I Need Your Advice (Please!)

Filed under Get Published.

Note: In case you’re wondering, this post is a followup to this (which received a bucketful of comments). I respond to each and every comment, BTW].

Ok…so I’m getting a LOT of emails/comments from readers upset with me about that cliff hanger in my previous email and blog post.

Sorry about that…

Anyway, as I suggested in the last post I’ve been feeling reluctant to talk about something.

But it’s *niggling away* so here goes…

As you may or may not know, this whole ‘helping writers’ thing we do has gotten WAY out of control (in the best possible way).

When we first started BubbleCow over 5 years ago . . . We never in a million years DREAMED we would have the opportunity to positively impact so many writers.

We have been blessed to have helped thousands of people starting on their writing career.

And I’ve been deeply touched by all the emails and letters you’ve sent us over the years (and from all over the world).

Perhaps the best thing for me is the amount I have learned. Each day I speak and chat to writers and each day I learn something new about your needs, problems and possible solutions.

For example, only last week a writer talked me through the process of how she had tested ‘tags’ for her Amazon listed self-published books. She explained that including the word ‘wolverine’ (her books are fiction about wolves), significantly increased the ranking of her books!

So here’s the thing…

Writer’s have:

  • Nicely asked.
  • Strongly encouraged.
  • Begged.
  • Pleaded with me . . .

…To share the accumulation of what we have learned over the last years (and to share and teach the art of writing your own books and then selling enough to make it worth your while).

I am in a unique position, since I not only have an agent and published books (giving me insight into the way the traditional publishing world create and sell books), but also have tonnes of experience with self-published books and how to sell them online.

And then there’s BubbleCow. After all, BubbleCow lives on the internet!

We have never paid ANYTHING for traditional advertising. Instead, we have used the internet 100% to grow our business (I know numbers can be meaningless but we have 11K Twitter followers for @bubblecow and 700+ Facebook followers).

For YEARS I’ve resisted teaching this stuff.

I made the usual mundane excuses like, “I don’t have enough time” and “I’m too busy with editing writer’s books.”

I also wondered if I was even capable of teaching everything we had learned over years of doing this. Concepts and big ideas are great, but you need practical step-by-step guides that will REALLY help you to take the actions you need to sell books. (Day in and day out, now, I’m realizing just how small this kind of thinking was).

Oh. And I’m also a bit of a 100% guy.

Ok “a bit” is a understatement . . . I’m a FULL BLOWN perfectionist.

I have realized that I simply cannot go half-way with this. As far as I am concerned – its **all the way** or not at all.

If we are going to put BubbleCow at risk, then I need to provide the ‘perfect’ solution to writers.

So… I’m Seriously Considering Doing This

Despite my fears I am seriously considering pulling back the curtain and showing you just about everything I know about how to market and sell your books in a way that will bring you success.

And sharing stuff I’ve never publicly shared with ANYONE about how we have used Twitter, Facebook, blogging and emails to build an online presence.

These are techniques that really work… (BubbleCow is proof of this, remember we have never spent anything on advertising).

(I would have LOVED to have had this training years ago when we were just getting started).

If I Do This, It Will Be A LOT Of Work.

I’m excited about sharing stuff with you, but I’ve been around long enough to know that my small projects quickly get out of hand and turn into big ones (I am the big 40 remember!)

So I only want to do this if there’s enough interest.

So I want to know . . .

  • What do you think?
  • Should I do this?
  • Would you be interested?

Your feedback and thoughts are gold dust to me at this point. They will either throw fuel on this idea or kill it dead in its tracks.

And I don’t want to even think about doing this unless there’s enough potential interest.

Anyway, if you have a second, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

It would mean a lot to me, and I’ll do my best to respond to each and every comment.


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  • http://www.charlotteotter.wordpress.com/ Charlotte

    Oh yes, please. I am a writer with a novel out on submission and while I blog, FB and tweet, I would really like to know how to do all of the above better.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      It is funny, there are loads of ‘tips’ and ‘best practice’ that are not really shared on the internet. Instead, these are shared in hushed tones. Time to out them I think.

  • Stephanie

    Absolutely. If you end up going it alone w/o your publisher, I have twelve years im technical writing if you need assistance with documentation. Best of luck with everything!

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      wow thanks - thinking step-by-step videos with pdf documentation. Need to see what people want.

  • http://catherineryanhoward.com/ Catherine Ryan Howard

    Gary what about doing a book AND the videos/PDF thing? I would definitely buy a “how to sell books” type tome by Bubblecow. You have the brand and the experience, and if people wanted to go one step further they could sign up for the seminars. 

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      That’s a really good idea. We could use the book as a flagship of how to sell and promote a self-published book.

  • Michele Helene

    I agree with the Catherine. You have a lot of experience and you’ve worked very hard to gain it, so if you are going to do this, what will you gain from it? Books, PDF’s eBooks. Have a look at what Nicola Morgan is doing and maybe take a leaf from her (e) book. There was also a very interesting post on ABBA this week, a ‘is it worth it’ mathematical formula. Good luck whatever you choose to do.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      For me it is all about finding the best solution for writers. It may be that an ebook is the way forward. I think I need to get a feel for the areas that are causing the most issues before progressing - food for thought. Thanks.

      • David McCarthy

        Several points here. In the writers group I belong to (WOW), most people are still focused on traditional publishing. I think they (and I) need convincing the eBook route is viable & isn’t ‘vanity’ publishing (someone said last week at our meeting, going eBook is giving up on a ‘proper’ publishing deal). Knowing how to go about publishing eBooks (aspecially the marketing side) would convince some of them.
        There seem to ve several eBook routes (Smash, Lulu, others?), and it’s difficult to understand which work best (again, particularly from a marketing perspective).
        Now a question for Michele … what is the ‘ABBA’ she mentioned? The post sounds interesting, but all I can find is some Swedish band!
        Hope this helps!

        • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

          I agree 100% with what you are saying. One thing that is coming through load and clear is that the internet is stuff with ‘how to write’ and ‘get published’ advice. Writers seem to be keen on a way to ‘crack’ marketing. Thanks for the input.

  • Rosemary Dun

    Hi Gary, I teach creative writing and so have a whole raft of “how to” books. I think if you want to get together a book then you need to ensure you are providing what others don’t. At present I think the best how to book is How To Write A Bestseller And Get It Published. What you can offer on top of others already in the market is your wide internet and blogging experience and the use of social media. Many are going to go down the self-published Kindle route, and I don’t think there’s much out there about this, yet, nor about the need for authors to have a social media platform.
    all best,

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      This is a really interesting point.

      As it stands we don’t often post on the blog about writing. Like you say, there are many other blogs and books covering this stuff in real detail.

      In addition, I feel that the ‘bestseller’ route is an outmoded way of thinking. With bookshops playing less of a role writers should be thinking ‘long tail’ not bestseller.

      I also think that this is a golden age for self-publishing. Many of the writers I speak to say that technology and marketing are the two areas that give the most problems.

      Thanks for the insights.

  • Laurapauling

    I’m starting to learn formatting and through cheap ebooks and free blog posts and the Smashwords Style guide, the process is pretty much laid out. I would love an easy to understand HTML book on coding for the writer - not the computer programmer. Something beyond the basics. Guido Henkel offers a free blog series on the basics which is terrific.

    The other big thing is marketing. I read blog posts all the time and frankly I’m not sure blogging really helps for fiction writers. Sure, after you have fans and they seek you out, sure, it helps. But to initially gain readers and fans I’m not sure. I think for nonfiction and how tos like you offer then social media terrific. I believe a website and blogging should be there. I just don’t know how important it is compared to how much time authors spend worrying about it.

    I look at the back of arcs from traditional publishers and I’d say their biggest marketing strategy is money. Paid ads on websites, magazines, number of arcs…etc. I don’t see much else beyond how much money they throw at it to create that buzz. 

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks for this, very insightful…

    • Brown April

      Laura, I used to use W3schools for coding and things.  While not writer based, it is very helpful.

  • Jo Carroll

    You obviously have masses that you could share - and there are thousands of writers who can benefit.

    But - turning this on its head - what do you WANT to do? If this is going to be a headache, or any sort of millstone when there is something else you’d rather do, then forget it. It will take up so much of your precious time that it’s not worth it unless you genuinely love it.

    And - should you decide to go ahead, you can be fairly sure you’ll have readers.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Hi Jo,

      My passion is in teaching. It sounds corny but I love helping others. I spend a lot of time learning the best ways to pass information and give writers the tools they need.

      I believe that the internet can be used for good, and that if we give people the tools and knowledge then great things can happen. If I am able to play just a small part in this then I will be delighted.


  • http://twitter.com/JCMartin_author J.C. Martin

    As a writer soon to be published with an independent press, I’d like to know how to market my book on a shoestring budget to compete with the ‘Big 6′ books. So, YES, please, if you have the time! :)

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks for the comment

  • Terri Forehand

    Think it is a great idea as long as it isn’t financially out of reach for me, I am in.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • http://neelthemuse.wordpress.com/ Neel

    What I really want to understand Gary is about how to create the next best poetry bestseller(is there one?)!!!!

    All your blog posts have been valuable thus far and I wish you all the very best for what you have envisioned. Maybe you can do interviews with writers who are willing to share their secrets- you know how they turned from feature writers for obscure magazines to writers who have book sales. Most of all we need to have more knowledge about how things work globally…what are writer’s markets like all over the world? When should a writer stop and reconsider? Is there a right path, a road not to be taken? 

    Thanks for the initiative…I really hope it helps writers world over!

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


      I think the concept of bestseller is a thing of the past. It was based on the model of real bookshops finding the best selling books to fill their precious self space. Amazon’s virtual shelves now mean that readers can buy the books they want, not the books that they are told to buy.

      This has to be a good thing for poetry. It means that you find readers that will love your work. In the past book shops would only stock ‘high selling’ books. You have a chance to reach a whole new section of readers.


  • http://twitter.com/ppmw Paul Wilson

    This sounds like a great way to use your accumulated knowledge but as another person here has said - there are many of those books around - how about creating a series of short - 5 to10minute podcasts on the subject each of which tackles an aspect…then you can always take the scripts for the podcasts and make them into a book. This is something I am doing (the conversion) for someones podcast (will have to be anonymous at present) and what Stever Robbins did on his site  getitdone.quickanddirtytips.com   I think its a good model as the podcast gets sponsorship, builds a fanbase for the idea and enables you to fit it in with other activities. Podcasts can be inexpensive to produce and great to listen to, I listen to around 15 per week - in the car mostly.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


      Love the idea of a podcast but my problem is a lack of technical experience. I have been working hard on producing videos and suspect this will be the start point for me. This said, writers like to read so many pdf/ebook is the best option.

      Loads of good ideas here…


      • http://twitter.com/ppmw Paul Wilson

        I have experimented with videos but haven’t yet found a slick way of making them given the equipment I currently have available. However a podcast needs only a microphone and a copy of the Audacity audio recording/editing package to start. I am more confident with my voice than my video presence!  I also think that if ‘casts are made with a book version in mind from the start (how you split up the subject, keeping the message short and focused) it makes the book version easier to put together - not as just straight transcripts, obviously in  book format you can expand on ideas or use multiple examples. I think this is the way I am going on it. I look forward to seeing(hearing?/reading?) how you go forward as well.

        • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

          I often do private screen recordings for writers stuck on a particular problem. I should do more of these I think. This all said I looove podcasting.

  • Brown April

    I think it would be wonderful.  I’m at that point where I have several things in edits, and am trying to do query letters, with so much conflicting advice at there, it’s amazing any agent accepts a query letter!  Of course, I have seen many who help other writers get overwhelmed and burnout soon.  So make a plan and a goal.  Perhaps - you want to help five people in a month - who in turn help five people (Okay like a chain letter) spreading the knowledge.  One can only hope it doesn’t get watered down, and instead gets stronger each time - staying fresh with the most current agent requests.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I love the idea of a ‘helping’ chain letter.

      I have checked out our free course for writing a book proposal?

      If you want me to have a look at your query then send it over.

  • Maya Hanley

    I teach small businesses and individuals how to use social media as, like you, I love to see people be successful and what I have noticed is that most people have very little or no understanding of how to use social media to benefit their business or how to optimise their accounts like LinkedIn (great for writers now too) and their websites etc. A lot of people are scared of the technology side until you show it to them and let them try it themselves. I help writers here and there too and am also a writer and plan to use all my experience when the time comes. I think your idea is a really good one. I am wondering if you plan to break it into pieces and focus on specific platforms like Facebook, optimisation etc etc or whether you will do a complete how to? An online course/webinar with a followup e-book would be great. I am working on a Simple LinkedIn book at the moment myself. I think what you do is marvelous and I know there are millions of people who would benefit from your expertise. 

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Hi, I think the format will have to be a grass roots onwards. I also find that many writers are simply put off when faced with social media. My advice is always to start small and build. It is amazing what you can do with a couple of hundred dedicated Twitter followers.

      I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the route we end up taking.

  • Anonymous

    I have gone the way of trying to hook an agent for years with varying
    success: I had one for a few years but it turned out he was better at
    non-fiction than fiction.  I had a YA agent very interested recently,
    but she wanted me to rewrite my YA novel to her specifications. My books
    don’t quite fit the mainstream.  So I am now forsaking the agent route
    and loading my books to Kindle.  I am looking to try to figure out how
    to drive some traffic to them.

    I am not looking to get rich (fortunately!) but I would like people to
    be able to decide if they want to read my books since most who do - an
    admittedly miniscule number - like them.  But self-promotion is my weak
    point. I have never been good at selling them out of the trunk of my
    car, and I am equally lame at selling them out of the online version of
    that same trunk.  So any advice would be appreciated.And having been
    unemployed for a little while, I am certainly not going to splash out
    money for ads either.   Good luck with your (ad)venture in any case.  

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I know many writers who are self-publishing with great success. Though it is not a golden ticket many writers, who would have been mid-list with a publisher are finding they can earn more money. Not a fortune, but enough to make it worth while.

      Marketing seems to be the call to arms.

  • Debbie flint

    Hi hon - do u mean a one or two day workshop covering such technical things as u mention here? Search words, kindle self pub etc. if so put me on mail shot list. I don’t need basic ‘how to write a book course’ personally - done several - but prob others will. Good luck.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I am not sure what format it would take yet. I just wanted to make sure there was interest before committing time into designing a course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001404164771 Steve Caunce

    Once you have a course prepared and make up a number of video lectures you can always reprise them again and again. (Like a Humanities Professor with tenure) The hard work is in the front end and in keeping up the interaction with the learners on each video presentation.
    I would suggest using a Business School model and go through the material with a number of people taking a video lesson all at the same time rather than let everyone download the video at their own pace. Once you have this going you could run that course again and put the learner interactions in the hands of “tutorial leaders”, allowing you to concentrate on producing the next course.
    If you don’t then learner interaction can easily fill up all your creative time.
    I guess what I am saying is that you will not be continuing your old business model, you will be entering an entirely new start-up business and that means planning it out so it will be self-sustaining. (I’m being an amateur venture-capitalist here.)
    Good luck and sincere best wishes.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Steve, wow this is gold dust. I have already made a spreadsheet with everyone’s ideas. I never realized there was so much positive energy coming our way - thanks. 

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    I am relatively new here but have benefitted already from what you have shred. So, go for it.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • http://profiles.google.com/glynissmy Glynis Smy

    I am always interested in what you have to say. In fact today you are mentioned on my blog, as I like to share information I find. If you have something valuable to say, and enjoy the process of teaching, it can only be a yes go ahead. 

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks for the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/Pensake Rob Graham

    I am with Jo, if it would hinder other projects you have by pulling your much needed time and attention away from them, including family, then forget it.   BUT… and that’s a big BUT, I can not lie….
    I would love to hear what you have learned, if only to hear your story on your successful trail to WOWness.  Again, I would not want to overwhelm you, but the idea is sound and I for one would love to learn.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks Rob.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Gary, How are you? Yes I feel positively excited about all this and would appreciate any help I can get. If it comes from someone who I can directly interact with then that is much better than waiting for ages for someone to answer. I’m quite the beginner at seriously writing to get published, so I don’t want to get lost in the maze of publishing that we have today. I’m writing my debut novel (and hopeful for previous abandoned efforts!), that I am thrilled with as I feel a lot more confident about this one than I have about the others. So I have the confidence and enthusiasm but I know that there is plenty more that I need to know before I get published.

    My plan to get published is to first publish as an ebook to see how it goes and, hopefully, make enough to get a book out there in the shops. Yes you should do this and I would definitely be very interested, so I say go for it. I’m sure that it would generate business for Bubblecow. Having said that, be careful that you don’t overstretch yourself. If it gets to be too much to do then you have to look after yourself first and rethink what you are doing.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      This sounds like a real solid plan. I spoke to a writer last week. She is a self-published writer. She said the way her books had taken off was to publish two a once. The first she gives away for free, and second, its sequel, is a decent price.  Her theory was that the free book was like a writer browsing in a book shop and deciding if they should buy.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for that Gary. My first book, Crash of Destiny, was going to be a stand alone book. Then, as I came up with new plots for other books, I noticed that one of them could be a follow up to Crash of Destiny. So I re-thought the plot a little and it looked like it would work. Excellent! a follow up novel. Then I thought about the third plot that I had and looked at that from a different angle and hey presto, a trilogy! So if I wrote the three books, the deal could be to sell them for a decent price each or buy volumes 1 and 2 together then get volume 3 free!

        • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

          My understanding is that you use the first books as a loss leader (cheap or free) and put a link at the back to your next book, which is full price. That way is someone reads the first book and loves it they WILL pay for the next.

  • Lilevs5500

    i say write a second book so the people who read the cliff hanger have to read the second book

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Ha… I have taken some real stick over the cliff hanger! Maybe I should write all posts in installments :-) I will write a super practical post to make up for it.

  • Diane Becker

    Am still at the writing stage (mostly short stories), with occasional publication in online litmags and anthologies, so am not at stage where I need help prepping for publication or marketing. However, looking ahead, I envisage producing a limited edition printed collection alongside an ebook, so advice on how to do the ebook thing would be really useful. Looking down the comments, step by step video tutorials sound like the way to go. Not sure how often you’d need to update them though … hope this is helpful.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks, I am huge believer in real practical advice. Yeah, knowing the theory is great, but I always wanted to know the exact actions to take to get results.

  • http://kimmullican.com/ Kim Mullican

    I think it depends on what you expect.  There are already books out there on how to get published, writing etc.  If you’re going to actually teach a class on writing publishable material, that could be helpful, but clearly you’ll need a disclaimer. The publishing world is changing so fast it gives one whiplash at times.  There’s never a guarantee you’ll be picked up by an agent or publishing house, not that it matters with ePublishing/self-publishing now.

    The only way to know is to do a trial run and gauge your response.  Best of luck.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I number of people have suggested we stay away from ‘how to write’ and ‘how to get published (traditionally)’. To be honest, this is invaluable feedback.

  • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

    Sorry, some people have had problems leaving comments. You can email me at [email protected]

  • Robert

    As a new writer myself, any help, hints, etc will be useful to me. You may just say the one thing that connects something for me and that is worth its weight in gold.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Anonymous

    Yours is a great offer. I’d love to know how to create and use an online presence becuse I don’t have any knowledge about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, that is, I know what they are, but I’m a bit scared to start.
    Shows us how, Gary please, and if you do, make allowances for dummies.
    I hope you’ll receive umpteen replies… for those like me.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Hi Lillian - thanks for the kind words.

  • Fred

    Hi Gary,
    I will not forget the helpful edit you gave ‘Barbarian I’. It made No 7 in the Yeovil Literary prize (highly commended). It would be really good if you could, as you suggest, ‘spill the beans’ on the marketing side of things.
    I can’t believe writers everywhere would’nt jump at the chance!
    Fred Nath

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Ohhh - I loved Barbarian and recommend to everyone who loves Historical Fiction to give it a read. Plus I edited it so it will be excellent :-)


      On a serious note, the mainstream publishers really seem to have a downer on some Historical Fiction. I don’t understand why? It does well on Kindle and hits the ‘older reader’ demographic head on…

  • laurie brunson altieri

    Gary, I believe your heart in this is resonating with the tremendous shift and change that is taking place personally, locally, nationally, and around the world as we know it.  Trust your heart-we are grateful that you are willing to share.  :)

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Victor Scerri

    I think for the most, to share valuable content is a blessing to those that seek such information, though more often than not business comes first and we’are  left with a cliffhanger — to buy more. Thus, the pros and cons on how to sell, in my mind, should be left to those that know what formidable routs to take and offer a full 100% sales service with an agent fee. After all you won’t ask your Dr to sell your car. 
    Warm regards,

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Victor - I think you have hit the nail on the head… To provide valuable, practical and pragmatic information takes time to research, test and deliver. Therefore there must be a financial balance. My belief is that if the information really does help writers to sell more books, any cash paid is an investment.

      I spend loads on training and coaching, as well as books and audio. Yet I almost never see this as a waste of money. Instead, I see it as my duty to digest and apply the lessons in a way that will help BubbleCow and other writers.

      I think that might be a mini-rant! Sorry :-)

  • http://kaylynnevirgin.tateauthor.com/ Kay Virgin


    Yes, please!  As an unknown author, the social networking aspect of marketing is so important and it really eludes me - it seems utterly daunting.  I realize this would be a monumental task, but I believe would be so benificial to so many who are probably just like me.  I love Bubble Cow (as I have mentioned to you before!) and value the information I  have received over the last year and a half.  Keep up the excellent work, and once again, this would help me so much! This is an amazing offer/thought but I believe it would benifit so many of us out there. 

    Your loyal fan!
    Kay Virgin

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Kay — I have been truly touched by the outpouring of positive comments. It is sometimes difficult to connect with writers and see the direct result of the advice you are offering. This has really inspired me to share more.

  • Bahern7

    Great idea. Please share more!

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Will do!

  • Tobaeus

    I would absolutely love to see this sort of advice coming from a successful business such as yours. I’m looking at putting my work out there in the professional world, and it would be invaluable to me to be armed with any knowledge that can help me along the way.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Hi — I believe 100% that the techniques used in the business world translate fully to book selling. In fact, I have advised many writers with tips and tricks that they have used with great success. The problem comes in finding a cohesive format…

  • Sally J. Smith

    It sounds like you want to do this, but are worried about the time commitment. Those of us who read and benefit from your newsletter wholeheartedly say, “Yes! Do it!” But in the end, Gary, it’s gotta be your choice. I’m thinking you shouldn’t let yourself talk you out of it, or us talk you into it. Make a pros and cons list, try to be unemotional about it, and make the choice with both your head and heart equally. You’ll make the right choice for yourself. Good luck.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      This is sound advice… thanks

  • Suereid08

    Yes, yes and yes! Please pull back the curtain - I can’t wait

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Wulfshado

    I’m with some of the others here and join the chorus that says: Yes, but only do it if it’s really something that YOU want to do. It’s great to want to help others but there’s a point where that can get real old real fast and cause you to burn out. So just be certain you’re doing this because it’s something you want and love, otherwise it go south on you down the road. Good luck in your decision making!

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks for this. I am not the only editor at BubbleCow. In fact, I have always balanced my time between editing and building the business. If we go ahead with this I will make sure the infrastructure is in place to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality edits.

  • http://twitter.com/TracyRiva Tracy Riva

    I would consider anything you did put together worth its weight in gold, both what you have to say about how to write, and how to sell your books. Please do this!

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Dar2drm4ever

    Gary - this sounds fabulous. There is a lot of information out there and it is hard to sort through it. I am new to bubblecow so my fabulous is tempered by how will this be different from what is out there already? It is so confusing you want to pull the covers over your head and just hide and write. If I had not just found your site I would probably not even be asking this question so all of those who are avid followers please forgive my ignorance.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      It is a very good question.

      One message that is coming through loud and clear is that writers already have access to loads of information about ‘how to write’ and ‘how to get published’. If this is to work it needs to be different.

      My approach has always been to encourage writers to use solid marketing techniques to sell their books. I could write for hours on why an email list is your key to success…

      The problem is finding the format that connects with writers.

  • Semyanik

    I am sure you are going to do this anyway, and I wish you all the best of luck with it, and look forward to the results. My feeling is this… please keep it to a publishing and marketing based course and not a ‘how to write’ thing. There’s so much out there already about writing skills, but it’s hard to keep up with technology and the business end of writing, and that’s something that we really need.
    All the best,

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Sarah - one of the clearest messages has been to stay away from the ‘how to write’ approach. I would be an idiot to ignore this.  

  • D.J. Kirkby

    I would prefer to buy a book about this from you than anyone else. Please do write it.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      too kind

  • Jmcgrath

    I think you are providing an invaluable service for which you should feel incredibly proud.  Please please do it!  You are helping so many hopeful writers and serving all the creative souls out there! 

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Ren

    I read whatever you send out in your newsletter. I have a file on hand just for you. I’m not going unsubscribe, no matter what you do.

  • Ren

    Jeez, I meant to say that I will always keep reading your newsletters and that I have no intention of unsubscribing, no matter which direction you decide to go in.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I might write a few crappy ones just to test you out :-)

  • Robert

    I’m a new subscriber to your newsletter which I enjoy. As a new writer, I read blogs from other writers. I figure true wisdom comes from those that has done what I’m inspiring to do. With that said, the dilemma you find yourself in regarding the amount of work required to do your thing, here is my suggestion: share some of your gold nuggets in a brief format with your newsletter while compiling your complete work in a book to sell. There is nothing wrong with being paid for your efforts. I feel that as writers, if one produces quality material, one should be compensated for it. When your material is published, you can still share excerpts from it to help newbies like me as well as promote your book.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

       Thanks - To be honest I really love our newsletter. I try yo reserve the ‘best’ tips and tricks for this format. I am also moving towards longer, more informative blog posts, though these take time to research and write.

  • Markconsult

    I think you should as there is a huge demand for it, but in the form of a course that progresses. That way you will weed out the people who are just kicking tires and not give away the ultimate secrets until someone is well into it.  There will always be people who want to learn how to fish, and those that want you to do the fishing for them. Either way you win.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

       Wise words - thanks.

  • Sue Morris

    I would love to hear full disclosure.  For being an open source of everything imaginable, the one thing always missing is how to use the Internet to grow a business, blog, book release.  ”Information” is missing something and that is usually the needed key for success.

    I would love for someone to lay it all out, regardless of others wanting to keep the information guarded.  I am not even sure I am making sense as I write this.  I understand what I am trying to say but not sure -which is why I need help with writing, but more so marketing.  Like, how did you get all those followers and readers?

    I think “tire kickers” (just read comment by Markconsult), may be wanting to make sure they are not buying another “all but the needed” without those golden nuggets everyone is fearful of sharing, but often make us think they are with their sales pages.  Having bought my share of information, I understand that sentiment.  I also think putting the best in a book (as Robert suggested), is a great idea.  I would buy it.

    I write a blog on kids books and it can be overwhelming at times.  Your task is more monumental, so I think you should decide what you are willing to share first.  Maybe starting with the newsletter, somehow using it to find the non’kickers” first and then offering something we must login to read.  I do not like memberships, but that might be a solution.

    I love your stuff.  Good luck..

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I fully understand what you are saying. People are often cagey about the real tactics that they use. For example, many big blogs were made successful by the owners writing ‘flagship’ articles and then emailing hundreds of people telling them about them. Also, one the early techniques we used to build our Twitter following was to manually follow about 50 people a day. Both little tips that are not readily shared.

      I think you make a very valuable point about finding writers who have the ‘commitment’ to benefit…

  • MikeHayward

    Don’t do it, Gary.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Jonesthesteel

    I have absolutely no doubt that what you are considering needs doing. Having put a lot of effort into writing “Putting Things Straight” I found myself in a minefield without a mine detector. I read terrible tales of rip off merchants all around who would charge me thousands to get my book published and would get me absolutely nowhere. I really did not know where to turn and I happened upon Bubble Cow and at last I found someone who told it how it is and was full of excellent advice - I thank you for that.
    Having said it needs doing, only you can decide if you are the man to do it. I am absolutely sure you could make a success of it though.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

       Thanks for the kind words.

  • Simon James

    I personally think that this is a good idea for me and the thousands of other like me who feel that becoming published is a bit of a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

    However, whereas you have stated that teaching people is your passion, will it stop the other things that seemingly are passion of yours too? Such as writing books and editing other author’s manuscripts.

    Something to ponder on.

    If you do it, I’d be interested.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

       Simon - To be honest, this is a big consideration for me. I am currently re-evaluating my short and long term goals. The aim being to find a path that will give the most benefit. Anyway, thanks for the wise words.


  • http://www.tonymcfadden.net/ Tony

    Anything that pulls back the curtain for new and young writers is good. I say go for it…

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • Barrie

    Having chatted (on line and over the phone) a couple of times I would vbery much say ‘yes please’.

    • http://bubblecow.net BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


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  • http://twitter.com/matthewtelkin Matthew Elkin

    I’m definitely for the idea. Do it!

  • Dana

    Please oh please oh please oh please with sugar on top!  I’ll be a really good girl I promise!  I promise I won’t ask for anything else ever!  Well… at least not for another 15 minutes.

  • Den of all Trades

    Heck yeah who wouldn’t want to learn from a pro

  • Anonymous

    Hello Gary - I’m intrigued with all this and can only say YES PLEASE!  The mysteries of publishing grow denser with every new thing learned!  Thanks to you and Caroline, I took the plunge to publish late last year.  In the three months to Christmas, I sold 880 books.  Is that good / bad / indifferent?  And where do I go from here? To have the inside on publishing would be dynamite!

    • Gary Smailes


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