Episode 47 – In The Pilot’s Seat With James Blatch

If you are familiar with the Self Publishing Formula Podcast, you’ll likely recognize James Blatch as Mark Dawson’s right-hand man; his co-host, or, perhaps, his co-pilot for the podcast.

But in this episode Mark puts James in the pilots seat with a focus on Blatch’s own writing, his background as a reporter, a videographer and, of course, as a pilot.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the podcast’s sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .

Mark also welcomes new Patron Jan Field to his list of Patrons via

In his personal update, Mark reflects upon the recent death of Stan Lee and talks about the impact Lee’s writing had on him, and, in particular, the influence that the character Peter Parker (Spider-Man’s alter-ego) had.

In the interview, Mark and James talk about:

  • The type of specific videos or books that lend themselves best to YouTube videos VS Facebook videos
  • How videos for most authors, specifically fiction authors, is a medium that can be used to connect and engage with a community of readers
  • The intimacy of radio and digital audio format
  • A bit about James’ experience at the BBC and how the skills, particularly of his final few years there lent to this new role as a co-host of the Self Publishing Formula Podcast
A James Blatch sandwich between two Marks. (Mark Dawson, James Blatch, Mark Leslie Lefebvre) NINC 2016
  • James’ first writing experiences as a young man and his more recent NaNoWriMo experience where his current novel came to him in a single flash of inspiration
  • The evolution of this novel with various feedback from readers and editors
  • The turning point moment for James of meeting and working with editor Jennie Nash
    Jennie’s prompting question: “Why do you need to tell this story” and all that question sparked in James
  • Other questions that Jennie asked or prompts given that helped with the re-imagining of the way the story was unrolled

  • The origin of his love for aviation
  • How James is an even split between the exuberant mother and his reserved and “stiff-upper-lip” father
  • James’ recent experience in Florda flying with Nathan van Coops (from episode 38)
  • The advice that James would go back and give to himself when he was just starting

After the interview, Mark reflects upon the latest “catastrophy” in the indie publishing space, the recent disappearance of the buy buttons on Amazon for thousands of titles.

He offers a reflection on the likely reason for this odd phenomenon and then suggests that much time is wasted worrying over the matter instead of working on the next book. He also considers, if it truly is the negative thing authors think it might be, it’s yet another reason why authors shouldn’t be putting all their eggs in a single basket.


Links of Interest:


James Blatch is a former BBC Defence Reporter and a former BBFC Film Examiner. He reported for the BBC on the UK military from, among other places, HMS Invincible (Operation Desert Fox build up), Kuwait (Ali Al Salem allied air base), the Arctic Circle as well as covering the UK air offensive during the Kosovo Conflict in 1999.

During his time as a defence reporter he became the first civilian to twice fly in a BAe Harrier with 1 (Fighter) Squadron. He also enjoyed a trip in a Sepecat Jaguar with 41 Squadron to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the type’s introduction to RAF service.

Blatch is a director of the Self Publishing Formula Limited, an online course provider for independent authors. He co-hosts the weekly SPF Podcast.

The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


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