The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 69 – My Journey as an Author: The Good & Bad
Becoming an indie author is an amazing opportunity, full of highs and more than a few lows. Jesper and Autumn share their self-publishing journey with a few answers that might surprise you!
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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts. Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello. I am, Jesper. And I'm Autumn,
Speaker 2 (35s):
episode 69 of the amwritingfantasy podcast. And we thought we would do something a little, I don't know, funny maybe today and share our journey as writers, you know,
good. And the bad stuff. And hopefully that'll be useful to you, your listeners. And, uh, I dunno, maybe, maybe a few laughs along the way. At least say it's a little personal getting to know us in a different way. And you know, the real listic story of two authors and what have been the highs and the lows of her journey. Uh, let's focus on the highest, but yeah, no, there's some lows too. Yeah, there is.
Speaker 2 (1m 18s):
It's so, it's so nice. Nicer and Koshi that I can sort of hear the woods crackling in the background. It sounds so cool.
Jesper (1m 25s):
It is. Well, it's a nice rainy day here in Vermont and I'm in my cabin. I've got the woodstove going. I actually have am of course you don't eat me, but I've got a little brisket of corn beef on the woodstove simmering away and I can look out at the rain and it's falling on the pond and the stream, which has a little trickily waterfalls through stone. So yeah, this is pretty much my quarantine Haven and heaven over here. It doesn't sound too bad. No, it's a tiny, tiny house in a tiny, tiny cabin.
Um, I think ideally if it wasn't a, if we didn't have the support of the main house, which you know, it's about a thousand, 1500 feet through the woods is a main house where we get access to, you know, we can use some, we're doing some storage in the basement, especially now with like, we have extra food supplies and I'm using her freezer. They have a spare freezer, so we've got some space over there. But if it wasn't for that, this is a little bit too small, I'd want another 20 or 50 a hundred square feet to be my minimum ideal size.
But you know what, in many ways it is just quiet and pleasant and especially being almost done. I've done some buildings, shelves and stuff. I'm so close to finishing the insight. I can, I can taste it. So I'm very excited,
Speaker 2 (2m 46s):
but I can't remember. Did you have to go to the house to use the toilet and the showers and stuff you have?
Jesper (2m 51s):
Well, we officially, we only have to go there now for the shower. We have the composting toilet and everything hooked up in the cabin. So we're pretty self-sufficient for showers. Um, unless you want to really call bath, you can jump in the stream wise for going to the sauna and how it was with the shower.
Speaker 2 (3m 11s):
Yeah, of course. Of course. Yeah. Well at least then because then you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the house to, you know, use the toilet or something. That's horrible. We did that a few times when we am when we rented a summer cabins in Finland, you know, because they fit on this also like huge country. So a lot of the summer cabins state, they don't have like toilets and stuff like that, like running water and stuff. So a lot of the time it's like this outhouse where there's a toilet out there full of mosquitoes and shit.
And then you have to go out there in the middle of the night if you have to go to the toilet is, I hated it. Hate it.
Jesper (3m 49s):
Well it is sad with the modern things like the composting toilets, um, that are available. And this one is one that you could use on a ship. It's like, seriously, this is not that hard to fix things up to am have it all inside and pretty, pretty Steve-O clean and hygienic and usable. It's so nice. Yeah, indeed. So all sorts of things on your side of the ocean.
Speaker 2 (4m 15s):
Well, uh, it's, it's, it's just a bit kind of quiet. I mean, well, it depends. It depends, I guess you could say. If you're looking in the media, everything is going crazy. It's not quiet at all. Right. But a self quarantined at home and you don't see any people, you just sort of sitting in the office most of the day doing writing and work. Um, and then, um, yeah, in the afternoon, sitting and watching Netflix and stuff like that took like, it's when you're out and about like you normally are.
It's amazing how, you know, little actually happens. It's just, it just said home. That's it.
Jesper (4m 58s):
I, to me, it's amazingly, I've always been good even at, well, you know, while we're traveling and as a full time author I've always been good about pretty much knowing the days of the week, but there's been a few times the last week that I've been like, is it Thursday? Oh no, it's Monday or Sunday. It's just like, I usually know, but for some reason, not that he entire world is off the normal work week. I don't have a clue what day it is.
Speaker 2 (5m 23s):
No. Yeah. That's, that's what happens. Right. But that's also why yesterday evening, um, I watched the movie on Netflix called wind river. I dunno. How, do you know what, no, it's probably not. I dunno. It's probably not that, uh, main, not mainstream, but it's probably not that well known. I guess I should call it instead. But it's like, it's a, it's a murder mystery from 2017. Um, so it's like a us fish and wildlife service tracker and then an FBI agent who teams up to solve the murder on the wind river Indian reservation in Wyoming.
Interesting. Yeah, it's a, it's actually, it's, it's like, it's a cool setting. Uh, I like it because it, you know, it has all the wintery themed stuff, so it's not easy to get around. They, they can easily get help from the outside and all this. I, I quite like that when you pin the characters into a setting where they can just easily get help. So, so that's pretty cool. Uh, and I also think that the character motivations are pretty good in it. You know, the folks out of there, the murder that, that they're trying to solve is, is of a young Indian woman who was, who was murdered there.
But it then turns out that the fish and wildlife service tracker there, he's, he also lost his own daughter. So there was a good, good character motivation for why he wants to help with it. Um, so he's trying to help the FBI agent salted so it's, it's pretty good. Um, but I would say as well that there is a lesson in there about trying to understand the tropes of the shoulder. Oh no, really?
Because it's like, I mean, I'm not going to spoil anything for anybody who wants to watch it, but to what's the end of the movie, it turns into like a shoot everything up kind of thing where, you know, when you're getting into the last 20 minutes of a, like a murder mystery movie, I'm sort of expecting that there's going to be a big revelation or plot twist or something like that. That's sort of what you normally would expect, uh, in the, in this genre.
But, so it was not a bad movie or anything, but, but the ending just annoyed me somewhat because it was like, all of a sudden it just goes crazy and everybody starts shooting. It's like w what I mean, if you want to do like a or a measurable thing, I think that's absolutely fine, but then you need to start doing it from the beginning. So you sort of understand all the way through the movie that Oak or if if in our case we write in books like, so you make the reader understand from beginning what type of books book this is or what kind of movie it is.
Right. You shouldn't wait until the end and then all of a sudden it turns into something completely different. Yeah. Mashup usually means you know, mixed up from the beginning, not a front end and a backend. That's completely different. Yeah, it was like a one hour, 45 minutes movie and everything along the way was, you know, standard MIS, you know, mystery murder solving stuff. There was nothing weird at all. And then the last 20 minutes it just goes completely crazy. Williams probably shoot him up sort of thing.
Sounds like. Yeah. Everybody starts shooting at each other. And it's not really like any revelation to figure out who the killer is because it just comes out with all the shooting stuff and it's like, okay, yeah, I mean, it's not a bad movie. I make it sound really bad. I mean, it was not bad. It was, it was OK, but, but the, I was just not a fan of the ending there and I, I dunno, I think that was a lesson for us riders to be careful with the expectations after strong run. Uh, if you want to break it, fine, but at least set that expectation from the get go then, Oh, week on the internet with the amwritingfantasy podcast so autumn you created a Pall on the Facebook group, uh, about a possible short cost that we could create for people now that they could with 19 self quarantine is ongoing.
Uh, and I was thinking we could talk a bit about it.
Jesper (9m 36s):
That sounds great. And that was, yes, we, there's so many people stuck at home and I mean, you can either read the news and just feel more and more paranoid, panicked and depressed or you can do something with all this suddenly available time. And you and I are definitely the more of the do something with it crowds. So we thought we'd help help some other people
Speaker 2 (9m 57s):
adding more tasks to are endless to do lists. That's, I don't know how smart,
Jesper (10m 1s):
I know, I feel the weight it's teetering at add some more supports I think.
Speaker 2 (10m 7s):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I was in checking on the result earlier today, um, on that pole that you've created because basically what, what we did was that we made a poll and said, okay, if we're going to write, or no, sorry, not right, but if we're going to teach a very like quick, short course, what would people's favorite topic B and you put in some different, uh, options for people to vote on, but also allowed them to am to add their own topics if they want it. Which I don't think I came in like two days later though.
Yeah. There was somebody who was a parenting, so cheated and said, I want all the above. Yeah. But, uh, I think I came in like two days later and then I added my fantasy map making option. But I think so many boats had already been cast at that point. So we was too late. Yeah.
Jesper (10m 59s):
I thought I had that in there from the beginning of that. It has something about map making, but maybe I was wrong or you have to Wilco shoot. Oh, it's probably, well, you know, you think one thing that adds the other.
Speaker 2 (11m 9s):
Yeah. Well, so we had the character development, we had the plot and story development we'll building and then I added mapmaking and periodic everything. So a chief air, uh, but I, but I was in checking the results today as I said. And there was actually twice as many votes on a course about character development versus number two, which was unplugged and store development.
Jesper (11m 33s):
Interesting. To me, that is very interesting. I don't know if I would've guessed on character development. I just kinda throw that one, I wouldn't have, I don't know. But obviously co authors are interested in that. So that sounds like it's might be one way you have to look into yeah, the people have spoken,
Speaker 2 (11m 51s):
that's a quite decisive result. So, uh, we are of course recording this episode that you're listening to now ahead of time. So this also means that we are going to set up a page from where people can sign up for this course that we're then going to create maybe on character development and why I'm saying maybe it's because we are only going to create it if we get enough sign off. Otherwise we will not spend our time on it.
Um, so by the time you're listening to this episode, all of this has already happened. Most likely let's fold means that the, yeah, which means that you will, you will have seen a short, very short, like a few minutes long bonus episode pop up on the podcast feed where I explained all the details, um, about how to sign up and all that stuff. So you're probably already listened to that and hopefully if you already signed up as well. Uh, so I don't know if we're going to be that fast on up, but that's my assumption for now.
So we'll see. Uh, if we get enough sign ups, we discussed autumn and I that we least, we needed these 20 sign-ups, otherwise we're not going to go ahead. Uh, so, but I guess, you know, these times of self pointing, it's just a good time to, to learn. You know, people have the time at home nowadays. I think it's a great, great thing. I mean, goodness sakes, I have, uh, so many little mini courses I've started, I want to get back to and I just keep building things. So eventually I'm gonna finish this cabinet. I'm just going to enjoy writing and creating on amwritingfantasy and maybe taking a few courses of my own.
Speaker 3 (13m 27s):
Oh yeah. Why not? Why not?
Speaker 2 (13m 31s):
All right. Anything else we need to share before we move on though other than, you know, stay safe out there and you know, let's go learn something about, uh, how we became author as the highs and the lows.
Speaker 3 (13m 43s):
Speaker 2 (13m 48s):
Alright. So yeah. Hi alone. I actually tried to prepare like three good items and three bad items, organized truth to final one that became golf. Both a good antibiotic. So it's like a blessing and a curse wrapped in one. Okay, that sounds very fair. I will, since you're organized, I will come up with the same thing, but I will do my usual of winging it, but I'll let you go first. But because I can definitely think of two good things that definitely have inspired me, but maybe one of yours will inspire my third.
Okay. So do you want to alternate? Alternate.
Speaker 3 (14m 26s):
Speaker 2 (14m 28s):
Um, so my first, should we start with the good ones? Are we going to go one good one bad one. Good one. Bad we should alternate the whole way through. So good, bad, good, bad. And also between the two of us. Okay. Okay. So just be mindful then. I have two good ones. I have two bad ones. And then the last one is, uh, is a mixture of the two towns fair. That's fair. Well that, that was the only way I, that'd be an interesting, I'm trying to think what will be a mixture so it'll be fun. Um, I guess there is more that you can guess.
You can think about it now and then, and then before I reveal it, I'll ask you, what do you think it is? It'll be tough one. Oh, that's mean it's going to be impossible probably. Thanks. Uh, so, okay. My first good one. Um, I actually talked a bit about this in a, in a past episode, but I think the really good thing I did was that I decided to only listen to one single critique partner when I started out, because I talked about it a bit in the past as well.
I just don't know. I mean maybe everything would have worked out fine anyway, but, but I, I just not sure how things would have ended up if I've done the either the like full critique group kind of a thing where you're getting a ton of other types of people, but maybe five, six people giving you feedback on your manuscript and all the contradictory information that you will be getting from people and trying to take into that into account when they don't even know myself starting out what is right or what is wrong or I think, I think it would have been a bit of a mess and might have ended up making things take a lot longer to get completed because of it.
Uh, and then I guess there's some luck in this one as well because I was lucky that the critique partner actually was, he was good at it. He's good at explaining what it was that was wrong with my writing, what I could do it differently. He gave me some examples once in a while, so not that he wrote anything for me, but sometimes he just wrote a line just saying, what, you know, what if you did like this? And I still distinctly remember some point, especially with the beginning of the novel, I was trying to ride him and he keeps, he kept telling me, well this is telling, not showing.
And he kept saying that we wrote and he said, he sent me back a note and say, is you are still telling. I was like, really? Okay. I wrote again and I think this happened 10 times. I've got the same response every time. And I was like, okay, I'm lost. I don't know what you mean. Um, and then he said, okay, um, what if it went something like this? And he, I think he just wrote a single paragraph or something and then I still remember as soon as I read it, it just sort of clicked in place in my mind.
Oh, that's fantastic. That's like, ah, I got it now. I see. And it was so weird because when I take clicked in, in place for me it always felt a bit stupid as well at the same time because you know, I read tons of books. I mean there, there was nothing in what you sent me that you don't read in any book anyway, but, but there was just something because I was in the middle of the process and he was telling me in, in a reflection directly linked to the story that I was telling that just made it click. Whereas when I was just reading other people's books, it just wasn't as, I don't know, it was just, I, I just couldn't get, I just didn't understand how, how to tell the story without it just being like, here's an infrared dump of text where I'll tell you about the world and whatnot.
Right. The famous fantasy problems. Yes. Um, well I think that's so, yeah,
Jesper (18m 14s):
that's a typical one I think for a lot of new authors too. We could do a whole episode on what the difference of showed up, what that really means. So we won't go there. But that is a, that is a huge step to learn.
Speaker 2 (18m 27s):
Yeah. We actually have a knot on the podcast feed here, but on the amwritingfantasy YouTube channel, there is actually a full interview with Chet. I forgot his last name, but he's a line editor full episode with him where he's talking about show versus a tail. So you can find it on the YouTube channel if you're interested. But, but it's, it's a really good conversation and he explains it in detail, uh, how to avoid it and what to think about and what not. So. So that's pretty good.
That sounds good.
Jesper (18m 59s):
I think for me, when I'm on, the first things that I did that I think made a big difference is, I mean I had spent a few years I think querying agents and actually getting some responses, but never really getting an actual agent, never getting a publishing deal. And it was really my husband who actually found an article on self-publishing. And again, this was 2014 so you know, really eBooks became popular in 2012 so it's only two years in.
It was still pretty much an unknown thing. And it was interesting because the article was actually about someone else who is also a federal employee, just like I was at the time and that she was trying self-publishing and her experience and it was just sort of like what you said, it was so similar to what I'd been doing and what I wanted to do that I think, I think he had even mentioned it in other people had mentioned maybe self-publishing and I have taken to adult ed writing courses, but neither of them had even mentioned self-publishing at the time.
It was completely unheard of. They were completely unhelpful. And so it was the fact that he, you know, he recommended it and I read it and it was so similar to what I was doing. I'm like, yeah, yeah, I'm doing that. And it was, I think that was December. I remember it being right before Christmas. So that was December at the time. And I said, yeah, I'm going to give this a go. And it took until February to get everything ready and to figure out how to get everything ready. But it was because, um, uh, my husband and him sharing that article that I actually became a self published author in early twenties actually.
So don't really 2012. I'm sorry. That's when I first published born of water. So right at the beginning of the eBooks. Um, yeah, I think that was phenomenal and I think I would have totally waited a couple more years and kept querying agents if he hadn't ever pointed that out to me and got me going.
Speaker 2 (20m 57s):
Yeah. But that's good. Uh, and I guess that was also back when, wow. Yeah. Maybe some people could argue that it's still a bit the case today, but there was a lot more stigma around self puppers.
Jesper (21m 9s):
Oh yes. And we can get into, if we want to switch to the bad side of self-publishing in 2012, um, I will say that as my first bad response. So you go ahead with yours.
Speaker 2 (21m 23s):
Okay. Well, I think my bad one is, it's about expectations because it's again, one of those things where, you know what, but you don't know it because I think I came into the writing journey with not completely unrealistic but slightly unrealistic expectations on how fast I could grow an income from am. I was thinking like, yeah, but you know, two years maybe then everything should be fine.
It's like, yeah, right. You know, you get, you get wiser. Um, and I think this line of thinking actually to just a slight detour here, but, but I think this line of thinking about having realistic expectations actually has heavily influenced the materials that we created for the free course called so popular soup success that we're going to release later this year. I'm going to talk quite a lot about that in the first modules of that course because it's so important in it.
I don't know why for me, I mean, I'm pretty stubborn minded. You know, when I, when I want to do something I'm going to do it. So it's not like it the motivated me, but it could feel times like frustrating when I was looking at the monthly revenue and it was like, what the F this is, I mean if you, if I looked at the per sentence then it was a nice number, right? Yeah. We had a 200% growth in revenue this month compared to last month. But it's like $1. It's like yes, that is the tough one. I could have caused the proceeds to kid myself.
Yeah. But it's, it never demoted, demoted. We my but I think for other people
Jesper (23m 8s):
it could. Um, I think, yeah, I think if you don't fight just other motivations. Um, cause I think that's common for everyone. They're hoping they'll make more money, but hopefully something else lights a fire and makes it worthwhile for you.
Speaker 2 (23m 24s):
Well, yeah, I mean of course there is also the fact around, uh, it's not, I mean, we're not writing books just for money. Right. I mean, as I said in a YouTube video, once, you know, if you're in for this, if you're in this for the money, there is a ton of better and much easier way to earn money then writing books. So if that was the only motivation than I would almost say go and something else and stay. So of course we're writing the books because we want to tell the story, but we also want to earn some money from it. Right. Um, and it was one of those things where I have heard many, many times that you need to think about your writing Korea something long term and you're not gonna own a lot of money very quickly and all that stuff.
And I've heard it a lot of time, but still, I didn't take it to heart until I sort of experienced it. So it was one of those things where logically I knew it, but I didn't quite believe it in my heart. Right.
Jesper (24m 18s):
I understand that totally. And yeah, I guess until you get there, you just don't know. So that is, uh, expectations is a good, um, good example of the lows. I think for mine, definitely coming back to it being 2012, late 2011 and most, like I said, no one was even recommending self-publishing at the time I was up in Maine. So I'm doing this tiny little corner of the United States that I've actually been to other States and people have asked me, Oh, isn't that Canada?
So my it is not a well known state even in the United States, surprisingly. And uh, so no one was really supportive. There was no one in the community who he could ask questions of. And so I did make some of those very typical newbie mistakes. Even though I had my book, I just taking these courses, I knew a bit about editing, I edited, I had someone else look it over. It, published it with still too many errors. It wasn't a good editor, it wasn't a good edit. It was am. Even though I would say a self-made cover, but I keep thinking, I still have self-made covers, but Hey, I'm a graphic artist, but my first cover, I hadn't gotten into Photoshop.
I did kind of put up something, it wasn't the best cover cause again, what were you comparing things to in 2012? Uh, you know the other, there were so few books on books on Amazon at the time, despite all that, you know, you could run a promo and you'd get 10,000 downloads on a drop of a hat. It was so fascinating and so much fun. It was,
Speaker 2 (25m 47s):
yeah. T.H.E. I think back then, actually it didn't matter as much what the cover looks.
Jesper (25m 52s):
No, it really didn't. I, I refer to those days now is the wild West of the indie publishing world because it was anything goes and you could shoot to the top, you could shoot to the bottom. Oh, it was tons of fun and just absolutely crazy, crazy times. But yeah, those were definitely some of my mistakes because I just didn't have the advice. And I, you know, again, that's what's led to some of our classes and courses and everything else or is because the stuff just wasn't available. There was no advice on the web. There was no help at all.
And even some of the publishing companies I talked to, I ended up using a publishing company in Maine. And uh, they helped people, you know, do print books but didn't help people at the time do eBooks. And when I explained what I was doing, they're like, really, you can do that. I mean, when you look, Stephen King in Maine basically started the ebook revelation in 2008 when he published a something that you could only get online. He is the start of this. And yet I had main publishers who are going,
Speaker 2 (26m 53s):
you want to do what? And
Jesper (26m 56s):
I, Oh, I guess I could help you edit it. Who was so unhelpful? So that was definitely my low side is I started so early and in such a little weird corner of the world that even though it was very literary Stephen King, I mean seriously, he was a town away. Um,
Speaker 2 (27m 12s):
just that helps support and writers groups. Uh, we're just not there. And that was really difficult. Yeah. But there there is actually believe it or not, but there are still people today that doesn't know that you can self publish on sites like Amazon and stuff like that though it still exists. There's still some people who just poo poo it and say, no, it doesn't matter unless I end up being published by a big brick and mortar and I'm like, well okay. Yeah. To me that's fine.
I mean each to his own. I don't mind how people publish if to self publish or they think that it's much better to be traditional published Ida. I don't care what whatsoever they can do what they want, but at least they should just be mindful of the decisions that they're making or what it means. To me, I think it's the attitude that it is the only in true and tried way. You know what? No, it's just one way. They're all equally, I don't like people looking down on other people. That's just not right. No, no, I agree with that. I agree with that. And I think the other thing about it is also that it's night, it's not like a, it's a onetime forever decision.
The decision to self-publish or traditional publish. It's also a book by book decision. That's true. It doesn't have to be. So that now I decide that I want to be traditional puppet show from now on, all my books are going to be that or vice versa. Everything is going to be self-published. I mean, you can decide what you want to do per book. So yeah. And I still think hybrid is probably one of the best ways to go. I mean, you get the both the best of both worlds. I think so. But I think so. It's not easy. Of course. No. You've got to find the right platform.
It'd be in the right spot and so many other things must align and the stars. Yeah. And you need an agent that's well to be able to do that. So, but well that's something that, not the story. Oh, something else though. What did you, what was another good experience? Another high of being, uh, your writing journey yeah. So my number two of the good ones is, uh, by far the best one.
Then this one was so easy because, uh, there is nothing coming even close to this. Yeah. Yeah. So that is actually teaming up.
Jesper (29m 35s):
Oh wow. I didn't know I made the list. That's so I have butterflies. That's fantastic.
Speaker 2 (29m 44s):
Well, but, but it's, it's true because I feel like it's, it's just so great working together, uh, on both all the nonfiction stuff and all the author related courses. And I also, you know, the community that we're building on the Facebook group, but also from listeners to this podcast and what all of that is, is really great. But I think above all of that is, it's just the fact that having somebody to work closely together with and sort of share all the ups and downs, but also figuring out how, you know, how we want to do things, coming up with plans for the future and, and all those different things.
I, it's just, it's so much different than if going on, if I was going out of their loan, I, I, I understand that everybody would want to, you know, be coauthor, altering things and doing things together and that's fine. But at least
Jesper (30m 36s):
for me and, and the way that I like to work, I think it's awesome. Oh, it is. I w I definitely concur considering that am one, it's by fault. I reached out to you first, but that, uh, that you're patient with me considering I am truly a high motivated worker, but it seems like since we, uh, started working together, I've been traveling full time building a cabin, um, had a job full time job for a while. I'd be disbanding in just a crazy journey. I've really used to be the steady person in the world, but it seems like it to be fair to yourself.
It's only been the last six months. Yeah, I think so. But it's been a little, little crazy, but we'll catch up and it's going to be very exciting. But no, considering one of my, one of my biggest complaints was that I had been going it alone just to learn indie publishing. I think having a partner and having someone else who, especially you like spreadsheets, I like graphic design. It, it all works out. I do websites. You do advertising. It'd mean we fill in each other's gaps. So, well, I don't know how this worked out.
Yeah, that was, yeah, that was not even planned. That's just us being lucky. I said, I can still say, I think, uh, the hike and Pooka Wasco national park in Canada, it was a 10 mile hike out 10 miles back and your name popped up. And I'm like, that's, I'm kinda sent him an email and see if he wants to work together. Yeah, that was amazing. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (32m 7s):
Just to mention as well, for the listener, uh, back in episode 58, we talked about how to find a writing partner. So if that's something you're interested in,
Jesper (32m 16s):
go and listen to that episode a little bit more of our story as well. Well since you already claimed a working together, which I definitely think has been a highlight. I will say as a personal author journey I think one of the moments that made me, there's, I guess I'll combine it into two, there's two moments, moments that really made me one fall in love with being an author and how credibly awesome and cool it is. And one that made me take it even more seriously than I thought I already was. And the first one was I was doing something on good reads of all places and I saw my name listed under somebody who's favorite authors and I just kind of made me realize I am a published author.
I mean I remember like being a teenager and you know who Tracy, you, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, you know who my favorite authors are. I would list and suddenly my name is listed like in that same spot. And I mean it still gives me tingles. I mean it made me tear up. I, I know I did a screen capture of it and I'm just like, that's, that was it. That was just the moment for me of I'm an author and it's serious and someone actually loves my writing so much. They're saying my I'm their favorite.
So that was so exciting. And yeah, the other was when I got a critical review from Fantasia reviews and they wrote something incredibly glowing about, uh, one of my books, spark of defiance. And I think it was one that said, maybe kind of say, okay, I, I, you know, I've written a lot of books at that point and they were doing okay, but sort of like what you'd said, my expectations had been like, yeah, this is, this is making some money, but it's not going to pay for a lavish lifestyle among the stars or anything. This is not, you know, this is not going to foot everything I want to do with my life.
It's just going to be a part of it. And it kind of made me say, you know, but this is serious and I'm not putting people saying I'm good. People have said, uh, other, you know, other people have written to me and emailed me and said I was good. But to have someone who's a read thousands of books at a critical reviewer say you are good just made me kind of dust off my shoulders, dust off the covers. I ended up redoing all my covers. I redid my blurbs, I got a little bit more professional looking. You know, I did a little revamp cause you know, starting in 2012 in the wild West, you got to kind of take off the desert dust.
So yeah. Um, and so that, I think that really kind of made me take it all a little bit more seriously and say this is, this has gotta be a certain standard to everything I do and I really appreciate that. So understanding that. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (34m 51s):
Okay. I have another battery one before the last, uh, mixed. Okay.
Jesper (34m 58s):
Oh, and this one is just like, I could bang my head.
Speaker 2 (35m 5s):
Oh. But it's like, because even when I started, I already knew it and then I did it anyway. Oh no. This was when, uh, I wrote a full book on how to Margaret Margaret books on Twitter. And it's so freaking annoying because I, even when I started writing it, I just knew that writing a book about some sort of social media platform is like the worst plan in the world because the social media platforms change all the time and what you write, we'll be out of date tomorrow.
Um, and uh, I did it anyway. I took all the time that it took to write the books. I, I even created like am there was a lot of like how to set different things up. So I even recorded a screen share videos about click here, click there kind of thing, which was linked to each video inside. It was like a very comprehensive book. I mean it would teach you everything you needed to know step-by-step, showing you videos along the way. It was in that sense, it was great.
Um, and people loved it. I think it was like a month after I published it. Then Twitter changed the terms of service. So the bedrock of the entire strategy that the book was built on disappeared because the service that I was using to make everything work had to close shop. Because Twitter changed the terms of condition there. So that went out the window and then was like, Oh, okay, great. So everything that this, uh, you know, paid for the, for the, uh, editing of the book and all that stuff, all the time that went into is just like out the window in five minutes.
And I was like, this is so fucking stupid because I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Right. Uh, and that it should just, so yeah. I, I feel at least I did the right thing in the end because I actually unpublished it. Um, I do see a lot of books on Amazon that is out of date for sure, that it's still up there and people are still selling them. And I don't know, I just feel like that's cheating the reader leg. It is, it's not fair selling people that book, even if it's just $5 or something. But it's not fair selling a book where USD author already know that the content inside is, is not, it's not possible to follow the strategy anymore.
Right. So I've just felt like that that's not fair. That's certainly not what I want to do. So I actually unpublished it. Um, but it was just so annoying because all the time that went into writing it, recording all those videos, paying for editing and all that stuff.
Jesper (37m 44s):
Cool. I remember you, we were talking at that point we were, I don't know if we were to start working together, but we're at least communicating enough. I remember the struggles you went through with that one and little tweaks cause I was, I w but it's so easy. I mean it seemed like Twitter was stable for, at the time it seemed like tweet Twitter had been stable the way you were using it for a year.
Speaker 2 (38m 10s):
Oh yeah. In time. It worked really well. Yeah. So that's definitely, yeah, it's an easy trap to get yourself sucked into, I guess. Yeah. So for everybody listening, if you have an idea about writing a book about how to do some social media stuff, just save yourself the effort and don't do it. It's, it's so annoying when you end up figuring out that everything you just made, which is out of thing.
Jesper (38m 36s):
Oh, I think for me, and this is actually one, I thought you were going to choose this when your worst, so I don't know if it's your am the next thing you'll say or not, but I was gonna say piracy and
Speaker 2 (38m 48s):
Oh, okay. No, because I don't, I know, well just to give a quick reflection on that before you elaborate on why you picked that one. But because in general, I don't see it as a big problem. Uh, I mean I understand that peop people do pirate books and, and that happens all the time. I do understand that. But my line of thinking for the most part, it's like the people who are powering pirating books and downloading pirated books and are going to buy my books anyway. So honestly, I don't care.
I mean, I will say, I will send a take down notice when I, when I notice it, but I'm not losing any sleep or I'm sorry for that interruption.
Jesper (39m 29s):
My line of thinking. See, I think we've definitely, especially having matured, I think it's become, um, something we both share that view because I mean my biggest joke now, you've got to have a sense of humor about this is that you're pirating a book that sells for like one I'm giving away am and other ones that are like two 99, three 99. You really, if you're forgot to go steal something and try to resell it, there's all, I think my jigsaw is worth more than the book. Of course, the book you can kind of keep reselling and the true costs of piracy I think is a lot of people are doing the, Hey, sign up to get this.
So they're actually stealing the email addresses or possibly trying to get you to log into the site and create an email and then they're getting this password and they're going to try that password and your email address and all these other places. It's going to be on the dark web. So that's why you're supposed to always change your password because once they get ahold of one of your passwords, they're going to try your email. And password combination everywhere. So you gotta be careful and I hate knowing my books are used that way, but I definitely have had a few people who have come to me and said, Oh by the way, did you know your book's available here?
And it's like, you know, you'd go to Google and you say this is not authorize, this is not a real website. Please take it down. And it gets tiring cause I do try to at least stamp it out because it bothers me to no end result of what they're trying to do for sure. But it is crazy and it is funny though. I will say it's not really a piracy but I do actually know that since I published my book, someone else came up with the exact same title and she's a great author and she's doing really well and it's a different book, a different cover. But there is something just kind of like you had a name that I was there first but you don't, we don't have titles.
You've got to get over that one pretty quick.
Speaker 2 (41m 17s):
Yeah, indeed. I was just about to say, even even when we write our fiction, I'm, I don't intend to sit and chill all the books on Amazon to check if somebody has the same time. I mean, it, it can easily happen quintessential, right? So yes,
Jesper (41m 29s):
especially when you're doing elemental magic. I mean eventually someone's going to come up the same title
Speaker 2 (41m 34s):
you are, but Oh well, but definitely a piracy still bothers me. I just wish the world was a different place. Yeah, I guess so. Yeah. It's a nice to know, but at least, uh, from those pirated sites, uh, as you, as you said, a lot of the time they actually trick you to show you download malware and stuff like that. So I hope those people who, uh, than stealing by downloading pirate of the stuff are going to learn the lesson one day a computer get corrupted.
So maybe you shouldn't do that again. Support the author please then $2 and support the orthopedics. So that's how to, that's how you should be behaving. But of course that doesn't apply, apply to any of our listeners because they are all author so they get this. All right, so your plus and minus combined. I have one as well. So what is yours? And don't make me be gas it cause I don't have a clue. No. Okay. I won't let you guess it will be here.
The rest of them. This is a blessing and a curse in work. So this is basically when I started out, uh, apart from writing I also spent quite a lot of time focusing on learning how to market books. Uh, so I was listening to podcasts, I was reading nonfiction books. I remember actually I recorded a YouTube video about it years back is still on the YouTube channel somewhere. And I think in that video I listed out like 20 or 30 books or something and that I read on marketing.
Um, I also took Mark Dawson's ads for authors course and I watched you two videos with Brandon Sanderson classes, uh, in it. So just like everything that I could absorb. I did. And on one hand I think it was good because it did help me in the longterm. You know, I, I sort of probably avoided some of the early pitfalls because I, for instance, I learned that I had to set up an email list from the beginning, which I did, which was good.
Um, but at the same time, I also have to say that all the time that I put into learning how to market books when I was still writing my first book was not a quiz. I should, you know, if I spent the same time just writing instead, I probably have probably had had more than one trilogy out now. Uh, but, uh, yeah, I don't know. It's sort of, it's good and bad. It's not like I want to say I want to, I would not do it if I had to do it again.
But I do understand that I spend a lot of time on it that could have been spent on writing and at least when we were starting out, it's better just to write some books and then learn marketing later when you have like at least three or four books. Yeah, that's probably very true and definitely good advice. And I still have to say even as a author with as many books as I have, that there is still
Jesper (44m 32s):
times I'm like, gosh, I'm wasting my time. I'm building a cabinet. Could be writing or I could be if I was more serious on graphic design, I could've learned this, this and this and the snout by now. But there are only so many things in the day and you know what? Life is not all about just my nose to the grindstone. Occasionally I had to go for a walk with my husband and the dog or they might not be there than the morning life keeps getting in the way of what's going on. It's kind of reminds me every once in a while that it's not all about fantasy worlds and characters in my head.
So my plus and minus is going to sound like a total minus, but it actually had a plus even though I would never do it again on purpose was that I was writing I used to write all the time on my iPad and I was writing one time and uh, we went to backup my iPad and I had actually, it was a new software update was went through on my iPad and I had backed up my story before we started it and I lost 10 chapters, 10, 10, 10, 10 and it was my second book.
So I had one post Oh, easily. I mean it was, I think that book, it's rule of fire and it was I think 110,000 words. I don't know how many chapters, but it's at least a third of the book. About a third of the book I lost in one go. And it was, again, I remember it was December. I remember the dates pretty good that way. And it was just gut wrenching because it was book number two. So I was only had published one. I kind of knew I really wanted to do a trilogy.
I'm still all new and wet behind the ears and you lose a third of your book. And that was it. Only, you know, I was about halfway through it. So I lost the major chunk of my book and I, um, it was that moment of am I going to be serious about this? Am I going to be a writer? Am I going to sit down and, and fix this and rewrite it or am I going to just give up and say, well, I tried and it didn't work out in life. Life threw me a curve ball and I just ducked and ran. So no, obviously 16 books later I sucked it up.
Said, you know what, just give me a week. Don't bother me. I am going to take Christmas break and I'm going to rewrite those 10 chapters. And I did ask him to the to him stop, right. Sat down, wrote up and I actually think they came out better, which is really kind of funny. Oh yeah. But I would never do, I would never delete 10 chapters on purpose again. No. Please especially one of our books. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (47m 2s):
Okay. Well I think that was some, uh, good and bad things about our author journey. So hopefully the listeners will get something out of that. Hopefully. At least I can see that there are
Jesper (47m 12s):
goods and bads in every journey and hopefully, Hey Sherry, you know, some of yours in the comments, it'd be really great to hear them.
Speaker 2 (47m 19s):
That would be cool. Or in the, in the amwritingfantasy phase. Well, no, that would be nice. So, uh, all of them I'm thinking if I get some music playing then maybe you can
Jesper (47m 30s):
talk us out here from this episode. Absolutely. So next up we are going to have a secret surprise interview on our next episodes of please. Come back and stay tuned. Oh, maybe it'll be the two of us.
Narrator (47m 45s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join autumn and Yesper on patrion.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 143 – Tips on Book Marketing to Different Generations
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 142 – What to do Every Day to Become a Better Writer
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 141 –Top 10 WORST Powers to Have
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 140 – How to Get a Literary Agent for Your Book (with Jane Friedman)
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 139 – Does Race & Gender REALLY Matter in Fantasy?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 138 – Book Pre sales vs Pre orders
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 137 – How to Maintain Your Story's Flow
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 136 – Top 10 Worst Characters EVER!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 135 – How Beta Readers Improve Your Writing—with Pam Burleson & Paul Kilpatrick
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 134 – A Bit About Our Writing—Listener Q&A!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 133 – Tips on How to Write Fiction Well
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 132 – Top 10 WORST People to Ever Teach Magic
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 131 – Jeff Wheeler on Amazon as a Publisher and Writing Fantasy
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 130 – What is the Emotional Plot?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 129 – Our Favorite Book Sales Tracker and Why You Need One
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 128 – Top 10 Reasons Why Your Character Will HATE You
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 127 – What Fantasy Readers are Looking For—with Damon Courtney
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 126 – Magic Systems Explained
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 125 – What is Deep POV and How Can it Help Your Story?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 124 – Will Social Media Actually Help to Sell Books?
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