First Cup of Coffee – November 17, 2022

Some background on the difference between Back Cover Copy (BCC) and blurbs, how BCC remains the property of a publisher, even if rights are reverted, and what is a big NO to a publisher trying to retain.

First Cup of Coffee – October 14, 2022

Marketing vs. promo, what traditional publishing brings to the table (and some examples of big fails), why all authors-regardless of publishing path-should learn promo, AND crunch their sales figures. This means learning to read royalty statements!

First Cup of Coffee – October 11, 2022

Series and the difference in approach to them between traditional and self-publishing, including some numbers on my own series sell-through. Also insights into my filing system for writing projects.

The Hybrid Life for Me!

ROGUE’S POSSESSION is now out!! 

This release dovetails nicely with this week’s topic. We’re asking, Traditional publishing, self-publishing or a fusion of the two. What works best for you?

This particular book is the second book in the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, which were originally traditionally published ten years ago! Those were my first fantasy romances and I was elated that Carina Press took a chance on my cross-genre novels. I went on to publish ten books in total with them. I’ve also done three traditionally published series with Kensington and one with St. Martin’s Press.
I like trad publishing. Having a team working on my books is a great feeling, as is not having to front the money.
As soon as I could get the rights back on these books, I did, and now I’m self-publishing them. The major reason? I’ll make a lot more money selling them myself.
A secondary reason: by controlling the series, I have more options to discount book one, a potent marketing technique trad-pubbing doesn’t allow.
A third, but super validating reason? At last I can give these books the covers they deserve!! I love these covers, designed by the incredibly talented Ravven, so much!
So, as you may have concluded, I’m falling in the “fusion of the two” category. Being a hybrid author gives me the best of both worlds. I aim to continue doing it that way.

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 6, 2022

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I am here with my first cup of coffee.

Lovely. Um, today is say it with me Friday woo Friday may sixth. Um. Yeah, yeah, as the week winds to a close I feel like we’re we’re in a good place with all of the things. My folks got the results back on their ct scans yesterday. And my mother’s proud to announce that their brains are not scrambled um their neighbors tested positive for covid and they were recently at an event with them. So there’s that never ending cycle. But um, went to the endocrinologist yesterday. Those of you have been listening for a long time may recall that my husband David had a lot of medical stuff before Christmas dealing with his. Um, gut and his swallowing and all of this and one of the things that they found when they did the scans of him at the hospital at urgent care was that he had some nodules on his thyroid so we just now got in with the endocrinologist. And she did um, an ultrasound and she said that the nodules are very very small that they’re not big enough to biopsy so he’ll check back in a year but good news there and. In other medical news I I am absurdly pleased by this you guys so one of the things I had to do being a woman of a certain age is I got to have a bone density scan and I went in to see my doctor the other day just to discuss results on things. And he said that. Ah he said my bones are beautiful. He said my bone density scan was beautiful. The exact word he used he said that I have the bones of a young adult of a healthy young adult. How about that. Cheers. David feels very vindicated because he’s always said that I have strong bones I’m very strong so bone density scan confirms it the bones of a young adult now if only I could have now the.

Eyes of a young adult or I don’t know the metabolism of a young adult I would take I I wish I’d my metabolism back but bones will be young adult good thing to have that’s ah know breaking bones is always a. Hard thing on people hard to recover from so. It’s funny because I was reading a book where you know somebody got really broke hurt very very badly. You know broken legs broken arms all this you know and they were saying the books you know things like. I think this is part of why I don’t write action scenes because I just can’t suspend it disbelief enough but they’re saying well it’ll take him a few months to heal and I’m thinking he’s never coming back from that. He’s never going to be a hundred percent of what he was. But we kind of gloss over that in fiction I still think about my cpa who you know fell and broke is about my age fell and broke his femur and he just fell down a couple of steps and you know snapped that Femur and you know it had been 2 years and he was still trying to recover from it and that was with like. Amazing medical technology. So ah, yeah yeah I know I know I’m supposed to just like be like oh well, you know he’ll heal I think that’s 1 reason why I have magic healing I had a conversation with um with Nnedi Okorafor – she was in town and do do I sound like I’m name dropping. It was really fun meeting Nnedi, she was an interesting person. Really wonderful writer and we had some great conversations and I toured her around and she she loves jewelry so you know it was like It’s an easy gig you know getting to talk with fun writers and then taking them around to cool shops so that they can buy things. It’s Santa Fe tourism should like totally employ me. So anyway, um I thought it’s probably not relevant that it was Nnedi except that she asked me an interesting question. Which I don’t think anybody else has ever asked me but she said if you could pick any superpower and we were talking about you know like characters with amazing powers and all of this and how you write it effectively and um, she said if you could pick any superpower. What would you have. And I said I would pick healing people I I would want to be able to to heal anybody and and make anybody um you know recover from any kind of disease or injury and she looked at me funny and she said but you know that that leads to chaos because then you know
Ah, people wouldn’t die. It. It would disrupt a natural order and I said I don’t care I said it would absolutely be that I would do it anyway. I would just heal everybody anyway and she was laughing at me for it and I said well what would you pick and she said well I’m shallow I want to be able to fly. Pick flying and she said but you would be causing chaos to the human race and I’m like I know and I still don’t care. Ah, ah now maybe I have to write that character I am thinking up this next ah this next story I really need to be focusing on the book I’m writing which I’m currently revising. It doesn’t suck I just worry that it repeats and I’m I’m not sure I have good enough perspective on it I may have to get somebody else to read it for me because I’m I’m worried it circles the same thing which I know I’ve been saying. All along about this book. Um, and I know that part of it is because the characters circle that they’re kind of stuck in this loop and how do people even write like groundhog type stories because ah yeah. How do you keep it straight. Maybe they write stuff down. Maybe they have outlines, Jeffe. Alas, um, yeah, so anyway I’m thinking about this this whole new I should be thinking about like the next. Bonds of

Three Things I Did to Sustain a Full-time Writing Career

The audiobook of BRIGHT FAMILIAR is now available! And GREY MAGIC in audio will be out very soon!!

This week at the SFF Seven our topic is: Being a full-time writer – is it your dream? How do you pay for life and write, too?

In this instance we’re defining “full-time writer” as someone who doesn’t have a day job or other paying occupation that competes with writing. Most of us – unless we marry money or inherit a trust fund – continue to work jobs even after our first books are published. Sometimes for a LONG time after that. For myself, I continued to have essentially two careers for just over twenty years after my first publication.

I worked in environmental consulting while all the while carving out time and energy to write. I kept waiting for my writing income to match my day-job salary – even not figuring in benefits! – and it never got there. Eventually life made the decision for me: my primary project got axed, our team dissolved, and I was laid off with decent severance.

And I made the decision to try to have only one career at that point.

It hasn’t been easy! KAK’s post from yesterday about being exacting with a budget is super important.

This is especially true if, like her, you have only yourself to count on for income. Or if, like me, you are the primary breadwinner for your family. When authors give advice on managing finances as a full-time writer, it behooves you to pay attention to what other financial help they have. It might not be a trust fund, but having a spouse with a steady salary (and benefits!) goes a long way. Other authors live on retirement income or other, similar sources.

So, how have I done it?

1) Meticulous budgeting.

As much as I can, I budget a quarter at a time. Writing income is volatile and, unless you’re making buckets of it, you can’t count on being able to pay the bills with income from a single month as you can with a regular paycheck. As KAK mentions, you can’t figure your disposable income by simply subtracting your expenses from that month’s income. You may need that “leftover” money for next month, or the month after. The financial gymnastics require creativity and flexibility.

2) Tracking sales

Data is everything! You can’t afford to be only a dreamy creative. You have to wear your business hat and crunch the data from your royalty reports. You have to be ready to be stern with yourself and pay attention to which efforts generate income and which don’t. You may find you can’t afford those passion projects if your writing is what puts food on the table. OR, that you can afford them only if other projects are paying the bills.

3) Self-Publishing

If writing income is volatile, then income from traditional publishing has the lowest evaporation temperature. It comes, it goes – often on an annual or semi-annual basis. Quarterly is likely the most frequently you’ll get paid, and every royalty check is a surprise! Again, unless they’re cutting you BIG checks, it likely won’t be enough to live on. This is why so many trad-pubbed authors also teach or have other side gigs. Self-publishing provides monthly income. Yes, it fluctuates, but you can also track sales and predict how much money will arrive in two months. Taking the surprise out of the equation helps immensely! You’re also not subject to the whims of traditional publishing on a number of levels.

Those are three practices that have helped me manage a career as a full-time writing with essentially no other income. The other, quite obvious step, would be to make buckets of money and never have to think about budgeting again.

Maybe someday!