end of day Friday May 29, 2020.

This episode is sponsored by the wonderful patrons of the Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast.

You can learn how you can become a patron, gain access to special patron-only prizes and also receive bonus patron-only episodes of the podcast as well as other additional text and video patron content at

In their conversation, Brian and Mark discuss:

  • How Brian got into his writing career, and the programming career he had prior to that
  • The day that Brian started typing the first novel one day while sitting in the Atlanta airport in 2005 and felt a change coming
  • The various jobs and roles that Brian worked at and played over the years
  • How Brian ended up falling into the role of helping other writers by publishing their work and creating tools to help small publishers
  • The royalty calculation software that Brian started to develop
  • Brian's early introduction to audio via podiobooks years before audiobooks started to be a growing option for indie authors
  • Some of the successes that Brian has had with audio promotions using a "loss leader" model for the first book in a series
  • How his "first free book in series" led to being ranked as the #1 downloaded free audiobook on Google Play, and the resulting sales of the rest of the series from that
  • What happened when Brian took an entire audiobook digital box set trilogy that sold for close to $30 and making it 99 cents for a full month via a Chirp promotion
  • The importance of including a sample at the end of an audiobook to lead the person to the next audiobook
  • Methods and techniques that Brian has learned work really well and have helped him become a top seller on Google Play
  • Things Brian has learned that he would tell his younger self
  • And more

After the interview, Mark reflects on a few things Brian talked about, including the unique metadata fields that different retailers might focus on or use in a different way to help prop up a book in bold new ways.


Links of Interest:


#1 International bestselling fantasy author Brian Rathbone is a bit odd. After growing up training standard bred racehorses, he went to work at a nuclear plant before helping to build the Internet. When he isn't writing, Brian tells a few too many bad dragon jokes on Twitter and spends a lot of time thinking about unicorns.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0