Subject: Inside a Best-Selling Author’s Mind (Interview with Mark Dawson)

Best-selling author Mark Dawson has become the go-to person when it comes to using paid traffic to add readers to your mailing list and boost the sales of your books. His course, Facebook Ads for Authors, caused quite a stir when it was launched for the first time in June this year. He enrolled 450 indie authors, including some of the biggest in the world, and provided them with high quality online teaching that showed them exactly how to use Facebook to give their writing careers a big boost. I’ve been in touch with Mark since then and I am pleased to say that I will be working with him for the re-opening of the course on October 23rd.

I went through the course and I can say one thing with absolute confidence: this is the best produced, most focused, most actionable course available for authors and writers who want to leverage the world’s most powerful social network to take their publishing careers to the next level.
Thanks to Mark's course, I'd like to welcome 357 new authors (who have subscribed within the last seven days). You know that you're here because of my Facebook ads - I was following Mark's lessons!

And now, with no further ado, let me present...DRUMROLL...Mark Dawson who has honored us with a fantastic interview!

BIO: Mark Dawson has worked as a lawyer and currently works in the London film industry. His first books, "The Art of Falling Apart" and "Subpoena Colada" have been published in multiple languages.

He is currently writing three series.

The John Milton series features a disgruntled assassin who aims to help people to make amends for the things that he has done.

The Beatrix Rose series features the headlong fight for justice of a wronged mother - who happens to be an assassin - against the six names on her Kill List.

Soho Noir is set in the West End of London between 1940 and 1970. The first book in the series, "The Black Mile", deals with the (real life but little known) serial killer who operated in the area during the Blitz. "The Imposter" traces the journey of a criminal family through the period; it has been compared to The Sopranos in austerity London.

Mark lives in Wiltshire, in the UK, with his family.

Mark, why do you write?

Because I have no choice in the matter. It’s what I love to do, and I’d do it even if there were no prospect of ever selling another book.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was 13 or 14.

How long have you been in the self-publishing business?

Since 2012/2013.

Is writing/publishing your full-time job? If not, what is?

This is the full time job now.

What is your daily work schedule?

I get up at 6 and get my children ready for the day. Then, after delivering them to their nursery, I start work. I’ll usually write from 8.30 until around 12.30, then I’ll change venues and take care of business tasks. That can take a couple of hours these days. Once that’s done, I’ll try and write for another hour or two. I’ll usually finish working at 5.30.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten (or read)?

Writers write. You can’t call yourself a writer unless you get down and start doing it. And, also, you should write what you want to write (and read, perhaps) rather than what you think the market wants. The market changes its mind.

What is the best marketing advice you’ve ever gotten (or read)?

You have to treat it as a business. That means you have to treat it professionally, and you have to be prepared to invest time and money into making it work. Success will not fall in your lap – that is a guarantee.

What has been your best marketing decision so far?

Learning how to use Facebook ads. I was doing very well before I started to advertise; now I am doing extremely well.

What has been your worst decision as a writer and how did you bounce back?

I was a bit slow in getting my mailing list up and running; I lost time in making progress, but that’s a problem that is easily fixed. Start the list!

You’ve had great success with Facebook ads - how did Facebook ads help grow your business?

They have helped me to find new readers with subscription campaigns and sell books, too. I’m on track to spending around $150,000 this year in advertising, but the return is likely to be twice that. You don’t have to start with a massive budget, though. When I started experimenting, I did it on $5 a day and then reinvested the profits. It took off from that point and hasn’t stopped yet.

Many authors fail at using Facebook ads to grow their business - what are they doing wrong?

They thinking hitting ‘boost’ is how to advertise on Facebook. It isn’t. Others ignore advice from other authors who are having success and plough on regardless. When I started, there were no writers explaining what you needed to do, so I taught myself through podcasts and articles from other industries that were a little ahead of us.

Can you share some best practices on how to make FB ads work.

You have to test obsessively. You are unlikely to stumble upon the best combination of ad image, copy and targeting immediately. One well-known author I have taught ran through 38 different iterations until he found one that worked. And now that one is returning his investment at 100%. Worth the effort.

Do you think of yourself as an author or as an entrepreneur?

Both. You need to be able to switch hats at, well, the drop of a hat.

What have been the key factors to your success?

First of all, I know my strengths and weaknesses. I am a very good writer. I am not a very good cover designer. I am prepared to pay skilled designers and editors to do the things that I can’t do. I’m tenacious, thirsty to learn and prepared to make mistakes if that means my knowledge is improved. I am determined to make it work. And I know how to turn readers into fans into raving fans and then into friends. If you do that, adding them one at a time, you can make a very good living for yourself. And it’s easy to do: just be friendly and normal. Good things will happen.

What do you think traditional publishers should learn from self-publishers?

How to publish books in the 21st century. Pricing. How to attract fans and keep them happy.

What should self-publishers learn from traditional publishers?

Take editing and cover design seriously.

What do you think the publishing landscape will look like in 5 years?

The distinction between indie and traditional publishing will have blurred even more to the point where it is indistinguishable. Amazon will be challenged more by Apple and Google, but will still be dominant.

Please share some words of encouragement to authors who are still struggling.

Write! If you don’t enjoy it, maybe it’s not for you. But if you do, and you are preared to work hard, you can do amazing things and change your life.

Thank you, Mark!

Dears, make sure to lookout for my email on October 23rd when Mark's course will be available again.


Now that you're all set as far as Fb ads are concerned, it would be a great idea to hone your copywriting skills! We authors can easily write thousands of words in our books but struggle with writing 50 for our book blurbs or 15 for our ads.

Here's where my friend Ray Edwards comes in, he prepared a FREE Copywriting Mini-Course! “How To Write Magic Words That Sell Your Products And Services Like Crazy... Without Being Salesy!”

I love Ray and have learnt SO much from him (the copy I used to invite 357 new authors this week comes from him!).

And that's all for today - read the interview with Mark and watch the mini-course with Ray!

To your success!

P.S. Mark Dawson's the go-to author when it comes to Fb ads so look out for my email when his course opens again on Oct 23rd. Watch Ray's video to learn how to copywrite (every authors has to learn this):
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