A report on YouTube monetization (yay!) via putting up audiobooks and thoughts on podcasting ROI. Also why each book is a challenge to write, how to deal with a sagging middle of a novel, and how to improve craft.
RITA ® Award-Winning Author of Fantasy Romance
A report on YouTube monetization (yay!) via putting up audiobooks and thoughts on podcasting ROI. Also why each book is a challenge to write, how to deal with a sagging middle of a novel, and how to improve craft.
I’m back from Apollycon and giving my full review of the conference! Also discussing it in terms of cons that take advantage of authors, the importance of keeping in mind why authors invest in this, and more!
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Well, that’s good. That’s my first at home cup of coffee in a number of days so I’m back home today is Monday August first and I returned home from Apollycon yesterday. And it was. It was truly a wonderful convention. It was fabulous. So I have lots to say about it. Um, ah quite a few take homeme messages I pretty much ah called Grace Draven bestie as I was leaving the airport and we talked my entire 1 hour drive home. Ah, like as I was leaving the parking garage I called her and she picked up right away and I was like want to hear the breakdown. so um so yeah nice to be home nice to be back. Ah, it’s good to go places. It was really productive conference but I’m also happy to be back in my garden and now for for several weeks couple weeks anyway, no like 3 almost 3 ah. So um, astute and dedicated listeners among you may be surprised that I am podcasting today because you may have remembered that I was supposed to have jury duty today but they called me on. Friday afternoon and said that I was no longer needed I’m still on call for jury duty through the end of August but um, that thing got canceled. So my theory is is that they like settled out of court on Friday they called me. Well. It’s maybe they settled out of court on Thursday day. Ah because they called me fairly early in the day eastern time on Friday organized of them huh I really appreciated that they called and let me know so early so that I didn’t have to ah truck down. To the courthouse. Um I would have had to be leaving about this time. So I got a day back which is good I did get writing done when I was on site but I didn’t get a lot done. Um.
I wanted to get my 2000 words a day on Thursday and Friday I did get 2000 words on Wednesday before I left so that was good but I ended up getting a little over 2000 between Thursday and Friday I got like um. Almost 600 on Thursday there were a lot of distractions on Thursday and I got in very late. So ah I slept in some and then got up and I was rooming with Jennifer Estep so we were chatting. And then we went for a walk and found the Starbucks and got back and sat in the lobby and did some writing and Jennifer is very good about um you know sitting quietly by but of course that’s what you get for sitting in the lobby you’re asking for it. So you know. Lots of distractions people talking and then agent Sarah arrived and she took me out to lunch so that was nice. We got to have a good conversation and um, yeah, and then on Friday I did a little better I got. Like 1488 on Friday ah Jennifer had panels to do and I did not so I walked to the Starbucks and did an hour of writing there and then another hour once I got back to the room and I was hoping to get those last 500 words, but it um it didn’t work out that way we were setting up tables. We went ate lunch things but that was pretty good for being on site. Um, and now I got today back an extra day. Which is good because um, the other thing that happened Friday was David’s movement disorders specialist called the office called reminding him his appointment this afternoon at two fifteen in Albuquerque and I was like did we know about this Ah I don’t think it was on the calendar anywhere. So I’m going up to talk to the nurse about that because it’s just fortunate that it worked out. Um, if I’d had jury duty still. Don’t know what we would I guess we would had to cancel and re schedule so things work out a lot of rain while I was gone the rain ga had over three inches in it when I got back.
We got some last night but I don’t think anything measurable I could go look. But um, it’s definitely good for breeding Mosquitoes If you’re on Video. You’ll see me whacking the Mosquitoes So I Even read um some notes on the airplane things that I was thinking about. On the back of my hotel bill which was actually quite reasonable I Really do have to hand it to a polycon. Um, if you’ve been listening to me for a long Time. You will have heard me talk about um. Conferences and other events I Guess that don’t pay authors and how it’s a problem. So.
Um, this is leading me into many other thoughts that would that’s the long pause. But so I heard a story while I was at Apollycon about um, another conference. That’s a writers conference actually I’m not going to tell that story here I’m sorry sorry to tantalize you um to fill in for those of you who have not been listening for a long time. Ah I had resolved some years ago to stop going to conferences that ask authors to pay. Ah, registration fee that is equivalent to or more than what the attendees pay and there are a lot that do that? Um, because basically they’re building their reader conference on the backs of authors wanting to get promo and. Um, our t had become a big offender that way. It’s bastard child story con is doing the same thing if not worse asking authors to pay a very high registration fee and then tosquito. Ah, and then to do all sorts of sponsorships in addition. Ah, there are other conferences where they would just like charge the authors substantially more than the reader attendees. And it was aggravating to me because you know basically you’re being their content and you are paying to be their content. Um I’ll be right back there. That’s better. Sorry. So anyway, a lot of that stuff grew up around the rise of self-pubishing where so many authors were willing to invest in promo which there’s nothing wrong with that. But. Especially some of the smaller cons and I went to a few of them and I paid my money and they tried to extract more money from me and I watched them go after authors. Um like Darynda who is very kind and has a hard time saying no. And who they saw as having lots of money and they would ask her to pay more and more and more which she did and which drove me crazy. Um, and now I know that some of them don’t like me because I got in the way of them.
Tapping money for a Darynda I’m happy to be mean that way. So. Sorry that that would like lead into a whole nother ramp. Um, but you know I feel like this this whole community that grew up around tapping authors for money. Um, in the name of readers. Getting to do things or um, these other industries that were growing fat off of it. Um, it was it was bad scene and worse some of these smaller cons like I went back to 3 years in a row and it was exactly the same people. And not only was it exactly the same readers it many of these were having fewer and fewer actual readers at them including Rt and more aspiring authors which it’s fabulous to have aspiring authors there. We love having aspiring authors involved. Ah. But when you are paying as an author to go to a conference in order to expand your reach to new readers then that’s ah you know, not necessarily a good thing. Yes, writers are readers too. But you really. What to reach the power of readers. Ah, and that’s that’s important to some of the things I want to say about why I found a polycon. Really excellent. There were a couple of problems I hope we’ll get to do a feedback form but um. The buy-in for a polyon is very inexpensive. It’s $150 for an author to have a table. There were 3 3 hour signings which was a lot. Um and we were tireded afterwards. Um this is sponsored by Jennifer L armintroub and Jennifer ended up I heard from other people that she skipped on Saturday skip lunch and skip dinner and she was still signing at Eight o’clock at night trying to get through her line. So I’ll be interested to know how she re-jiggers it for the future.
She’s gonna have to figure out um a way to to maintain her health and still give the fan service. So it’s a cheap buy-in you know, otherwise we pay our travel costs and hotel and food and so stuff. Which we would have to do for every other conference right? Um, so the investment’s inexpensive investing and having your books there your swag and so forth, but the apolykon readers the way that Jennifer set this up. Is Jennifer and her team and the apolllyon team were really great too. Like I said a couple of problems things I think were probably not entirely in their control. Ah some of this might be like first in-person event coming out of pandemic. But. This crowd of readers was so refined and so exactly wanting the kind of thing that I write um and that Jennifer writes and so forth some of the Ben Diagrams got a little you know tangential. But it was um, you know 2000 readers and I think something. Like 100 authors? Maybe I don’t think I know the exact number so the ratio was fantastic and these were power readers. These were the people who um. They were there to see their favorite authors and get signatures. But then they were also looking for new to me authors and they were um, ready to to spend money and they bought books like crazy I have never sold books at an event like this. Um, it was incredibly well worth it. Well worth my time and the best part is is I really reached so many readers who are like I said power readers. Love to read enthusiastic parts of the fandom and. Who had never heard of me and so this sort of brings in an interesting question because and you all have heard me if you listen for a while you’ve listened to me talk about the competing of and I say demands and that’s not right. Reward system may be goals of being a career author because there’s a lot of reasons to try to make your living as an author. Um and the first and foremost should be love of story I think if you don’t love to write if you don’t love story. Um, then.
It’s gonna be really hard for you because that’s what carries you through the hard times and there will be hard times. So If you’re not doing it because you love it reconsider but love of story then there are other reasons um making money. You know, keeping the lights on ah and and as with I think probably all human professions. There’s a sense that the more money you make the more successful you are and the more you can feel good about it. That’s not ah, a straight line. I Know some really amazing tret pubbed authors some I was talking with over this weekend were making very little money and we were kind of talking about why are they not making more money. The simple answer to that is that the trad traditional publishers. We’ll get away with paying authors. It’s really a mosquitoy morning. They’ll get away with ah paying authors as little as they possibly can and um, yeah, enough sad. But you know so there is making money as one thing. Um. And so reaching new readers is kind of of a double-pronged thing because you want to reach new readers because part of the whole point of writing a book Is you want people to read it. It connects that circuit between the creator and the consumer of the creation. Um. I’ve known writers who say well I write only for myself and I’m happy that way and it’s like oh well, great. But you know why? Why would you write something that no one will ever Read. It doesn’t make sense to me. That’s some part of the sure there’s that creative upwelling. But. Circuit is completed when somebody receives the creation and reacts to it but then also reaching more readers means more success more money enables you to do more things enables you to not worry about paying the mortgage. In some of our cases. But then there’s always the ego thing and the ego thing isn’t entirely bad. You know and I know I talk down Ego I talk about fighting ego and ego being a problem and ego can be a problem but Ego is also what. Gets you through the hard times. Um, believing in yourself believing in your work having that strong enough belief in yourself and in what you’re doing that you can I don’t want to say ignore the rejections.
But um, you know that sort of that idea of having a thick skin nobody really ever has a thick skin but especially as a creator you tend to have a thin and sensitive skin. But that ego is what will help bolster you so that. You can get through the rejections and the scathing reviews and the various slings and arrows of working in a creative industry so you have to have a healthy ego but not an overweening ego but at events like this ego can really come into play. Because of course you have someone like Jennifer L Armittrout who’s enormously successful and signing. You know as long as she could stay on her feet and so it’s easy to be that success. Although a bunch of us were like sitting around in the bar. We found this great back nook in the bar and we’re back there. Eating and drinking wine because we were all so exhausted after 9 hours of siing and and that was where we were hearing that Jennifer was down there still signing and it was eight o’clock at night and she was still signing and had people in line and they were restructuring the line and all of this. And we were all like you know it’s easy to envy Jennifer’s success and at the same time we were all so grateful that we were not still in that line. Um, so it’s great to do this fan. Service. There were other author authors there who were ticketed authors and. Grace and I had even discussed ahead of time like why were these the ticketed authors ah where they could predict who was going to have the really really along the lines and I was interested in how did they predict it and some of the fallout from that was. Is they they didn’t always predict well I don’t know if they had any authors who were ticketed that they predicted incorrectly but there were certainly other authors there that ended up with huge long lines that they had not predicted would um and those authors they. Actually did a great job as soon as they saw a huge long line forming and it happened with um Danielle Jensen’s table was like a couple up from mine I was right next to Jennifer Estep and almost immediately in that first signing this huge line started forming and it was snaking in front of our tables and I was thinking. Oh. This is going to suck because no one’s going to be able to see our tables because we’re going to have this line in front of us which happens at signings it does and you just have to be zen about it. Although you’re muttering to yourself. Oh this sucks? Um, but apolllykon people jumped on it I mean they were.
Within minutes they were there and they were laying the tape out on the floor and getting the line to snake so it didn’t block. Anyone’s table and I was super impressed by that and then they were handing out wristbands for people. Um, at the end of the line so that they could come back later when their number group was called so. You know so it was like well why didn’t they predict Daniel Jensen would have a long line because she’s certainly very popular. She’s blown up recently blown up I love that we use these terms. So um, what was my point I know I had 1 oh. That it’s easy to to succumb to the envy. Um and the proddings of ego and be like well well I just don your gentlemen have such a huge long line and I don’t um but I had steady flow. And it was really cool I had people showing up with like old copies of the mark of the tala or the pages of the mind which I did not have copies there with me. Um one person showed up like first thing Saturday morning she was like on a trajectory. And she came in she brought her whole stack of like all of the 12 kingdoms and the unchartered realm’s books and that was so cool and it was. It’s gratifying to to meet those people who have been reading you for a long time but I realized that. It’s slightly loud at the garbage trucks going by on the street if you’re hearing that but it’s um, for me I had so many readers coming to my table saying you’re a new to me author tell me about your books. And I realized that the authors with the huge long lines they weren’t reaching new readers necessarily maybe they got some but for me I reached so many new readers and that was like Jeffie this is the point this is why you’re here. Um. And so that was so productive for me with this with this convention. Um I will be back in April for the Twenty Twenty three one and it’ll be interesting to me to see how it goes will there be a certain point at which. Reading new readers taps out and as you’re a very successful author like you know Jennifer L Armentrout has this huge audience now. So maybe she doesn’t need to reach new readers. Although I know it’s something that Darynda thinks about all the time. Ah, but you know like for Danielle Jensen
Um, how do you do that balance between making sure that your fans get to see you but then also reaching new readers. It’s ah it’s an ongoing question right? But anyway great convention for this. Um. And I think it’s important to remember that there’s just like different circles of readers because Jennifer Estep like I said sitting next to me has this huge huge platform in urban fantasy and some in fantasy romance but she did not have a long enough line to be ticketed and I think at times was like well you know. It’s easy to just you know to feel a little sad about that. But I think it’s because this set of readership. We should keep track of how many mosquitoes did I kill during this podcast. Um that you know this readership was slightly different enough from her usual platform. She did have readers showing up with like all 19 elemental assassins books. But then she had other people wanting to know who she was and what she wrote so so you want that balance all right long podcast today. But that’s my cheese. That one just dive bomb straight for my nose. Um, that’s my assessment of Apollycon thumbs up I don’t know if you can still get on for 2023 but it’s worth a try right um. I’ll I’ll see if I can put the author interest form in the show notes just in case all right I hope that you all have a wonderful Monday and I will talk to tomorrow morning you all take care bye bye.
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
Pretty good I’m getting used to it today is Tuesday I was going to say Tuesday seven forty of Tuesday february first we are now officially into the second month of 2022 Tomorrow will be 2/2/2022 but I’m not going to podcast so we have to take note of it today. Um, you know all that fertile soil right? Keep prime in that soil year of the tiger to happy Chinese New Year um yeah what does it mean? What does it all mean it’s like we can’t predict anything anymore. It’s who knows who knows what the year will bring.
Um, so let’s see um I am trying something new. Um I am doing the I I record this on Zencastr every once while someone asks me what I use to record this and. Um, it was Leslie Penelope who gave me the recommendation. It’s been a great recommendation. So I use Zencastr to record both the audio and the video and it’s great because when I have guessed which I haven’t done for a while I guess but when I do have guess I can just send them a web link. And interview them and so forth and Megan we should have you on I should interview you you should come on the show sometime and then you could see how Zencaster works too because she was one who asked about it so they have a um I use the free plan because hey. You know I don’t make money on this podcast though you can contribute just I never remember to say these things there are other people who are much better about this than I am yet like they have their whole spiel at the end saying remember to click like remember to subscribe um, donate to the podcast. Send me your money I not that great at it every once’s while someone donates to the podcast. You can find it by. Um there’s like a little heart if you’re listening or I think it’s some like in the show notes on Youtube but anyway. I already pay for the buzz sprout side because that’s what I use to upload to all of the podcast places but Zencastr I’ve been doing the free version and it’s um. I could go up to pro which is like $20 a month which would make my total out lay $38 a month between buzz sprout and Zencastr which I mean it’s not a lot but considering that I don’t really have any direct income that comes from this i. Just try to be aware of that anyway, the pro plan offers a transcript option where I will automatically transcribe the podcast which I know you guys are asking for and yes I want to be accessible I’m hoping that there’s a fourteen day free trial. So we’ll try it out if you look at the podcast or I’m at the transcript I mean let me know what you think I’m going to try not to edit it because that’s where I got bogged down when I tried it before I tried otter ai and it was pretty good. But.
Way I talk because I change subjects a lot and I change topics midsentence and I have run on sentences I’m sure this is like 1 big run on sentence if I looked at the transcript. As a writer. It drives me up the fucking wall I just cannot look at this and not edit it. So for like a 20 minute podcast when I tried the transcript before I was spending an hour editing it at least. Which reader this is not time well spent not for me so I’m going to try the free or not free the free trial but the free transcript option and see if it. Works well enough because I figure $20 a month is probably worth it to be accessible min nervous spencer I am looking at you. You do not need accessibility. You just don’t like listening to stuff just putting that out there. But. You would benefit also so we’ll see we’ll see let’s see what else is going on. Um I’m glad you guys were amused by yesterday’s podcast um yeah it was a comedy of errors. It was the bloopprint podcast and I don’t know what the deal was although today I very cleverly with the wisdom of experience moved my keyboard and put it aside so it’s not near my coffee. So at least we eliminate that factor of bloerness see now I’m thinking about this transcript and I’m thinking what is it going to do with words like bloerness. It’s gonna I don’t know make it something german I’m not going to obsess. I’m really not going obsessed about this I may be obsessing a little bit. Ah so anyway, yeah, yesterday was funny I’m glad I could give you a laugh hit if. Inadvertently.
So let’s see yesterday I did get my 3000 words it was a slower day. Um, it took me longer longer and slower those 2 things go together. We are on sesame street. Um, true. Oh I can look on this screen Jeff Eighteens so it was a total elapse time of nearly five hours and it took me 3 hours and 15 minutes so about half an hour longer I don’t know why I was feeling. Well clearly discombobulated yesterday that I like couldn’t figure out the podcast recording thing that I’ve done you know guys know how many podcasts I’ve done now I guess I passed like the 500 episode Mark. But what. Could tell you because I actually I’ve done 593 podcasts. Can you believe that so you would think one would think that I would know what I was doing by now. But now although I have changed. Technologies a few times over that this this is 5 years This is my fifth year of doing the podcast. Um I started it in well we can answer this question too. Um.
Let’s see is this right is this was I keeping track season 2 here season 1 oh I didn’t really keep track that first season of my episode numbers I’m not sure why I only started keeping track of those. And um season two. So I did 80 episodes in season one and I know I started somewhere around July I could probably look up the actual date. So amazing when I was having lunch with my friend who writes is Katie Lane cowboy romance the other day she was saying very nice things about the podcast and saying that she admires my consistency on this and I’ve mentioned this from time to time. But every time someone gets me to try to upgrade what I’m doing on this podcast I dig in my heels because. This is how I established consistency. She said that she felt like you know consistency is what you really need to do in order to establish a podcast and have it be successful and she asked how my numbers were and I said well they increase all the time which is great. Um, but. You know doing it for 20 minutes 4 days a week with pretty low tech where I don’t edit I don’t revise the transcripts. We are not going to revise the transcripts. You know it keeps it low effort. So. A lot of people who are doing podcasts. You know are really going for that. Let’s monetize this let’s make it hugely successful. Let’s make all kinds of money. Um I already admitted that I make no money on this podcast I bake money. Everyone’s well not just donating. But. It used to be you know like Kensington would do those ad spots but then they stopped. So I guess I feel like not everything in life should be about making money and and I’m touched on this briefly yesterday when I talked about um that not ah. The idea of monetizing creativity I don’t agree with Elizabeth Gilbert that’s whose name I was trying to think of when she says in big magic where she says that you should not that you should keep your day job.
Because if you connect money to your creative work then you’ll stifle your creativity and I think that’s pretty nice thing to say if you’re Elizabeth Gilbert and making huge money on. Appearances and so forth I mean it’s really easy to say once you’re making big money on your books and it’s it’s a place of privilege right? I mean you keep your day job because you need to pay your freaking bills. Um, but if you want to make a living as a writer you. You are attaching money to to your creativity. There’s just no way around it right? You’re creating this thing that then is a source of money for a whole lot of people which is cool about it because there are a lot of people who get money from what I’m doing I mean. Jeff Bezos is making money off of me right? not that he needs his percentage of my books but he gets it right? All those people who work for Amazon who work for Google play and bars and noble kobo ah smashw words I’m helping to pay their salaries I pay my. My cover designer I pay my editors I pay my formatter. They’re all making a living off of this thing that I’m making out of nothing. So yes, it’s monetized that said. I do think that there’s something to be said for having things in your life that are not monetized that are simply for the joy of it I remember meeting a poet laureate and I can’t recall his name right now. No surprise. He lived in the midwest and he was an insurance salesman for his entire career and wrote poems like did a thing they wrote 1 poem but a night and he ended up being the us poet laureate and wonderful poems but was interesting to me. He came and talked at. University where I was up in Wyoming he also painted and he said that he he sold his poems. You know he’d gotten to the point in his career I mean by the time you’re a us poet laureate. Hopefully you’re making at least something off of your poems. Um. But his paintings. He said he very deliberately refused to sell his paintings even though he had had offers that galleries had offered to carry his work and so forth. He only gave them away to people because he said he wanted to have a creative outlet that wasn’t monetized and I think that that’s.
Important um, now is that why I don’t monetize the podcast. No probably if I could you know make money off of this that that would be nice and I would but I also don’t want to get so into this relentless marketing. And that’s why I haven’t done really well with some of the podcast groups that I’ve been invited to and that kind of thing because they all talk about you know like things like grow your show and you know implement this and what technology you’re using for that and. How do you? You know? How do you advertise and how do you reach this market or that market and you know it’s like something for something I’m putting 20 minutes a day into just so I can sit here and chat with you guys? No I’m not gonna do that. Ah like. 1 of my friends said oh you should buy a ring light I’m like no I’m just not going to buy a ring light I’ll get sit here and look at my face on the laptop and it’ll be fine. Although I do get a facial did I mention I’ve never loved a facial as much as this one and now I want to go like get one every month or every other month. I might do it so vanity vanity all is vanity and chasing after the wind. Um, oh I actually have something actually have something of substance to discuss today. Oh I have 2 things of substance I’m gonna save this since I actually wrote it down. Um I think it’s funny because we watched a movie last night called drunk bus like a bus for drunks drunk bus and it was funny. It was ah it was a good movie and what was really interesting. Is that it had the same ending as the movie that we watched the night before which was called elsewhere and I know that some of this could be because David found drunk bus because he was looking at. We’ve really been using more of the if you like this movie. You might like this one I take their algorithms getting a little bit better so it could be that this was a similarity and I’m going to talk about the endings of these 2 movies. So if you don’t want to hear it you might you know, put your hands over your ears and do the la la la. But it’s not like they’re twist endings or anything. There’s nothing earthshattering about these endings. What I found really interesting was that they resolved the story in the same way for both and it was almost a lack of resolution. So cover yours if you don’t want to hear the ending. But.
Both of these movies were about ah a guy a white guy. Um, who is kind of hapless and both reeling from previous relationships with women and elsewhere. It’s his wife died 2 years before and he’s like still grieving. In drunk bus. It’s that his girlfriend left him and both of these are like that’s part of the plot. No spoilers there and so they’re both sort of haplessly finding their way through life and these places where they are one’s in a beautiful place and one’s in a miserable place. But. And the and the movies kind of like about them finding their way out of this morass of both of them are really grieving right? grieving loss and trying to figure out who they are and their friends yell at both of them for like not making decisions and not getting their shit together and the both movies and it. With the guy leaving town leaving and we don’t know where he’s going and neither one of them. Do we know where he’s going. It’s it’s completely unresolved that way but they’re both heading off at least they’re not staying where they were and I found that really interesting. You know like is this? um. I mean I think that they probably both are arguably millennial generation because they had like guys in their thirty s and so maybe that’s a metaphor for the millennial generation about you know, not making a decision but at least we’re gonna go somewhere else I guess. Found it really funny. You guys noticed this trend is this a thing. Maybe it I mean I have an n of two. So I’m not gonna obsess about I’m using the word obsess a lot today. Um, oh so then this is I dropped my sticky. But I remember what it says I saw through nik novelists incorporated I’m a member of that they’d sent out a thing saying that someone was looking to do ph d research on creativity and would we be willing to do an hour long interview to talk about our creative process and you guys know I like to talk about my creative process. So I thought oh okay I’ll do that so you know click on the link to get more information and it’s a study through a university and this gal’s you know, studying creativity. But what they would do is. Audio only you turn off the video but it’s through Zoom and for an hour you talk as you write you talk about your creative choices as you write I’m going to stare into the camera now.
I mean I can’t even I’m I’m almost wordless but not for long but what what I can’t imagine trying to talk as I write. Um i’m. When I’m writing I’m there typing away I’m type type type typing I’m I’m streaming the the world and the characters and I just yet like I said I’m sputtering. Um. I almost wrote to this gel and maybe I don’t know. Do you guys think I should because there was an opportunity to like email and ask questions but I want to email her and tell her your study design is really flawed I’m sure that’s what she would want to hear like from former scientist. A former neuroscientist turned. Writer of fantasy romance. But she’s gonna get a very particular kind of creative process by by going at it this way. It’s just um, it’s kind of mind boggling to me so those of you who are listening who are writers. Do you think you. Could do that is that something you could do is actually narrate as you are writing I could see how it might work if you are someone who does like research and world building that you could say okay now. I don’t even I don’t even know how that would work now I need to name this character so I’m going to go to behind the name dot com which is what I do and I’m going to search for this meaning. Ah I just can’t even can’t even but I don’t need to. So and I probably will not email this for ph e d student and give her my opinions on creative process. However I will rant to all of you about it because that’s what you don’t pay me for ah that was a good hook right? Okay, well. I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday and I will be back to rant it you about creative process on to other things on Thursday so you all have a good week and I will talk to you Thursday bye bye.
In May I spent a week at the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans.
In a funny coincidence, I ended up on the same flights with good friend and local RWA (LERA) chapter-mate, Darynda Jones.
This is far more of a coincidence than it might sound. While our local chapter meets in Albuquerque, Darynda and I live at nearly opposite ends of New Mexico, which is a pretty big state. Thus, while I fly out of Albuquerque – an hour’s drive south for me – Darynda flies out of Amarillo, Texas.
However, we both connected to New Orleans via Dallas Love Field. And were on the same flights both going and coming back.
Total surprise to us both.
Thus, we ended up with Before (left) and After (right) airplane selfies.
I think it’s interesting to see the difference in our faces. The light is warmer in the After pic, because it’s morning in New Orleans, versus the harsher mid-afternoon light of Dallas in the Before. But even factoring that in, I think we both look more relaxed and happy in the After pic.
Maybe a little more tired. Possibly a few pounds heavier from all the damn beignets.
But still, I look at the photo of us after a week with our tribe, talking books, reading and writing non-stop and I see that it was good for both of us. I’ve kind of been harping on return on investment (ROI) lately, because so many people seem to want to apply that standard to the cost of attending conventions. This is more of a business approach than I typically take to writing. After all, if I only cared about making money, I could have become a stockbroker. If I can make a good living as a writer, I’ll be delighted. That is, in fact, my plan. But that’s partly because writing feeds me on other levels, too.
I can see it in my face.
Forest fire season is starting here and the skies are filled with smoke this morning. The flip side to this is that the sunsets should get pretty spectacular.
We’re also hitting summer conference season. I have RomCon in June and RWA National in July. I was considering DragonCon in August, but decided against it and am waffling on World Fantasy Con in November. For me, it’s mainly a question of time commitment, though going to conventions can be pricey. A lot of writers (or their spouses!) try to parse out the return on investment (ROI) for going to conventions. They try to calculate if book sales increase in proportion to the expense of going.
This kind of math is impossible to do.
A number pre-pub writers have told me they’re not going to a convention until they have a book to sell. I usually nod understandingly, but I usually want to take them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them.
Because you don’t go to conventions to sell books.
You go to make friends.
And, not to sound like a famous advertising meme, these kind of connections are beyond price.
That’s what networking is all about. It sounds like this very dry thing, which I suppose it can be. But in truth, networking is about forming friendships, finding your tribe, developing that extended family of choice. In reality, it’s the least dry effort there is. Those friendships become your greatest support. These will be the only people in your life whose eyes don’t glaze over when you weep over your 49th rejection and who rejoice right with you when that 50th query strikes gold. They will pet you when those edits seem too difficult to contemplate and understand why it’s just SO VERY WRONG that your heroine on the cover is holding a knife. They are also your first and best cheerleaders.
Today, there’s an article in USA Today on the Happy Ever After Blog with a list of recommendations from authors for books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Two of my friends recommended my books – one said Petals and Thorns and the other cited Sapphire. I owe them big time for this and will find ways to pay it back. But I also know I don’t have to, because they’re my friends.
Beyond price, I tell you.