This week at the SFF Seven, we’re talking the business side of being a writer.
In our fantasies of being famous and beloved authors, we envision many things: bucolic writing sessions, romantic candlelit garrets with wine- and quill-strewn desks, celebrations with adoring fans, bookstore windows filled with our bestseller. (What’s yours? I’d love to know!) We (or, at least, I didn’t) don’t picture ourselves slaving at the computer, going cross-eyed over royalty statements or struggling to ramp up on the newest social media trend.
Many of us creatives don’t love the business side of being a writer. I mean, there’s a reason we took literature, theater, and art classes in college instead of Economics, and that we only knew where the business school was because we occasionally had to meet one of our friends there. With a few exceptions, as creatives, business is not our favorite learn.
But we have to learn to do it and we have to learn to do it WELL.
If we don’t, people will take advantage of us and, believe me, there are plenty lined up to do just that. There are ample cautionary tales of authors handing over the business aspects of their careers to someone else and losing everything. Even if it doesn’t go that badly, we run the risk of making foolish choices out of ignorance.
How much time do I spend on the business aspect of my writing life? A lot. At least as much time as I spend actually writing, possibly even twice as much, or even three times. Because I’m a hybrid author, self-publishing my books counts as me running a small, highly exclusive publishing company. It takes hours every day. On the trad publishing side, even though I have an agent who is amazing and efficient, I still have to spend a fair amount of time on back and forth with her – all business. And then there’s conventions and conferences, which are basically all business. Chatting with my author friends is fun and social, but also? Business.
The way I see it, since I write full-time and have no other job, anything I spend my time on that isn’t drafting or editing words counts as business. I take it very seriously.
The business of self-publishing, especially ISBNs, and retail platforms for print. Also, raving about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and what creators can learn from it on prequels and riffing within the canon.
I’m back from vacation, which gave me time with my head out of the book to think about some business stuff, so I’m sharing my New Plan for Social Media and promoting my backlist. Also: an RWA mystery!
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. And my Hummingbird friend. Ah delicious. Today is Monday July twenty fifth I am back in the saddle at least temporarily. I am um refreshed from my vacation for the most part you all the joke about how you need a vacation to recover from your vacation but we had fun. It was lovely time. Enjoy it very much and um, it was good. Just to take a break from things but busy catching up as always and and I don’t know what all I have to say I didn’t make notes today. I’ve started using Tiktok a little bit I’ve been playing with it putting up little reels and a friend asked me if I was going to post a podcast to Tiktok and she said you know there’s mosquito buzzing around here. She said you know you can put up um up to 10 minutes now on Tiktok. She said are you thinking about doing that I’m like oh I’d have to confine the podcast at 10 minutes which I feel like I’d have to be succinct which let’s face it that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It might be good for me to be more succinct but I don’t know. It comes back to my whole um measurement of like when the podcast becomes more of a pain to do than than a pleasure. so um so yeah I paused you so you wouldn’t have to watch me kill the mosquito. In case, any of you are tenderhearted enough to worry about the mosquitoes mosquitoes are the one thing that I don’t mind whacking. So let’s see um this week will be kind of funny because I am.
Hear podcasting today and tomorrow. Um Wednesday I fly to DC for Apollycon very interested to see how Apollycon goes I’m excited to see my friends that it’s starting to hit me that I’m going to see these people I haven’t seen. Since um, three years or before a lot of them. It was ah RWA convention in July 2019 I saw a funny thing David found this kind of bizarre movie from 1990 on Paramount plus called. The um, the boyfriend, the boyfriend something I think if you look for the boyfriend. You’ll find it um boyfriend test boyfriend experiment something like that. Um with Shelley long and Steve Gutenberg and ah oh Erin um she was in a lot of those late eighty s movies hang on – The Boyfriend School and it’s Jamie Gerrtz who was in Sixteen candles and the lost boys. Ah, so ah, what was funny is so the movie was originally released back then back in 1990 as Don’t Tell Her It’s Me and I’m sure I don’t think I ever saw it. Ah. It’s from the book called The Boyfriend School which apparently that title tested badly. But then when they re-released on Dvd they went ahead and went with that because apparently don’t tell her. It’s me was an even worse title which I think the boyfriend school is good title. Anyway, this movie got so panned so panned and um, we’re finding it funny ah I don’t know why people hated this movie so much but the interesting part I promise there is an interesting part see this is why I couldn’t do this in 10 minutes right admittedly might be a good idea. Just not going to happen. Ah Shelly long plays a romance author and while there are a few cringe worthy lines here and there for the most part. It’s ah, a solid defense of being a romance author. Ah, Jamie Gertz comes in as a journalist making disparaging comments ah about at this conference that says romance writers of America and it’s all of this There’s the banner that says romance writers of America.
And on one of the author table there tables there. There’s the Harlequin brand so I feel like the movie makers must have gotten permission to use this stuff but there’s nothing in the trivia I’m I’m going to have to do some research and find out was this an actual Rw a conference that this movie. Ah, filmed this scene at there are things that seem not Rw a that seem more like RT, but it could be that rwwe was like this in the late 80 s you know if the film came out in 1990 it could have been one of those conventions in the late eighty s. And maybe they were like that because they had like a male model walking around basically wearing a thong. Um, that was our tea but not Rw so I’m going to hit up some of my um older Rw a ladies and see what they say. Yeah I want to know what they think and then if if I find out that it was this may be what finally catapults me into logging into I am db and creating an identity just so I can upload that trivia and then I might have to go in and like. Counter some of these horrible reviews I think people trashed it largely because of the romance. Um I mean there’s I mean it’s not a brilliant movie but it’s certainly far better than than many and it has a promising romance. We didn’t finish watching but um. I mean just did to see how it goes but it’s funny seeing the ah r wa stuff in there. Oh and and Jamie Gertz comes in talking to Shelley long and doesn’t realize that Shelley long is interviewing her as a potential ah love interest for her brother Steve Gutenberg who is recovering from. Treatments for Hodgkin’s disease was always bald and puffy I think apparently this is this is sort of like how time moves. Ah I did read in the trivia that at the time Steve Gutenberg had played entirely suavet roles up until then. I like in 3 men and a baby and um I don’t remember what all, but and that this was the first time that he you know here, he’s being bold and puffy and kind of um, a recluse and unhappy and it’s funny because. I do not think of Steve Gutenberg as a suave guy. Um and I think that’s because later he leaned more into being pitiful loser guy.
So perhaps I’m more willing to accept that than audiences were at the time there was I also saw when I was trying to look up who that little girl is who plays Shelley Long’s daughter who’s like 3 ah. And actually does kind of a brilliant job of it. She’s this very solemn little girl who were apparently a pair of twins but um, ah, let’s see what led me down that path I was trying to remember when I was looking it up. Oh. I found like this l a times review of the movie that mentioned this little girl’s name Susan Lund I think she must have been. Someone’s daughter you know well of course she’s someone’s daughter. But. Not a professional actress I think this was the only thing she ever did and it was like you know like the costume designer’s daughter that kind of thing so the um but this scathing scathing review written by a woman which I’ve always feel like is telling um. Really slammed the romance aspects but then she also said um that they failed to take advantage of the beautiful Charleston location and I thought really that’s a criticism of the movie that they didn’t choose to show the. Pretty Charleston south carolina stuff but instead chose some of the more rural landscape anyway, I didn’t mean see this is why we can’t do 10 minutes of this because I just spent almost 10 minutes talking about this movie. Anyway, we’ll see if we if I can upload this to Instagram I’m I haven’t tried obviously in a week so I was giving you my schedule going to Apollycon Wednesday. Um, Thursday Friday maybe I’ll do some podcast interviews. Maybe not. It. It’ll be potluck. Maybe you’ll get lucky maybe having a podcast interview with somebody will be unlucky. You never know. Ah, um, and then I come back on Sunday and next Monday I have um, and dum dum dum jury duty magistrate court. They think it’ll only take one day but they summoned me at the beginning of summer and I’d said well I have travel and they came back which I thought was interesting and asked for.
Um, documentation of my travel dates like hotel stays and plane tickets and they had a nice um interface on the website where I could upload. Those documents so I sent them. You know here’s my travel schedule here’s my plane tickets and hotel stays and so then I got a notice that I have to appear on August first and I was like you all are correct I will be in town. So it’ll be interesting I’ve been called for jury duty before never in New Mexico but I’ve never served I always get dismissed. Ah I’m apparently not an ideal jury member probably because I think it would be interesting to do so um. You know, like no cell phones nothing like that. So I won’t be out of contact next monday try not to set the world on fire without me people. Um, and after that it should be a fairly normal ish schedule for a little while. Hoping to get back into making progress on shadow wizard I’ve been looking at the covers going through the cover iterations with my fabulous cover artist Robin and Suku I’ll just love this cover. Um, just love. Discover the the model she found for Jadren is um, it’s perfect. So so it was interesting I wrote on Monday and then I just decided I was kind of pondering it I think on. The podcast last week but um I just decide to take the rest of the week off writing I decided it would be more stressful than anything trying to get my word count in and it would have been so I did do some. Um, pondering on the drive thinking about just some business e things and so while I was there I did work on some business-y things I researched a couple of things. And one thing I’m going to do and this this feels like a big transition for me a milestone for me I realized that it is not for other people. But for me, it’s kind of a big deal.
Not many people know this. But I’m kind of a big deal. Love that line. Thank you Jim Sorenson for pointing it out to me from cheers. So I’m going to I think use SmarterQueue ah. SmarterQueue as in making a line ah to schedule social media posts and this is a transition for me because I have never used a scheduler I have um, always believed that social media should be. Authentic and in the moment and that I should engage directly hence this podcast.
Um, and I did like the I give scheduling. Um I’ve always thought that social media should not be like a billboard but I’m feeling like things have changed that there are. Aspects of all of the social media platforms that are like billboards that there’s room for both and I really need to get into promoting my backlist more Um, and so smarter queue will apparently allow me to. Ah, schedule on all the social media platforms and I can just put up evergreen posts to promote the backlist. Um and and that’s what I’m going to do so that that step’s just always out there because what I’m finding is. That my whole thing about posting in the moment and so forth that it creates this. Um sorry I just had an idea of something I want to do on Instagram but because i. I do the podcast in the morning I exercise do the podcast get this uploaded try not to look at social media as I upload it. Ah, don’t look at email write get my words in while my brain is still fresh. Then I come out and. Deal with email social media sif web business business of life. Ah that that is when I would like do other kinds of social media posting problems with this are it’s not necessarily the ideal time to post um and. I’m not necessarily full of bouncy social media energy at the end of the day and I was talking with I consulted a few other people that was part of what I was doing when I was you know like downtime at the resort when everybody else was sleeping off being in the casino all night um I got on some of my. Author groups and stuff and just ask people what they use and and and it’s a thing because people were like yeah you know end of the day I’m just not social media friendly and you know the world has changed It’s amazing to think about how how long it’s been. Um, we were talking about someone who I’m trying to think of how to phrase this we were talking about this gal and I said you know that person’s um, someone to keep an eye on because.
They had a big social media meltdown and I went to look up the links on it and it was 2009 2009 so thirteen years ago and so so so I added to it I said here’s what’s happened here’s what the person. You know, got into and I said um and it’s entirely possible that my memory is way too long. Um, because wow, but you know that is one of those things is that people don’t forget and I said I don’t believe that. People should be held accountable forever for a mistake like that. Ah, but this person did not handle the social media meltdown. Well um, threatening to call the Fbi on readers who had given their books bad reviews. You know it was like a little on the emotionally wonky side and I said you know it could be It was a bad time. A one time thing but just keep an eye on this person and you know it’s It’s been my hope my point and I do have one is that it has been a long time. Ah, you know when we first started using social media a lot I think I got on Twitter in 2009 um, Facebook might have been like 2007 and it was mostly promote my blog. So I think you know that is the thing is that we have to continue to roll with the times and um, so that’s going to be a big thing that I’m going to do. It’s smarter q you have to pay for but I’ve been thinking out paying for a publicist and instead I’m going to pay for this and I’m also going to set up. A blog tour for shadow wizard. Um, so that’ll be interesting. Oh and other news is rogue’s possession releases tomorrow. So how how could I forget. So so yeah, um, release day tomorrow and exciting changes for some of these business things I’m I’m excited to to implement these particular tools and see how this works for me. Um, one thing that’s going to have to happen with that smarter cue is it’s gonna there’s gonna be some ramp up right? I’m going to have to spend some time getting all of that stuff queed up as it were ah but otherwise I’m hoping to get.
I hope to get a full writing week this week I hope that’s not unreasonable. Um I’m glad I didn’t write last week now I need to get my head back in the book. Um I don’t leave to Wednesday afternoon so fingers crossed I should have three good writing days and then. Um, a polykon stuff doesn’t start till Thursday night. So I should have good writing time Thursday morning and then also um Friday morning I don’t have anything until that afternoon. So thinking good thoughts that I’m not distracted by other stuff should. Should work out so um, regardless I will be here in the garden tomorrow morning and it’s ah it’s nice to talk to you all again? Um I would say I missed you but it’s kind of weird because I don’t hear I mean I guess I get your comments and stuff. So. But yeah, it’s nice to be back on the podcast nice to be back in my garden if only for a few days and I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye-bye.
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Ah, wonderful suck that puppy down That’s what she said is what she said today is Thursday April Seventh Twenty Twenty two and back in my home temporarily anyway, heading out this afternoon. So sorry that I did not do a podcast Tuesday or Wednesday my mother already gave me the heavy sigh of disappointment. But I was kind of impressed I did one from the hotel on Monday I also got my 2000 words from the hotel on Monday so that felt like a real win. Um, that was kind of followed by then successive of not wins. But oh it wasn’t so bad. Um, we had a really nice time I had a wonderful body treatment Monday afternoon my skin is soft again I told the girl who gave me the body scrab and herbal wrap that I needed to be de-lizarded and. Afterwards she said you know you had a lot of dead skin on your arms and I’m like I know ah this is why I’m telling you why can’t we do this at home I don’t understand why I don’t have an effective way to do this at home I do try those body scrubs and stuff and. Doesn’t do the same thing anyway. so ah yeah so that was great. We had a wonderful time. We decided Tuesday morning just to get up and go um which is usually. But we want to do we. We don’t like hanging out in the morning’s delaying. We’d rather just get on the road and go so that’s what I did um, we probably let the hotel by about 7 um the upshot was is I did not get. Podcast done on Tuesday I did not get words done I um, we got home now about a quarter to 2 something like that and then um, the cleaning ladies arrived which is just always chaotic.
And and I dealt with business stuff. There was SFWA stuff that it piled up. It’s I knew I talk about this lot a lot but it’s just amazing to me how many people. Um, if you don’t respond to their email within a day or two that they just like. Have have fits and they send you additional emails saying did you get my email and they that I had 1 person saying something well since there’s been radio silence I want to move ahead with this decision and I’m just going to make this decision and it’s like. I’m offline for two days and it’s radio silence I don’t think so I saw an interesting thread yesterday that I shared on Twitter this guy talking about the characteristics of gen x and you know it’s. Funny being part of gen x and I’m on the the older end of gen x and you know for a long time. We thought we weren’t really gen x that we were generation jones but that got lost. Um, you know so okay, fine gen x. Whatever. But I sure do share a lot of characteristics with Nx and they were talking about one of the things this guy was coming at it. He gives them business advice dealing with colleagues and so forth and a lot of it was really decent advice. But 1 thing that he mentioned is he said you know gen x is often forgotten that we are 20% of the population and he talked about how gen x grew up in a time when. Institutions failed us and that we are very cynical about institutions and it’s funny because I always thought that I was just naturally cynical about institutions that this was like something inherently me. But apparently it’s generational. But he was talking about that. A lot of the people in your organization who are probably head down and getting the work done ah are probably generation x and there were it was interesting. In fact, let me share with you hold on. So I know I don’t have to tell you guys to hold on when I pause I know we’ve been over this but here we are okay so this is interesting because he says these 42 to 57 year olds are so strange it presents golden opportunities here are 10 mind hacks to use with gen x and then he.
Comments at the end of this. Let me go down. Um, he says hilarious how every gen x reply was I was skeptical at first and I don’t like the words mind hack because that’s what institutions do It’s just funny. Um and he says that not everybody is like this of course. But gen x prefers to do it their way and don’t want to sweat the rules I’m so much you guys I oh isn’t that like what I talk about all the time on here is like just. Don’t sweat the rules just get it done. Um I’m trying to keep looking into the camera. Oh I know I could blow this up big – zoom is your friend Jeffe here we go. Um. Ah, this one I don’t get right? They say he says acknowledge gen x as emails quickly they will love you. Um, they grew up in a time when institutions weren’t to be trusted so well and so here we are allow gen x a balanced life. Gen x grew up with workaholic boomer parents seeing that gen x thinks work is part of life. But not why they live give them data genx says tell me how it is and cuts out the fluff for generations like millennials. This is hard because millennials want the ship. Sandwich for feedback and I’m not good at giving the shit sandwich feedback he he shares this great graphic which you know talking about gen x feeling forgotten which shows like the generation guidelines on they have the silent generation baby boomers millennials post millennials. So they like literally left out generation. Ah, which ah we’re all just in back going? Yeah, we know? of course they did um first generation not to do as well financially as their parents are their kids. Um. And so he has like doing these things with generation x say do it your way use. Well-w writtentten emails. He says that we grew up with grammar and we don’t like the shorthand of texts which I don’t I never like put you instead of y o you say I got it. Focus on the mission with them allow life balance bond as people but I mean isn’t that a thing ah be direct acknowledge that they exist expect pessimism expect work work life celebration. Ah my friend Kelly Robson
That’s the one who retweeted that into my timeline and she commented that she wonders how much of this just general enough to ring true like a horoscope which maybe but I don’t know and it was interesting Anyway I do feel some of those memes. Ah, the Generation X means when like the bloom the boomers and the millennials are fighting and the millennials are doing the whole okay boomer thing at its the as 20% Generation X are just sitting back with our glass of wine going. Okay. I’m just gonna enjoy my wine.
Okay, actually found the meme I wanted so I will put that on the post. So anyway, back to the ostensible topic of this podcast. Ah but you know here at first cup of copy. We talk about anything. Would say anything you guys want to, but it’s what I want to which is probably a very generation x thing. So yesterday yesterday was just busy. You know 1 thing about being a an author. And I think this is you know, but bla not being articulate, um, especially self-publishing is you wear a lot of different hats and so yesterday I was supposed to post my blog to the SFF 7 blog. Um I was tired. I ah had to kind of stomach upset Tuesday night and didn’t sleep all that well slept too long Wednesday morning and I’d been thinking about doing a podcast and so that was the first thing that went sorry mom. Ah, but then I didn’t end up getting the blog post done. Ever yesterday. Um, and I didn’t get that many words I was just a little creaky I got 1247 words yesterday which kept me on track anyway and then i. Had other things that I had to do because obviously being president of Sawa comes with certain obligations I had to go sit in on the author’s coalition call to discuss an issue with them that has come up with our members and that was at 11 my time which cuts into my writing time I almost never accept meetings during my writing time and all of these people were clearly um, much more used to having long meetings than I am I am very much the could this meeting have been an email kind of gal. And I’m also a let’s move this meeting alone and the people on this call spent a lot of time talking very slowly and thoughtfully about things which was great but at the same time I was thinking I need to get off this call and then because I’d ask to be put on the agenda I was at the end. In fact, i. Really very much considered just popping in at the end and skipping ah the risk. But then I thought well that would be rude since I’m coming in asking these people for help. So but it’s funny because I’m heading out this afternoon to go to the Jack Williamson lectureship and.
1 of the the first official events is going to be Walter John Williams in conversation with Connie Willis 2 2 wonderful greats talking about Walter’s career and I’ve heard walter talk about his career before and this is at Eastern New Mexico University so this can be great for the students and everything and. And there’s a dinner afterwards. So his thing starts at five thirty and I like really really wanted to get there at like six fifteen so I didn’t have to so I could leave here later and sort of waltz in and not listen to the rest of Walter talking about his career again. It’s not that I don’t. Like Walter I think he’s a great guy but that this is how I am and and I was talking with Darynda Jones because she lives in portalis where this is going on and we were talked about scheduling and I’m like sorry you going to this thing and she’s like well yeah i. I thought I would to be nice to be supportive and I’m like oh is that a thing I was so awful you guys so reader I am going to these things to be nice because dorda is making me. So anyway I had to be in on this call I finished the call came off got another hour of words and then I had to spend an hour I successfully got another SFWA meeting canceled. So go me. But. then you know so then I was like going through emails and dealing with stuff these emails that people were annoyed that I hadn’t answered. Um you know it’s funny. This is probably like another tangent but I got an email from an unnamed person whose famous author parent died. Some time ago and they wanted to know about having that parent named SFWA Grandmaster and that it had been explained to them that it is sefwas policy longstanding policy not to name dead people grandmasters and there are a number of reasons for this. Partly because it’s the intent behind grandmaster to have them interact with the community and be you know, share their wisdom and so forth. It. Also um, we have lots of living authors to celebrate and if we start. Going back and celebrating the dead ones you can imagine I mean it’s just going to create a backlog. Um, we also don’t take away grand masteror because that’s so fraught so this.
This person wrote to me and it was perfectly fine. You know, write me an email and say I understand this is policy I’d like to see it change for my parent my deceased parent and everyone will appreciate it and it’s like well we’re probably not going to change this policy because of the aforementioned reasons. But then there may be some ah something else. We could do so I was going to investigate that and then this person sent another email the next day reiterating same but sent it to the entire board and say well I emailed Jeffe Kennedy yesterday but I’ve not received a reply and so now I’m emailing. Everyone looks like really. Anyway, so I then spent an hour on the phone with a cover artist because I’ve been doing this rebranding for the Sorcerous Moons’s covers which have not been up for sales since like November because I’ve been doing this cover rebranding and. She um, did an amazing amazing first cover and then the second cover is I mean it’s taken a long time shit like she couldn’t do it December because of life and all of these things going on and then. She said can we get this done in January instead you know, thank you for being understanding. You know it was moving and her grandmother was sick and all of these things and anyway now it’s April and we still have only 1 cover you should disappear in the middle of March. And this series is one that I sold to Scribd for audiobook conversion and so they want the rebranded covers so they’re like where are these covers. That’s how they their emails say they come across from that voice where are these covers. No, they don’t. They’re very nice. They’re very patient but they do want these covers and so I this gal had not come back to me for two weeks and I sent her a couple of emails saying we have to get this done. She didn’t reply so I opened a Paypal dispute and so then. 1 of the things I found when I got back Tuesday was she did reply and she’s like she family and had taken her to Mexico because she was so stressed and all of this and anyway so ended up the easiest thing for me is to ever finish it and she does great work. And I I’d like started to line up other people but there are these intricacies of dealing with covers that if you don’t have the layers file which is a Psd file a photoshop type file for that first cover. It’s very difficult for another artist to go in and and.
Replicate because they can’t see exactly how they created the effects they kept you know they’re like do you know what font used and like no I don’t know what font she used. It’s it’s remarkably arcane and and I get it. This is not made up stuff because I hear this from different cover artists when they’re. Trying to replicate what someone else did or at least match the style. So. It’s definitely to my advantage to to get this gal to do it and so I’d suggest I said maybe we should just set up a Zoom call so we could. Just talk through because I could tell we were not communicating well and because I would say things and emails that she would you know like apparently not have process so she said actually that would be amazing. So we spent over an hour on the Zoom yesterday afternoon. Thrashing through the design of the next 5 covers. So at least it’s done but it was like you know that’s a whole lot. You know I was sort of musing over all of the things that I spend my day on that aren’t actually putting words down on the page. So. The good news is is that these covers will be done in a week she and she was she was very sweet and she started out and and maybe I’m winding back around to this generation x thing I have no idea how old she is. She is not english is not her first language I think she is um I don’t know sure it it seems like eastern european type name and that might be the accent I’m not great with accents but it was amazing because she just shared her desktop. It was amazing watching her put this together on photoshop I mean she’s incredibly skilled and talented but she started out the calls apologizing. Get again, you know and saying how much she appreciated me being patient with her and how the last three months have been so difficult and all of this and it’s back to me. Having to force myself to be nice because I kind of want to just move past that. It’s like ga yeah yeah, whatever I appreciate that you’re sorry um I actually don’t need any more apologies I just want the work done which to me drives exactly with what he was saying in that thread about generation x right? as opposed to the. Shit sandwich that millennials want for those of you who don’t know what that means it means that you if you have negative feedback you you take the shit and then you sandwich it between nice stuff so you start out with like a compliment and tell them how great they are and then you give them the shit and then finish up with how great there and what’s going right.
Which I am not good at doing and but you know I I think I do tend to just cut to the data and it’s like thank you for the apology. Um all I care about is getting the stunt. Let’s just get it done So That’s definitely in line with that thread Right. Maybe not just general like a horoscope. So Anyway today I am didn’t try to get words done I’m not doing writer coffee they asked and I was like I’ve got to focus on work and then get out of here by about one and do the lectureship stuff tomorrow Morning. We are going to have a very special podcast I don’t want to over promise but the plan is for me to be broadcasting from the home of the Lovely Darynda Jones So we will do a joint video session and if you have questions if you have anything you want us to discuss. Yeah, it’s your opportunity. So I will talk to you all tomorrow and yeah otherwise um, hope things are going well in your lives and that you are juggling all of the balls. Ah big balls. That’s what she said you all take care Bye bye.
Ah, good morning. Everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee and with a cat if you’re on video you may have seen the tail go by and here he is. Ah, he jumped up on my desk right? as the camera was going live Jackson say hello to everybody I don’t know why he takes he has to be up here right now except that he’s been very much into loving lately. And so now you get to see his but because that’s how a cat shows their love now you’ gonna sit there. Okay, he said right there she’s sitting off to the side now you want see I left my office door open because David’s taking a bath here. We go. We can have first cup of coffee with a cat. Yeah cats don’t like coffee. So today is Tuesday March Twenty Ninth hope you all are doing well, it’s a rainy Tuesday here in Sara Fe I don’t know if Jackson’s thinking that maybe he wants to go out already. You want me to leave him in the photo range there. We go, you can see the back of his head. Um. Yeah, sorry I’m thoroughly distracted by the cap visit. That’s why I get for leaving my door open. So let’s see. Um, yeah, wick’s going well for me so far hope it’s going well for you I did get my 2000 words yesterday. It’s it’s interesting. It’s um. Much easier to get them on Monday after a couple days rest and then harder towards the end of the week so I have to see is um, is 2000 a day really sustainable I sure hope it is because I don’t want to slow down more than that. But I do have to abide by my. Own advice right? find out what your process is and own it there. He goes going on his merry way. So that was special day though. It doesn’t that mean something the cat comes to visit. You. So probably not the households where you have lots of cats that come and visit you all the time it seemed like I had a few things to talk about today and now I don’t know what any of them are all right um.
So 1 thing I do know I want to talk about is I mentioned. Um well I guess ah was on Friday when I was talking about the set changes in membership requirements and I mentioned the story about how my. My story Pearl got published in 2 different magazines almost at the same time by accident. Um, and I mentioned that it was the second time that that happened to me and the. First time was in this wyoming wildlife magazine which was the magazine and is still the magazine for ah wyoming game and fish. So I was living up in Wyoming at the time and I worked for wyoming gamon fish I was working in the lab there as I was finishing my master’s degree because I was cutting bait getting my master’s and going to become a writer so I’d started writing essays. But still had to finish writing my master’s thesis and I had I was sending out essays places all the time. Yeah, and I talked about this some on Friday I think yeah that I had um. You know my ping pong method where I would send a story out I would have it at 3 places at a time which looking back on it I was really proud of my I’m really proud of myself that I did that it was a good way to do it by. Treating it like ping pong as soon as rejection comes in you send out another you, you deemphasize the importance of a rejection. All a rejection is is noticed that you need to send it out somewhere else. Um I’ve never been able to. Subscribe to the what seems to me overly perky advice like when people say every rejection you get put you that much closer to publication. Um I I never really got that one but it was a. You send it out. They send it back I could get behind the ping pong thing and I had my list of publications of the order that I wanted things published in organized um I sorted by different criteria.
Um I didn’t always know what I was doing for instance I did not understand I mentioned this on Friday when I was talking about trying to get that science fiction story published I didn’t understand the arcania of the science fiction and fantasy short fiction market. Which I now understand much better than I did then and yet I still find it. Um, arcane I guess I’m glad I’m a novelist. There’s it’s a very particular community. The short fiction market and I did not understand then. That there were ah the the qualifying markets that would qualify you for SFWA membership and people would submit to those first because that would be more likely to make them SFWA members and really it’s supposed to be that they paid pro rates and. Take this moment to do ah a little bit of a plug for so what? because what we’re doing is now that we’ve changed membership requirements. We’re creating a much more comprehensive scorecard for marketplaces that will take into account many more things than whether or not they pay per rates. Because just because a marketplace pays what we consider to be and really we need to change our lingo I need to do that too minimum pro rate minimum pro rate is ¢8 a word which is like you guys rock bottom I’ve talked about how you know like. And back in the day the glory days I got paid a dollar a word, a dollar a word and we’re calling minimum pro rates ¢8 a word that is a little bit differentlayer. Um, but I don’t know what voice that was so. We need to take into account the fact that even though marketplace may pay a sense a word that that doesn’t necessarily put food on the table right? which is really our goal we want writers to be paid. Professional rates. We want people to be able to make a living from their art and their craft. So. There are other things about marketplaces whether they are open to submissions. There are some marketplaces that say they’re open to submissions. But really, they only take. Stuff that they solicit or that come through agents not necessarily bad but it it is a factor in is this something that a writer can access. Um you know, like what kind of commitment. Do they have to to bipac.
Um, how responsive are they? what are their contract terms like how soon do they pay a market may promise to pay a minimum professional rate but drag their feet forever. They might try for right? Scraps. So these are all things that we want to take into account and we’re going to end up giving different markets scores and you know like the more they pay the higher they score they get. But also there’s other scores in there. And this short fiction committee has been working really hard on this and they’re amazing and eventually I would like to expand this out to novel markets and so forth and you know like even. Online retailers. What score would we give Amazon I mean we make the money there which ends up being like the make or break right? but responsiveness can be lacking although we do sapwa has an Amazon Liaison who has been very responsive I can email her and she has replied quickly. So so that’s something and that’s good to have for when we we saved that for when we need to escalate things. So anyway, um. Here I was back in the day sending out lots of short fiction pieces and to all kinds of markets and so I had sent the I had sent an essay to Wyoming wildlife and I don’t think I’d realized it at the time. But. Actually I was no longer working for game of fish I had been working for game and fish and was no longer because I had gotten this job as an editor writer with a petroleum group because I was building my writing chops and but the editor of the magazine Chris Madson didn’t realize that. And they had this policy where they did not pay department employees for articles and so imagine my surprise when David brought home the magazine because all employees got a free copy. Got a free subscription. And here was my essay by Jeffe Kennedy least correct by line this time called bullets and it was about me learning David teaching me how to shoot a ah gun which I didn’t want to learn how to do? Um, so.
Not only did they not pay me but I had no idea I was going to print it and this is this is an example of not a great marketplace right? because they and this happens sometimes magazines just they edit your story and they don’t tell you anything about it. So I ended up having to go to like the higher ups in game and fish and be like you know. Basically they stole my story and Chris Madson had to apologize and pay me I did get paid I don’t remember what I got paid. It may have been a dollar award because I was bringing out like all of the industry guns. They’re you know fighting for those rights even then right Um, and part of the concession part of the I know to make it up to me. Which I thought was funny so there was this guy who was um, his name was John Kennedy no relation unless it’s like way way back was I don’t remember what his title was but he was one of the higher ups in the agency part of it was is he said that they would agree to publish. Like 2 more essays from me to make up for this and so all I had to do was like send the ideas to Chris Manson who was like really pissed that he got called out on the carpet for doing this. It was a shitty thing to do. He should have never done that in the first place but he was really mad to get caught. And that he’d made the mistake you know I think he thought I was an employee so he could just publish it and do whatever the hell he wanted so you are all storytellers I assume or you would not be story. Readers. You would not be listening to this podcast I bet you can guess where this story is going. Yes I I never published another thing with that magazine I sent Chris all kinds of essay ideas and he ignored ignored me entirely and I had told John Kennedy that this would happen and he’s like oh I don’t think so but he also didn’t care once he dealt with the problem and came up with the solution. He um, moved on with his life. Um, but it’s interesting because it’s one of the ways that um. Publishing I’m trying to think of um, the analogy for this though but like every industry takes advantage of the creators as much as they can. We know all these stories about you know, like the um, the movie companies.
Having their stables of actors and controlling their actors lives and you know you see the biopics on that like about Judy Garland and that sort of thing we know things about like the record companies and how they use the talent and try to control the talent and. The same thing happens in the publishing world traditional publishing from short fiction markets to the publishers who don’t put the books out in the world. They they will take advantage of the creator as much as possible. And it’s not It’s not always malicious and in fact I think a lot of them would would protest me saneness and I may get protests about this because they will say no that they. They love their writers. They love their creators without their creators. They wouldn’t have content and they understand this and they know this but the thing is is that they are also in business they are doing this thing because it’s a business for them and so yes, they need the content and they love the content but they’re not. Doing this out of the goodness of their heart now I will caveat this that there are some short fiction markets in particular that and even some small presses that are doing in out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re also struggling because they yeah you know there but there I’m not being articulate, um, a lot of them are struggling because they’re trying to do their best but they aren’t necessarily um, doing as well as the cutthroat ones which is ironic right? So what’s the what’s the solution here. What are we talking about? ah. I think it’s that being your own champion that you just have to be ready to fight for yourself. Um, you know if we go to the the rock band example one of the things that we we can see in the movies that we know that happens is that the rock bands get out there and they’re. They’re partying I mean it’s a really difficult schedule. You know they’re going from place to place and they’re clock shifted and they’re partying hard and they’re encouraged to party and very often they are. Everything’s deducted from what they’re making I have a. Friend who dated a member of Dokken remember them back in the day and he like failed to pay taxes for a lot of years and he got levied these enormous fines and blew all his money in.
Much later was like living in his mother’s sewing room. He had nothing left. So the thing is is that you don’t there’s never an excuse to not be smart about your business practices and I think that the business minded people know this about creators is that creators. Are not necessarily business minded. We don’t want to be right? But if we did. We’d be in business right? But you got to learn, you’ve got to be ready to fight for your rights and you have to be ready to you know to get mean with people you know and not all of us like to do that either. But you have to keep in mind that if they can take advantage of you. It’s usually to their benefit to do so my nose is so itchy today. That’s why I keep pausing I’m sure it’s like the allergy thing getting pollen itches. So you know I guess the other message I have here is that I didn’t have any way to leverage Wyoming wildlife or wyoming game and fish after that point once I had signed that agreement. There was no no further penalty. And really I didn’t have a whole lot of leverage to begin with other than threatening to expose them. You know it was ah that’s often. The only recourse we have against these groups or companies or corporations right? is. To make them look bad to threaten their sales. That’s the only thing they really care about getting fish is a government agency so it was a little bit different there. Um, but ultimately they have the ability to resist and so. That’s what we have to do as creators. That’s why we have organizations like se to be able to band together to create that leverage and to support each other so that’s and death the sermon I suppose. Ah, yeah I don’t think I have anything else to talk about today I hope that you all have a wonderful Tuesday and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee but I left the spoon in it’s a good thing that I noticed that. Before I sipped today is who knows Tuesday March Twenty second I could show you guys this little spoon for those of you on video. It’s um, make sure it’s the right way up. It wasn’t I think people used to collect these things. But anyway it says um Denver engraved. It’s a little like a little baby silver spoon I like it because I could do just a little dollop of cream I’m pretty sure it’s real silver and it’s got a um indian head. I would say native american head but this is clearly like fantasy indian somebody’s conception of the thematic ah ideal of Denver was this ah I don’t know. I mean it’s really kind of funny because if you could see him on video like there’s ah, an ear piercing and a necklace that looks considerably more maori than any native american who lived anywhere in the Colorado area. Definitely an artist’s fantasy. But then in the bowl of the spoon it says Denver and so I kind of like it. It’s it’s a nice little petite spoon I should probably sell it melt it down for silver just because it’s a little bit heinous with the fantasy indian chief on there but um. I like it I was some I think my grandmother’s might have been what if my great aunts. There were a lot of Maiden Aunts among the Kennedy family.
So um, today is a special day because I know something that I rarely know about my own podcast but today is episode 700 whoo ah, a little while back I was trying to figure out how many episodes I’d recorded and I believe Laura Darnell was very helpful with that and telling me exactly how many there were I got a little confused even though I do keep it on the spreadsheet of course um some of them were like 2 parters. Mostly through my own technological ineptitude. So but now I figure out a better way to keep track and I believe that today is officially 700 so kind of cool and and I even made a note to myself to remember it. And say something. Other people know like how many episodes they’ve had I do not well clearly I do know more precisely I should say that um, when I first started doing this lo these what five years ago honey how time flies. Um I started keeping track by seasons. Um, so I did um season one you know and and then where I started season 2 I started over so season 2 episode 1 whereas other people do it numerically which is probably wiser and I did not keep track of dates for that first season I had 80 episodes in that first season and I know I started like sometime around July. Probably look at it on buzz sprout. But do we care that much. So anyway I should probably like put the years on these that would be helpful so this is season 5 so we know it’s been five years and this is 2022 last time I check. I’m just gonna tap these in here right now. Sorry if this is boring.
Yeah, so season 1 was 2018
Pretty amazing. How so. I was just noticing I keep track of that on my goals spreadsheet because I have a spreadsheet for everything and as no say ah I have not updated these goals in a while. Um right. I have goals for 2019 2020 and then clearly I did not do it for 2021 and 2022 so I guess I must have moved on to other things but I should probably like. Revisit that and see which things I’ve already done and which things I need to do always good. Okay, there now. My spreadsheet’s a little bit neater for at least today I get to do. On the kingdom of thirst podcast today being interviewed on that so that’ll be fun and it’s um, cold and snowy morning here in Santa Fe more snow. It’s nice. So yesterday we got quite a bit of rain it rained whilst allll the day i. Did get my sweet pea seeds planted before the rain started so that’s that’s ideal that’s like the ah the gardener’s nirvana right is if you can get things planted right before a gentle soaking rain and the sweet pea seeds are great. That’s part of why you can plant them early because they can withstand the frost. So um, yes I saw again Laura Darnell who often comments on stuff was nice to hear from her she um, had not been familiar with sweet pease. How is this possible. Ah, you know like I said I follow I was talking about this yesterday anyway, you know I follow my grandmother again my grandmother with the anus indian spoon I follow her gardening advice. My mom often says that the green thumb skipped a generation that I have my grandmother’s. Gardening ability my grandmother beautiful garden but my grandmother would plant sweet peace seeds in Denver on St Patrick’s day and so I do the same or more or less st patrick’s day is the trigger and I don’t know she did it exactly on.
And soak the seeds and buttermilk overnight like she does. But boy you know all, but you know my even my mom complaining that she did not have ah a very good garden. She I always thought she had a great garden and my aunt. Um, they we always had sweet pe. And and my mom would cut the sweet piece and bring them inside and they are. They’re so fragrant. They’re beautiful and they’re fragrant and um, they bloom for most of the summer so so yes if you are not familiar with sweetpeas. Go get you some I’m Laura I hope that you will share some photos of yours. My mom can’t grow them in Tucson. It’s just way too hot as but you know in Laramie Wyoming they were great and I don’t know. Kansas City maybe they’ll do better in like the spring and the fall might get a little hot for them in the muggy part of summer since Kansas City really does that muggy part of summer. So um. Yesterday was good day. Got my um 2000 words we got the Jeep into the mechanic have to do a little bit of work on it but it should be certified for David David to drive it for lyft and uber today. And he already has a scheduled ride for tomorrow. Did you guys know that lyft is doing a real scheduled ride thing. Um, it’s it’s really pretty cool because you know how like on uber it offers you the scheduled ride option. But then it’s not. They don’t actually schedule a ride for you. They just like send out a call for a car at that time because uber is so freaking wedded to that algorithm they do not want to budge off the algorithm. So this is something that has cropped up in the last couple of months where lyft has asked. David sent him a message through the app and asked him if he would like to accept a scheduled ride for this address at this time on this date and he can opt in or not and then the first time we were like what is this? What is this strange creature and. It was someone in our neighborhood who needed a ride to the albuquerque airport. So the at once he confirmed we’re like okay try it. Why not once he confirmed then it said okay you know be online on the app like 15 minutes before this time.
And he did and then it directed him to the pickup and and he drove the person down to Albuquerque so it’s it’s a real kind of scheduling and it’s it’s great and he’s gotten one for like you got a request for like may fifteenth. Um, so. You can you can actually plan ahead and I think it’s just so smart of lyft to be doing that because it’s what we all want you know uber keeps trying to force us to bend to their their algorithm I think they think that they’re going to be Amazon and may and enslave us to the algorithm. But. What they don’t realize is that the reason that we become enslaved to the Amazon algorithm is because Amazon makes seems really really easy for the consumer. They give us exactly what we want in exactly the way we want it. Ah. And uber is not doing that they they want their algorithm to work and they want us to you know be and trained to it but something like that like actually being able to schedule a ride and have a car show up. And exactly the time you want it to show up. Um, uber doesn’t want to do that. So interesting. So sir David’s already got a ride scheduled for tomorrow so he’ll be back in action. We still don’t have word on the camera. Ah apparently Usaa was taking down to their. Approved storage facility in Albuquerque which is an hour away and this is new. This is new because we’ve had Usa a for a long time but you know they’ve gone public now and things are different. Things are changing which is unfortunate because I don’t I try not to resist change for resisting changes sake but some of these changes to sa a I feel like are not positive.
Then also it adds time so we shall um we shall see apparently whether or not the car is totaled is still in question I mean obviously it’s in question but different people have weighed in Darynda’s husband owns. Um. Body shop and he looked at the photo and said he doesn’t think the car is totaled so he said unless there’s damage. You can’t see which is possible. So so why she’ll find out and. Got my nails done yesterday I went with yellow mom isn’t that funny I was kind of thinking yellow anyway, my mom and I were talking about how we’re like into yellow all of a sudden I think this is like how fashion trends happen I always think of William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. Predicting the trends before they become a trend is yellow. The next trend you heard it here first on first cup of coffee. So um, yeah, otherwise I’m I’m feeling like. And maybe I say this all the time my business to do list is very long at this point and some of it’s because I’ve broken things out into smaller tasks. Ah but like i. Need to upload the audiobook for bright familiar I have to register for a couple of conferences I still owe spreadsheets to someone because I was crunching her. You know like how she does her writing over the course of the year um I’ve got to set up a preorder of. Gotta put some books on ingram because I didn’t do it. Yeah, bright familiar and gray magic I didn’t put on inggram and I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and do it um make a preorder list for a polyon I had to update a bunch of books and I need to reupload them I go. Ah, the faro gal gals a blog post for March and now we are March Twenty second I really got to get that done. So I’ve still got figure out a plus marketing I like I don’t know what is time who am I but. I don’t understand why I’m like not well I guess I do kind of understand why I’m not getting to all these things but it’s annoying me that I’m not getting to all these things I should look at my at those goals right? Um, which.
I Do have these different categories like revivifying the to do list minimizing the tasks that float for a long time god. That’s an ongoing thing so I won’t examine this list but maybe that was meant I need to um I need to figure out ways to get to some of this. Stuff that maybe you know maybe it’s partly being president of sfwa that like those hours that I would spend doing business-y things I’m spending a lot of that on SFWA things.
So um, what else because I wrote down those things to talk about. Maybe I don’t have much else to talk about. Yeah, maybe I don’t it’s interesting talking to people about conferences I’m sorry we’re not doing nebula conference in person. Ah the board felt very strongly that it was too much of a financial risk. I wanted to do it but I wasn’t gonna go against what the rest of the board wanted and it made things easier in a lot of ways. Ah but I was texting yesterday with Mary Robinette Kowal and. For for a funny. It was actually very funny because someone asked a question in the sifwa slack that had to do with last year’s conference like how long the panels were going to be up and because we’d kept the recorded panels up in the nebula airship. And somebody they asked how long are they going to stay up because they hadn’t finished watching all of them and I was like oh that’s a really good question even I do not know the answer but let me talk to the team and find out what everyone is thinking because I was a part of the events team last year and and. Then this text pops up for Mary Robinette and and she answers the question she says um, let’s see if I can find it here. Well she said we told. So she just texts me out of the blue and says we told panelists that we would leave nebula panels up for 1 year and I was like and I said god is that you and she said verily it was I and it turned out that she. Had notifications set on that channel and so it had she didn’t even remember she had had it because I know she doesn’t monitor slack closely and so she’d gotten a notification on it and answered the question for me and it was just it was just a funny thing. You know like. It goes in here and comes out there. So then we text it back and forth for a little bit and I was catching her up on just she’s very good about checking in with me on whether or not I’m being aggravated by being president and then she asks me for background stuff on some of the.
Ah, stuff that we’re dealing with and it’s um, it’s very kind of her. It’s very supportive of her. We one of the things that we have in so well which is a semi-official role is the role of past president and the past president I mean we have lots of past presidents. But we have. Usually each president designates 1 person to be their past president advisor and she is that for me and she’s good about checking in with me and just like doing the are you taking care of yourself thing because 1 thing about having been president before is you know that some of it can be aggravating and stressful. So at any rate I said well um, you know if we get to see each other in person again. We can do a a long drinking binge and I think it’s gonna be I told her I think I think I’m gonna go to chicon at the end of August. Um, world con in Chicago but I think that’s the next time so but at least there will be that time so that’s one of the things I have to do is register for that conference and I’m gonna register for world fantasy convention which is in New Orleans and November so I’m committing. And committing to things du but Don it’s exciting all right I’m going to go and get going on my things I’m gonna try to get some of this shit off of my to do list but this is my resolve wish me luck. And I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take him bye bye.
This week at the SFF Seven we’re talking about Contractor Best Practices. And already Charissa, James, and KAK have posted great articles about communication and clear expectations. I whole-heartedly ditto everything they said.
So, instead of reiterating, I thought I’d share my own favorite contractors. It’s a great opportunity to give them a shout-out. One of the best parts of being an author who self-publishes is that you become the source of work for other people. I love that I, by creating words, am a font which then flows money out to the people who do work for me. They are vital parts of my business and I’d hate to be without them.
These days, after years of honing my practices, they’re a pretty lean team.
First and foremost, my amazing assistant is the fabulous Carien Ubink, aka book blogger Sullivan McPig. Whenever someone asks what my assistant does for me, I reel off the list and then – for about half an hour afterward – I’m adding “Oh, and she also does this!” We’ve been working together for years now. (She could tell you how many, which is one of the things she does for me.) She’s the best.
My Cover Artist
While I occasionally use other cover artists, my go-to and favorite is Ravven. She’s done the majority of my covers and I hope will do many, many more. She has an uncanny ability to take my inadequate descriptions and hand me back a gorgeous cover that exceeds my imagination. She’s timely, helpful, goes the extra mile. No one else comes close to her in talent, skill, and clean business practices.
Crystal Watanabe at Pikko’s House handles all of my editorial. She’s super fast, thorough, and a delight to work with. She also operates a business that offers the gamut of editorial services. I highly recommend checking out Pikko’s House.
Yes, I farm out my formatting – largely because my formatter, Paul at BB eBooks, is so fantastic. He accommodates my sometimes screechingly tight turnaround times, always doing a stellar job, and with a great attitude. There’s nobody I trust more to get the job done right.