Author conferences are a great way for authors of all levels to connect with industry professionals and successful publishers, to learn more about the industry and the craft, and the gain new resources. Author and conference organizer Tawdra Kandle chats with D2D about how best to leverage conferences.
TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE BELOW
Tawdra Kandle is a USA Today bestselling romance author, and has organized Orlando's Indie Bookfest (now known as Orlando Reads Books) as well as NINC, the Novelists Inc. conference in St. Pete's Beach, Florida. In this episode, Tawdra talks about her own work, as well as the importance of connecting with other authors and industry influencers at author conferences.
Find more about Tawdra and her work at http://tawdrakandle.com/
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D2D Spotlight - A chat with Tawdra Kandle (1)
Wed, 7/29 10:58AM • 48:28
author, books, conference, people, called, beer, reader, dictation, write, question, apple, tiki bar, promotion, marketing, year, learning, started, indie, fun, drinking
Kevin Tumlinson, Tawdra Kandle
Kevin Tumlinson 00:09
Well, hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us for another D2D spotlight. I hope you're having a wonderful day. And today we're chatting with Tawdra Kandle. We're going to get to know her real well over the next 45 minutes -ish. So first up, let's welcome Tawdra. Hey, welcome to the show.
Tawdra Kandle 00:27
Thank you for having me.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:29
You're super busy. So if you're coming on, it means something else is not getting done.
Tawdra Kandle 00:35
No, it just means I got up a little earlier this morning.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:39
You got up and knocked a few things out. Well, so you're like me, you wear a lot of different hats. One of those hats is author. We share that in common. One of those hats is organizing conferences. You've organized a few that I've been to actually. You want to talk about that a little? That's an interesting thing. Like we don't have people who organize conferences usually,
Tawdra Kandle 01:02
It’s fun, you know, it wasn't something that I necessarily ever said to myself, “Oh, I want to, you know, grow up and be a conference organizer.” It just happened that in 2015, the person who organized Indie Book Fest in Orlando decided not to do it anymore. And she let me know first because I had given her a hand and for a couple of years, so I reached out to my business partner at the time and said, “Hey, are we crazy enough to do this?” We decided we were. And so we did that for five years. I stepped back after this last year because of a couple different things. One, I became a grandmother and so I
Kevin Tumlinson 01:49
Tawdra Kandle 01:50
Thank you. Yeah, she's 15 months old. She's perfect. And she's already working on her first book. Her father's an author too, so it's in her blood. Anyway, so that was something and then I also was getting more involved with NINC, which is the conference that I was assistant chair last year, and this year I’m full chair and also interim president.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:19
Excellent. That's, um, I don't envy that part. Because I know what goes into all of those roles. And I've talked to enough of the past presidents of NINC to know that's not a role I wish to fill.
Tawdra Kandle 02:34
You know what, we have incredible members, our members are just the best. And I'm not just saying that. I have been a huge NINC fan since I first became a member. And it's an incredible organization. Our members are gracious, they're kind, they're forgiving, and then they have to be because, you know, I kind of came into this a little earlier than what I expected. And I've told them that I'm going to stumble, I'm going to make mistakes. So please just have grace and they have been.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:08
There's no way you're going to stumble and make mistakes.
Tawdra Kandle 03:14
Yeah, anyway, but yeah, so, and Indie Book Fest is now Orlando Reads Books, and Mandy is still doing that. So I encourage everybody to look at that. It's on Facebook. It's, you know, and it's going to be happening in the same location this August, so.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:33
Yeah, I liked, I've really enjoyed that conference. You know, it's not on the same scale as NINC. And the authors who come are kind of more my breed I guess, you know, the indie author, the folks that I talk to regularly through my podcast and through D2D. You know, they're kind of, a lot of them are just starting out. Some of them are pretty savvy, though, I mean, some of them have been in this business for a while. They got their marketing on point.
Tawdra Kandle 04:02
Oh yeah. And, you know, it was very cool to work with a range of authors, some who were, had been doing this for a very long time, you know, and others who were just starting out and didn't know, you know, they didn't know a whole lot. But it was it was very cool to see that light in their eyes like, oh my gosh, I can actually do this, you know, this is this is doable. We've had a wide range and it was a lot of fun. And I think we were one of the first conferences that Draft2Digital came to way back in the day.
Kevin Tumlinson 04:33
Yeah, I think it was before my time with D2D. I don't know how many we were attending at that point, but yeah.
Tawdra Kandle 04:41
Yeah, Dan kind of came and—
Kevin Tumlinson 04:45
Got trapped in a hurricane.
Tawdra Kandle 04:46
—asked us what we were doing and we said, “We don't know, this is our first year too, so here we go.” We’ve been very appreciative, you know, all along.
Kevin Tumlinson 04:53
You have been at … Because we, you know, we at D2D attend a ton of conferences worldwide, you know, Dan's always traveling, Mark Lefebvre is now with us, he travels and does stuff, I travel and do stuff. We can see, from our perspective, a lot of benefit for, you know, the influencers and the industry folk. And as an author, I have personally seen a lot of benefit for authors. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like, what are some of the benefits and perks of attending these? Because there can be very cost prohibitive sometimes. So, they have to have that return on investment, right. So, can you share a little bit of your insight there?
Tawdra Kandle 05:35
Sure. I mean, you know, one of the things we wanted to do with Indie Book Fest was have it be something that was worthwhile, not only from an author to reader point of view, but also from just author education, author networking, authors learning what they needed to know. Because we live in an age where there's a lot of information on the internet, you can find out pretty much everything that you want to know there, but there's nothing that can replace that face-to-face conversation. And, you know, just learning from other authors. And it's not always just in workshops. It's not always, you know, when you're having a meeting with somebody. It can be sitting at the bar, it can be at karaoke, you know, you just don't know what you're gonna learn. And it's good, it's in elevators, it's in between sessions. So we always wanted to create an environment where authors were getting to know each other and getting to know the industry people too. And then the reader portion is also, you know, letting authors and readers get face time. I don't think anything can replace that.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:46
Yeah, you brought up the bars and I, our experience has been that when you want to get to know the authors, set up at the bar, and you'll, they will parade themselves to you, especially if you're buying them drinks. Pro tip there for the industry folks listening.
Tawdra Kandle 07:05
This is true. Um, you know, as somebody who, my first couple conferences that I went to, I just looked at it that I wanted to stay in my room and write and, you know, just enjoy the peace and quiet. Authors, not all of us, but a lot of us tend to be a little introverted. So I really, you know, it took some prodding for me to go out, but I've learned and especially with NINC, I go and I sit at the tiki bar, and it's just nice to be outside. It's nice to be, you know, listening to the music, you get to see other people, you're sitting by the beach. And then, you know, it kind of becomes musical tables. Have you seen that happen that you know, people are going from one table to the other or you have a whole group set up? It is, it's a very good thing.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:53
And in some instances, like NINC, it's like, they're hopping, they're bar hopping. Because there's the tiki bar, which is not what it's called, but that's what everyone at NINC knows it as, because it's that outdoor tiki bar. And then Sharktooth and all that, and so everybody's always migrating from one to the other. Like, if one's closing down, you go to the tiki bar, that's the last one open.
Tawdra Kandle 08:15
Yeah, the tiki bar is the last one open. And also with noise level, it's a little bit better. Sharktooth can tend to get a little bit a little bit loud. Most of my experience with Sharktooth is during the karaoke night, which is always fun. So, um, but it is it's fun, and you're right, it doesn't, the tiki bar doesn't shut down. And they have a drink there that's called, if anybody goes to NINC, it's called the Almond Joyous. And it is everything.
Kevin Tumlinson 08:39
Oh, yeah, I owe you one of those. Because we—I like to let people in on the inside scoop on everything. And we, I had set Tawdra up on a date. And it turned out there was already something scheduled. And so we picked another , and it turned out there was already something scheduled. So I made her reschedule three times before this finally landed. So, Almond Joyous for you.
Tawdra Kandle 09:07
Yeah, that's right, that’s right, and I don't forget those things either, so.
Kevin Tumlinson 09:12
I wouldn't have it any other way. So, uh, so. Okay, so that's conferences, and I love the whole conference environment actually. It is a chance—I'm an introvert, people don't believe that. People call me a liar all the time. But I am an introvert. I'm what I call a high-functioning introvert. But it is, you know, I get kind of, I get locked in these little quiet rooms all the time. And so when I go to these conferences, it is a chance to let your hair down and kind of, you know, just interact with your community at people who understand what you're doing, and what you've got going on. Um, let's talk about you as an author though, because you write your own books. Now, what genre do you write in? I'm guessing, wait. I'm guessing heavy sci fi futuristic military.
Tawdra Kandle 10:03
No, not anything even remotely like that. I edit a little bit, it's even hard for me to edit those books because it's just not my thing. I have extreme respect for anybody who can write that. And actually my son-in-law writes to that genre, and I am just filled with awe for that. No, I am romance. Contemporary mostly, new adult, small town, military, sports. I write paranormal romance, I'm switching actually all my paranormal to another pen name. And under another pen name, I write erotic romance. So I currently have my own real name, which is me, Tawdra. And then I have two active pen names and two that are in the wings. So.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:49
I think when I first met you, I think I asked you … Or I mean, I never would have asked you what your “real name” was. But I think I implied that, you know, you had a great pen name.
Tawdra Kandle 11:05
No, this is my name, this is my real name.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:07
Your actual name. It’s like your parents said, “One day, she'll be an author,” you know.
Tawdra Kandle 11:13
I always say got my first name from creative parents, which is exactly true. And I got my last name from my husband. So you know, it just happened that that worked out. I've had people argue with me and say, no, that's not, you're not telling me the truth. And I’ve said, well, I you know, I can bring you, the first time I was published I was 11 years old, and I still had the same first name. My last name was different because I was not married at 11, believe it or not. I've been married a long time, but not since I was 11. So that is when, my parents compromised on my name. That's how I ended up getting it.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:47
It’s a lovely name. I love it.
Tawdra Kandle 11:48
I didn't like it so much growing up when, you know, I was an army brat. And so I was at a lot of new schools, and you would always know when they were about to call on me because they'd be reading, and then they'd read closer, and they go “Twa … what is this?” That’s me.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:08
Yeah, so I didn't have exactly that problem, but my first name is James. So that's always what people call me first. And after a time, you know, especially when I got into college, it was, they'd say “James Tumlinson” kind of calling the roll. And I'd say, “Well, it's actually Kevin, it’s just spelled like James.” So, uh, what's your writing process like? You told me you got up earlier to knock some things out, I'm guessing some of that was your writing.
Tawdra Kandle. 12:37
It was, actually. It was something that I needed to get done today. I write a lot and I write fast. I have somewhere north of 90 books in active release right now.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:52
Holy cow, Tawdra. I thought I was prolific.
Tawdra Kandle 12:55
Yeah, you know, I started out I started out in YA paranormal, because we all did, You know, I started in 2011. If you started in 2011, chances are you started out writing YA paranormal because, you know, it was just the thing to do.
Kevin Tumlinson 13:14
Even I have my YA paranormal books. Even I.
Tawdra Kandle 13:16
Did you really?
Kevin Tumlinson 13:17
A trilogy, yeah.
Tawdra Kandle 13:19
And so did I, yeah. Yeah and actually mine was a quartet, I lied, mine was a quartet. And then after I finished the last book in that that quartet I wrote a—not a paranormal, a contemporary romance, an adult contemporary romance. And it was so much fun that I said, I never want to write YA again. I’m done with YA. And that kind of became, you know that that became something I really enjoyed doing. I joke that, I didn't write my first book until after I was 40. And I had a lot of ideas that were percolating all those shares. I released pretty slowly, the first three years. And then in 2014, I went to RWA. And that was in New Orleans. And that was the year that they said, if you're not rapid releasing, you're going to miss the boat. And I took them at their word. By them, I mean, you know, the powers that be, everybody who was selling really well. And I started releasing really, really fast. So I think within the next year, I released 12 books. I think. I'm not, don't hold me to that. And then I just kind of kept up between probably six and ten books a year. In 2017, my husband's employment situation changed and I had to step up and I had already planned out six books for the first six months of that year and added 12 more. Yeah, so all I was doing, the beginning of 2017 is just a blur to me, because all I was doing was writing. And it was across different series, so I couldn't—like, it was military romance, it was paranormal it was just, it was a mess.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:12
Yeah. And, you know, that's a fairly common story, I think. That's similar to my story. You know, it's a sort of a, I think I was the one who was out of work when I just like mass-accelerated publishing. But yeah, so many authors have that origin story. Somebody lost a job, somebody did this or that, and suddenly, they write 20 books.
Tawdra Kandle 15:37
Yeah. You know, I had been doing okay, up until then. But it was just kind of the impetus of, can we do this? My husband is a priest, which is, you know, kind of an odd coupling. I always tell people, and it's the truth, that I was an author before he was a priest. So you know, the fact that I write kind of hot and steamy romance, he just had to adapt to it because I was already doing it and I was already, you know, firmly established in that career before he came in.
Kevin Tumlinson 16:07
The more I get to know you, Tawdra, the more I love everything about your story.
Tawdra Kandle 16:11
You didn’t know that my husband was a priest?
Kevin Tumlinson 16:13
How have we never discussed this? You know, I'm an ordained minister. I people don't know that.
Tawdra Kandle 16:21
In what denomination?
Kevin Tumlinson 16:22
I was born and raised Baptist, it’s a non-denominational ordination. But you know, I went to seminary and everything. So, there you go. Trivia.
Tawdra Kandle 16:33
My husband's an Anglican priest. When I first started, actually, when he first started, after seminary, he was a third career priest, or he is a third career priest. He’s still doing it. Um, but after he went to seminary, he actually was a hospice chaplain for a long time and nobody cared what the wife of a hospice chaplain did. You know, I could have been a stripper and nobody would have cared, you know, it really would have been fine. But when he went into parish ministry, it became a little dicier, and that's when I started doing a pen name. And then when he left parish ministry, and now he is a community chaplain, he just does. He does what he does, but he's not he's not paid for it. You know, he's not earning a living, he's not with a specific church. We have an oratory, he has a huge garden that he thinks people from and feeds us from. Yeah, it's very cool. It's wonderful. Um, but, you know, and now we don't, you know, I don't keep my pen name separate. And we tend to minister to a kind of an older population, our church service placed him in a senior living facility and so they were asking me, when can we read your books?
Kevin Tumlinson 17:52
Good for them. Oh, man.
Tawdra Kandle 17:53
I donated a bunch to the their library there, and they love them. And a couple of them, they will come up to my husband after a service and they'll say “Father Clint, you're a very lucky man.”
Kevin Tumlinson 18:06
I agree with them. He is a very lucky man. That’s fantastic.
Tawdra Kandle 18:12
I remind him of that.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:14
You know that this shows me, this shows me you and I do not talk enough. We do not get deep enough in conversation at these conferences.
Tawdra Kandle 18:22
We're always talking about like conference stuff or book stuff or promotion stuff. So yeah. To get back to your core question, I write a lot. I try to write, I generally when I'm, like, deep writing, I'm generally averaging between 3,000 and 8,000 words a day.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:41
Oh, that's excellent.
Tawdra Kandle 18:43
Yeah. And I'm dictating a little bit more now, too. And then that's even more, when I'm dictating.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:48
Yeah, you know, dictation I have not been able to embrace. I've tried it a half a dozen times over the span of my career. Just, my brain … I'm a good talker. And I'm a good writer. But when you try to combine the two, it's, you know, I'm a little bit of a moron. So I don't enjoy that process yet. But I have to master it, because I have to master all things writing.
Tawdra Kandle 19:13
Yeah, well, for me, it's dialogue that I can do. Like, I can just do dialogue, and then I have to go back and maybe put in the expo. But it's very easy to do dialogue, I find. I slow down a little bit more when I have to, like put in the filler stuff in between. But, you know, it's not, it doesn't come out precisely clean. But it does mean that if—and I have to do it, like if I dictate for three hours in the morning, that means before I go to bed that night, I have to clean that up. Because if I wait a day, I won't remember. I'll say, “What was I trying to say here?”
Kevin Tumlinson 19:51
That's really interesting. So that means that you are … So you're changing my perspective on this and I may try this. So you're doing scenes. Like you're not trying to dictate, like … because I tend to be a very linear writer. And I go back after the fact and I re-swizzle things and move things around. But I tend to try to tell the story from A to Z. So you're talking about dictating, like, a scene of dialogue and then cleaning that up after the fact. That’s very clever.
Tawdra Kandle 20:22
Yeah. And then it's done you know, at least if you have something down, you have something to work with. And you know, if I get 3,000 words in a dictation cycle, you know, raw, they might come down. It might go up, and it might go down, but it's there, it’s something to work with, and that's easier than starting from scratch. And for me, my brain tends to work better if I'm, you know, doing things. Like, I try to do really fun stuff like, you know, sweeping the floor or folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher. You know, all the glamorous things. And my brain works better. So I'll just throw on my headphones and dictate while I'm doing it.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:04
Like Karate Kid, sweep the floor and then you dictate.
Tawdra Kandle 21:07
Wax on, wax off.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:08
You crane kick for the final scene. People can't really see my both arms up and my knee because I can't talk about crane kick without actually acting it out. Okay, so that brings us around though, because you … So you had this scenario where your husband's out of work, you got to kind of step up your game, write more books, but it wasn't … Writing more books in and of itself isn't always going to be enough to make a living. And you've got tips on low budget marketing. So I definitely want to hear that. I know everybody listening wants to hear it. But before you get to it, before you get to it, everybody watching on YouTube, Facebook and otherwise, make sure you're dropping questions into the comments because in the last 15 minutes, which is coming up in about 10ish minutes from now, 15 minutes from now I guess, we will take all your questions live. Maybe not all, but we're gonna try to get to everything we can. So yeah, you may want to ask some questions about conventions and priests or whatever. But you're probably gonna want to ask about marketing. So go Tawdra, tell us about Tawdra Kandle’s marketing secrets.
Tawdra Kandle 22:20
Well, um, I've been, marketing has been something I've been excited about almost since the beginning of my career. Just because, you know, when we started out there was very little for indie people. There was, you know, we were trying to do things the same way that the trad people were doing, it wasn't working for us. Back in those days, we didn't have aggregators, we didn't have Draft2Digital right away, which is wonderful and great. We didn't have BookBub.
Kevin Tumlinson 22:51
I told you, you didn't have to kiss up to D2D.
Tawdra Kandle 22:57
I know, but I did it anyway. I threw that in there because you said it. We had something called Pixels of Ink. I don't know whether anybody is old enough to remember that, or has been around as long as I have, enough to remember. Pixels of Ink was the place that if you could get them to feature your book, you saw sales, you saw return.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:16
They were the BookBub of their day.
Tawdra Kandle 23:18
They were but it was, you know, I will venture to say that it was even harder to get into Pixels of Ink. So, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that was just my experience. But um, you know, so I really, I was very, very fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of people. And Mandy Stevens had started the promotional book tours before I even knew her. And so I worked with her for a while with that, and she just had amazing ideas. And when I would say, you know, “I don't know what to do about this,” we would brainstorm it. And we had other people working for us, too, who were just fabulous and gave me great ideas. And, you know, I think that brainstorming and jumping off of other people's ideas is the best way you can do it. You really need an author tribe, you need a group of people who will say, “Oh, yeah, you know, that's a great idea. But what if you did this? What if you did that?” So I really think that's the best thing. Um, you know, but I learned very quickly that I had to get my newsletter up and going and I did that. I really didn't know, I was greener than green when I started. I knew nothing about that. Um, so I'm very self-taught. And when you're self-taught, I think you also learn to kind of tweak the system to work for you. And that's what I did. So, you know, author interaction is, author reader interaction is really important. So I try to be very present in social media. I have a very active core group of readers who I adore and love and they're the Temptresses, we're on Facebook. I send out a weekly newsletter, which is something I just started doing this this year. But it's been a lot of fun, I get a lot more interaction. We've also just launched a new associated network. Mighty Network offers you the opportunity to have kind of a group that's not affiliated with social media. I found that a lot of my readers who were interacting on newsletters were not comfortable with being on Facebook, which I understood. But I really did, the interaction was very one way. Or that's two ways. But it was not great between, you know, if you have a newsletter, and people are emailing you, and you're emailing them, that that's just two people. But if you have a network, they can post a picture of their cat and you know, then another reader can see it and say, “Oh, yeah, my cat looks just like that.” Or “My cat does this,” and they post a picture, and then the interaction becomes lateral or, as well as, you know, just up and down. So that's been a lot of fun. Um, I am just, my marketing style is nothing ventured, nothing gained. I will basically try anything once and see, you know, grab a group of authors and say, “Let's all release a book that features a meet cute.” We did that I think in 2016, I think that was the year of meet cute. And we called it “the meet cute books,” and each, there were 12 authors, and each month one of us released a book that featured a meet cute. And then we cross-promoted each other. It was fun, you know? There's a lot of different things to do. And just because you've done something once doesn't mean it’s going to work forever. And it also doesn't mean it won't work again. So I'm starting to see now, things that we started way back in 2012, 2013 are starting to work again.
Kevin Tumlinson 26:52
Yeah, I've noticed that too. Like little things that we kind of, some of us had kind of abandoned, like, “Oh, it's dead. No one's doing that thing anymore.” And then suddenly it's like, “Oh, I've discovered a new way to reach this untapped market.”
Tawdra Kandle 27:10
It’s true. I think blog tours might even be …
Kevin Tumlinson 27:13
You think? Because I was, I've been curious about that because they seem like they fizzled out there for a while.
Tawdra Kandle 27:18
They did. I won't say they fizzled out. I will say that there began to be a glut of authors who all were kind of beating down the doors of bloggers. I cannot say enough wonderful things about book bloggers. I don't think any of us in the indie community would be where we are if it weren't for book bloggers. I just, I love them and they have been fabulous with me and some of our original bloggers from promotional book tours are still some of my top fans and still, you know, reading all of my books and reviewing and you know, no matter what I write, they will they will read and review, so I love them. I think that it might take a different, might take a different form. I don't know exactly what, but … Instagram is huge. Bookstagrammers. They may be the new book bloggers.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:11
Really? I’m so terrible at Instagram. I’ve really gotta get my game together. I like Instagram though. One of the things I like about Instagram is if I share something there, I can immediately share it to both Facebook and Twitter, which is very handy. But, you know, and it also forces me to think in terms of an image, and because we're writers, I tend to write a lot in a post. So if I have to be a little more concise and put something in an image, it forces me to be more mindful of my marketing. So.
Tawdra Kandle 28:46
And you just have to make sure it sticks to brand. You know, like my branding is I almost always—not always, but most of the time—I post at the end of the day, whatever beer I'm drinking. So I have a, you know, beer of the day hashtag. And I try to, you know, mix it up. I go to our local liquor store.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:05
You and Mark Lefebvre need to just do an evening of beers, you know. A virtual beer tour.
Tawdra Kandle 29:12
I know. Well, I did right after the quarantine started, one of the things I did was host a virtual booze tour. I got, I think there were 12 of us. And we each did lives. We did it as an event and we did lives in our house and mixed up drinks and we went from different rooms or different parts of our house. It was, you know, it was because we couldn't go anywhere else. So we might as well.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:40
What are you gonna do?
Tawdra Kandle 29:41
Yeah, right. So it was fun. The readers enjoyed it. You know, we each did readings of our books or our works in progress or whatever.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:44
Yeah, well, okay. We have come to the point in the program, where we're going to open things up for people to ask us anything. If you're listening, if you're watching and you haven't popped a question in, no matter where you are, pop it in, I should see it. Well, unless you're watching an entirely other live stream, then I might not see it. But ask whatever you like. And if you don't ask stuff, it means I gotta ask more stuff. So pop it in there. So, and I just popped up your URL for your website. So I definitely want people to go check you out there. And also, for those of you watching, make sure you hit Like and subscribe on whatever platform you're on. If you're on YouTube, like and subscribe to our channel. Or, like this video, subscribe to our channel. Same with Facebook, so you'll get alerted to more of these. Because we got a ton of them, we're doing a bunch of these over the summer. So that was me buying time so that I could get to the question that I saw pop through here. Here we go. Let's pop this balloon up, even though it may not fully be a question.
Tawdra Kandle 30:56
I can’t read it, so hopefully you can.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:57
I'm gonna read it out to you. Are you on your phone? Are you doing this on your phone?
Tawdra Kandle 31:01
No, I’m on my laptop but the print is like, it's not even a centimeter I don't think.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:07
That's fine. That's fine. I got us covered. So he says, “I just shifted wide from KU. Needed some inputs about marketing on different platforms. Which platform should we give more weightage? (I write art instructions nonfiction books.)”
Tawdra Kandle 31:23
Ooh, nonfiction is tough.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:26
Yeah, that's a tough one.
Tawdra Kandle 31:28
Yeah, I think aside from Amazon, probably Apple books would be my suggestion. Because they have a, you know, you can go there and you can see the top 100, or I think it's 100 nonfiction too. And yeah, Apple Books does some good promo and you know, I know you all do it. Whenever they offer promo, you guys offer it too, that's one of the places.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:56
Yeah, we're fine-tuning our game on promotions too. We hired this like stunning hottie to run the promotion side of it, and I'm allowed to say that legally because she's my wife. She's gonna be helping out on that side of things. So we got a question from Alexis who is a darling and was on the show just a couple of days ago. So Alexis asks … You don’t have to lean in. I’m gonna take care of you. I’m gonna take care of you.
Tawdra Kandle 32:30
You know, are you actually reading the question? I don't know, you could be making this up.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:33
I am making it up. Those things you see on screen aren't even words. Okay. So “Of the reoccurring conventions you have gone to, which one do you think has the most to offer for indie or new authors?”
Tawdra Kandle 32:47
Okay, from a learning perspective, of course, I'm going to say NINC. You know, there's just, and I would say that even if I were not the NINC President.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:56
I don't know. I think you're contractually obligated.
Tawdra Kandle 32:59
I probably am contractually obligated. But I really would, I've been saying this since before then, from a learning point of view. Now I will say that last year I went to Skye Warren's Romance Author Mastermind, and it just blew me away. I mean, but that is specifically romance. And it's, you know, it's by invitation only and it is intense. It is from like, 8 in the morning until 10 at night and you are, you know, you are just wrung out, but you have learned so much. NINC is great for learning. We have high-level workshops, very high-level workshops, and also networking. I would say, at NINC, we like to play as hard as we work, I would say.
Kevin Tumlinson 33:47
I’ll say this about NINC. This is one of my favorite things about NINC. You can count on, I'm just gonna make up a number, okay? 95%, maybe even higher than that. 98% percent of the people you encounter at NINC, from the authors to the industry folks, are A-game players. Like, they are killing it. They're making, you know, they're making a great living from this stuff. Because NINC isn't an inexpensive conference to attend. Especially if you have to come in from out of state. But it is a, to me, it's one of the industry leaders. A great place to coordinate and network with folks.
Tawdra Kandle 34:32
From a beginner’s, if you're just starting out, it can be a little overwhelming, I would think. So if you were just starting out I would try something like Orlando Reads Books, I would try any of the smaller conferences that do feature industry guests. Because you are gonna learn more there.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:52
So one of the things I like about Orlando Reads Books is, it is in part a reader-facing conference as well. So you guys do a whole reader-centric day. And the authors get a chance to have a table and put their books up, maybe do some selling, do some signing. You don't see that at every conference. So that's actually a really cool thing.
Tawdra Kandle 35:15
No, no, that's true. And, you know, and also most states have their own … like, Florida has FWA. And I know most, you know, so. So those would probably be, if I were just starting out, that's where I would want to go. I did one last year right after NINC called Moonlight Magnolias in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:33
I'm supposed to go to that, but I think it's getting canceled.
Tawdra Kandle 35:37
Oh, is it? Yeah, I don't know, cuz I'm not slated to be there this year. But um, I would, it's another great conference. And I saw a lot of, it was definitely, there are a lot of people there who are in the midst of writing books and publishing, so there was some good entry-level information.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:56
Yeah. One last parting bit about conferences, there's, as Tawdra mentioned, there's usually one statewide, but every major metropolitan area I know has at least one author conference. So you don't have to travel across the country to go to one of these. I recommend starting local. Finding, even if it's a smaller one, you know, 20 to 50 people, just go to experience the whole thing and get comfortable with it, and then maybe you can save up and go to a bigger one later.
Tawdra Kandle 36:28
Yeah, and you know, a lot of times even your local library. In Orlando, our Orange County Library, the events person is actually an author. It's a friend of mine. And she does, you know, I think every month there's an author in there speaking, I think, and she organizes a conference as well that's in the library, and it's very reasonable. So, you know, check your libraries once they're open again.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:54
Yeah, yeah, I may have to start pulling together some kind of like virtual library tour thing that I can pitch to libraries. Look, bring authors in, even if it's over zoom or something. Let’s keep people interested in libraries. All right, we got another question. Read that one for me, Tawdra. Okay, so, “What program do you use for dictation? Dragon and mp3 player? I've played around with Dragon in the past. I've lately tried one called otter.ai.” I use that one, by the way. “I want to master dictation to boost word count, but I haven't found a good system yet.” So what do you use?
Tawdra Kandle 37:32
Okay, I have used Dragon Anywhere on my iPhone. I just put in and I have my—yeah, I already have them ready, my little headphones here. And really, I think a good set of headphones is the key. Because I tried it—I walk a lot. I used to be a runner before my knees gave out and I walk a lot. And so I would put in my trusty Apple headphones and it wasn't picking up what it needed to. I mean, it was just gibberish, it was, I couldn't even figure out what I was trying to say. So a good set of headphones with a good microphone is great. Dragon Anywhere I think is like $15 a month if it's a subscription. However, having said that, there is a free one called Speechy. And I think it might just be Apple phones, but it's called Speechy. And it's free and it will also send your, you can also send it, it will transcribe it and you can have it sent to your, as a, you know, as a file. And you can also listen to yourself again, it's both recording and transcribing.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:39
Yeah, those are great, yeah.
Tawdra Kandle 38:42
It’s a great thing because if you can't figure out what it was that, like if it transcribed something and you need to go back and listen to what you said, you can do that.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:48
Did you, I may have missed it. Did you mention the like built-in tools at all? Because Apple actually has some great dictation tools built into some of their stuff. If you don't have a budget, you can start there.
Tawdra Kandle 39:04
Yeah, you can. Now the other thing you can do, and actually, my friend Lisa Huey clued me into this. If you put Google on any phone, you can use the speech function there. The only thing you have to watch is that it will turn off pretty quickly if you're not continuing, like if you take a pause and think about what you're going to say, it might turn off, so you have to kind of keep your eye on it.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:25
Tawdra Kandle 39:27
There’s nothing more frustrating than dictating a chapter—or, not a chapter, a paragraph—and looking back and realizing …
Kevin Tumlinson 39:32
You know, Google Voice does a automated transcription. You could always call yourself and then ...
Tawdra Kandle 39:43
You're really talking to yourself there, right?
Kevin Tumlinson 39:47
Exactly. And then you get, you know, yeah, exactly.
Tawdra Kandle 39:51
There's a lot of options out there. There really are. If you haven't, my suggestion is that if you haven't actually tried dictation, don't pay for anything until you try one of these things and see If that works for you,
Kevin Tumlinson 40:01
Yeah, you can at least try out the process, if not the specific software. We’ll just reveal the secret: there's better software that does better things and makes this a little easier. But if you just want to try it out, really I'd start with the built-in stuff. If you have an iPhone or Mac or something, and I’m sure Android and Windows machines are the same way, have something. Try out the stuff that you already have just to see if you like the rhythm of it. So this is a this is a pretty epic question. I don't know if we have time to answer this. “What's your favorite beer?”
Tawdra Kandle 40:41
Ah, you know what? I lost you there for a moment.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:44
Oh, you lost me at the exact wrong time. What's your favorite beer? Are we still skipping?
Tawdra Kandle 40:52
What’s my favorite beer, right? Okay. Um, that's really hard. It's like asking what's my favorite kid, or what's my favorite book. Purple Haze by Abita, that's a favorite. Shiner, I like that.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:07
I like Shiner. That's a Texas beer, so I'm on board.
Tawdra Kandle 41:10
Yeah, my girlfriend author Olivia Hardy turned me on to Shiner because I edit her books and she writes about them and so I was like, yeah, I got to try that. So yeah. My favorite thing is to go to, Publix does this and also Fresh Market, you can go and make your own six pack and that's my favorite thing to do, because I get bored. Kona, I've been drinking. Publix just had a BOGO on Kona. So I've been drinking Kona beer lately. And I hate to say it, but during the summer, my go-to is Corona with the limes. Not popular now, but …
Kevin Tumlinson 41:46
No problem. That's no problem. We don't blame the beer manufacturer for our current circumstances. Okay. I'm just, I'm—frankly, sadly, and I know I'm gonna take flack for this—I'm not really a beer guy. So I don't have, I like Shiner and I like, you know, I like stouts and things like that. I like something that's got a little bit of texture to it, you know? Some rich stuff, you know.
Tawdra Kandle 42:17
It depends on who I'm with and what I'm doing. My youngest daughter—and my kids are all old, you know, they're all they're all of age to drink. But my youngest daughter, she likes Angry Orchard. So when she comes home we drink Angry Orchard together.
Kevin Tumlinson 42:32
Yeah, I've tried that. That's a pretty decent, it's interesting. That's an interesting beer.
Tawdra Kandle 42:37
It is. And I am a later-in-life beer person, I didn't like beer until I was over 40. Until I became an author.
Kevin Tumlinson 42:43
So part of me wants to say well, maybe I should give it a shot, a better shot than I have in the past and I'll become a beer lover, but I'm half-afraid I'll become a beer lover. So, this question isn't so much for you, it's more of a D2D question. He's asking if they can apply for promos for Apple via D2D. Sort of. What we do is, we get a promo. Apple reaches out to us and says, “We're going to have a promotion.” And they give us the guidelines. And then we will do our best to try to find books that fit that. And one of the ways we do that is, we'll create, these don't just exist out there, we create them at the time of the promotion, and offer authors a chance to opt in. And that's part of the, part of what my wife's actually helping with. So she and Mark Lefebvre and Dan Wood have been pulling together some ways, and this is going to evolve over time, so that we can get a little better about how we offer authors promotions. So take heart. If you're a D2D author, you have a real good chance of being alerted to some of these. We don't alert you publicly. So make sure you are, you don't have to distribute through us to have an account. So just make sure you have at least an account so that you can know when things are coming up. But you would have to distribute through us to participate. So neener neener neener.
Tawdra Kandle 44:01
One of my best months ever was with an Apple promotion through D2D. And that was, that was a while back, but it was huge.
Kevin Tumlinson 44:08
Well, I don't think I'm revealing any secrets here when I say Apple really likes doing business with the authors through us, because we, you know, we take care of the customer support side, you know, so they'll reach out to us for all kinds of interesting things. You know, they sometimes will ask if we'll speak on their behalf about something, because they're frequently not allowed to speak on a topic. And they’ll pretty often say, “Hey, we're going to be running this kind of promotion,” and we may have one coming up. I think, I don't want people rushing Support about it or anything. I don't know details yet. This is the part where Alexis would say, “Shut up, Kevin.” So forget I said anything. I don't know anything. I don't know, I'm gonna put this question up because I don’t, we must have used some acronyms and I don't know which acronyms. I know we've said RWA, which is Romance Writers of America, right? I was gonna say Association for a second there, I blanked. So did we use any other acronyms that you are aware of?
Tawdra Kandle 45:17
NINC. If anybody doesn't know, NINC is actually Novelists, Inc. And you can go to the website is, actually if you Google NINC it'll come up. But it's a, it's an author organization. You have to qualify for membership. And if you want to attend the conference in 2020, you must have applied for membership by May 31.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:47
Yeah, yeah, there you go.
Tawdra Kandle 45:49
Yeah. Because there is a process to become a member and get [inaudible[.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:54
You know, I put in to be a member and there was like, some glitch with, between my email addresses or something, and it never got resolved. And I think I never went back. I need to, and because I'm always there I forget. So I need to, I need to try again.
Tawdra Kandle 46:12
There are definitely benefits to being a member. You should talk to the President about that, maybe she can give you a hand.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:18
If you can put me in touch, I'd appreciate it. Because she and I don't talk enough, is the problem.
Tawdra Kandle 46:23
You can buy her a drink, you know.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:27
Let's see. Yeah, this is a comment about the beer. “I'm not beer either. I like apple ale and Disaronno.” Am I saying that right? I don't know the term.
Tawdra Kandle 46:46
I can't see it.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:47
But I applaud you sir, for your good taste. I'm sure it's very good taste. So okay. And Alexis did in fact, say, “Shut up, Kevin.” So, shutting up. I'm no longer going to say that. So, but we're at time anyway. So I appreciate it. We're kind of running over just a little, so that's my fault. But thanks Tawdra for hanging out with us, I really appreciate it. For everyone else, thank you for being a part of the show as well. So make sure that you are subscribing to us on Facebook and YouTube. If you go to, I'm told this link actually works, so no more correcting it, youtube.com/draft2digital, and you can subscribe. Like this video, because that helps with the algorithms which are like, that's like indie author speak for magic. And if you subscribe, you'll be alerted whenever we get, you'll get your little feed and you can see when some of these new ones pop up. Same thing with facebook.com/draft2digital, and that will allow you to be alerted on Facebook every time we have one of these and you can pop in and do comments, ask questions, it’s a lot of fun. And be sure you bookmark D2Dlive.com because you'll get to see a really cool countdown timer and you'll gain access to all the past live stuff that we've done, but the next upcoming stuff will be counted down right there. So that is it. Thank you again Tawdra for joining us. Thank you, loyal watcher. I mean, there's like 20 or 30 of you in there still right now. So thank you for hanging out with us. And we'll see you all at the next D2D Spotlight coming up tomorrow at noon Central. See you there.