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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Dec 7, 2018

In this episode, Mark interviews Rachel Amplett, the author of the successful Dan Taylor and Kay Hunter police procedural thrillers as well as stand alone thrillers and mystery novels.

The interview includes a lot of information related to this episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .Mark shares a bit of an update about the the new Authors Direct option that Findaway Voices is beta testing.

In their chat, Mark and Rachel talk about:

  • What compelled Rachel to writing in the first place.
  • The confusing and conflicting messages she received from different publishers when shopping her first Dan Taylor novel around.
  • How Rachel started out in indie publishing a stand alone novel, WHITE GOLD, seven years ago after a suggestion from a friend (and how it all started with a Goodreads page and an author account at Smashwords).
  • The emails from readers around the world that prompted Rachel to write a sequel to her first novel; something she hadn't planned in the first place.
  • How the experience of being approached by a publisher in Italy interested in publishing an Italian version of her novel WHITE GOLD (having found her "by accident") prompted her to see what could be done by applying her experince as a project administrator into a business plan with marketing efforts, which she started at 2015.
  • The fact that Kobo was the first retail platform where her sales really started to take off after a 99 cent BookBub deal.
  • Being so successful that she was able to go full time as writer without having actually "broken out" in the US, the one market that seems to be the easiest for authors to break into.
  • Getting into the audiobook market relatively early as part of a strategic business plan.
  • Investing some of the money that was coming in from Rachel's Kay Hunter novels into the creation of the audiobooks and the stacked-up rapid release of the first several books in the series within a couple of months.
  • The producer and narrator Rachel found in the UK for the audiobooks.
  • How the narrator, Alison Campbell, has become the voice of Kay Hunter for Rachel and many of her listening readership.
  • The challenge of staying on the exhausting "hamster wheel" that a writer can find themselves on working on steady releases and how Rachel is avoiding burn-out by strategic scheduling and the inclusion of passion projects.
  • How success can come from sitting down at the end of a project and engaging in an exercise of "lessons learned."
  • The early success Rachel has seen via Findaway Voices sales at Playster.
  • How you can never know where in the world the sales of your books can come from.
  • What happens when you try something a little bit different and focus on the niche markets that are working for you.
  • How Rachel Findaway Voices Authors Direct program was a Godsend.
  • How a large portion of Rachel's print books sell to libraries around the world - a great way for readers to read their favorite authors for free in eBook, print and audio.
  • The things Rachel thinks will be the most important for authors to think about in the next year.

After the interview, Mark shares his thoughts on the success Rachel had outside of Amazon as well as her systematic project management process that helps keep her on track and balanced in her writing life.

He then shares a few appearances he had recently on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast as well as in a Reedsy live webinar about selling more on Kobo.


Links of Interest:


Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

After living in Brisbane, Australia for 13 years, Rachel has now returned to the UK. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance!

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