At long last, Jakral Konyngrr—lowly sailor, gambler, and sometime rogue—has won the heart and hand of Princess Stella of Avonlidgh. Never mind that Stella’s mother is determined to make their wedding the event of the century, he’s happy to endure any trial to marry the love of his life and his guiding star. Very soon they can sail away together into the rest of their lives. Unfortunately the wedding becomes delayed for several months, until midwinter.
Stella—sorceress, empath, and bearer of the mark of the Tala—has been through great trials. But nothing has tested her as sorely as her passionate and flamboyant mother planning their wedding. Even Jak’s steady love and companionship isn’t enough as Stella finds herself crumbling under the pressure of being snowbound in a castle with the press of so many minds and emotions. When she lashes out, she hits the worst possible target, jeopardizing her chances for happiness.
With several kingdoms and a former enemy empire bearing down on them, Jak and Stella’s wedding on the longest night of year might not happen at all… Unless they can create their own happy ever after.
This week at the SFF Seven, we’re talking about Telling vs. Showing, particularly we’re examining when some narrative exposition is needed.
It’s an interesting question, and one very much focused on genre fiction. Many of you know I began my writing career in creative nonfiction. For many years I wrote and sold essays. My first book was an essay collection. At no point in that time – in classes, in critique groups, in discussions with editors – did anyone bring up Telling vs. Showing. It was only after I began writing fantasy romance (etc.) that the concept was introduced to me. I had to learn not to use the narrative exposition that had worked so well for my creative nonfiction voice, but to “show” instead.
Why is this a thing?
The oft-cited example is attributed to Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” It turns out this exact quote is probably apocryphal. A passage from the article I linked to says:
In May, 1886, Chekhov wrote to his brother Alexander, who had literary ambitions: “In descriptions of Nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes he gets a picture. For instance, you’ll have a moonlit night if you write that on the mill dam a piece of glass from a broken bottle glittered like a bright little star, and that the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled past like a ball.”
It’s salient to note that he’s talking about description here. When my genre-fiction editors and critique partners introduced the concept to me, they framed it as a way to deepen the point of view (POV). In genre fiction, in particular, readers love to be immersed in the characters and world, thus the incentive to deepen POV.
I worked diligently to learn to show, not tell.
Fast-forward to my current agent, the insightful and incisive Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency. One day, after reading one of my manuscripts we planned to take on submission to traditional publishing, she said, “Jeffe, I know you work really hard to show, not tell, but sometimes we just need a line or two telling us what the heck is going on.”
And she was right. I was so busy describing the glint of light on broken glass that I was failing to explain that this world had three moons.
In the end, as with all things, it comes down to balance. We need both in order to tell effective stories: immersive description and deep POV, along with some clear narrative exposition to ground the reader in the world.
How I handle self-published projects vs. trad-pub targeted projects with my agent, my sugarplum of a midwinter holiday novella, and shaking my cane at publicists these days and how they’re promoting books.
Updates on my next projects and on the state of trad publishing – spec is out, full mss are in – and thoughts on being hybrid & the “middlest” author. Also info on how/why trad publishing only counts print sales.
Some more figures of what some authors are NOT making in traditional publishing, along with thoughts on agents – how to tell the good ones from bad (and there ARE good ones!), red flags, and how the business works.
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Delicious. Ah today is Tuesday August Ninth Eight Nine sounds like a good date to me. Um, yeah, so I’m wondering. What I have to say today some mornings oh look if you’re on video. You’ll have an Isabel sighting in the background Isabel’s out here in the secret garden with me is it. She pretty. She’s a blue smoke Maine coon cat I love how she’s got that. Faintest hint of blue to her fur. So yeah, she’s feeling sprightly this morning. She’s the the queen the main Coon Queen cat she’s sixteen sixteen and a half now and she loves going out and messing around in the garden. So um, yeah, you know some mornings I come out here I have my notes some mornings I have lots of thoughts in my head other mornings I’m sort of like a a nice mellow blank today’s a nice mellow blank I’m feeling. Nicely relaxed. Got more stuff done yesterday kind of catching up on my list. Ah I’ve noticed how the lists have been creeping into the books. Ah, they always have so I suppose that’s just like one of my things. But I notice that they are in the covenant of thorns books they’re in the bonds of magic books. Not so much the one I’m writing not so much in shadow wizard but I got my two k on shadow wizard yesterday I got it in. Reasonable amount of time. Got it early in the day so that was great. Um I’m let’s see doing pretty well I think um, little shy of 48,000 words which I know.
That’s like I’m past midpoint I still have half the book to go but it’s feeling downhillish at this point I’m also reading a book I’m really enjoying ah and I’m hoping that I will be able to recommend it to you? ah. I need to get back on putting reviews on good reads Amazon book bub. Ah I kind of fell off of doing it I don’t know why I don’t know maybe I just sort of ran out of time but I would like to get back into doing that. Because I’ve read several good books lately and I say them on here but I feel like that’s fairly transient so I would like to go ahead and get that going again. Um I did have some um reaction to yesterday’s podcast a few different people asked me if they had heard correctly when I said that um and and it’s it’s really ebooks. That I’m talking about where an author can earn $3 a book $5 a book maybe depending on the price point. Um whereas yes from trash ah print books. We don’t earn nearly so much from ah and they’re already. They’re so expensive to produce. That’s the thing about being a self-published author is the print books are expensive because we can’t do it in bulk. We don’t have access to a printing press the the pod cost is fairly high. Ah, the like Amazon or Ingram delivery cost is fairly high so we are not able to get as much of a percentage from those not without pricing the book even higher and I think none of us wants to do that. It already feels like a. Egregious to charge you know like $18 for a trade paperback. But even when that happens a lot of times like I’m only making ¢50 on the book or something like that. It’s um, it’s fence service. It’s having print books is because. Some of you still want print books which is fine. That’s no problem at all. It’s just um, where you where you make the bulk of your income is on the ebooks if we didn’t have those we probably wouldn’t be able to do it. We wouldn’t be able to make sell enough books to make an income to live on.
But but yes, um, for tread publishing whether it’s print or ebook a dollar per book. Maybe that’s that’s good If you’re getting that much a lot of people are not getting that much and um. Yeah, it’s just a. It’s the way it is. It’s just a sucky cut. Um.
Um, yeah, it’s you know they they hold all the cards basically and you know and even then you know you’re almost certainly paying you know 15% of that then to your agent. So. That that could come before or after the dollar a book but you know a dollar goes down to ¢85. It’s um, unless you’re selling a whole lot of books. It’s just hard to make money to live on in trad. And so it goes and I’ve recently learned of a major publisher. Not one of the big 5 or big 4 um, it’s sounding like the merger is going to be improved. People are sad about it. But. And our current um climate of corporations running the country. It seemed almost inevitable running the world. Maybe so yeah, a lot of writers were lamenting it yesterday on social media. Isabel’s down next to me here. Isabel’s not concerned. She says cats don’t worry about acquisitions and mergers know course Pat cats are also arguably parasites is that right. She says as long as the cat food keeps coming. You know that’s why I write the books is to feed the cats. Yes yes, Minerva Spencer says that Isabel has a smoker’s meow. Ah she does kind of she. Um, she’s totally deaf now. So she has to be very loud to be assured that she is meowing and it’s hell on the vocal chords. Yeah, so um, so yeah, those are the breaks. What was I saying about the oh this other publisher. So. So those are the big ones and that’s why we say the big but then there are other like midsize presses or smaller presses. So you know like there other ones are like source books Kensington um. Oh I think the mosquito candles making me sneeze.
Who I tried to pause and then at impa. Sorry let me scoot this away I was clever this time and came out and lit the candle before I got out here and gave it a little while to drive the mosquitoes away that seems to be the effective method. So how? yeah like Tachyon there used to be other ones you don’t like skyhorse and all these others anyway, those are not the great big ones. That people mean when they’re talking about the big houses Isabel’s checking out that candle now. Yeah stinky here now she’s sleeping leaving in a huff we haven’t had um cat wrangling. On the podcast in a while. So um, so yeah I recently learned of another publisher that’s not 1 of the biggies. But that’s well known, especially in romance publishing that is offering a terrible percentage on ebooks and. 1 of my friends at Apollycon who has a very successful series told me that last year and she was sad about it that she made about $1400 in the whole year and I told somebody else this and they were like. That author but her books are doing amazing and I was like yeah um and her agent says that she doesn’t really understand the contract. Um, when my friend asked about well shouldn’t I be getting. Royalties for like the audio books or the foreign rights and stuff that our agent was like oh well I don’t know um and and I said to her friend I said that’s a really bad sign you know and it’s like. I love that people come to me for advice but I think sometimes people regret coming to me for advice because and you should all know this I’m happy to talk to you like at conventions or you know over drinks are many things I will say to in person that I will not say on the podcast. But. You know if if you do ask me for advice I’m I’m going to give it to you pretty straight and I told her you’ve got to leave this agent if your agent doesn’t understand your contract then this is a problem. It’s a problem.
Red flag and she says oh I know but you know she’s stuck with me. She took me when no one else would and you know I owe her and you guys I hear this story so many times and in its. Hard I know it’s hard because we love our agents. We do feel that um, it’s like the first love we. We are grateful to them and they it does feel like they took a chance of us when no one else would. And I definitely felt that way about my first agent and I don’t know why if I would have left her if she hadn’t gone into like a total spiral and left the agency and went to an agency where I couldn’t sign the contract. Um. I don’t know what I would have done I’m glad I didn’t have to make that choice leaving my second agent was a really hard choice even though I was terribly disappointed in him and I had gone through a couple of um, like performance improvement plans with with him. Which is that’s why yeah so I spoke too soon on the mosquitos that one went right for my nose. Um, that’s my corporate America coming out but it’s like okay you know I’m not happy with how this is working and so we’d come up with these things that you know for him to do. And then he didn’t do those things I was working with the senior agent in the firm. That’s the other thing about this from that I’m talking about is that her agent just has her own agency. There’s not even a senior agent to go to and so which is the first advice I would give is is if you are. Maybe not the first but still if you are unhappy with what your agent is doing or if you’re wondering if you should be managing expectations in some way you go to the senior agent at the agency and say here’s what I want and this is not what’s happening. And you know what do you recommend and and the senior agent in mine was very receptive but my agent still didn’t still didn’t do it and and break and that breakup felt like it felt like a divorce. It really did it was um, hugely emotional. My friends got sick of listening to me but it had to be done and and I feel like I’m still seeing echoes of of the ways in which he messed up my career.
Um, and and it’s very true and I’m sort of going off on this whole agent tangent I didn’t mean to but it’s probably worth revisiting. You know the the old adage that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all is really true and I feel like spending several years with my bad agent. And still seeing effects. But I’m still digging out of that and I love my current agent Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost literary agency who is unfortunately not taking more clients I I even asked her at Apollycon when ah. Because I was thinking maybe I could get my friend to move over to her if I could get my friend to give up this loyalty to this terrible agent and I I feel very comfortable calling this agent terrible if your agent says they don’t understand the contract I mean that’s literally their job. So I asked Sarah oh are you still not taking new clients or I said are you taking new clients and she actually physically flinched. She’s like and she said she’s just not able to keep up with all of her current clients and she’s still sort of digging out of that pandemic hole on that as well. so unfortunately and me someday but um so yeah why is my friend only making $1400 a year. She got paid twice in you know every six months and she said it was about $700 each time. And yeah yeah I mean she’s not gonna be out on the streets because she has a salaried spouse which is great but it’s disheartening when you have a very successful series. I mean I’m not kidding when I say this is a successful series. It’s it’s gotten amazing reviews and it’s very well known and how is she only getting this much money. Ah, it’s it’s criminal really. So. Um, I’m never going to be 1 of those people and there’s one in particular I can think of who like in in SFWA on discord and so forth or the forums every single time someone says something about an agent. This guy has to pop up and. Do a blast against how horrible agents are and ah it’s just like dude but he’s also I don’t know um, unpleasant in his opinions in many ways.
So I don’t think that all agents are terrible I think that agents are very helpful to a career particularly if you’re dealing with things like print and foreign rights and I don’t believe that hiring a lawyer is the same thing but um, but there. There are bad agents out there and they they gave give the good agents a bad name and so there it is um otherwise let’s see what’s going on I I feel like this is this is exciting news for me and not important to anything else. But I got my nails done yesterday and we may have gotten I’m trying to show you. It’s kind of better there. We go. Ah, we may have gotten a green that I really like since this is why birthday month and green is my favorite color I was trying to get a good green and. For some reason. It’s really hard to find a good green nail polish so much good green in nature. Not so much. It must be really hard to reproduce a green pigment because it’s hard to find good greens and clothing too. So I’m very happy with my green nails small things. Right? Ah, yeah, so I went long yesterday. So I think it’s okay to go shorter today I will um yeah, talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.
A little while back, I sold the audio rights for this self-published series, Sorcerous Moons, to Scribd. Megan Frampton is my editor there and she’s been great to work with. Many thanks to Agent Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency for negotiating the deal. I feel like I should give Sarah a special shout-out because it’s really great to have an agent who supports the indie side of my career, too. She invested a lot of time and energy into getting me the best possible contract with Scribd. Another plus: Scribd gave me a free subscription for a year! This is pretty amazing since other audiobook publishers of my books have refused to provide me with copies of my audiobooks. If I want to listen to my own freaking book on audio, I have to buy it.
Not so with Scribd! I’ve been super pleased with the process of working with them. There was a SNAFU in the original recording and they fixed it by re-recording the first three books. It set the production schedule back but they did it without complaint and I was impressed by their professionalism.
The ensuing five books will be out on the following (tentative) schedule:
#2 ORIA’S GAMBIT August 16
#3 THE TIDES OF BARA September 13
#4 THE FORESTS OF DRU September 27
#5 ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT October 11
#6 LONEN’S REIGN October 25
Also, LONEN’S WAR is now wide and should be available on all retailer platforms. Print is coming any day now and just wait to see how super cool the set is together with the new covers!
Very exciting to see this rejuvenation of my first entirely self-pubbed series.
In other news…
Look for the cover reveal and preorder link for SHADOW WIZARD, Book #1 in Renegades of Magic, the trilogy that picks up after Bonds of Magic! Look for SHADOW WIZARD coming September 29, 20222! Here’s a sneak peek of the cover:
A firedrill from my agent had me going back through really old writing files, so I’m reflecting on what I observed – how my file organization has changed, how my writing has changed, and how what I once thought was SO CLEVER… isn’t.
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
Ah, delicious. Um today is oh you know what today is say it with me friday! June Twenty Fourth one more week left in June then we’re halfway through the year how did this happen to mystery.
Um, so um, yeah, things are going well here today’s an exciting day for me taking my friends Charlie and Megan to Santa Fe airport to go on their trip to Italy lucky them and picking them up at 11 so I’ll have a little bit of a strange morning. Not quite my full writing day. But it’s a special occasion and then I pick up. It’s funny because their plane goes out and. My friends playing come in Alyx Dellamonica and who is also L.X. Beckett and Kelly Robson ah arrive at um, like 11:45 in Santa Se a very small airport. Um, so um, it’s it’s exciting. What’s funny is is they’re going to do the same thing on the return departure. Um, so I’m beginning to wonder if maybe they’re like. Superhero alter egos of each other that they can’t be in the same place at the same time. And um, probably take Alex and Kelly out to lunch because I think they’re not going to have time to eat. They got up very very early toronto time Kelly messaged me a good morning at one thirty my time so three thirty Eastern time but they were at the airport and left at um 7 my time the plane departed they have a pretty tight connection in Denver and then it’s just a real short hop from Denver to Santa Fe so I suspect they will not have eaten except for airplane food which probably doesn’t count remember when they used to like serve you full meals on the airplane like you’d get those kind of like what was even before microwaves so it was like I don’t know how they did it like steam. Heat or something that it was um yeah like those sort of Tv dinners. It was like being microwaved but you’d get the meal on the plane is that dating myself this last time flying it was um.
It was a bit more like normal times it was um, you know you could get alcohol on the plane you could drink and it was um it was american. And both of them were fairly short flights so we just got like cookies, cookies or pencils. Um, I wonder if they will go back to offering things like the you know the box lunches and that sort of thing in July I am flying to um, um, to to Reagan national airport. Via atlanta I think on delta so I’ll be interesting to see um, all it some resuming travel again seeing people right? kind of cool. So um, it’s a pretty morning here. We’re supposed to have a relatively sunny day and then more rain coming in tomorrow. My allergies. You can hear um my allergies are going crazy with the um desert. Pollen kicking into bloom it’s the ah the up and downsides of monsoon love to get that rain? Um, but then the grass pollen really kicks him.
Was trying to get this to pause but it won’t I have weird connectivity this morning I was just going to clear my throat a little bit so you guys didn’t have to hear it. There. That’s better.
Ah, all right? So um I made progress on shadow wizard yesterday I’m nearly at the end of scene one. It’s a lot of banter. But ah, but there’s adventures to adventures plus banter. Can’t go wrong there right? Um, judgment jeron is pretty hunted and tormented I haven’t quite figured out what all his deal is but yeah and I got to do a scene that um. I’ve never gotten to write before and it’s it’s a somewhat cliche scene we’ve seen it in various movies. Um, and I asked to rinda I said this is this too cliche the scene I just wrote and she’s like no I love it and I’m like It’s a classic for a reason right? and she said yes, absolutely.
So um, the other thing that happened yesterday was I got a message from agent Sarah on a quick turnarounding seriously quick. Um, quick like she needs this from me next week and I don’t normally I try not to check my email but everyone’s well I check it on my phone because I only get one kind of email on my phone. It’s one email address and it’s um. Only some people have it and it’s it’s for important stuff like that. So I saw the email from Sarah saying quick turnaround so I went ahead and read it. Um, and it’s kind of a cool opportunity. Course I cannot tell you about it? Um, but it’s um, yeah, it’s a work for hire thing and I needed to pull a pitch together for her and it involved going through like a lot of old material. So that was really interesting. It had been a long time since I have gone back through the dregs of um, it’s not the drugs. The archives doesn’t the archives sound happier the archives of when I was a baby writer I mean we’re talking. Mid late 90 s people people is also a good alternative to you guys? Um, so um so yeah it’s funny because. Back in the day. Um it the way that I organized my files on the computer and this is someone who you know I’ve been using computers most of my life I started learning how to program and dos when I was a sophomore. And high school I think so on ah those little boxy mac computers and we could program the pixels you know pixel by pixel to create graphics. Um, it was really um, it was terrific experience. I learned a lot about. Computer logic and how to assemble a program. Um, in some ways I really miss I mean I know I can still go to dos command but there were ways that we could manipulate the computer then that windows actively prevents us from doing now.
Um, so I am ah oh well, the way that these files were organized because my um I worked for my career type job right? Sorry I’m coughing so much. I did take an at homeme covid test and it came out negative I think this is just allergies I don’t have a um I don’t have a fever or anything like that. It’s just just a little croupy. So for a whole lot of my early writing career I also had my environmental consulting career and I would use the same computer for both um later I got my own computer. But especially because um, well we’re all aware of you know, like the ah the day job subsidy on your ah passion career right? Where you you know you send in reply to emails. During the workday and during slow times at the day job I would do writing stuff but I was very careful to keep those files separate and so I had um you know like ah. It’s funny because I created um a folder that was called like work file only I called it a work file so it would be at the top of the sort because back in the day you couldn’t do like reverse alphabetical sort so it was called a work file. And that was where I kept all of my personal files and then I had jeffie personal and within Jeffie personal was writing and within writing I had subfolders and it’s. Funny to see this now because of course now I have things organized by by like series. So my current file organization is you know, like generally by series. Um. And then I have subfolders for the various books and now I have for editions. Um, so like for covenant of thorns I have the 2022 editions because we’re going to be releasing them I think I’ll put the rogues pawn cover on today’s
Show notes I think I haven’t yet. Um I’ve been having fun making reels though I’m getting closer to to Tik to land. It’s fun to choose the music for Them. So. Then I thought of things differently and it’s interesting to me to see the shift in how I thought about my work So back then I had these folders that were like um. Have to think of what they are now they were drafts.
Published and ping pong were the 3 main folders published is obvious as soon as something got published I would move that subfolder into the published folder. Um drafts had a couple of subfolders that were um. In progress and finished so finished were the ones that I’d actually completed it whereas the inprogres were fragments or things that I felt like I needed significant work on and then ping pong. Which I’ve talked to a lot of mentees about and I’ve probably mentioned on here was I got this advice very early on with sending stuff out was to treat it like a game of ping-pong so you ah send out a query or a submission and when it came back and this was. Days of snail mail very much later and and then it merged there was this sort of transition where there was some via email and then it moved entirely to email but there were like still a few holdouts. There were still some places that would only take place things by snail mail they’re all gone now they dive out with the dinosaurs. Deservedly so um, but. The the way that ping pong worked was it. It took away that um, playing going by. It took away that onus of or the it’s not really an onus. It was. I don’t know that burden that terrifying burden of like having to send stuff out again. You know it’s like oh my god I got rejected instead. You treat it like they fired the ball back you got a volley it back and so I would have things ready to go. So. A lot of things in the ping pong folder are were never published. They were finished and never published so when I went back through all of this old stuff I I belatedly thought to look for ping pong because there was one night that I was thinking I know I have this somewhere and I remembered what it was called and it was ah an essay that was a series called grooming lessons that was actually a series of poems which one of the few poems um that I wrote professionally you’re like.
Since my angsty high school poems but it they won me a poetry fellowship from wyoming arts council which I always found kind of ironic. Um I never won the fellowship for my essays or my fiction. It was for these poems. And I only wrote these as poems because I’d been trying to write them as an essay for so long and I couldn’t get them to work and a friend of mine who was a poet um Paisley rectall who’s kind of famous now. Paisley and I were having coffee and she suggested trying to write them as a poem instead and it it worked. I mean yeah, it worked so but they were never published. So now I would like what I’m going to do is take them and break them apart and turn them into something fiction because it was one of the ideas that Sarah liked so it was funny. You know like I went back to these to that drafts folder and and I’ve got multiple iterations one of these days in my spare time I need to go back through I’ve got everything in Dropbox and I’ve got to go back through Dropbox because I have things. Repeated like I have that writing folder in like Jeffy personalel and I have it in other subfolders because I was so paranoid about losing stuff, especially when I finally left the day job and everything was going to be on my computer and I no longer had access to. You know, like the well I used to do like those tape backups remember those things before the cloud. Um so i. And sorry got all distracted thinking about the ah ah, it’s such a monumental effort I just and ah, who knows maybe I will never do it I just go ahead and pay my twenty bucks a month to Dropbox to keep multiple copies of all of my files forever. But they came in handy at this time. Um, yeah so I’d gone back and I’d found like the in-progress stuff and the fragments and I have multiple different places where I have like story ideas and so I put all of these down into a document for Sarah and she went through and. Picked out some stuff so it’s kind of kind of cool to resurrect some of these things. It was funny to read some of my early stuff from the mid 90 s um, there was one set of.
It was like these 3 pieces of of flash and I don’t remember if we called it flash then maybe we did but the idea they’re just like 350 words each 3 of them and I thought maybe this would work for this project that I could tweak and expand. Because I always liked it. I remember it having a very fond great fondness for this and it was called um 3 fairy tales showing a morbid fascination with feet I have my themes so it it was funny to see that I was thinking about this stuff even then it was the red shoes. The Twelve dancing princesses and Cinderella. And I remember them as being very witty and snarky and they are kind of snarky um, almost unpleasantly so and I was not nearly so witty as I thought my self ah not nearly so clever as I wanted to believe. And kind of read these and I’m like I thought that these were I’m like at last I can resurrect these things that I you know I was ahead of my time and said all these very interesting things about misogyny and fairy tales and how women are punished punished for their feet and um I don’t know. Maybe the kernel of the ideas there but these were not the jewels that I recall them being alas, so um, but there were some some jewels and it was very interesting to read these things from when I was. Trying out my voice when I was experimenting with different prose styles um trying to show different things. Um, yeah. Yeah, so I’m glad I have multiple versions of all these old files. Um I will be no harper lee where they dig out the manuscripts to publish after I am gone in a brazen attempt to cash in on my reputation. Perhaps someone will but you guys these things are not going to to rake in many um I just don’t see it so anyway. Um I got that back from Sarah and so this morning I need to punch them up a bit I can do it over the weekend but it’s gonna be kind of a. Busy, fun-filled weekend. So I may not have a lot of time. So I’m gonna do that this morning and um at least get them started so that I can go back and punch them up some and also work on shadow wizard. But then.
I’m out of here go doing airport runs and fetching friends so it was actually a good place for me to get this emergency thing from Sarah you know like if she had sent this to me two or three weeks ago when I was in the um panicked depths of trying to finish storm princess. There would have been no way. But right now I’m doing well on track for um, for shadow wizard. What am I doing I like made air quotes really what I want to do is knock on wood so I should do that knock on wood. But um, yeah, yeah. So all right I’m going to go get to work I hope you all have a wonderful Friday hope you have a wonderful weekend I hope you get to spend the time with dear friends. Um I have not seen Kelly and Alyx since August of 2019 in Dublin. As it were I don’t know not as it were ironically enough oddly enough when we were at world con in Dublin. So um, coming up on almost three years since I’ve seen them in the flash. So yeah, it’s really good to be able to. See friends and be with them again and I hope that you can have some of that and I will talk to you all on Monday 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.
I need that kick today today is – say it with me – friday!
Ah, ah, April Twenty ninth for all intents and purposes. Not for all intensive purposes which is how some students hear it the end of April I mean we get tomorrow. But. If today is actually your Friday and your last work day of the week that’s pretty much sand of april.
Um, so amazing huh First third of 2022 over has it been fast for you or slow. Um a lot of people. It seems like been having. You know, not a great year so far even though things are better. You know we’re opening up from pandemic and everything um people still coping coping with all the things right? So let’s see. Things are good here. We have a little bit of haze from the fires a little bit of smoke haze and very cold tumbling wind this morning I tried to go out to the grape arbor and it was um, yeah too too chilly too. Um. With the high walls around the garden. It’s usually more protected but not this morning so I am being a weeny and being inside.
I’m trying to think of what do I have to tell you I think I’m a little tired today I kind of hit tired yesterday afternoon I’ve hit 10000 words for the week that the guy should turn this off. Okay, um, um, it. 67500 on this book and yeah I’ve done over 10000 words this week a little bit more 11000 if you count a couple of blog. Posty type things that I’ve done. Um, so yeah, so the question is it’s not really a question. Ah I I’ve been doing slightly more than 2500 each day just by like 50 words to get myself back on trap track. To finish on May thirteenth is a day I want to be done drafting so that I can then spend the week of May sixteenth doing a full revision and the following week doing a proof I’m doing something different this time did I mention this. I am I’m going to do my own proofing. Usually I pay a proof reader. It’s funny as time goes on I stop paying so many editors and turning into these authors that I speak out a guest saying that everybody needs an editor. But. Do think everybody needs an editor except now I think I don’t um, I’ve stopped paying a developmental editor partly because it’s expensive. It added several weeks into the drafting time and. I didn’t feel like I was getting that much out of it I didn’t feel like um, the editors I was paying to give me content edits were really changing all that much about the story or the things that they were changing I wasn’t convinced that it was making them. All that much better which is kind of a funny place to be but if I have doubts I have my crip partners or beta readers read and since everybody uses those words. Interchangeably I think it’s just out of fashion to say crit partner ah nobody seems to use that word anymore. I think maybe it’s the the shit sandwich thing you know nobody wants to use the word criticism anymore. Um shake my cane shake my wand.
Oh and it chimed. ah ah ah yeah so whoever having someone read to give me content subsantive feedback on the book. Um, probably I should do that. I do everyone’s while but it’s when I have doubts so I had gone to having someone proofread the book whos also would give me copy edits and 1 thing I found in doing my big reread of the Heirs of magic. Books because I read the prequel novella and the first 3 in order to write this book for and I kept finding mistakes and I know that there’s you know mistakes are always going to get through but I was trying to decide. I mean I write pretty clean copy I’m I’m fortunate that way that I’m a good speller and I know the punctuation and grammar rules you know and I always say that I don’t know Commas I think comma rules are arbitrary. So I was thinking oh and then one other thing happened is that now I have all 3 Bonds of Magic books in Audio Grey Magic is still waiting to go live but my audiobook narrator. Sent me lists of like errors and typos that she found because reading it out loud. She catches those things and my proof reader was adding five days into the process which and she was doing a great job. You know. Really nothing against her I know that things are always going to slip through but on this book I thought I would experiment and see because I know I want to make sure to catch everything to wind up this series and possibly in this world I don’t know if all right in this world again. Um. Yeah we’ll see but I’m I’m feeling like maybe that’s enough for this world for the moment anyway. So if I spend a week revising this book and then I thought well if I did my own proofing if I spend four days the week of May Twenty third reading the book out loud then I should be able to catch all the typos I can look up any of the formatting our grammatical stuff that I’m not entirely certain of and save myself some money and also give myself that final.
Chance to go through because I find things like those word echoes on those awkward phrasings. So this is my experiment I’m going to see if that extra pass of reading aloud um will add anything. To my revision process. So um, let’s see seems like I something happened on Thursday yesterday that I wanted to tell you about hold on who else. I suppose anything that happened Wednesday I would have talked about yesterday I did notice looking at my calendar I was trying to figure out what all I’ve been doing the last few days who knows playing on the streets obviously but shout out to agent Sarah it is her birthday today. Happy birthday Sarah! Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency who works her butt off for her clients and I say this? um I think it’s easy for people to say that. Ah, you know and it’s authors develop certain lingo that then other authors imitate wanting to sound like real authors you know and they’re like oh my amazing agent I remember that when I was a newbie writer. Ah like this one gal I followed was always talking about. And should always put it in capital letters. Amazing agent I don’t remember Anastasia it wasn’t that I don’t remember who it was and you know she would just gush. You know oh spoke with amazing agent and this was in the newer days of Twitter when I felt like we had more conversations. Got to know people. It could be people still do that. But I’ve ended up backing away from Twitter so much and now that Elon Musk wants to turn it into a free for all of we all are we gonna be leaving Twitter.
I’ve been seeing some think pieces on what it means for a billionaire to own a social media marketplace like Twitter or Facebook and how that shapes the world question is what are we gonna do about it. Somebody posted the other day about um that the Eu has passed a law. It’s like in the first stage it hasn’t been ah, fully executed like whatever their version of like then you know, starting in the senate and having to go to the house or vice versa. So it’s not a thing yet but they did pass the resolution to make the law or what have you ah to force companies like Amazon and Facebook and so forth to reveal their algorithms and to make them egalitarian and people were saying oh they were excited. Celebrating saying you know Amazon might finally have to reveal their algorithm to us you know like how are they you know promoting some books and not others and I thought I didn’t want to reign on their happy parade. But I was thinking. It’s just never gonna happen Amazon. These companies are never going to ris feel there there I’ll go the rhythms they’re gonna consider it proprietary information. They won’t do it I I could be wrong. It’s happened put it on the calendar. So anyway, um, how did I get there.
Sometimes I wish I could replay this thing so I could find my train of thought again sorry I’m a little fuzzy brained today. So let’s see algorithms legalities. Is it gone forever. It might be you guys are shouting at me I also wish that I could hear you tell me what was I thinking about something I was gonna tell you and then I figured out know that Sarah’s birthday I guess yeah, that was it. Agents ah see I can rewind mentally kind of um, but anyway the scout that I used to follow you know and people would always be like oh my amazing agent this and and following her particular journey which I’ve always hated my journey to publication. Ah, we don’t hear that nearly so much anymore probably because there’s so much self- publishing but especially back then because we’re talking more than ten years ago now right? That’s amazing. You know like 2009 is when I joined Twitter. Things were very much about tribe publishing you know and so people would be like posting their milestones so that you like we could follow their journey from pre-published to astonishingly successful the problem with chronicling your journey to publication like that is that. Not everybody made it there and that certainly happened with this gal and I could see her being going back and forth with her agent where she would like revise her book that her agent had signed her on and the agent still didn’t like it and she would talk about oh well, she was going to have to gut it again, but amazing agent Anastasia had given her. You know all of these great notes and she was going to do it again and and I mean this went on for a long time and I was thinking and she’d never even gone on submission and even then being well I wasn’t entirely a baby writer because I’d been in the nonfiction circles for a long time. So I knew how publishing worked and was like she just. And I keep you revising forever chasing some goal some intangible it wasn’t clear to me like what this agent wanted her to do and then eventually she ended up parting waste with the agent you know and she reported this faithfully too. We’ve parted ways because we’re just not a great fit and like and this agent never took her book out on submission. So it was a live and learn kind of thing. Maybe that was beneficial to me that she chronicled her journey to not publishing I don’t think she ever got a book published.
Anyway, um, was her agent really amazing was she as delighted as she wanted her chronicle to portray probably not but my agent Sarah is a hell of a worker. She is. Communicative ambitious she takes amazing care of her clients. Ah she is a delightful person in every way and I know that you know like I’m not always an easy client to work with.
Neither is Grace Draven for that matter. Also one of Sarah’s clients because we are very definitive about what we need as far as making money and what we put into our self- publishing careers which isn’t always easy for an agent because and there are some agents out there who are like no I don’t want you to so. Publish and Sarah doesn’t ask that of us she she works with us and I I appreciate her I appreciate you Sarah if you listen to this? Um, yeah, you really are an amazing agent. So um, the other exciting thing is that Lonen’s War is out today in Kindle Unlimited with the new covers I probably have to figure out how to brand things. As far as the metadata for Kindle Unlimited readers but because right now the ranking is really really super low. Ah you know and it’s interesting because and I’ve said this often right that I feel like the kindle unlimited ecosystem is just a really different set of readers. And I see this all the time I see these? um you know, authors celebrating other author who are like Kindle un limited famous that I’ve never heard of and the reader is recommending these books and series and they’re just these circles almost don’t overlap anymore. I grew irritated with some of the science fiction and fantasy people the other day and I won’t say why sorry I’m not going to spill that tea but there are circles of snobbery in this business and people forget that. Their particular circle is not the only one in the universe and they take that because they’ve they have never heard of an author that therefore what they’re doing is not worthwhile and it’s not true. That’s not true. So. This is like so far the most abysmal release that I’ve had in a really long time. But I think it’s because I’m so unknown to this Kindle unlimited audience. So I’m looking on it as a challenge to to pick it up I was ah. Venting to some of my writer friends hi gals. Thank you I appreciate you yesterday because one of my longtime readers and I mentioned this I think on yesterday’s podcast does not like the new covers for sorcer moons and and it it kind of got me down and and one of the gals said you know not to let it.
Diminish my joy and an assistant Carien said that said the same thing assistant Carien is always ah, awesome. Awesome assistant andastasia ah, um, but yeah, this girl. Who is my reader said well that she missed the pretty covers and said um, finished up with saying she said it was only weapons and she wouldn’t pick these up in a store and I was like oh okay, well first of all I mean the first covers are always going to be there. Guys they’re they’re out there if you love the first covers. Great um, but also I’m not trying to tell this series to the people who already read it right? I’m trying to communicate the genre to this new group of readers. And for the record it is not only weapons on the covers. It is. There’s lots of other elements on the covers and and Carien was resistant to me changing it at first too and now even she is saying that she loves the look of the new series. It’s it’s much more cohesive than it used to be and. I’m looking forward to yeah to just to reach these new readers. Ah, it’s it’s exciting. So um, yeah, lones were out today if you’re in kindle unlimited if you know people enkindle unlimited please share. Um. I I want to want to reach those fantasy romance readers slow burn romance lots of epic fantasy and warrior stuff in it which this was another thing when we were discussing it when this gal said you know gone were the the girls and the horses. And the dragons and that it was only weapons and that it looked like masculine fantasy and I thought why are we correlating weapons with masculine fantasy because I mean and this is someone who’s read all of my books I have female warriors right? You know I invented an entire martial arts system for ah well for Ursula and then ah Kaja and Jenna/Ivariel all follow it. Jepp follow follows it and Jack does too now. They’re all part of that. System and it’s part of the marsh I I not part of I imagined it reimagined it from mar martial art systems that I trained in and I have weapons in my office and and I’m a girlie girl. So um, yeah i.
I don’t like the idea that that warrior stuff is correlated only with masculine fantasy. So anyway, off I go to get my final 2500 for the week I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Um I hope I get to get out in the garden this weekend. That’s my my big goal for it and I will talk to you all on Monday take care bye bye.
I’m having trouble I like hit my coffee cup with the mouse here. This is the blooper reel all right by.
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week concerns the benefits of working with an agent – or, for those of us without agents – times we’ve wondered if an agent would be helpful or why we choose not to have one. Come on over for my take.