First Cup of Coffee – March 1, 2022




transcript
00:00.40
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. It tastes a little different this morning. Maybe that’s just me I know I don’t have covid now anytime somebody says that they taste something. Taste funny. It’s like all of you lost your sense of smell and taste. It’s co today is Tuesday March first and it is mardi gras woo happy mardi gras um yes, I’ve been to various kinds of merit Mardi Gras um my mom lived in New Orleans for a while and so I’ve been to. Um I’ve actually never been there on fat tuesday on the Tuesday itself I’ve been there for leadup I’ve also attended Mardi Gras type things in Memphis went to um. Ball when I was in college and it was fun. So I know it’s um, different sorts of festivals and other parts of the world in Netherlands and italy it’s carnival. So if you are on video. You will see I am wearing my enormous ginormous Mardi Gras earrings that are masks 1 on either side I guess I could have put on beads I didn’t put bes on purple green and gold are mighty gra colors. So. So yeah, a little bit of mardigra festivizing here I do have tons of Mitiggra be’s not nearly as many as I used to and no I never showed anyone my tits so that’s a thing for those of you who don’t know a us tradition. When the floats go by the the boys on the floats will yell out show us your tits and girls will lift up their shirts some of them and show their their breasts to get like the really good beads and a friend of mine pointed out who is a detective in New Orleans he was like. Don’t show those yahooos your breasts when you can go buy that string of beads like the really good beats the really good ones. You know you could go buy it nanny store along here for like ten twelve dollars like isn’t it worth more than that I was like huh.

02:44.98
jeffekennedy
It’s a good point. I was going to say something else but I will so.

02:58.49
jeffekennedy
Ah, so yeah I did not write yesterday I just did release stay things I was as you guys know if you listened yesterday I was feeling very empty brained and I’m perkier today. So we’ll see I need to now get into the business of. Reorienting my brain back into thinking about The Storm Princess and the Raven King tying up Heirs of Magic I guess I should say that release day yesterday went fanabulous. You guys are awesome. Wonderful. You know, additional sales on top of the preorders I’m I’m very happy I also anticipate it will go on this week 1 thing that we talk about a whole lot and I know I’ll come back to storm princess because I did want to talk about release day stuff. Especially if you’re indie is because when we get to choose what day we release on is there’s all this debate of what is the best day to release books if you’re traditionally published books come out on Tuesday and so. You guys may or may not know this. But the reason that traditionally books come out on Tuesday is because The New York Times bestseller list comes out on Wednesday and which means that they would go to press on Tuesday night or Tuesday afternoon so they would count sales up through Monday. So the publishers started releasing books on Tuesday because that gave the books a full week of sales before the New York Times counted them. But best seller list. That’s why Tuesday that’s why Tuesday is the magic publishing day I think it’s funny. You know like how the how the tail ends up wagging the dog on these things. My nose has been inching lately. Doesn’t that mean that like someone’s giving you a gift or something I could ever keep track of the superstitions. Um, yeah, so so that’s why and now we know that the New York Times best seller list is even more a combination of. Black magic smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand because there are books that how do I put this. How do I say this delicately maybe by not saying it delicately at all. Ah, there is certainly exchanges of favors if not money.

05:48.66
jeffekennedy
For books to be placed on the bestseller list because the publisher wants them there regardless of sales if you’re looking at it from a purely numbers perspective. Those numbers are from particular bookstores. So The New York Times bestseller list counts books sold in bookstores I don’t know how they’re doing ebook sales since didn’t they add it or maybe it’s Usa today that added ebooks. But so like even counting just paperbooks. It wasn’t even all paperbooks. It was paper bookss at particular bookstores and and I know this because when not back when I lived in Laramie Wyoming I had a very good friend who was a manager at the local independent bookstore and she worked very hard to get that bookstore to be. 1 of the bookstores whose sales counted towards New York Times bestseller list in order to support one of the Wyoming authors Cj box. So so you know what’s interesting. It’s always been very selective very very much. Picking and choosing only particular um venues books and so forth. So if you’re self publishing. There are some people who will release on tuesday if they’re really trying to hit a list I’m really am not persuaded that it makes any difference. Hit a list. Not just for the sake of hitting the list and that’s something I notice a whole lot with self publishers is that that we can take these things that are hallmarks of success and kind of um, put the cart before the horse as it were. So something like um, like 1 hallmark of success is selling enough books to hit a bestseller list. So now there are all of these people who’ve reverse engineered it and figured out ways to hit a bestseller list so they can have those letters and say Usa today. Usat bestseller because then it gives them the hallmark of success but you didn’t actually get there because of the success of the books you just picked this thing another one I’ve noticed is people commissioning. This is funny. Commission fan art and it’s like well fan art is art that fans of the books create because they love the books and so it’s a great hallmark of success right? when somebody’s so inspired by your books that they create art about it. So.

08:31.77
jeffekennedy
Some of these self-publers are going out and commissioning paying artists to create what they call fan art but it’s not actually fan art so you know it’s all of these things where you sort of create this window dressing the appearance of success in order to be successful. You know and I do get that there’s you know some of that magical thinking and manifestation realization of the um you know like dressing for the job. You want to have kind of thing but and I’m not saying. That people should do those things but I think don’t make don’t mistake it for anything but what it is so other than that if you’re self publishing then the question becomes where do you. What day. Do you publish on for maximal success and and kind of the answer is we don’t know it doesn’t seem to matter I try not to publish on Tuesdays because all of the trap books are published on Tuesdays each week and so there just tends to be a glut at the same time. You know like a high tide floats all boats. You know, maybe there’s something to that to being on Tuesday this time I published on the twenty eighth because on a Monday because it was the very last day of February and I wanted that Amazon many. A month earlier right so if I had published today instead of yesterday then I would have gotten the money for that book as it is I’ll get this at the end of April if I’d published today I would have gotten it at the end of may so it’s a significant difference for me so far as. Money flow. So yeah because I was behind on the book I picked the very last day of February that I could and made it whoo. So so that’s awesome. But now I’m interested to see. Because I think normally I would not have picked a Monday and yesterday was a very very quiet day I know a lot of people are staying off of social media because of the war in Ukraine. Um, it’s just it’s been a lot and the people who are online are paying attention to that and not to other things. So yesterday felt very quiet as far as release days go but I’ve noticed already today I’ve noticed already today that there have been some more people popping up and congratulating me on the release of gray magic.

11:15.53
jeffekennedy
And I’m interested to see if like some of those usual, you’ll like where people do the weekly roundup of releases if some of those pick it up today because a lot of people just do those on Tuesdays and pick up all the books both tred and self published for the week um so maybe that will create a nice tale for this book which is definitely something we want. We want to keep those sales up for the the entire week also and you’ve heard it here. Um, the first book. Dark wizard is going to be a Kindle daily deal on Friday Amazon offered that to me so that’s pretty awesome. So I’m really going to try to keep that momentum going this week and yeah it was great time and on their part I think they may have been watching. Pre-orders on gray magic I mean that makes sense doesn’t it. So maybe that is the 1 thing about Amazon for as much as we bitch about them is that Amazon is very invested in selling books and so they they help us sell books and that’s. Kind of an awesome thing that they are running these algorithms all the time and looking at stuff and looking at how to boost sales. So um, yeah, so that’s all my stuff on release I’m interested to see how it goes this week um you know it is a funny time and I think we’re all very concerned. Um, so it goes right? So yes, now I need to get my head out of release of great magic. Of bonds of magic I need to start thinking about strong princess on the Raven King tying up this series and how do I do that I don’t know. Um so I did this very interesting online panel yesterday. With um pro writing aid they’d asked ssu one if we would be interested in putting together a panel and I handed the task off to Lexi Chantel who listens hi lexii Alexe did an amazing job. She ended up with me and Mary Robin at Koal and and I think it was great. Ah, she had asked other people and for various reasons people couldn’t do it that day it was yesterday was a strange day I don’t know whatever I was so busy doing so people couldn’t do it so it ended up being.

14:01.79
jeffekennedy
Just the 3 of us and Lexi did a great job of asking questions I feel like you didn’t talk about your own books in athley but that’s what you get for getting me and Mary Robinette on something is we will both talk a lot but they um. Audience was super engaged and asked great questions and it was really fun and Mary Robinette I think is very smart and and we have very different processes and so it was just interesting to to look at you know, like how she does things versus how I do things. And you know for me I think so much of it has to do with whether or not, you’re an analytical whether you take an analytical approach or an intuitive approach almost more. So I think that’s even more important than. Looking at things in terms of whether or not you are a pre-plotter or an architect versus a pancer or a gardener. Um I think whether how you approach the process of writing whether. For you. It’s an analytical thing which I think it very much is for Mary Robinette the way she describes things she um she works. She’s accustomed to working with teams because she comes out of theater. And so she actually has people read along as she stays a couple of chapters ahead but she has people read along and give her feedback on the story as she writes and she adjusts accordingly. Um, which I said gives me his It’s hard for me to imagine doing that having that. Feedback I um I want to to be in the story and I think it’s because I am an intuitive writer and it’s difficult for me sometimes when people try to get me to approach the story analytically because I just can’t um. I think that’s partly why I’m not a pre-plotter because I just you know when people ask me like well what is this character’s goal. My brain just doesn’t work that way which is funny because I’m very analytical in other ways. But as far as the creativity i’m. Very much an intuitive writer. So I feel like when I’m going moving back into the story and finding these characters again. It’s kind of a.

16:40.20
jeffekennedy
It feels like a process of submersion of concentrating and getting into that. So so one of the things I’m thinking about today is that the nebula finalists calls will start going out and I have already seen the list of. Finalists for this year’s nebulous and approved it and now it goes through a couple of stages of verification. But then I will probably be making some phone calls today. So which is a fun thing to do It’s definitely a perk of being president. But i. Also feel like it’s going to interfere with me sinking into this story.

17:25.93
jeffekennedy
That’s why um, Mary Robinette talking about working so collaboratively kind of gives me hives because all I can imagine is like having so many other voices in my head as I’m writing which she loves apparently I mean that’s that feeds her. Um I don’t want none yours voices in my head. But maybe I’m feeling southern today with ah with the Mardi Gra missing south I haven’t been to New Orleans in a while world fantasy convention is in New Orleans in November and I’m considering going. That would be nice wouldn’t it. Mema’s last time I was there might have been the RT conference in 2014, 2015 surely I’ve been there since ah I don’t know all right? well. This isn’t interesting. So um, so yeah I wish me luck getting back into the story congratulations to those of you who are nebula finalists the british science fiction awards also announced. Was it british science fiction hold on I was wondering why my counter wasn’t going up. Um, so yes, it is the british science fiction association and they they announced that yesterday nebula finalists will start being notified today and that’ll announce after. Um, I just wanted to remind you all that if you are not a nominee shortlisted a finalist if your books didn’t make this debt that is only 1 kind of recognition. Yes, it’s a hallmark of success. We’re coming back to this. You know how do you know what what are the emblems of success. What are the milestones yeah, getting nominated for awards winning an award those are those are 1 kind. They are not the only kind of having readers read and love your books. That’s the most important thing not having bestseller letters after your name not having art of your characters commissioned or. I want to say authentically generated there people receive things in different ways and do different stuff with it. So so yeah, if you are an author or other kind of artist out there and it can be.

20:11.40
jeffekennedy
Difficult during a award season when these awards are announced and very often. It’s the same names on these lists because those are the ones that a small community of people has decided is worthy of this particular kind of recognition. Um, don’t don’t worry about it because keep in mind that’s one community of people and it’s not It’s not everybody and it’s not the only thing so on that note. I’m going to wander off and see about getting my head back in this book and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care happy fat Tuesday.

What Would You Write If You Weren’t Afraid?

I’m working away on my novella for the FIRE OF THE FROST midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology! The story takes place in the Bonds of Magic world more or less at the same time as the events in DARK WIZARD. You can preorder now for the December 2 release!

    

Also, this is really cool! THE ORCHID THRONE is on this amazing Book Riot list: 20 OF THE BEST ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS FANTASY BOOKS. Fair warning! This list might have you click-buying. It sure did for me.

At the SFF Seven this week we’re talking censorship. Charissa and KAK already provided excellent discussions of the difference between censorship and blocking disinformation and hate. So, I’m going to take the topic in a slightly different direction, which is looking at the ways we censor ourselves.

A perennial problem for writers – perhaps for all creatives – is getting rid of the other voices in our heads. Something new authors often seem to ask is how to write about topics their families consider off limits for one reason or another. They can be concerned about dealing with sexual topics or gender-related ones, politics, family secrets, etc. It’s not easy to free ourselves to write when there’s that persistent worry that someone we love will read it and be angry. And so we censor ourselves, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.

On a larger scale, we live in an era of loud voices. In an attention economy, where businesses thrive or fail based on clicks, the loudest, most persistent voices can be the most lucrative. This kind of environment isn’t conducive to the silence creatives need in order to coax new art into being. Those loud voices can drown out the quiet whispers of something fragile and newly born to the world. The voices can also leak into our thoughts and dictate what we should and shouldn’t write. Thus we censor ourselves, killing those new sprouts before we even have time to discover what they are.

What’s the solution? There are no easy answers. I can offer that I have a poster hanging over my desk, one I made myself. It says:

What would you write if you weren’t afraid?

I look at it often when I hesitate, when voices leak into my head, when I start worrying about the final story and how it will be received. It keeps me going.

Write through the fear. You can always edit later.

Feeding the Creative Subconscious with Beauty

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is inspiration. What other media inspires us: fandom, music, photography, paintings?

For me, the answer is pretty much yes. But today I’m talking about visual art and the effect of beauty. Come on over for more.