First Cup of Coffee – July 7, 2022

Print version of ROGUE’S PAWN is available! I’m also talking about some history, mean reviews from the past, the conversation about whether authors should talk to readers, “hidden gems” & asking for recs.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Delicious Today is Thursday July seventh and it’s it’s a Thursday here we are I’m feeling so behind on all of the things and I was excuse me complaining to David about it saying why am I so behind on everything. Have I been saying this for a while I kind of feel like I’ve been behind since a nebula conference. But then in June I went traveling for a week right? And then I’ve had friends here which hasn’t been that intensive but it’s been. Disruptive you guys know how I don’t like my schedule to be disrupted I am also totally aware now of how ubiquitous the phrase you guys is it’s in movies. It’s everywhere I am trying to lense it from my vocabulary with limited success thus far. Least I’m aware of saying it but a lot of people say it. So um, so yeah, I’m really hopeful this weekend that I can get caught up on some stuff. David asked me this morning. If I had ridden my bike that we let’s see when we came back from Tucson in April April while we were gone I had it. At the bike shop so they could tune it up so because it wasn’t in shape to ride and I wanted to ride it and I was pulling into the garage last night and saw my bike there poised in front of my car and David asked me if I had ridden it since we picked it up and the answer is no I have not spent. Hundred and fifty dollars to get all tuned up and ready and I haven’t touched the fucking thing but but you know for a while it was really windy and then it’s I don’t know I have no excuse except that. Just feel like I haven’t had time and so I was starting to say hopefully this weekend I would get caught up on a bunch of stuff I’m hoping to but then on the weekend I also want to relax. So maybe I can go for a bike ride I have.

Ah, shit ton of stuff to mail out and I think would help me I I keep thinking in terms of and I do this to myself a lot where I want to get everything ready so I can mail it all out at once and and it creates this enormous bottleneck whereas what I should do is just mail things out gradually. So I do have print copies of storm princess I need to mail those I should just start mailing. Um, mailing mailing so some of it requires. Research like what is the least expensive way to send a thing and well I feel like I almost need a step by step list. Um I also feel like I need that with some of the side projects you know like. Rogue’s pawn is out but already I need to be thinking about getting book two rogue’s possession I just have to make a few changes to it. That’s these little tasks right? and making good progress on shadow wizard I’m having a lot of fun writing jeron. Even sent a snippet to caring yesterday I should ask her if it’s too spoilery because I’m thinking about posting it. You guys know. Ah you all know that I don’t um, post a lot of snippets of my work in progress. But I’m tempted to post this one. 1 of the things on my list is get to get the preorder set up for shadow wizard. So just all these things to do. Um I need to ship stuff out for a polycon too. And yeah. So let’s see. Yeah um, Kelly and Alex are only here for two more days they fly out on Saturday. So um, so we’re doing some fun things today and tomorrow which won’t help with getting caught up. But maybe I could get a few of these tasks. Done. So let’s see um one thing that was um, just this kind of funny serendipitous thing was I complained to a group of authors I was emailing with.

We were emailing about something else organizing a thing but I was um I was being cranky and I apologize for being cranky and I said that part of it was because um, what was of miscellaneous things. But anyway we got into telling these stories about I’m trying to say if I want to tell you I don’t want to sound ungrateful or like a bad person I’m still thinking about Mary Robinette talking about. Ah. Like apologies on the internet and are you really trying to apologize or do you want people to think that you’re a good person because don’t we all want people to think we’re good people and sometimes we’re not sometimes we’re not a good person. Um, so okay so I’ll be honest. Ah I saw this Instagram post from a reader who did a really nice post showing one of the uncharted reless books and she called it an underrated series. And she loves it and I love that she loves it and it’s it’s meant in all sincerity and but you know it’s just sometimes when you’ll it’s like one of my oldest series and when. I don’t know when somebody calls it underrated I understand what they mean they mean that it doesn’t have the fandom you know like Sarah J Mos or Jennifer O out arm in Trump which is absolutely true. It’s it’s not as well known, but it still. It just put me in a little bit of a mood where I was just like and I think I was already in that mood because I was talking about this some at the beginning of the week it’s just like I don’t know every once in a while and and people do mean it in all sincerity and enthusiasm. But you encounter readers. Who um, discover your books and they’re like why haven’t I heard of your books before and you’re like it’s the million dollar question I don’t know why I wish you had I’m glad you know now. So i. I hesitate to complain about that kind of thing because I don’t want anyone to not share about in fangirl. My books. You know? So um, but it’s still I don’t know it was a mood and.

So I I shared this with these girls and said you know and one of them wrote back to me and she said Jeffe I want you to know that a few weeks ago I was at a book signing and a reader came up to me and she said ah. That I that she knows I’m new to this and that but that I’m very talented and she really hopes that I keep going which is a lovely thing to say right? The thing is is it wasn’t for that this author it was she said it was like for the 7th book in her sixth romance series. You know? So it’s like but you know hope you keep going and one of the other girls chimed in and said that she saw a Tiktok video that was like on hidden gems. Which you know people like to do and it’s a wonderful impulse because it’s like let’s not all always post about the same 5 books and I’m seeing more and more complaints about this kind of thing. Um, even my assistant said something about it the other day after I’d heard some other people complaining about it where she was saying. She was finding it hard to get good book recommendations because everybody recommends the same 5 books and and there’s a cultural phnom to that right? because the people who are posting like the Tiktok videos and so forth they want their posts to be. Liked and get a whole lot of comments. So if you post about something that I just knocked myself off the ledge here. Oh there we go um, overly dramatic. Not much but you know you you if you post about a book that already has a huge fandom. You’re much more likely to get attention for that right? It’s sort of a side effect of that fandom. Um, but it does result in this the same book’s being recommended and my assistant was. Frustrated the other day saying I can’t get book wrecks anymore because it’s always the same same books and so the the whole impulse behind underrated books or undervalued books. Hidden gems. All of it. It’s great because the thing is is that and and I should say this to myself is it’s not really hidden gems or underrated books. It’s just like books that aren’t these five books. It’s ah like this big huge the venn diagram right is like everything else.

The 5most popular books and everything else. Um, but anyway she said that she had seen a tick talk video on hidden gems that ah was about a book by colleen hoover ah who is easily the james patterson of romance you know and it’s like not exactly a hidden gym. So so yeah, um, it’s all good I really don’t want to stifle. Anybody’s enthusiasm. You should be able to rave about anything that you like. Whether it’s the same 5 books that everybody else likes or something that nobody’s heard of It’s just a funny, a funny phenomenon I saw somebody quote yesterday um about again about tiktok and how. Maybe the quieter books don’t have the content that makes for good tiktok videos and it’s like I don’t know you know and I think that’s a response to if it’s not about. Big blue aliens was vibrating dicks than it makes for bad content I think anything to make for good content. So anyway, that’s that’s one of my thoughts. Um I was very interested I made a note about this. And I’ll see if I can link to it in the comments. Um, but there was this thing that happened quite a few years ago and I was reminded of it when I was looking up rachel vincent I mentioned her in my podcast the other day. Um, because Rachel Vincent had written that book Stray that I liked very much that was an urban fantasy and when I went to look her up to see you know like what is she doing these days I don’t know rachel I don’t think I’ve ever met her um wish her well in general because I enjoyed her books. So I was looking her up and I found a review of Stray on Dear Author and I think I don’t think dear author is still extant um Jane Litte was one who did dear author with another gal I think it was amy tan and then amy tan backed away. And Jane Litte and Sarah wendell were very good friends and sarah wenddell had smart smart bitches trashy books which I know is still going. Um, but there used to be a lot of back and forth between the 2 but anyway Jane Litte did a review of Stray and.

I will link to it because it is in her inimitable style. A really mean review. Um, and it was interesting because at the time she was leading a whole lot of conversation about how authors. Um, should not interact with readers that reviews were for readers and someone pointed out to her that by writing her reviews as dear author and then sincerely Jane as if she was writing a letter to them made it seem very much as if she is writing the review for the author. And not for the readers. She gave the book a d and it was um, it was harsh. It was really harsh and I noticed in her bio on there that she had updated it where she said that she writes. Um, contemporary and and a romance and I happen to know that that’s not the only thing she writes she has a number of pen names. But I remember when it came out that she was also a writer because prior to that it had been a secret and Sarah Wendell had known the secret and had kept it quiet and Sarah Sarah posted an apology and it’s hard to explain how explosive this was at the time because Jane had been so much on this side of that authors should stay out of reader conversations. And reviews are for readers and you know, never the Twain shall meet and she um called out authors for you know, interfering with readers. She was even say she would even say that. Um. Authors shouldn’t even like say thank you on reviews or respond in any way because it would have a chilling effect. I mean there were a lot of these conversations and then it turned out that she had been secretly writing under a pen name. So I found it interesting that her bio now acknowledge is the thing that everybody found out. And the reason they found it out was because of the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit ah because Jane had written a blog article about Ellora’s Cave and all of the things that they were doing to cheat authors and Ellora’s Cave sued her. For slander and just to revisit quickly in order to sue for slander you need to prove that it has had a negative effect on your business and that it is um.

I’m not sure if it has to be untrue, but at any rate they sued and her real name which is not Jane Litte her but her actual real life name was named in the lawsuit and so it all came out this way that because it was public record right. So it. It was I believe they settled out of court and then Laura’s cave subsequently folded. But yeah, it was just interesting to recall some of that history. So I thought I would share it. With some of you. But um, you know it’s it’s one reason why I don’t review books that I don’t like um and in some ways I could say that I don’t even I don’t know if I even. Review books because I certainly don’t do a critical review where I break stuff down sometimes I complain to you all anonymously here. Um without naming the book just so I can talk about general principles of story. But um I take it can be It is a narrow line between critiquing the work and being unkind or even mean to an author because you didn’t like their book and. And I think it’s interesting to read this review and I I encourage you to go read it because things have changed since then this was quite a while ago I didn’t look at the date on it but probably something like 2007 2006 given that’s when I was. Trying to figure out my how many words were on a page reference Tuesday’s podcast um so I’m not sure that people would get away with it in the same way now or that they would want to? um. early days of the internet versus maturity where I don’t know maybe the meanness is of a more pointed and different variety. But um, yeah, breaking down someone’s book like that as if you’ve written them a letter and. But it’s posted publicly and then just saying all this stuff and I suppose it’s admirable in some ways that she has not taken these down she clearly stands by them. But I think we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing particularly knowing that she was an author at the same time.

It’s um, yeah, a pretty fine line between critiquing work in a thoughtful way and attempting to eviscerate the competition. Ah you know and maybe it comes back to that thing that I was talking about the other day that. You know competition especially in like the reading and writing world. It’s it’s invidious. It’s unfair. There’s no place for it. Maybe that’s part of the frustration with people recommending the same books over and over Again. It’s like well it’s Great. You know and they’re. They’re wonderful books. That’s why people love them. But you can only reread them so many times right? and then you want to read other books. So So I’ve been looking through some things in my tbr trying some different stuff out I’m um. I’m really in the mood for a very emotional lush romance and it doesn’t have to be fantasy if anyone can point me to that I want something. That’s really yeah, emotionally transporting not mean I’m I’m finding I don’t want any of the bully stuff. Um, but yeah, something something really moving hit me with your res please and you all take care and I will talk to you to crew Bye bye.