Writing What I Read

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re asking: “Do you read in the genre you write?”

What’s funny is that my answer is absolutely yes – but that I didn’t always write in the genre I read. Does that make sense?

I have always read Fantasy and Science Fiction, since I was a little kid, and I’ve been reading Romance since I was old enough to walk to the used bookstore to buy my own books, as my mom wouldn’t let me read “that trash.” (Because she thought Romance was low-brow and anti-feminist, not because of the sex.) But when I started out as a writer, I wrote Creative Nonfiction.

Some of this was timing and coincidence. When I decided I wanted to be a writer instead of a scientist, one of the first classes I took was “Essays on Self and Place,” from a visiting writer at the university. I fell easily into writing essays and had success with them. My first book was an essay collection. And, sure, I read some essays. I read a lot of essay collections and memoir. But I was always reading them as research and reciprocity.

All that time, what I read for pure enjoyment? Anything with a paranormal/SFF element and plenty of Romance.

It was only after my first book came out that a friend – a bookseller who knew my tastes and sold me hardcover releases of JD Robb, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephenie Meyer, and Jaqueline Carey – asked me why I wasn’t writing in the genres I so clearly loved to read.

Funny that. It simply hadn’t occurred to me. But then I started to, I wrote this Fantasy Romance* (not a genre then, but what did I know??) that was SO MUCH FREAKING FUN TO WRITE. I couldn’t believe how much more fun I had writing my crazy tale about a scientist who falls into Faerie, becomes a sorceress, and ends up in a bargain with a fae lord to bear his child. I even got a really nice rejection on the book from Stephenie Meyer’s agent! (Though it took a long time for me to sell it, which is another tale.)

The rest is history. ~ Waves at catalogue of Epic Fantasy Romances ~ I haven’t looked back. Writing what I love to read has absolutely been a great decision.

*The book that became ROGUE’S PAWN

First Cup of Coffee – August 8, 2022

Some real numbers comparing the same book and series self-published vs. traditionally published – Spoiler: first month revenue is already 10% of 10 years of trad – & other thoughts on trad vs. indie.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Delicious.

Ah, so good. How are you all today is Monday August date 16 22 I don’t know why it seems like there’s so many good dates lately. Bumping the table here. So um, we are New Week New week hopefully a productive week I need a productive week. Um I’m still on track with shadow wizard I’m losing a little bit of my buffer. I did not have um, a rocking writing day on Friday for no good reason I am happy to report that. However I am caught up on royalty crunching who I’ve caught up two months ‘ worth. Always interesting. Um, just to have a break from the royalties and come back and sort of see what the sales are like and one thing that’s very interesting. Sorry if I’m using that word way too many times. Um, you can’t adjust hold on a moment. My chair is could be apart. Ah, you know it’s like one of those selfassemble patio chair things and so it has the. It’s probably gonna be too hard to explain but you know like the caps that you screw on to the ends that hold it in place and one of the caps came off and I had it sitting here on the table but very lazily had not put it back on ah because it was one of those you know like two step projects where it required me to go inside the house. To get a screwdriver to come back out and screw it on and somehow I just never would not take that freaking long but somehow I never made that complete circuit and no I’m not sure where the piece has gone hopefully some. Critter didn’t carry it off but now it’s um, bending enough that it’s like pulling entirely out of the socket without the cap thingy to hold it on so the ah problem’s becoming more pointed but. We already spent way too much podcast time on that. Ah, ah so interesting. So interesting fascinating I think that’s why they came up with fascinating for Spock because interesting just got too boring. Um.

On my covenant of thorns books this is a great example of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. You know what? and I’m even Goingnna oh I’m not going bring up the exact numbers. But. So I started releasing rereleasing Covenant of Thorn’s series Rogue’s Pawn being book one in July and then Rogue’s Possession came out later july and then third book Rogue’s Paradise is coming out in August and. For all three books considering this is a series that’s 10 years old fabulous covers beautiful covers um but old books I shared a um review on the podcast on friday. Was a very interesting review I shared it with Grace and she’s like wow that’s a great review and I was like well it’s sort of ah a mixed review but I would much rather have a review that notices. Um and notes how I’ve grown as a writer and for me going back and reading those first books. Is a little bit cringy. It’s a good reminder for me. Um, when I read new authors first books that I should probably like read one of their later books too because um, ah I mean thank goodness I’ve gotten so much better. But wow you know and people told me then that it was overwritten and I didn’t think it was ah but ah the hubris of youth and newbiness right? Ah yeah, ah. In one contest. Someone told me that it was um, overwritten like Anne Rice is overwritten and I took that as a compliment. Um I think I’m way worse than Anne Rice ah but um anyway these books are being well received but they’re not burning up the charts I mean they’re not like hugely high rankings I’ve got more preorders for book 3 than I have for books 1 or 2 I like twice as many which is really nice. So that means that the people that are reading it and loving it. Are wanting to read that third book. That’s awesome. Um, but you know it’s like it’s still double digits I mean I don’t even have preorders in the triple digits which is fine. You know it’s like that’s kind of what I expect for rereleasing an old series like this right? so.

Even with fairly low but climbing preorder numbers I’m trying to walk the line here I I don’t want you to Um, oh what am I trying to say I’m trying to set the correct expectation here because I figured. If I was lucky if things went well that I could recoup my investment in putting a new cover and reformatting the book putting it up for sale. Ah in the first month and I’m going to do that easily more. For the first two books and with pre-orders alone for the third book each of those books has already I mean you’ll just like in numbers I don’t have the money yet, but they’ve already earned 10 to 12% of the lifetime sales. Of the books that did that they earned through Carina press. Okay, so let me rephrase that just in case I put that in a confusing way because I track all the sales of all my books. So in all the time 10 years that those books were with Carina Press and Carina paid me quarterly royalties on those books. So I know how much each book has earned over its lifetime via Carina in the time that I have had these up self-published a month for the first book. A month the two days they’ve already earned 10 to 12% of those lifetime sales one month versus ten years right? So when we talk about self- publishishing. And the money that you can earn in self-p publishing. There is a concrete example now why didn’t these books earn more money through Carina press. There’s a couple of factors and if you all already self publish or if you are um, you know, follow. Self-pubbers then you know this information but I’m going to share it here anyway because it does bear repeating part of it is the percentage. Um from Carina press even though they gave me a very generous I think 45% something like that of the. Net so that means of the money that they get after the wholesale price and all of that they gave me 45% of that price. So and actually.

Okay, so I went ahead and opened the spreadsheet just so I could give you some actual numbers because I calculate approximately how much I earn per book. Um, well this is going to be a little bit deceptive. However, okay, well let me give you the the numbers. From through Carina Press which is harlequin which is under harper collins. We’re looking at big consolidation of presses. So it’s worth it looking at that tiering. Ah penguin already emerged with random house. Now Simon Shuster is looking to acquire penguin random house. So anyway before and you know under them. My books were earning I would get ¢71 to a dollar for per per book. Now I have to do some quick baths self publishing I’m getting $3 per book. Um, so easily 3 times I’m making per book so that adds up fast. The other piece of it is. Marketing. Um, and we were having this conversation over the weekend. Ah Minerva Spencer and Katie Lane are their writing names came to brunch at my house on Saturday and we. Set out in the grape arbor and talked business. It was lovely and the demystifying thing is is because we have all published traditionally and self published. And it can just be mystifying what the traditional publishers are doing I do pretty basic marketing on that Covenant of Thorns series and it’s like a 1,000 times more than Carina press did on them especially 10 years later um we were gossiping about one friend of ours who’s who had a bestselling book Usa today but still bestselling book did enormously well but it came out a long time ago now. Um, somebody was saying 3 years but I think it’s longer than 3 years because 3 years was beginning of pandemic that amazing. Um, well it was like leading up into ah it’s on my mind because like Minerva Spencer I had not seen her since September of 2019 so it was nearly three years since I had last seen her in the flesh.

And it’s funny to think that um you know three years ago August of 2019 I was at world con in Dublin and we traveled around Ireland just seems ages ago. So um, anyway I think this this gal’s book came out. Probably five or six years ago yeah could be even six or 7 definitely pre 2017 so that gives us a ah range anyway. But she gets very upset that her traditional publisher is not. Pouring more publicity that they’re publicizing other books newer books and not hers which ah you know sometimes that happens that way. Oh. Mosquito so it’s this is what traditional and publishers do. They’re always about the new shiny. They don’t care about the older books. Um.

And and it’s to the detriment of the author because I mean you know like this girl’s perfectly right to be upset that they’re not publicizing this book. Especially I mean everybody could be making money on this but they just don’t they also. Just don’t seem to know how to position books which is bizarre and they fully believe that they do know I mean they’re just certain that they are in the right? So it’s this very interesting thing. Um that there are what, one of the gals I don’t remember who they might have both said it is like well why are people still going with traditional publishers and I still think there are good reasons to publish traditionally. But as far as making a living and getting your books out there. Ah. And makes all the difference and and what’s funny is that the traditional publishers and we all know this because we have editors and agents saying this to us as they’ll say well you know you just can’t make real money self-p publishishing and they always want to go back to the Statistic. You know that most self-p publishers. Only ever sell a hundred copies a year and and it’s like yeah, but then you have to look at the the other end of the spectrum that you know you’re not looking at the person who decide to you know, write their memoir and. Printed it out for their kids and grandkids. Um, besides which we don’t have to sell as many copies to make really good money as evidenced by this statistic I’m just fascinated by that it has made this big of a difference because I thought well. You know should I even republish. These am my sinking good money into this for no reason it’s going to be great. It’s going to be awesome. I was also counting up like how many books I sold at Apollycon because in the world of the convention. You know, ah it was just like sale sale sale I sold a lot of copies of Rogues Pawn I didn’t realize how many but that was the right crowd for that book I did not sell as many copies of dark wizard as I thought I would I do have a mosquito candle out here now to fend off the mosquitoes. Ah, see if that works I’d scooted it closer because there’s a couple of mosquitoes hovering hovering hungrily. So um.

You know it’s just really interesting what you sell in different venues and I think this is one of the things that self-publishers are able to do is that I can go and I can see which of my books sell on site and what I can say to readers that elicits their attention. I think it’s really super cool that I sold so many copies of the print version of rogue spawn um, for $10 right? Ah, but they love that it was a face story. So um. My point and I do have one. You know that there are people in traditional publishing who make a huge amount of money but there are lots who don’t and even the ones who are making a decent living the dreaded midlist right? which has become kind of a curse. But. There was a statistic that came out the other day that said that um I don’t know if they put a percentage on it but it was most and and I believe that it is most traditionally published authors are making $25000 a year or less which is. Below poverty level in the us and I I don’t know if that’s before or after taxes. But it’s still It’s not much money. Actually I think it was $20000 a year because the person who retweeted it into my timeline said that they were. Doing relatively well compared to many of their compatriots and they’re making $25000 a year. Um, which is still not enough to live on and traditional publishing persists in this idea that um. You know that we should be grateful for the money we are making I think ah one of my friends has been kind of struggling because ah, her traditional sales have fallen off. Um, we think we know why I think I know why actually I gave her. Um. A really good insight and I’ve seen this happen to a number of my friends that’s bragging isn’t it I thought it was great insight. She agreed. Okay, so in in two cases I’m thinking of specifically and I could probably think of a lot more There was an author who was selling incredibly well in a particular thing and their publisher changed the branding of it in 1 case, an author was told no no, we don’t want more of these of this subgenre. We want you to write this other subgenre.

And the books just didn’t do as well and the publisher is like huh I wonder what happened? Well you went off of the main readership and this other friend of mine who has done fabulously well in. Traditional publishing to the point where she didn’t really want to self-p publishlish because she’s like I’m making better money and trap and it’s like well wherever you’re making better money and go for it but now ah her most recent series. The sales are really tanked and I realized how they changed from her main branding that these books don’t. Look or feel or have the same wording as the ones where her main platform is and and it’s a departure and and once I pointed this out to her. She’s like you know what? I’m going to put these words in my next title and I’m going to see what’s what happens and it’s like great. We can do this as self publishers meanwhile in traditional publishing land. Her editor actually said to her that it’s because she’s self-publishing that she’s diluting her sales and that’s and it’s her fault and this is what they do in traditional publishing is they tell the author that it’s their fault and because it can’t possibly be theirs. And it’s nonsense. It’s I I was telling this story to Minerva and Katie this weekend and both of them immediately said that’s bullshit because we all know that readers read much faster than we can write and they they want more books. They don’t. Get tight. They don’t say oh ho ha another j– oops sorry another Jeffe Kennedy ah slight slip there wonder if I could fudge it out I bet I didn’t say as much as I thought I did we’ll see. Ah, but yeah, another Jeffe Kennedy Blah you know it’s maybe there are some who say that but the passionate readers they want more and this idea that um, which tread really holds onto that you know that they feel that it should be 1 book a year and I even had that. Um, on my last traditional publishing excursion. You know when we were talking about the frequency of the books and they said well our market research shows that the books do best if we release some nine months apart I kind of wanted to say well, what market research is that. Because it’s sure not how it looks from our perspective. The other interesting thing about self-publishing and this is a conversation that Minerva Katie and I were having was how we know what it takes to make a good cover. We know exactly how expensive a cover is.

We know about layers and putting them together. You have to learn I mean it’s just like at first you don’t know and you gradually learn so when a traditional publisher comes to us and this has happened to all of us. And says look at this beautiful expensive cover and we’re like that’s clip art and this part doesn’t look right? Can you fix this and they’re like oh no, it would take so much to fix that we’re like no, no, no, all you do is go in and tweak that layer. Um and they still want to act like we don’t know this that they can still blow sunshine. Ah. So this has turned somewhat into an indictment of tread which I don’t mean it to be because um I there are a lot of things I love about traditional publishing. Um and I will still try to publish traditionally but there. I feel like we’ve been saying for more than a decade now that traditional publishing is going to have to change what they’re doing and they are somehow mysteriously still not doing it. Um, but yeah, just being able to. To make a living as a writer. There are not many people who can do that without also self- publishing or without having a sidegig. So um I do think and we were all agreeing is in our conversation Saturday that. It was huge for all 3 of us that we had already traditionally published and had that readership they’re they’re good at establishing that readership and so it made self publishing much easier. It’s it’s harder when you’re coming right out of the gate as a self-p publisher. Unfortunately, that’s just how it is. So on that note I’ve chattered on long I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and a wonderful week and I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – August 5, 2022

Thoughts on being groomed to be nice and pleasing people, along with musings on “people will never forget how you make them feel,” insights from Maria Vale’s WOLF IN THE SHADOWS, and a meaningful review of ROGUE’S PAWN.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance here with my first cup of coffee. Happy dancing today is say it with me Friday. Woo August Fifth um first week of all this almost done depending on how you slice your week to He’s are busy. They like Friday also so um, how are you all. How are you doing I did not have a terribly productive day yesterday I did not hit my word count. But um I had a really good time at r coffee it was the first time that the group of us had been together in a while there’ve been just. What people going out and peopleing. So yeah, it was a really good time I got a little bit of writing in before I left and um, a little bit done when I got back did some royalty crunching so that was good. I’m still at a good place on this book I’m going to set up the pre-order soon. I’m going to do the cover reveal soon I think I’m going to do the cover reveal next week that’s pretty exciting isn’t it I think it’s exciting. So um, yeah I’ve I’ve passed midpoint I’m at 44,000 words liking this story having a really good time with it. So um, so yeah I feel like I’m a good place I think it’s going to release I should just commit I’m setting the release date for September Twenty Ninth you heard it here. Almost first I think I said it in the newsletter or at least I told assistant corine to say so in the newsletter. Ah, she tends to try to um, protect me from committing to Release States I don’t know why Ah but something blah blah blah stress blah blah blah. Things come up. Um blah blah blah don’t you don’t have to commit yourself I’m fucking committing myself September Twenty ninth it’s a cool morning here in Santa Fe um we had storms all night

But really didn’t get any rain. The storms just kind of circled lots of lightning and thunder um, so it was it was pretty. You know all around the valley seeing the heat lightning and the clouds and but it would be nice to get some more rain with it I know I’m greedy greedy now. So. But yeah, it’s almost a little cool for no sleeves just kind of nice people are always surprised that being in New Mexico that we have cool weather too. It’s um. Have to understand how geography works I don’t know what to tell you so the other thing I did yesterday and I’ve been thinking about this ever since it’s on my mind ah is I stopped in to pay the remainder of my bill on my new fountain. Ah, because the remainder is birthday present from the husband. So for those of you who may not listen every day that I broadcast I don’t know how you could, but you know hey choices. Um, so I had this big rock fountain. Installed up front that I’d been wanting for like ten years and it was expensive. Saved up for it partly Christmas present partly birthday present. So and and you may have heard me kind of like obsessing a little bit about John. About the mythical John and what John required to install the fountain and so forth and the install went great. But so there was this sales skill that I worked with Beth and she was like the person who greeted me when I got there and she helped and in general I liked her. She was good. Um, but. She was not communicative after after like I settled on the one I wanted in some way she was like trying to talk me out of that one and you know kept saying oh I could do other ones and I was like no no I like this one and then she was worried that was gonna be too. Big and and so I realized that a great deal of my anxiety about the install and my nervousness about the mythical John who turned out to be absolutely delightful and obliging and helpful. Unlike a mosquito. Um I realized that all of that had come from her. And so you know which I didn’t necessarily hold against her but from the time I put down my deposit because I did have that date right? My financial records until they actually installed the fountain was six weeks in a day and during that time I had to call twice to say.

So are you guys going to grab and install this founder what been set on my money but I thought you know it’s Santa Fe it’s New Mexico manana is a thing. It’s landscaping. They’ve probably it’s summertime. They’ve got lots of big clients I was willing to be patient. You know, obviously it wasn’t like I had to have it done for like a wedding or something like this so I was all right with that. Um, but you know I did have to pursue it several times. And there was a little bit of this anxiety involved and all of that I was good with so they came and installed it left I was a little bit dismayed that they left the great bear and that there were no rocks on top of it which I felt like was not explained to me which i. Felt like was kind of Beth’s fault you know that she didn’t say oh do you want rocks on top too because one of the guys who installed it said oh we could bring some rocks and you know if you want to pick out some rocks and it’s like well had I realized I would have just picked out some rocks on site and had to brig it. When they brought everything else to install the fountain right? but it was too late at that point and not those guys fall and I ended up doing it myself which was probably less expensive but definitely a lot of work. So so anyway it was it wasn’t perfect when it when they left but you know I was. I was satisfied with it and that very afternoon I got an email from Beth with an invoice for the rest of the money and I was like oh so you’ll know how this is right like when you’re eating at a restaurant and the. Ah, server is late with everything um leaves the table this happened to us during a polykon because we made a reservation ahead and yes, we were a big group of ten people but we made the reservation you know weeks and weeks ahead that. Delightful Maria Vale did it found this restaurant and made the reservation and warned them big group limited amount of time and when we got there, they didn’t even have the table set up which was a bad sign but the waiter would just ignore us. For long periods of time like everyone would be out of water. We’d be out of wine and we would have drunk a lot more wine had the waiter enabled that which I always wonder at because that’s just money in their pocket right? You know and maybe some people think that a group of women aren’t going to tip in which case they’re just.

Stupid and they don’t know life because almost every woman I know has at some point weighted tables and appreciates how much work it is and they tip well but this is beside the point. My analogy is the server who takes forever to. Do absolutely everything but then is Johnny on the spot with the bill at the end because they what can’t wait to get rid of you or whatever. So this struck me exactly that way. It’s like oh you sat on my money for six weeks barely communicated with me. Only communicated with me when I initiated. But oh you can fire off that email right away. So I ignored it I’m like it. It was a passive aggressive fuck you it was like I’ll pay the invoice I wanted to pay it I don’t well maybe want is a strong word. But. I was committed to paying it and so I you know left it and besides we were going out of town the following week so Wednesday Wednesday three business days later I get another email from Beth saying. I didn’t hear back from you. Did you get my email with the invoice and I was like really really bad. You are able to like now you can follow up when there’s money involved you know, like probably she got a commission or something I don’t know maybe they were chewing on her I don’t know but it. It annoyed me with initial caps and so I took a couple days I was on vacation and I emailed her back and I was nice I mean kind of nice and I explained and I said you know I’m taken aback that. You sat on my money for six weeks did not communicate with me. Ah, you know I felt like my project was low priority which okay, but to have the all the efficiency be piled into extracting the rest of the money from me. Ah, feels like not great. So customer service and she wrote back. Um, maybe a couple days later it wasn’t immediately and she apologized it was a reasonable apology. Um, so before I went to a polycon I did stop by there to try to pay the rest of my invoice. And they had already closed for the day. Um, you know it’s like they don’t make it really easy for you to do these things but and I emailed her at the beginning of this week and I said just letting you know that I stopped by to pay the invoice and you all are already closed for the day but I’ll try to stop by this week

And I think she sent back. Okay, that’s fine. So yesterday after rider coffee I was in that neighborhood and I stopped in and I was able to go in there and this other lady met me sort of outside they have like this little um, you know like it’s a big landscaping yard kind of thing. Um, and they have a very small like office hut and this other lady met me outside of it and she said can I help you and I said yes I’m here to pay the rest of my invoice and she said oh okay and she said something like are you Margaret and I was like no she says okay and den says what is your name and I say Jennifer Kennedy as I follow her inside. And inside leaning against the counter is Beth and I say hi and she goes oh hi and I said how are you doing it. She said great and she turns around and walks out the door and does not come back in the entire time and when I leave there is not hide nor hair her and the look on her face. I mean she was I don’t know ah not happy not happy I I don’t know if I could identify the mix of emotions but there was definite anger and she was not going to have a conversation with me right? she started to do the high. How are you think. Until she realized who I was and and it’s funny because like the second time I went in after she had waited on me. The second time she didn’t recognize me and this time she didn’t quite recognize me at first and you know I don’t expect people to recognize me completely. But. I did pay a fair amount of money and I am recognizable, especially because I’m my big hat on right people usually do remember me not bath. But anyway I was reflecting on this as I left. Um, you know paid my invoice. Chatted with one of the worker guys who was in there and the gal that you know took my money and told them that I love my fountain and they were just charming you know and they’re like oh we’re so glad you know and everything it’s like this was the customer experience I wanted um, not Beth who like hid from me. As I leave like what am I going to do to her and and I did wrestle with feeling kind of bad about this and I was thinking about that quote that’s attributed to Maya Angelou I don’t know if it you know internet who knows if it’s real, but it’s um. People might forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel and I think that this quote is often interpreted to mean that we should always make other people feel good about themselves and and I was wrestling with this feeling like.

Was I unkind to Beth should I have been kinder to her and I thought she will never forget how I made her feel about this and I thought well is that a bad thing and I feel like throughout my life especially when I was younger. I really viewed myself as not being a nice person I’d gotten so much feedback may I offer you some feedback? Do you guys see that when we I thought that was funny um that I was not nice that I could be nicer. And I think that this is something that women get all the time right? You know that we need to be nicer and I’ve been reading um Wolf in the Shadows. Ah the last book in the legend of all wolves series by Maria Vale love this series it’s lyrical it’s gorgeous um I’ll put up a review but one of the things she really explores in this book is the female protagonist is a woman who has been sort of relentlessly molded to be nice and she’s learned to smile. In this particular way I’m sort of like trying to do it on video that is like a pleasing smile with her lips enticingly open but I saw in the video that a mosquito right in the middle of my forehead that’s enticing. But so as not to make her cheeks look fat and I think anyone who’s like done a selfie for Instagram we’re always trying to do that figure out how to like smile without squinching our eyes and making our cheeks look fat. Um, yeah, and and a lot of it is her. Being having pleasing behavior and I thought well I think a whole lot of my viewing myself as not nice when I was younger was from some of this relentless coaching to be more pleasing to be softer to be more attractive and. Later in life. It does become a thing where you stop caring about that so much. Um, you don’t really care about enticing men. Um, maybe because you have a man or maybe because you don’t care anymore or you never did depending on your orientations and. Ah, how many fucks you have left to give but it’s it’s been interesting to me also later in life having so many people say to me that I am a really nice person you know and and they use the word. Um.

Generous and I love that that people call me generous because it’s important to me to be generous and so I was thinking holding to a line and that’s one of my favorite quotes from Georgia O’keeffe and it really is from Georgia O’keeffe where she said um, if you can find. Where your line is and hold to it that is the most one can do in life and yeah, you know maybe saleswoman bets won’t forget how I made her feel but maybe she’ll become a better salesperson. Maybe not because um. Learning from the lesson. She would have stayed there and had a conversation with me and been like you know because I could be a repeat customer right? if I’m a repeat customer I’m not going to work with Beth but otherwise I was really happy with the work they did so that was on my mind. Um, yeah, that sometimes people remember how you made them feel doesn’t mean that they have to feel warm and fuzzy and good about themselves. You know that’s we don’t all need to feel good about ourselves all the time right? Especially if we screw up. So the other thing I want to share is I got a um ah review of Rogue’s Pawn so I’ve released Rogue’s Pawn and Rogue’s Possession. Rogue’s Paradise book 3 is coming out. Um like in another week or so I’m getting it uploaded. And this is one of my longtime readers and I wanted to share this to share this with you not to you kind of to you? Ah, but I thought that um you all might find this interesting since I was angsting a fair amount you know about releasing this book and that I’ve changed as a writer. And so I thought she gave this a really thoughtful interesting review. Ah, but but but um, where she says I’m not going to read you the whole thing. Um, she says comparing her early works to her more recent work definitely shows how she’s grown I mean alas I figured this would show that’s me, um, it says Miss Kennedy’s author note at the beginning of the book provides insight and genuine reflection that I appreciate. Which is good right? Good thing I did that with this in mind I went into the book with lower expectations I should not have worried the concept of this story blew me away. It takes a different look at the faye and creates something new yet familiar authors who can make an existing mythos. Fresh are impressive.

The rough part is the writing style and the character voice. Yeah I got better at that. Um I can definitely see how this is one of her earlier works her writing style has evolved to have more complicated world building as well as complex characters. Her later stories are layers upon layers. In rogue’s pond there is intrigue and a little layering by doling out information in bits and bits Jennifer a k lord lady sorcerer is a human who has sucked into another world where she neither knows the rules nor the people people the reader is following her first person account and is just as befuddled. This world is a reinterpretation of the fay. How Ms Kennedy blends and bends the mythos to her wishes is intriguing. It parallels Jennifer’s experience on this bizarro world. This could be a high fantasy book but it mixes in romance and even some bdsm non con. Ah yeah, which is fair. Ah, which makes it defy easy Categori’s categorization story of my life. This is why I could not sell this book suffice to say that I ended up with a book hangover and wished I could have taken a sick day. The ending of the story hooks me into the next book and I want to dive right into Rogue’s Possession recommended to fantasy readers who enjoy their fate. Dark and careless. So I love that I love um, everything about it. It’s it’s interesting to have someone else assess in the same way that I did um that it was um, you know I’ve grown out as writer. And it was tempting to fix things. But I’m kind of glad I didn’t because it’s part of our history right? Um, yeah, so thoughts for a Friday I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and. Get to ah I was trying to to frame this wish for you that you ah behave according to your authentic heart I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.

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.

MYOB – How Much Do You Know About Author Finances?

ROGUE’S PAWN is out now! This first book in my original Covenant of Thorns trilogy has been re-released with gorgeous new covers. Look for book 2 coming July 26 and book 3 releasing August 16.


This week at the SFF Seven we’re MYOB – Minding your own business!

Seriously, we’re taking a long look at how we manage the financial side of being an author. There tends to be a wide range of strategies for managing author finances. As all authors are primarily creatives (with the small exception of the widget-makers who hire ghost writers to write for them, which is another kettle of stinky fish), not all possess the inclination to crunch numbers and balance accounts.

In truth, while I think all authors should have a thorough understanding of what they should be earning, not everyone needs to be a financial guru of their own writing career. In truth, the most comfortable place for an author – or perhaps any creative – to be is independent of the need to make money doing it. This, of course, requires either family money (marrying money counts) or a spouse with a great salary and benefits. In these cases, writing money is all “gravy” and I know many authors in this position who don’t really track that income.

The major downside of this model is it means traditional publishing has favored those with this privilege and also takes shameless advantage of these authors. There can be a lot of funky tickling of the financials, both from publishing houses and literary agencies. Believe me: I’ve seen it.

Learn to read your royalty statements and hold those who handle your earnings accountable.

The flip side is if you’re like me – someone who is supporting their household with writing income. This is the other extreme, where ALL finances are author finances. I track everything scrupulously, to the point of using mathematical models to predict my future income. That’s the thing about writing income: it’s super unpredictable. Sales wax and wane, often due to reasons beyond anyone’s control. Traditional publishing pays quarterly if you’re lucky and semi-annually otherwise. There’s almost no way to predict what those checks will look like, so I end up behaving like the privileged writer as above – I treat my trad income as gravy.

Self-publishing income is what allows me to pay the bills with writing. That money comes in monthly and, because I can access my sales dashboards in real time, I can reasonably predict how much money will come in. The downside of self-publishing is that the author fronts the investment. KAK covered a lot of the nitty-gritty of self-publishing costs yesterday. Most self-publishing authors can implement the simple math of outflow vs. inflow. That is, what you pay to produce and market the book should be less than the money you make from it. Where it gets into higher math is managing that income so that you can cover the costs of being alive.

With a salaried job, or even hourly income, the basic budgeting model is to figure your monthly income, subtract your expenses, and the rest is “disposable,” meaning you can spend it on stuff you want vs. the stuff you need. But with a fluctuating monthly income, this simply isn’t possible.

So, my basic model is to try to keep enough money in savings to pay for two months of expenses should I have zero income in any given month. (Which hopefully will never happen, knock on wood. My backlist is substantial at this point, so the baseline backlist income is relatively steady.) Once I have that in place, I can pay for some of the things that make us happy. This is VERY important. It’s tempting to confine oneself only to needs and funnel any “extra” money back into growing the business. This works okay for a while, but it gets soul-crushing over time. We work hard; we must also play hard. Anything else is unsustainable.

As a creative, maintaining your joy in the work is key!

From my initial announcement, you’ll see I’m also republishing some of my trad-pubbed books. I did ten books with Carina Press and now have the rights back to all of them. Those royalties came in quarterly, so I’m eager to see how my income on those books changes for me. So far I only have ROGUE’S PAWN up again. Republishing meant paying for covers and formatting, so a bit of investment on my part. Hopefully it will pay off.

As with all businesses, writing for a living requires a lot of hoping for that pay off. Being smart about crunching those numbers provides the reality. A balance of both is best.

First Cup of Coffee – July 5, 2022

ROGUE’S PAWN is out today! I’m talking about the re-release of this, my very first novel, and reflecting on the 15 years that have passed since I began writing it, along with my baby-author hopes and dreams at the time.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. It was delicious. Um I actually already drank it today is. Um, Tuesday july fifth and it is release day for Rogue’s Pawn who. Ah I have some tea now this is my paris mug did I tell you guys the story of this one before when David and I stayed at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas for our anniversary I think was for our 25th anniversary I was getting ready putting on my makeup and he popped out. We were gonna go out to dinner and he popped out and came back with this little mug because I thought it was so cool if you’re not on video. It’s um, like when those mugs set straight sided. But. It flares slightly from bottom to top and it has black and white alternating vertical lines alternating fat and thin and then in red it says Paris across it. It’s very french looking I think probably there’s a name for this design but and he brought me a little split of champagne with it. It was just ah was a true love thing he knew I would like him. so ah so yeah Rogue’s Pawn rerelease out today. Thank you all for your support on the book. It’s um. Really appreciate. It. Really lovely of all of you to say nice things about it and buying it and so forth I hope you like it. It’s so funny thinking about this book because. So much of my oh look is there’s even emotion in my voice right? Ah of my of my newbie writer hopes and dreams were were in that book I’m I’m not a fan of saying things like the book of my heart I don’t really believe in the book of my heart. Um. And every everyone’s while when I say that to somebody they’re like oh but this book is the book of my heart almost It’s like you. Okay, um I don’t really believe in calling books babies. Ah.

Get what I’m saying. But I also know that I tend to be um I don’t know more I don’t want to say cool or remote. But um I am not as emotional about somethings. As many people are. Um, noticing that water has collected in this fire pit and that it may be breeding mosquitoes I think I see larvae on the top I’m going to handle that hold on there. We go. So. Yeah, it’s funny because when I wrote this book. Ah I called it Obsidian and I just I thought it was going to be the answer to all of my hopes and dreams right? I thought it was going to be huge. I had read other books you know like I’d read twilight and loved it. I had read other things that were very popular at the time. Um I think I mentioned that I found my old spreadsheet for when I was first writing. When I pulled out Rogue’s Pawn to reformat it to put it out on my own Rogue’s Pawn was the title that we came up with at Carina press in part because they didn’t like Obsidian I think also because I kind of screwed myself with them because I had written. The um, the erotic novellas that were one word jewel titles: Sapphire, Ruby, Platinum and then Five golden rings which should have been Oro and they thought that there’d be too much confusion which. If I had known that was going to be a thing I would have like stuck with Obsidian but then Jennifer L Armenttrout came out with a book called Obsidian um before ah right around the same time and and it was. It was pretty big. It was one of her early hits and so I was like well you know so but and when you’re a newbie writer these things I don’t know they affect you more. You’re maybe because you don’t have that that thick skin yet that we talk about.

Which I don’t believe is really thick skin but it’s um, it’s maybe it’s maybe understanding that a single book isn’t the make or break and I think that when we begin we think that it will be we think that that single book will be the answer to our hopes and dreams that it will be um yeah that it that it you know like this the the whole idea of my one big chance right? and. So like going through that spreadsheet and looking at the books because I was trying to figure out I’d been writing short I’d been writing essays and I had published or you know University Of New Mexico Press had published my collection of essays and you know so I wasn’t. Completely I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But you know my fur wasn’t wet anymore I kind of knew what I was doing but I didn’t know how many words a fiction book should be and I knew that learning to write a novel that I was going to have to learn how to work more incrementally. As opposed to writing short when I would often draft an entire essay in one sitting come so so I went through and I picked out these different books. And I typed in sat there and typed in pages from those books to figure out approximately how many words per page they were and then looked at how many pages and calculated it. You know so so now we know it seems like everybody knows you know. Because when I was telling this story to like some of the faro girls on the Discord you know they were saying well isn’t it about 275 words per page and it’s like yes, but young Jeffie did not know this I didn’t know that yeah and then that was approximately what I came out to but so some of the books. That I came up with were um or that I used for examples wh=ere Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and I don’t think I use Twilight let’s see which ones I used hold on. So the books that I used and it’s really kind of interesting to look at this very old spreadsheet from my very beginning days. Ah I used um one of the kitty books by Carrie Vaughn and it’s funny because.

Carrie’s now a friend of mine I love that as I said cushhi’s startt by Laurel K Hamilton or I’m sorry by Jacqueline Carey and then I also did a book by Laurel K Hamilton it would have been one of the anita bla a blake books but I don’t I didn’t know which one and then. I was trying to there was another book that I liked at the time that was an urban fantasy called Stray and I’m trying to figure out who the author was um but I’m not being able to load Amazon right now. Our internet has not been right since it got knocked out. Ah, in the storm that we had when was it Friday night knocked out our internet for most of the night and it’s still they keep saying oh it’s fine now. But it’s not fine. Oh good here. It comes let me look it up so it was Stray by Rachel Vincent and I start looking to see what Rachel Vincent was doing lately and it doesn’t look like she’s put out a book since 2018 so which makes me cock my head quizzically, it could be that she’s writing under a new pen name people do that. So if anyone knows. Do let me know. So anyway I thought that I thought Obsidian was brilliant I thought it was just I really did think it was gonna be like Twilight and I thought I was gonna make all kinds of money and. I was going to be famous and adored and I don’t know all of the things that people want with their first book and you know and then it ended up being difficult to market or rather difficult to sell because everybody said that they didn’t know how to. Market it and and it was funny because the people that I would talk to about it and and it’s hard when you’re a newbie writer and you don’t really have friends who are in the same arena or the friends that you do have are also. Trying to figure out how to sell books in their lives and so forth and so they don’t really know any more than you do, but you know like my husband who had really gotten into some of the success stuff and you know like manifesting. Your desires and all of that kind of thing. Um, he ah you know he was saying well you have to believe in the book. You know you have to really believe in it and I was like I do believe in it and I always believed in it and yet there becomes this thing where you you can really believe in it and also be terribly insecure about it.

And I kind of I remember those years. Um where I I think I started writing it in. Um oh and it actually says on here I think I figured it out. It’s on this I love that I keep spreadsheets because I can keep track of these things. Because I did write down what date I started it I began it April Sixth 2007 and so long ago isn’t it. Um and then and in many ways, not right? It’s only 15 years what’s happened in 15 years since I started writing that book. So yeah I both believed in it and then you know sort of went through this whole character arc right on this book where I went from. Overweening confidence and ambition for this book to tremendous insecurity. And I was doing much better than I knew at the time. Um, you know, getting full manuscript requests and building good relationships with agents all of these really good things that stood me in good stead later. Um, excuse me but I wasn’t selling the book you know and and people would ask me like you know what I wanted for my birthday or what I wanted for Christmas and I would say a lucrative multibook contract to remember that. Those of you who knew me then and you know I wanted I wanted big money for it. I wanted a big debut I wanted all of the things and as time went on. It became increasingly clear that that was not going to happen. That that I was too sideways of the mass mind and I’m reading this book now just even going through it and putting it together. Although it fits certain itches I mean I could see it better now. It’s not clear. But genre is in some ways I’m calling it dark fantasy romance now it is pretty much um, but you know it has the portal thing which always confuses people I need some water that’s better.

So So yeah, it. It has been the story of my life is that I have never been squarely down the middle of any genre I’ve always been a little bit cross genre even now when I try to do something that’s like really. Squarely in Genre. It always ends up having this weird twist to it I Really don’t even try anymore. Um, so excuse me. Um.

It was just you know I was so emotional about it then and wanted so much. And yeah, it’s kind of funny to look back on my. Ah, myself then and feel compassion for that younger writer that I was and at the same time understanding why it wasn’t going to work the way I wanted it to work.

So when I finally sold that book I sold it to Carina Press who was much more willing to ah take a chance on a kid with a dream. Um, that you know they. They were Harlequin’s digital first imprint and so they had a lower overhead and more risk taking and so I will always owe that to Carina for taking a chance on that book. Even if they didn’t make me change the title. And I did briefly toy with changing the title back again with this re-release but you know that’s water under the bridge at this point. So so I’m very interested to hear how. Sort of this new audience receives the book. You know, will it feel like um I’m getting funny reflections on my face here to die. Maybe maybe it’s meant to be the the cracked facade of the older author now.

I was trying to pause here there I shifted a little bit. Ah, it’s not making that much difference. It doesn’t matter so I don’t know if this has made any sense. Um, you know I had a good friend. Who was in the query trenches with me and she got her book deal which I and I didn’t um and she got hers. She got a 3 book deal for $30K which other people sneeringly said oh well that’s not that creative a deal when I’ve told this story and it’s funny. It’s like actually you know, maybe it’s not an amazing deal but it was it was a decent deal and other people have not gotten that good of deals. Um, and I am grateful for the success I did have because a lot of people didn’t do that. Well so you know it’s always a mixed bag that way and yes at the time when I was doing this shopping um, people did suggest that I self-publish. And at that point it just wasn’t it wasn’t as robust to market them and you know it could be if I had hit that market right around 2009 2010 that it would have um you know like that was kind of the route that’s grace and i. Grace Draven um she and I had very similar paths and experiences and wrote similar things so you know it was not surprising our first very long coffee date which we talk about sometimes which ended up being like 3 hours long um you know we we discovered how parallel our paths have been and in some ways she was unluckier and luckier than I was in that she sold her book to master of crows to Amber Quill press and they gave it this horrible horrible cover and. Sold nothing and did not do well and while I did not love my Rogue’s Pawn cover Carina did do they put a lot of marketing into it I mean it did reasonably well um, whereas Grace was really driven to then self-publishlished because she. Um, just couldn’t just couldn’t live with what they’d done to her book and so that ended up doing well and then radiance did incredibly well and if I had self published then would it have made a difference.

Instead of doing those ten books with Carina Press so I don’t know it’s interesting. It’s just interesting to think about you know that so much is serendipity. It’s hitting the market with the right thing at the right time having the right people believe in it. And which is the reason why my least favorite piece of writing advice is or one of them is you know to write a really good book. Yeah, it’s like well writing a really good book helps but there are patently books that are not so great that have done well. And then there are really great books that never made it anywhere and it’s that’s only such a small piece of things. So at any rate rerelease of Rogue’s Pawn very interested to see how it does now lo these many years later. It’s sort of you know, like the whole. A romance dark and conflicted relationships are really in right now and that’s um, very classic me to ah have been 15 years ahead of the trend and not in a positive way. But yeah. Glad to have this book out there. So ah, happy release day to Rogue’s Pawn and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye.

ROGUE’S PAWN, Rights Reversion, Hybrid Authors, Dear Hollywood and Gateway Drugs

Things have been busy in my part of the world… 

So much so that I missed posting for the last two weeks – and I’m posting late in the day today. Madness!

This is my brilliant (one hopes) catch-up post.

In book news, I got the rights reverted on the ten (10!) books I did for Carina Press. I started with my first dark fantasy romance trilogy, Covenant of Thorns, which meant new covers and new back cover copy (BCC). Done and done, times three. (What about the other seven books, you ask? I’M WORKING ON IT, OKAY?) I’ll be re-releasing these three books over the next several months.

Here’s for Book #1, ROGUE’S PAWN:

Be careful what you wish for…

When I walked out on my awful boyfriend, wishing to be somewhere—anywhere—else, I never expected to wake up in Faerie. And, as a scientist, I find it even harder to believe that I now seem to be a sorceress.

A pretty crappy sorceress, it turns out, because every thought that crosses my mind becomes suddenly and frighteningly real—including the black dog that has long haunted my nightmares.

Now I’m a captive, a pawn for the fae lord, Rogue, and the feral and treacherous Faerie court, all vying to control me and the vast powers I don’t understand. Worse, Rogue, the closest thing I have to a friend in this place, is intent on seducing me. He’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, enthralling, tempting, and lethally dangerous. He’s as devastatingly clever as he is alluring, and he tricks me into promising him my firstborn child, which he intends to sire…

I don’t dare give into him. I may not have the willpower to resist him. He’s my only protection against those who would destroy me

Unless I can learn to use my magic.

Exciting milestone, to be re-releasing these!

As for the actual topics I’m supposed to address:

What do you see in your crystal ball for publishing? Will the Big 5 become the Big 4 and what would that trickle down cause throughout the industry?

I doubt that the merger that would make the Big 5 become the Big 4 will be approved. Even if it does, there are still other publishing houses that aren’t the “big” ones. Also, traditional publishing is only one part of the market and one that’s no longer at the forefront of everything. I think there’s value to trad publishing still, but I also think most authors will become hybrid, since we want to be able to pay our bills.

Dear Hollywood: Which of your works would you most like to see made into a movie or miniseries What makes it stand out above the rest?
My Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms series. I really want to see these books as an ongoing miniseries, primarily because I’d love to write the other POVs that are going on simultaneously with the 1st Person POV of these books.

Your gateway drug: the book that made you love SFF
DRAGONSONG by Anne McCaffrey. I found it in my school library in 5th grade and it opened up a whole new world to me. Possibly also the first time I glommed an author’s backlist.

First Cup of Coffee – May 17, 2022

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. What do you think should I just say that I should probably like stick to None thing. This is the story of my. Writing life that I don’t stick to None thing today is Tuesday may none outside again. Beautiful morning running a little bit later this morning because the man suggested a walk then we took a walk. It was lovely. He needs to exercise more so I was like yeah I’ll take a walk with you I was seeing what you can see of my gardening stuff there. Got a little bit nicer background now see I’ve got my moved my plants outside I don’t think I mentioned that yesterday because I sort of got off on this whole rant about details details shmi tells right? Um, yeah, so. Ifinally moved all the plants outside decide that the terrible winds were done with and so it was time to do that isaac I also didn’t mention that we had a really nice time on Sunday because I wanted to go to the nursery get a few more plants I got that nice orange poppy see that. Pretty I got a pink poppy too. For some reason I have trouble growing poppies here I don’t know why I don’t know if it’s too dry. They don’t over winter I’ve also realized belatedly because I do not keep a chart spreadsheet of my garden, Alexia. People really do that I am not see okay tangent. But and I’ve mentioned this before that my friend telling me many years ago that she had read that people who have uber organized lives tend to have very messy gardens. And people with messier lives have very organized gardens I am the first she told me about it because she was so incredibly amused that this was like me in a nutshell because it’s like yes and I’ve always been this way. I’m the meticulous volcano right? Leo Virgo Cusp and my life is very calm and neat and ritualized and organized I like it that way I like it peaceful no drama. No um, you know what.

Best I can do it no unexpected things but my garden is chaos which I like it that way and she was so amused that this is like exactly who I am I like the absolute. You put my picture next to it. So anyway, I was realizing as I was planting some new stuff that none of my echanasia over winter I have planted I got really serious about it and I think maybe I didn’t notice last year. Maybe I forgot. I can’t remember which year it was but I’ve planted I bet none a connection purple comb flower various stages bear root full plant none of them over winner. So I don’t know our winners are very dry. So maybe they dry out too much. Maybe they get munched by the go fars, you know and people laugh when I say I don’t know how to categorize my podcast is it. A fitness podcast is it a writing podcast is it a. Gardening podcast I don’t know.

That was funny like little rock dropped or something ghost. At a dream the other night that I attended my own funeral guys ever had that kind of dream. First time I’ve ever had it. It was funny because I was with my friends and I was going to something else or thought I was going to something else and we were going to this huge auditorium. And there were all of these people here and they had my picture up on you know, like the poster on the easel like they do for memorial services and stuff and um, like little. You know the little pamphlets that they give out at funerals and there were a lot of people there I mean it was a big auditorium and I was like why are there so many people here at my funeral and I don’t know most of them. What does it mean. I was just really kind of funny and it was I wasn’t sad. In fact, I kept thinking they’re all could be really surprised when they find out I’m not dead. Um, so. So that was a tangent and I shouldn’t have gotten on the tantret because now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say not knowing how to categorize my podcast. What did I start out with sorry you guys. It’s like the final two weeks of finishing the book. Plus the nebula conference what brilliant timing on my part and by this I mean it was not brilliant timing I did. Okay yesterday I didn’t get None words but I got enough to keep on track and I’ve got. None words 80400 so I’m getting close. Um, especially since I figure in the neighborhood of um, None to None are going to be my 4 epilogues.

Dang I could we wish I remember what I was starting out say going to the garden center. We had fun who knows. But anyway it was fun going to the garden center and it was fun that David went with me. He doesn’t always feel like going out and doing stuff but he felt like doing that and then we went to whole foods something else. We never do because we wanted to look for some good fresh fish and Sunday morning is really time good time. Go shopping at whole foods. And yes, it was expensive even with the prime discount but we did get some really good fresh fish in fresh cherries. There was a lady ahead of me in line who had gotten the same cherries we had in those none cherries that we’ve seen this season. And we’ve gotten 2 bags of it without looking at the price and it turned out they were like $15 a bag. Ah $8 a pound none a pound um and £2 in a bag. So yeah, those were expensive cherries. But the lady in line ahead of me was questioning how much she’d been charged for the cherries and they said oh but there’s seven ninety nine a pound and she said no, they’re supposed to be none of pound and she whipped out her phone and she was showing the ad and. I’ll tell you what this kfuffle took a long time to settle. Ah and I mean we were good. It was gorgeous day. We were having fun out doing our Sunday shopping and she kept apologizing to me and I was like no no worries at all I said we bought some too so you’re you know, doing a service for me and I said it drives me crazy. When it’s a different price on the bin versus at the register or in an ad you know because I think a lot of people don’t pay attention.

So we did that and then David suggested we go out to breakfast so we went out to breakfast and that was lovely too and then I came back and planted my plants and that was fun. So yeah I think um. Started into that whole chaos. Oh I guess the whole point was that I I don’t know what happened to the echhanasia things just don’t come back and then I forget about them until like years later when I’m like but wonder what happened to my whole plan to plant a bunch of Ehanesia and make more ihanneia tincture. So this time I um I was complaining to David when we were at the nursery that I couldn’t couldn’t seem to get poppies to grow here and he said why not they should you grew them and learn me and I’m like I know I don’t know what it is know and maybe our son’s too intense I don’t know. And he said well maybe you should try planting them in a different place and which was sort of like oh well gully g whiz maybe I will do that because there’s this one part of the garden that is a little bit of a barren wasteland. It’s very sandy. There. It’s I don’t know. I’m not sure why but things do not thrive there and I keep planting new stuff there because it is the barren wasteland but now I’m realizing that I’m also maybe dooming things to die. So I planted the poppies over here to see if I could get them to grow. There had to move the computer a little bit because the sun is coming so um, what else do I have to say I know I was thinking about things and I was going to write them down and then I did not being bad and wrong. I think I’m going to scoot over here. So I’m not leaning okay, that’s better. It’s whoops have to do this angle a little bit there. Ah the sunshine angle this time of day. So nicer view for me. Not so nice for you. If you’re on video which I don’t you know I don’t look at my stats much but that’s a whole nother whole nother discussion. So let’s see. Yeah I’ve just been thinking hard about the book. How to finish the book. Um and reading.

Still doing this read of this series and picking up these other novellas and something that I am considering doing is and I had this long conversation with Grace on Saturday because I think she should consider doing it too. But. A lot of people have asked me about writing from rafe’s point of view from the mark of the talla and he is the only one that I’ve never really written. Well there’s a couple I haven’t written from Raeve’s point of view I’ve not written from marsalll’s point of view 0 point of view careen or crawl. Um, would be hard to write from Karl’s point of view but I had always thought with the None kingdoms books that especially when I was younger and more idealistic than I am now. That I would eventually get my Hbo of me and miniseries. But that series this is what we all think right and I thought that when I got my Hbo miniseries for the Twelve kingdoms one of the things I would do is I would go in and I would write the intervening storylines like what was going on with the people who are not on the page since those books are written from none person point of view of whoever’s book. It is so like the first book. It’s all from Andi’s point of view and but there are other things going on. Ah you know because that’s the thing about first person point of view. So I love first personson point of view because it’s very intimate but also it imposes a certain kind of discipline because the story can only take place where the None person narrator. Is observing so you only know what they hear about so there are all these other so things going on in other parts of you know the world other characters and so forth that Andy only learns about right? We only know about it because she learns about it. So I had always thought you know it would be really cool to write these other storylines and that I would do that I wasn’t planning to be the screenwriter. But I thought I’d write these other storylines I mean it still could happen. You know people get these shows or that um you know like Patricia Briggs is getting ah.

a show for Mercy Thompson and when did those books come out.

So sorry about that it wasn’t letting me pause. So the none book in the mercy thompson series is moon called and that came out in 2006 you know so 16 years she’s just now getting her series. So anyway, I was thinking recently why wait although it’s not like I’m running out of stuff to write but would it be interesting to rewrite those 3 Twelve kingdoms books at least from the hero’s point of view. I know this is kind of in vogue right now but partly because it’s in vogue. It’s um, it’s an interesting way to regenerate interest in a series I think and I’m observing my own reader behavior. Going to this series which you guys could totally guess what it is at this point. Um, but I’m not going to confirm nor deny since I’ve been complaining about it. I also love it I mean that’s the thing is I really love this series and so it’s been educational to go back and reread. And I know something I was going to say earlier because yesterday I was talking about how I thought that I had not finished that um, whatever it was book None and now I’m on book None something like that. Um. I I have totally I thought maybe I would have to buy book 6 because I thought I fell off the series but I had book None on my Kindle and and it’s familiar. So it’s like did I just like not finish book None and skip to book None or what it’s before I was tracking. Which books I read so now I’m just really curious. What went on but I didn’t remember easily the second half of that book 5 so I don’t know what I did so anyway I um. Starting to think about other things and I can’t do that and talk at the same time I’m thinking about that it could be fun and interesting to redo at least rewrite Mark the Tala from Rayfe’s point of view. Um, because what I’m doing with this series is like I said I’m going back and I’m buying the novellas I didn’t get and I’m probably going to buy whichever book will find out where did I fall off this series for real because I’ll probably end up buying the rest of the books. Um.

And it has been a great way to get me thinking about this series again. So I think that there’s something to be said for that. Um, there are readers who will say that it’s a cop out. Ah, and yeah. I mean yeah, but it’s also like a good way to pay the mortgage and also provide fan service because I know people ask me about Rayfe’s point of view all the time I don’t get it so much for the others other than my assistant Carien campaigning for Zyr’s point of view and I don’t know Carien – would you be happy if I rewrote um, what is it? the arrows of the heart if I rewrote that from Zyr’s point of view or does it feel like too much the same story. She wants her Zyr novella she wants. Um. She is none? That’s all there is to it but you know I did those novellas from Ash’s point of view and Harlan’s point of view and I’m my forgetting any I don’t know. See that’s the thing you start to forget your own books too. Anyway, it’s not like I’m running out of stuff to do but um I think that that could be fun. Um, so what else I told you got great magics out in audio book I told you that. Sorcerous Moons is on KU with the new covers I told you that that I’m getting new covers for covenant of thorns that were very excited. Oh and I was going to follow up on this because I had a conversation with Carien – Assistant Carien who has read all my books which is one of her wonderful qualities I talked to her about deleting that scene that I’ve been talking about in Rogue’s Pawn in covenant of thorns and she agreed it should be deleted. She said that? yeah she thought it didn’t match the tone of the rest of the book. So there. We are um and and Megan Ciana Doidge who listens in comments sometimes said made a very good point that just because Jim and I would go back and look to see what had been changed does not mean that the normal reader will do that. I fully am aware that I am not a normal reader if I ever was I stopped a long time ago being a writer reader is different reading what that editor bring analytical bring. So.

I am going to delete that scene and then I it was funny because Carien and I were chatting like on Google chat and I said well if anything occurs to you in the other books that should be changed. Let me know and she’s like well actually there is something. And it was something that had never occurred to me that um that she thought I needed to clarify and clean up I was like oh all, right? and opinions. So any of you out there who loved covenant of thorns. Um. If you think that there’s stuff that needs to be tweaked or clarified etc. Here’s your chance and and thank you all for the advice that you have been passing along and I appreciate the support and on that note I’m going to go get to work. And I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

The Best Title That Never Was

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week concerns the reality of having to change names. We’re asking the crew if they’ve ever had to change the name(s) of a character or place in a book after we’d drafted it? Who is the character who will forever go by their “unpublished” name in our minds?

For me, it wasn’t a character. But I will tell you about the title I wish I hadn’t changed.