Building the HBO of books | Sean Platt interview


Sean Platt isn't just a writer. Not content to simply pen novels, Sean founded Sterling & Stone, a self-described story studio where he and his partners have published more than two dozen fiction series across multiple genres over the past six years. They've been very open about their process in the excellent and wildly popular Self-Publishing Podcast. Sean's entrepreneurial perspective and relentless drive to expand his stories beyond the traditional boundaries of literature reminds me a bit of James Patterson's famous thriller-mill or George Lucas's franchise acumen. In short, Sean isn't just a writer. He's an empire-builder.

If you're interested in self-publishing or learning about how artist-entrepreneurs are breaking just about every possible mold, you'll enjoy the interview. We tackle questions including:

1. Why do you only do afternoon interviews? What's your creative process like behind-the-scenes? How is collaborative writing similar/different than solo?

2. How does the Sterling & Stoner [sic] business model work? What does it mean for fans, middle men, and rose purveyors?

3. What are the biggest mistakes that first-time authors make?

4. What's the most counter-intuitive thing you've learned about writing fiction?

5. What tools or resources do you recommend for new writers? How can first timers go about finding their first one thousand true fans?

6. What does book discoverability mean? How is it different for fiction and non-fiction? Why is discoverability for fiction broken? What does this mean for readers and writers?

7. How does your funnel work? How do you mix fiction and non-fiction content into it? How to you ensure you’re delighting your True Fans?

8. What's something about publishing or storytelling that you believe in but most people disagree with?

9. What are your deepest doubts and fears about what you’re trying to accomplish with Sterling & Stone? What keeps your up at night as an artist and entrepreneur?

10. What are the best books you’ve read recently?

11. What’s the most important question I’m not asking?

You can find out more about Sterling & Stone here, check out Sean's books here, and follow him on Twitter here.

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Enjoy this interview? Then you’ll probably like my reading recommendations curating amazing books that explore the intersection of technology and culture.