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Is THIS the Best Way For Writers to Make an Amazing Living in 2012?

Yesterday's GoneI recently came across a serialized fiction called Yesterday’s Gone. Yesterday’s Gone is one of the few fiction books I read that I will be happy to share with anyone I come across. I was super excited when I had the opportunity to be able to interview the writer of Yesterday’s gone, to be able to get inside his head and get a few tips, and to be able to provide this interview packed with value. In the interview below, I was able to ask Sean Platt, one of the creators of Yesterday’s Gone, a few questions about his serialized fiction. Sean was also able to share with us what he thinks about the future of writing, so make sure you read every word of this interview!

Oni: Can you please introduce yourself to WritersinCharge readers?

Sean: Hey there, Oni. It’s great to be here. Thanks!

My name is Sean Platt, and some of you may know me from Ghostwriter Dad. Many of you may not know me at all, even if you’ve read many things I’ve written! Being a ghostwriter means you can write high-profile content that’s read and spread from here to creation, but no one knows you wrote it.

I’ve written reams of copy, from blog posts to sales letters to auto responders and sales pages. You name it, I’ve written it. Three million words in three years is exactly what prepared me to write something as snow cone cool as Yesterday’s Gone.

Oni: I really love fiction and I think every writer needs to start reading them more often. How do you think fiction contributes to the career of a writer?

Sean: That’s a great question. Right now I think fiction is one of the best ways in the world to make a living as a writer, as long as you’re a reasonably good writer and know how to effectively build an online audience.

Take a look at the top 100 downloads on Kindle. They’re all fiction, many from self-published authors. When your book is $.99 and your traditionally published colleagues are 10 times that, you’ve got a good shot at getting checked out.

Your copy has to be good to great, your cover must be striking, and your story has to be good enough to get people to leave positive reviews and pass it to their friends. But if you can nail all that, fiction is a tremendous way to make a living. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but so is everything else about making money online.

Fiction helps you improve as a writer because you’re spinning stories that keep readers on the edge of their seat. And isn’t that the point of a blog post or an auto responder? By the same token, learning to write effective copy can make you one hell of a fiction writer since copywriting is a science that teaches you to keep people on the page.

Oni: I so much love your serialized fiction Yesterday’s Gone and I’d love it to be the main subject of this interview. Can you please tell us more about it and your reason for creating it?

Sean: Oh, sure. Yesterday’s Gone might be my favorite thing I’ve ever done online, and that’s saying a lot. It’s been immeasurably rewarding on a creative level, but its origin was really in rapid and effective monetization.

I knew it was time to start crushing it on Kindle, and when I studied the common denominators between all the successful authors drawing five-figure downloads, I noticed they all had multiple titles. So did I. But I had 5 titles in 4 different markets: horror, children’s, business and contemporary literature.

Worst funnel ever.

Yesterday’s Gone was the antidote. My writing partner, David Wright, and I developed a concept designed more like a season of serialized TV then a book. This new model allowed us to break large sections into single episodes. The entire book comprised a single season.

This meant we could have six titles, plus a “full season” that bound them all together in time for the holiday rush. But we had so much fun writing it, the story poured out in half the time we originally expected. Maybe that’s why it reads so fast!

Oni: Almost every section of Yesterday’s Gone is full of suspense and you make it so captivating that someone wants to know what happens next. What part do you love the most about Yesterday’s gone?

Sean: Thanks for noticing! That was the intention when we wrote the story. Not only did we want every episode to end with a WTF!! cliffhanger, we wanted each chapter to fly by like a train off its tracks. Because we designed our story after serialized television, the story beats resemble the lead to a commercial break more than anything else. But we don’t have commercials.

My favorite part of Yesterday’s Gone, by far, has been the characters. I love the premise, I think it’s super cool. I love what we’re doing with it now and where things are headed for Season Two. But the character work, well that was totally unexpected.

The characters are great and they’re connecting with readers, which I found surprising. I knew Dave and I could create great characters, we’ve done it before. Both ourselves and for clients. But we set out to write an awesome read, not create great characters. I’m extremely proud we did both.

Oni: The characters in Yesterday’s Gone are so unique and captivating. How are you able to create such great characters?

Sean: I guess because, even though I set out to write something that would read fast and maybe a little trashy, once I pour my heart into something, I really put my whole self into it. Dave, too.

He took 3 characters and I took 3 characters and we each wrote our own POV’s for the pilot. Then we blended them together. For the remaining 5 episodes we stuck with our own characters, then stitched their stories together.

All I started with was a premise, I knew what type of people I wanted to write, but they were merely broad strokes in my head. I never expected them to turn out as wonderfully fleshed out as they are. And I never saw the Boricio character coming!

Oni: I noticed Yesterday’s Gone is only available via eReader. Have you ever thought about also making it into a book? What is your reason for making it available only via eReader?

Sean: The full season is actually out now, for $4.99. Yes, it’s a great deal! The entire season will be available in print any day. But it’s a lot of work getting something to print with quality, and Dave and I aren’t willing to do anything that doesn’t measure up to traditional publishing standards, so it doesn’t make sense to release the episodes in print individually.

Besides, the story is designed for modern life and bite-size consumption on mobile devices such as the Kindle or iPad. It wouldn’t be the same experience reading the 100 page episodes in print. As a full book, it totally works, and I’m really looking forward to reading it that way myself. 🙂

Oni: Why do you think everybody should read Yesterday’s Gone?

Sean: Yesterday’s Gone might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like Stephen King, fantastic, page-turning fiction in general, LOST, or stuff that starts out awesome and then keeps on being awesome from start to finish, you’ll probably love Yesterday’s Gone.

Even if you’re not a fiction reader, it’s definitely a title watch. It’s a great business model, with a cool stair-step funnel, and an intelligent way to make money online, that’s more permanent than many of the other fly-by-night, hunting for water in the desert strategies you see all too often.

Oni: Have you ever thought about a situation like in Yesterday’s Gone really happening? How will you feel in such a situation and what will you do?

Sean: Yeah, I think about post-apocalyptic stuff all the time. Along with time travel and alternative archaeology it’s one of my biggest writing fetishes. But I have no idea what I’d do if the world were to end tomorrow. Probably try to find all the ice cream, so I could eat myself sick before it melted. I’d be sad if there wasn’t electricity so I could watch movies, but I guess I’d finally have a chance to catch up on my reading!

Oni: Anything you want to leave the readers with?

Sean: Definitely! I’d love to show them the trailer. I think Dave did an incredible job. Most book trailers have a vibe that is supremely uncool and embarrassingly low budget. But Dave cut this trailer with a total cost of $17 and I think, dollar for dollar, is the best book trailer I’ve ever seen.

Beyond that, I’d love for readers to check it out. It’s only $.99 and it’s a ridiculously fast and fun read. Plus, I dare anyone to not secretly like Boricio, especially by season’s end.

Any reader who wants to be part of our exclusive group of insiders, can sign up here:

We’ll be giving out cool freebies and inside information, for anyone curious about what we’re doing, sales processes, inside peeks at our upcoming projects, special chapters, etc.

Oni: Thanks so much for the interview opportunity Sean! It’s really great to have you on here!

Sean: Thanks Oni, it’s been great! I look forward to dropping by again soon (and you still owe me a guest post!).

Sean Platt is a writer and publisher, co-author of Yesterday’s Gone, and one hell of a dad. You’d be silly not to follow him on Twitter

Category: interviews

33 Comments on "Is THIS the Best Way For Writers to Make an Amazing Living in 2012?"

  1. Santu Mahapatra says:

    Thanks for the great interview.

    Writing great fiction is tough. Writing fiction that people will buy more so.

    Anyways, one million words a year is a stretch. No wonder Sean Platt is so good. 🙂

    • Onibalusi says:

      You are totally write about that!

      The number of words aside, Sean knows his stuff! His one of those I really follow in this niche, and when Sean talks, writers listen!

      I’m glad you love the interview!

      • devamini oku says:

        Hi Anne. This totally works for non-fiction, too. You just have to think about it differently. I have one non-fiction title that I’ve split the chapters up, so that anyone who wants just a piece of the content can buy it that way!

  2. Tom says:

    Another great way to enter the market. With computers and the internet writers can sell online rather than searching for a publisher to put their book together. Awesome stuff!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Exactly! There’s such a great potential that a lot of writers are missing on!

  3. I definitely agree with you about the top 100. Fiction tends to sell more than non-fiction.

    A good read (interview), even though I’m not a fan of post-apocalyptic stuff. This is a great way to give authors a say on your blog, Oni. As you know, I’m a writer too. I mainly write non-fiction, but would love to do an interview on your blog if you wish. You know where to find me.

    • Onibalusi says:

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks so much for the comment!

      I think I’d love to have you here sometime soon.

      Can you shoot me an email so we can discuss!

      Best Regards,

    • Seam says:

      Hey Anne, this totally works for non-fiction, too. You just have to think about it differently. I have one non-fiction title that I’ve split the chapters up, so that anyone who wants just a piece of the content can buy it that way, much like how you can buy a single song even if you don’t want the entire album.

  4. cash4wealth says:

    As a financial writer and blogger i consider this aspect of serialized fiction an important opening to improve writers skills and imagination.i will begin to take advantage of it.valuable interview you got there.

    • Onibalusi says:

      I’m glad you see the potential.

  5. GiveAway Coupons says:

    Fiction books are my favorite ones and I usually read them on the weekend. Great to know more about this and more chance to read more 🙂

  6. Mahendra says:

    i too agree that one should start writing fiction, it helps us to show our creativity and how we think and fiction always keep your readers eager to visit your blog if you write a good one, Great Interview

    • Onibalusi says:

      Sure! Plus it can help you create lifelong fans – I’m now such a great fan of Sean, forever!

  7. Oooooh – sounds awesome 🙂 I’ll have to check this out!

    I’m not much of a fiction writer, but congrats to Sean for his success with this project!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Thanks Sarah!

      You really need to check it out! Sean is very good at writing, and I smile through his writing! I’m sure you will love his work!

    • Seam says:

      Thanks Sarah! If you do check out Yesterday’s Gone (which you totally should!) then I’d love to hear what you think.

  8. Justin Bieber Bedding says:

    Thanks for this great post, really opened my eyes to other opportunities online. I’ve heard about books being sold on kindle, but with the fiction niche, i would like to know if writing from an African perspective would recieve patronage on the international scene as regards writing fiction. Thanks Oni for the interview, pls help get the opinion of Sean as regards my qeustion.

    • Seam says:

      Hi there, “Justin Bieber Bedding,” I’m not quite sure I understand your question, but all topics have value, it’s just up to you to find the audience who will appreciate what you have to say most. There is no specific worldwide mechanism to give you patronage or attention. You must go out and get it.

  9. Bakare Oluwabamise says:

    Thanks for the interview, it’s such a great read. Fiction is a good work to follow though. Love the view.

  10. Ken says:

    Nice interview Oni. I have been reading your blog for a while and picked up some good tips. This interview is a good way to pick up tips in a new format. I have read a lot about ghost writing, which is similar to being a copywriter, or writing articles for other bloggers and allowing them to use it as their own.

    Thanks, Ken

  11. Michael @LearnFrenchSoftware says:

    You’ve a great interview here Oni. I saw a similar review on “yesterday’s gone” from a famous blog also. Although, I don’t read fiction as such, but it’s a great way to improve blogging adventure. I should start looking that way… what do you think?

    • Sean says:

      Check it out. For .99 you can get a good idea of a possible direction to take your blogging.

  12. fazal mayar says:

    Nice interview oni, this is a good resource for potential writes and freelancers

  13. Hi Oni and Sean, fantastic interview. This is the first time I’ve heard the term “serialized fiction”. The idea of a book being broken into ‘seasons’ with a full season being an entire book sounds like a great idea. Is this a new concept and did you come up with it Sean? It reminds be of e-courses using an autoresponder.

  14. Alvaro says:

    Great interview. I’m really into fiction so I’ll be digging further on this trend.
    Totally unrelated: I noticed you don’t use Aweber and I’m curious as to which autoresponder service you are using.
    Keep on rocking it!

  15. sam @ goa carnival says:

    Nice way to present himself in front of others. We should have art to attract others which will help us to go ahead in future.

  16. eric Murphy says:

    Great interview Oni. I just loved it. I too Love to read about the “Fiction”. I think i should write about fiction.

  17. Romy Singh says:

    Nice interview Oni. I’m not very well familiar with fiction writing but sure i’m going to give a try to it….

  18. Extreme John says:

    Writing fiction requires a lot of creative and imaginative thinking. But once you have the innate talent of writing fiction, that would be easier and more enjoyable. This is why a lot of people easily gets very much addicted to fiction. The imagination just gets limitless.

  19. Bevyshop says:

    Oni you are taking lots and lots of efforts to give great content to readers, This interview is really unique and informative to the readers, way of presentation is excellent..

  20. CFA says:

    Good interview I just read….. never been interested in fiction but this is a great way to start learning about it

  21. Hi Oni-
    Excellent interview!
    Depending on the perspective you choose to adopt, everyone’s life has the potential to ‘read’ as fiction. Stephen King is a good example, John Irving (in my case), perhaps a more appropriate one.
    Sean’s description of his approach to concept/process was illuminating to the point of ‘madness’. The energy here is inspirational! Thanks, again.

  22. Swarnima says:

    very nice interview oni. I have never read this book but surely this interview has forced me to do that.


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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