We've had listeners ask SEVERAL times for us to talk about our books and writing... haven't we done that yet?! 😱🤣

So, in the spirit of sharing, we are answering listener questions about us and our writing! Because who doesn't want to squirm with the question, "Have you ever written a book/series that didn't sell well and what did you do?" Join us for some insight, fun, and maybe a few secrets...

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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).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy 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 two 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.

Jesper (30s):
I'm Jesper.

Autumn (31s):
And I'm autumn.

Jesper (34s):
This is episode 134 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And by the time You will be listening to, this is going to be the middle of July, But we are actually prerecording to enable us to take a summer break. And yeah, this way you shoot, you were still get new podcast episode and in the spirit have some of the cases and we decided to do something different today because we've collected questions from your listeners. And in today's episode, we are planning to answer all of those and all the things that are you guys want to know. So I'm looking forward to this one, all of them.

Autumn (1m 13s):
Yes. I love. And then listeners actually, where the ones that you pointed out that we've done now 134 podcasts, and we've hinted about our books and we've mentioned we have books in the theme, you know, they'll well, we come on in and says we've had more than 20 books, but we never actually talk much about our own writing in our own books.

Jesper (1m 35s):
So thank you for pointing that out. Then we make up for it and this episode. So yeah, I mean, we are not going to talk about our books in the sense that they're trying to get you interested in reading them at all, but more like your, your, your reader listener questions in terms of what you wanted to know about our own writing journey and those sorts of things. So, absolutely. So that'll be fun.

Autumn (2m 3s):
It should be very fun. Now I'm just dropping things here. Oops. I've already said I'm having a Monday. You can't have a Monday too, because that'll be a disaster and you already jinxed in fact that maybe, maybe it, the recording will screw it up and all of that kind of stuff.

Jesper (2m 20s):
So, and, and usually when you, when you say something like that, all of them, you make me nervous because you have a very big influence on the electronics.

Autumn (2m 28s):
I do. I've trying not to touch on my computer or my microphone or the light I've got going on as we're recording, because I've definitely had a total Monday worth. It's been exciting. I mean, I usually, you know, things in life I've mentioned, I felt like I was cursed. You know, I think January in February, but suddenly it's like something broke and I'm getting like five emails about this and six emails about that. And it's exciting, but there's a point where it was like, oh, this is fun. This is so I'd be like, oh my gosh, I'm a little nervous, but it's good.

Jesper (3m 3s):
It's a good thing. That is a good thing, but I don't need to break anything. Yeah. I, well, I was joking with you last week. I can't remember if we were recording or if it was off air, but I was joking with you last week that while your husband was away too, how, where you were going to eat because the fridge was probably break once you touched it.

Autumn (3m 24s):
So it hasn't yet, but I haven't been able to fix it's so broken slightly. So it has its moments and I knew it. I knew it. You just, you know, every, and plus I've got the weather going on today. We it's lovely. We were having a very wet spring and yesterday was gorgeous. We went for a hike up Mount, oh, I can never pronounce at one task to cook. Oh my task to quit. I should say, which is this lovely mountain. That's M overlooking the Connecticut river and this hotel. And we live in. And so we did a lovely hike and all of the mountain, Laurel and Blum, and it was sunny, you know, is warm. And today we woke up to thunderstorms and I know there's been pouring all day and you can see, I have this lovely, like white selfie light.

Autumn (4m 7s):
That's just gorgeous. So I'm sitting in the dark waiting for more thunderstorms to roll through, but you know, so far so good that hopefully things are better for you. All right. It's pretty dark. He as well, you could see this is quite well.

Jesper (4m 25s):
The people watching on YouTube at least can see it's quite dark. I mean, it's just getting late evening on my end or as well. So, well, I don't have that excuse.

Autumn (4m 34s):
It's like, yeah, that's just bad with it then.

Jesper (4m 39s):
But yeah, but you do. How did you have a good week? Yes. Otherwise good work has gotten busy.

Autumn (4m 46s):
Drawing's getting busy. I'd love the Hike. My husband came back. So that was kinda nice at some time together. So that is all good. And I love the hike, feeling it a little bit in my legs. Should I? Yeah. But that's all right. So is he is so that's good. Yeah. And now the light went out.

Jesper (5m 1s):
Yeah. You touched the light. I knew it.

Autumn (5m 2s):
I did. I should never touch these things. So we'll see. All right. Well, my husband's looking for,

Jesper (5m 12s):
and then podcast listeners can't see this, but her light keeps going out.

Autumn (5m 15s):
Yeah, exactly. Like I predicted, I know it went out, but that's the worst thing that happens. We'll be fine. I'm getting technical assistance because you know, I needed to lets just talk about U for the moment. I always thinks of Denmark.

Jesper (5m 34s):
I will. Yeah. It's it's not been good to be very honest. It was, it was a terrible weekend. But yeah. As I mentioned in last week, last week's episode and Denmark was going to play Findon for all our first match in the European soccer championship. And it was also for the first time ever that Denmark is one of the host nations. So it was like on our home field and, and I, you know, with COVID going on for so long and everything we've been waiting for like one and a half year for this match and everybody was looking so much forward to it. And I'm, and also because the tournament structures in such a way that know two matches are you ever played at at the same time?

Jesper (6m 21s):
So basically everybody in the entire world who likes soccer was able to tune in and then something really terrible happened in that match. And to be honest at the effected me quite a lot over the weekend, and I'll try to do my best to talk a bit about what happened to you for also for those people who, who maybe don't watch soccer and Noah or, but of course by the time you listened to this, this, this slightly in the past. So it'll probably be a bit easier to listen to, but I'll try not to get emotional talking about this, but I have to admit that over the weekend I was quite emotional because I know it was really tough.

Jesper (7m 3s):
So normally I try to keep upbeat and the nicer, you know, tone in these podcasts, but I'm not sure I can manage this second section here, but I'll try. Okay. So as I feel like it is important to sort of talk about stuff like this when it happens. So I'm about 40 minutes into this match. One of the dangers players called Christian and Ericsson, he suddenly just collapsed in on the field of play. And at first when I, so what I was sort of wondering what happened because there was no other players near him, you know, there was nobody tackling him or anything like that.

Jesper (7m 50s):
So I was so sort of like that was, that looks a bit weird why he just fell to the ground. And then very soon when the, the cameras sort of found his face, if I can put it like that. So, you know, they filmed him his face and he at this very lifeless stair in his eyes and I, I just could install this. You, something is very, very wrong here. And M okay. So his teammates came running. Those nearest to him of course knew much more than we could from watching on TV, obviously.

Jesper (8m 36s):
But he was in the beginning, he was just, you were just lying. Then he was shaking and then he just stopped shaking and didn't move. And then it become quite apparent that he had a cardiac arrest in the middle of the field. So the paramedics came onto the field and they spent like 20, 30 minutes giving him, you know, what is it called? An English heart-to-heart and then massage, what are you? I don't know.

Autumn (9m 5s):
All right. I think I, because I did see, I read the BBC and I did see a little bit about this, but then they gave him a defibrillator and some CPR.

Jesper (9m 13s):
Yeah. CPR. Yeah, exactly. And they probably spent like 20, 30 minutes doing that and all of the Danish players, his teammates that you sort of formed the circle around him. Yeah. And see this, this, this way. It gets a bit tough for me because it was so powerful images. You know, these people just try to shield him from the camera's all of the people watching M while he was just basically fighting for his life.

Autumn (9m 53s):
Oh my gosh. It was, it was tough. I'm surprised. I didn't, I mean, I understand it is, I'm sure there's a live event, but I'm almost surprised that they didn't pan back or give a little more privacy to him at that point.

Jesper (10m 13s):
Yeah. I mean the network I watched it on. They, they, as soon as they noticed what was really happening, they switched to a camera is from a helicopter outside. So just looking overlooking the city of Copenhagen, but there were other TV stations, who filmed the whole thing, which was not on the channel I watched, which I'm pretty preppy, pretty happy about that. I didn't know. I really feel that it's really terrible, but I know those images of his teammates has just made it around the world since, and on one hand it makes me really proud or the way that it is behaved.

Jesper (10m 58s):
But then on the other hand, it was also really tough. And I think the worst part, when was that I need to breed a bit. So I'll take care of time. At some point they brought his wife onto the field.

Autumn (11m 18s):
Oh, geez. Oh, that's hard. It was too much. Oh, she must of been broken down.

Jesper (11m 34s):
Yeah. And then do you have the TV station up? They filmed this and we did. So I was really upset about learning afterwards that they filmed his wife standing there obviously completely devastated and thinking that he was dead because I thought he was that too. At that point then, and our team captain, an AR goalkeeper, we went to his wife and try to console her, which is also really tough. So yeah, this is not good podcast material and no, but I think is important.

Jesper (12m 17s):
And I think it was like an hour later, it was then an announced that he was alive and he had been taken to the hospital too. So that was all good. Yeah. And so I think as well in that, in good sportsmanship, all of finished neighbors did a really wonderful job. So they were like chanting his name and the stadium as well.

Jesper (12m 57s):
Oh, that is really good. And I know I had read that they had M halted play even after he'd gone off the field until they heard from the hospital that he was gonna be, he was at at least alive. So I thought that was really, I thought that was decent. Have, you know, all of the sides of the players were obviously, and I think I remember reading that some of the Denmark players were not able to continue to play. Some of them could, but that there is a player is just so effective that they're like, I can't do this today. So it was a huge, you know, and that's from anywhere. I want to maybe go a bit into what happened there, because that's not so emotional because I'm upset about that.

Jesper (13m 39s):
Part of it was just an easier for me to talk about, because honestly, like I want to move a bit away from all of this because it's too emotional is still alive. I'm even struggling with T S right now is I speak because there's just too much. But let me move in to a bit of a ramp because I can barely handle that right now. Lets get that out. But you have, because we're face is the body of authority, bodies who sort of governance do you European soccer championship. And of course they stop the play as you sit. And when this happened and everybody just went to the dressing rooms after a while, they stood on the pitch for a long while, while the treatment was still going on.

Jesper (14m 24s):
And then they, when he was taken to the hospital too, then they left the pitch and then it proved afterwards that, well, if I had given them a choice and we've had said, either you can play the rest of them match today. All you can meet again tomorrow at 12 o'clock noon and you can play them. Okay. And this has to me, it just so freaking unacceptable. Number one, you, you cannot ask people who've just stood around, watching their teammate almost die to make a decision about what do you want to play now? Or do you want to play tomorrow morning when you haven't slept all night? Probably because you're, you're so worried about at everything that's happened in you assault out of yourself and even asking the people to make a decision on what your preference is completely unacceptable.

Jesper (15m 15s):
But then because they had no other choice did then is play players. Well, the finished players were very, again, they wonderful people, very sportsmanship. And so they said, well, they were, the day in is players. We will do, we will, we will do. They decide. That's a very nice, and then 'cause, today's play. We knew that if we go home and don't even sleep and have to get up tomorrow morning early, get back in here, chains again, warm up again where we have not going to be able to play. So they decided if that's our choice, then let's, let's play it, get it all over with. Right. So they came onto the pitch again and the plate, the sec, this is the last five minutes of the first half and then the second half.

Jesper (15m 56s):
And of course, hats off to those guys for doing that. That's incredible. But it's also shitty because they were not in the game at all, not at all. And it doesn't matter right now at the sports part of it. And the results doesn't matter. We did lose one nil, but again, the, the, the header that was headed, it was like straight out our gold key and our goal keep is one of the best. And he fumbled it into the net, clearly not concentrating at all. And then a bit later on in an immense. So we got a penalty kick, which I Stryker also wasn't you could see it in his face, you know, just waiting to standing there, waiting for the referee to blew the whistle.

Jesper (16m 37s):
So he could kick, he was standing there looking into the ground, like he's somebody who had lost everything almost like, and that's not how you stand. When you are about to take a pedal and you kick, you are your ready, you are ready to fight because you are going to score are now and you are or their right in. And he was not at all. And you made the weakest Kik ever, you know, like a 10 year old kind of kicked that all better. So I, and I'm, I'm just so upset about the fact that the way if I gave them such a shitty, first of all, the choices like between two bats, so it's not really a choice. And then secondly, sort of forcing them to play when they're not there at all. And the, and this is like the European championship, it's you, you have to be at your best. Yeah. And then we of course, to play and fuck, I don't know.

Jesper (17m 20s):
It is. I'm just so upset about it. No, that is. I wonder if you say, well, rethink any of their rules after this, because I mean, I've been paying attention to the French open were, you know, a major player withdrew because she meant set in her mental health. They weren't supporting her. So I may be so maybe something different will come out of this as well, because you know, those are, I mean, they should been given like a week, which I understand their playoffs and things are happening and there's a timeline, but, but they need timelines can never be more important than human life. So I think the only decent thing you ever could have done would of been as an authority.

Jesper (18m 2s):
They make a decision right down in this spot to say, everybody go home, don't worry about it. Just go home and then send everybody back home. And then the day after waiver could contact the team's and then say, okay, let's figure out when can we play a match in the coming days? That would of been the only humane thing way of doing that. It is not okay to ask people who are in a crisis and in shock to make a decision about two shitty options. I know somebody who was not men emotionally and mentally involved in that should have been the one to be the adult and say, Hey, this is what we're going to do to help people out.

Autumn (18m 38s):
Yeah. Just say, go home, then go home. Right. We will talk about it tomorrow. Let's do this one, a real parent would of done. Would have you been in like, Hey, you know what, don't worry about the game. Everyone go home and take care of yourself and hugged your wife.

Jesper (18m 51s):
Yeah. So, well, this was so much tougher to get through than I even thought. So. Sorry about that listeners. I don't know. I, I just failed. It was so important to talk about something when it really moves. You impacted me quite well over the last couple of days. So can you tell, maybe we should just move on to something else now. All right. If you're ready, if you only, if you're ready, we will continue on

Narrator (19m 17s):
Oh, a week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.

Jesper (19m 23s):
Okay. Let's get back to some businesses and I can start all of my astronomy, My crying. And so I'm just Writing a post for yeah. So I do, I was writing a post for our patron supporters about the issue of discoverability on online platforms like Amazon, because that is really our greatest challenge in today's publishing landscape.

Autumn (19m 46s):
As I see it, I agree. And I wrote something very, very similar for us a day is a release, which of course today being a month ago, and this is released, but yes, I'm also in discoverability, but talking a little bit about Villa and some pros and cons to that as well. And maybe some tips on how to use it for discoverability. So that's definitely something we seem to be doing on Patreon recently.

Jesper (20m 12s):
Yeah, absolutely. Then we also talk more about discoverability in our free self publishing success course. So if you want, you can go to www Am Writing Fantasy dot com and you can get the hands on the free course there. But I did learn a few things while writing this patron post in there. I thought maybe I could just share. That'd be fantastic. Yeah. Well technically, okay. This first one I was aware of already, but I still think it was quite important, at least as a reminder, maybe if other people that were aware as well, but at the price at which you sell your books actually plays a huge role in the book and in the, how the book will show up in searches on Amazon, for example.

Jesper (20m 53s):
So for example, I was linking to some material in the post that shows sort of the behind the scenes of how I'm reaching this conclusion, but I'm not going to go there, but as the patron in supporters can read that stuff. But yeah, just ask the conclusion is that, for example, if you take a book selling 10 copies a day at 6 99 in a search that will rank significantly higher than the books selling 10 copies at 1 99. So the same amount of copies sold, but the one with the higher price will rank significantly higher.

Autumn (21m 29s):
I didn't know that already, but I think it's a good reminder of that.

Jesper (21m 35s):
It doesn't matter what you're selling the price at, what price, your setting. Okay. So it does. So I, for one that's, that's quite important that it is important that it is a good, yeah. And then the other part, which was also very interesting was that it showed that the percentage of people who buy the book after seeing it in a search for that keyword, the keyword is just so let's say this so much for epic fantasy and the books showed up, they clicked and then boarded. Okay. So the people who actually do that matters a lot more than you might think, because the more people that buy the book after finding it through a specific search will make Amazon positioned to book much, much higher in the search results, which is of course, then we will make your sale a lot more books.

Autumn (22m 26s):
Yeah. That will really help selling books. So that's an interesting, so that means that there is no way of faking that one either. So it's not something you have to, but it helps to have good keywords then so that people will link and it fits your book until when they find it, they by it. And then we will elevate the book yet.

Jesper (22m 47s):
But yeah, but we really find this one interesting is, is about shovel things. It's about the key words you say that, that the key words you use are related to what the book is about, but it's also about the book cover and the book description, because when they searched, let's say epic fantasy. You let's say you showed you, you, your books shows up in that because you have some good keywords and so on. But if you have book cover is not signaling signaling to the reader that is epic fantasy. And if the book description, don't clearly show that this epic fantasy, and this is what this book is about, the things that you normally associate with epic fantasy, then they won't buy it. And the more times people will ignore it, then the more Amazon will move it down the list.

Jesper (23m 29s):
Right? Yeah. So I think it speaks a lot about a lot of the things we've talked about over and over again, but how all the different elements like covers book, title, keywords, book, description, it all links together and everything has to work towards the same. And if it does, then it will help you significantly in the ranking.

Autumn (23m 50s):
And I think that's, that's, that's very good to always keep in mind. So that was very good. And it really is a combination of everything. So it's like, you really need to be strong, at least moderately strong in everything. They all have to tie together to a whole that we'll be stronger than all of the individual parts. And hopefully you'll rank better that way. Yeah. I mean that there are more details in that post for our patron supporters.

Jesper (24m 17s):
But I think honestly the more time I spend looking into book marketing Anne and all of those topics, the more convinced I become that ranking is the single most important element when it comes to this success of a book, because you can put Facebook ads, Amazon ads, all of that behind it. But if you can make the ranking work for you it's hundred million times easier and trying to come up with new Facebook ads to push some sales.

Autumn (24m 46s):
It's very sure. Remember you go, you know, tweak your AMS ads or find new targeting books and word's so yeah, that's a very good point and a good reminder to look over your blurbs, look over your book, cover and look over your keywords, get everything going together and move your book up a little bit organically.

Jesper (25m 6s):
Yeah. In indeed. Yes, exactly. So at any rate, if you, dear listener also want access to these kinds of posts and much more than you could consider supporting The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast, we try to give you a lot of things in return and you will, of course also help to keep the lights on here. So this, this podcast for example, is completely free. So it is entirely funded by our wonderful patron supporters'.

Autumn (25m 31s):
So there's a link in the show notes, and I think that's not very fair that you mentioned keeping the lights on since mine went off like three times before I got my gurus technical assistance to fix it. So that's why we need some supporters because the light keeps going off.

Jesper (25m 54s):
So yeah. So I have collected all the questions. So I was so glad you did because it's a Monday. I know I showed up and my life like know that that's actually a success in itself. So Monday as it is. And I think listeners will agree with me. There are some Monday's that's just showing up, she'd get you a reward for the day. Indeed. So maybe the simplest thing would be that I just sort of read them out. Ah, and then we answer them one by one. Maybe that's the easiest way to do this.

Autumn (26m 26s):
I think that sounds well. Okay.

Jesper (26m 30s):
And a, and there is no, you know, significant order on this. It's it's just questions and the question is, are the way we got them. So we just gonna answer whatever the listeners wanna know. That sounds good. It sounds lovely. So the first question is, have you tried other genres than fantasy? Oh, I don't. We just start with this one.

Autumn (26m 51s):
Yeah, sure, sure. So yes, definitely. I have, I have written a post-apocalyptic I've written epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy. And I know, but it's so different veins of it. So I kind of sometimes thinking about, well, not real mans, but maybe at cozy mystery or something, because I did grow up with Nancy drew and my best friend loved Nancy drew. So I've definitely had that kind of, I love that. Like you're Sherlock Holmes. I love that kind of slew thing and clues, especially the writing applause like that, I think would be a fun challenge, but I haven't written one yet. So mostly POS post-apocalyptic slash dystopian.

Autumn (27m 33s):
And of course non-fiction with both you and with my husband. So those count too, in some real life travel writing sagas as well.

Jesper (27m 46s):
Yeah. Well, for me <inaudible> if, I guess non-fiction is just younger, but that's, that's the only other thing I've written I've written. Yeah. So some with autumn, some of my own nonfiction, I did the fantasy mapmaking book. I did one on how to run right. Fans, as you booked descriptions I'm in the past, I did one on Twitter marketing as well. I synced unpublished that one because it's yeah, but we have a chance to of rules and the entire book sort of became obsolete. So thank you very much Twitter, or maybe stupid me for writing a book where the algorithms might change. So two months later, are you living in there?

Autumn (28m 27s):
And he, I mean, I know you, and I know you had this huge file on world-building notes. I know you must have other notes, like just stacks of ideas of things. So if they were physical, they would be stacks, but yes. Ah, I bet you have some folders of other ideas you've got in there.

Jesper (28m 51s):
Probably plans and write more non-fiction books at any foreseeable future, to be honest with you,

Autumn (28m 56s):
But that's not true. We're actually slowly cause it's on my phone on me to do it. I've been trying to consolidate all of our blog posts and things. Then some Paul, you don't see, we were working on one to how we just,

Jesper (29m 10s):
but, but yeah, that's true. But I guess I don't think about it as writing one because it's more consolidating stuff we already have and putting in one place, but yeah, technically all righty. Yeah. Okay. So next question is, have you both ever met in real life?

Autumn (29m 28s):
No, not yet. That's what's so COVID, COVID that's all I'm saying is COVID and that timing on trips, I haven't made it to, since we've started working together, I've made it to London and we were so close, but I was with in-laws and it was calm. It was complicated. It was a very complicated to sneak away. So it didn't happen.

Jesper (29m 49s):
That's a good ProMedica.

Autumn (29m 52s):
Yeah, I know. I know my mother-in-law all doesn't listen to this, so I'm not too worried, but we will still be diplomatic. And then my parents were actually going to go and do a Norwegian cruise and I was like, Copenhagen, we're going to swing through and I'm going to stay or I'm going to come early and COVID so not yet so soon. Not yet soon yet.

Jesper (30m 12s):
Well, we do have, When I, I can't remember now we talked about it last week on last week's episode on not, but we do have some plans on trying to, if COVID will allow, we have some plans and trying to put like an Am Writing Fantasy getaway together in 2022 S so the way of thing would be that that's probably going to first time we meet in person as well, I guess it could be.

Autumn (30m 36s):
And unless something else happened, but at least we have actually zoom meats, the extended families so that we have done that. So that was really helpful. And I got to see your kids. It's so cute.

Jesper (30m 52s):
Yeah. So yeah. So, but yeah, meaning in real life.

Autumn (30m 57s):
Yeah. It's incredible to think about, because we've done so many podcasts episodes, we've done courses together. We've written nonfiction, book, fiction books, all of that. All of us several years. And we haven't even met in person is that it is, it is insane. And we've got to fix that hopefully soon. And you and my husband already pick on me, like, totally like you're on the same page, which is, I just can't wait for real life.

Jesper (31m 22s):
Yeah. It's only going to get better off so I will touch on things and break them. And that's all that. So, you know, yeah. Yeah. I need to put a stove store things away before you come at you.

Autumn (31m 34s):
Okay. Well, let me hold your phone.

Jesper (31m 38s):
I know technical stuff goes in to the closet with a padlock on it.

Autumn (31m 41s):
I have to see your terabyte computer. And I really know, I know.

Jesper (31m 48s):
All right. Okay. Next question. Which comes first story idea or new world concepts.

Autumn (31m 57s):
Oh, oh, I think for me story idea. But every once in a while you do two, but everyone's in a while you come up with a story or something, part of a world to me, and I'm like, I got to include that. I got to find a world for it. But I think to me, character is almost before story idea. Like I'll come up with a scene and I don't know much else, but I, or I feel this is a draw to a character. And then the story starts developing. So characters story world for me.

Jesper (32m 26s):
Yeah. Same from me. A story idea is definitely before world, but I, I would have responded Xactly like you did all of them. So lets just move on to the next one. So this is probably where you were working together. So you figure, okay, next one. Have you read all of each others books?

Autumn (32m 45s):
Oh that's a mean question for you.

Jesper (32m 51s):
That's too many books know she writes too much.

Autumn (32m 56s):
Oh no, we actually have, I have all your book's because I format all of your books and actually you have to put the cover's now, but I, I, and so I've read bits and pieces because I've been formatting them. But except for what we've written together, I haven't finished your Keystone bone trilogy, which I should. One of these days.

Jesper (33m 17s):
I read Borb of Water.

Autumn (33m 19s):
Yeah. Well just like my worst one.

Jesper (33m 23s):
Yeah. Well, yeah that, but that's exactly how I feel about it that are as well. So if you don't have to read it, then yes. I just do stuff. All right. Well yeah, like we, we read this stuff we write when you write it together anyway. So I guess that counts, I think that counts. So answer is no we have not.

Autumn (33m 47s):
No, because I write too much for you. Y

Jesper (33m 50s):
eah, you do. I, I'm not going to read 20 books,

Autumn (33m 53s):
so you're a slow reader or you have to admit, so if you read like a book a day, you'd probably be all set, but you could just say you take a little bit longer, so that's fair.

Jesper (34m 1s):
Yeah. I'm very slow reader. Yeah. So, okay. What got your started with writing?

Autumn (34m 8s):
Oh, well that's a good one. So yeah, I, you know this story obviously I guess, and we've mentioned at, on podcasts, but I always liked writing. I always was drawn to reading and I did actually win a contest in my high school and my senior year on writing, which I just kind of always forget about it, but I didn't take it seriously. I was big into art of studying studio art actually ending English and college, but it was outside of that when I was working on my master's that I started writing, I would get bored in class at its looked at the back of the notebook and I would start writing stories down instead of taking notes.

Autumn (34m 49s):
And eventually my husband actually found one of those in, he read it and he's like, you've wrote this, this, this is good. You should keep writing. And so I kept writing and I did some adult ed classes thinking I would do the querier letters and a publisher. I did try all of that. But then my husband gave me an article on a government employee who is in a similar vein that I did and she did self-publishing and he's like, you should try this. And I think he gave that to me in early December in, in, in February of 2012, I published Born of Water.

Jesper (35m 26s):
Yeah. And I don't want to cheat in answering this one, but so maybe I'll do the short version because actually if you go back to episode 128, when you list the number of we just did and on all of those interviews, we were asked this question. So I felt like we answered it, like at least five different places. Yeah. But maybe at the very short version was that I had an idea that maybe one time, one day when I would retire, then I would write something. I don't know why I had that idea, but that's sort of always all for very long time set with me that thought, but then doing some other occasions where you always go to Finland, we go to the dishonor and this just peace and quiet in this there and you know, stressful day to day activities or anything like that.

Jesper (36m 16s):
So, and then I just started thinking, why, why is it that I have an idea in my head that I should sort of postpone things until I get retired and why, why couldn't I just start writing? Even if it's just a little everyday, just, you know, I could just start. And then I sorta thought, yeah, why not? So next day I started and I haven't stopped since it was some God awful, awful. What I wrote about the, and it got deleted and I don't even have it anymore, but, but I started all right.

Autumn (36m 45s):
Cause I think I wrote a trilogy before I released my epic fantasy trilogy and my mom of course loves it, but is not published. So I think I broke every single writing roll. You should, the ones that you should follow him in the first like five pages is I've tried to edit it and I'm like, it's just, but I do think I still have the digital files somewhere, somewhere storytelling.

Jesper (37m 12s):
Unless you, you have broken them all out with your fae influence how you know they're probably corrupted.

Autumn (37m 18s):
Yeah. Corrupt. The file is what is going to say. I'll try to, okay.

Jesper (37m 23s):
What made you decide to co-write a fictional book? Why did you decide to go?

Autumn (37m 31s):
All right. I can answer it if you don't know how to say, well, we create a world together and we had to do something with it. I think.

Jesper (37m 40s):
Yeah. Maybe it, maybe it was my fault actually, but I think it was mostly from a pure like business point of view, meaning that co-writing fictional books would of course allow us to write more books and faster. And I think it was purely from a financial and efficiency point of view that we decided, why don't we try to start doing this? Because at the point in time, when we decided to stop co-writing fictional books, we had already done so many other things together. So we knew that we were able to work together. And a, we knew that we could that all ways of thinking if you wanna call it that Align's.

Jesper (38m 25s):
So it wasn't really that big of a leap at that point to say, well, why don't we just start writing some fiction stuff as well? We did test the waters a bit with, with a short story for us just to see like, well this work on it and in what fine. So we could just continue. Yeah. But I think that is basically what it is. Mostly like business decision or more than anything else.

Autumn (38m 47s):
Yes. I know it helps that we are friends so that we would, if we haven't met this person. Yes. I think it's worked out very well though. I seem to, well, I'm finishing up my last independently written books. So once that's done and off my plate, then it will just be ours. And who knows? Maybe a little Vela story here or there, if I feel like I need to dabble, but yeah. It's is really exciting. I can not wait to at least this trilogy.

Jesper (39m 13s):
No, indeed. Yeah. Okay. The next question is what tropes where you determined to avoid?

Autumn (39m 18s):
Oh, I forgot. I know of you started this one. Let me think so.

Jesper (39m 23s):
Okay. You can think while I can at least give you two tropes that we definitely wanted to avoid. One was having way too powerful of a character because that happens not all the time, but it happens fairly frequent in some epic fantasy stories. And when the character is just too powerful, their story also looses a lot of its attention. So we definitely wanted to not do that trope. And the other trope that we really wanted to avoid was also, we, we did want to include some of the more traditional fantasy races, like Ember dwarfs, but we wanted to avoid your typical version of those races.

Jesper (40m 7s):
So we, we have elves and we have dwarves, but I was ah, should we just say significantly different? Yeah. So I think that's the way of putting it there.

Autumn (40m 20s):
Yeah. I love our differences. They're incredibly interesting. So yeah, I definitely think those were the main tropes. I mean, we also knew we wanted to stay at all like fantasy romance. So I stopped really in support of a subplot then a trope.

Jesper (40m 35s):
Yeah. I would say there's a bit of a romance in this story as well, because then I think that all these should be, but that's my personal point of view, but a lot of readers, like at least a subplot, but some wrote romance. So we do have that in our stores as well. But yeah, but I th can you think have something else that, should we move to the next question?

Autumn (40m 55s):
Well, I'm trying to think there's so many, there's nothing because of the world is so big and we wanna write so many different stories, I would say, except for like not having this overwhelming power, but we might end up with some powerful characters, but then there's always good to points and tension. I think almost everything is on the table except for bad writing. So I think we're all. So have you work for the next series of, we want to work on we're exploring something that we're even having a hard time finding examples of of, so I think we're just going to do so tell people we're just going to be so cool, but yeah, so I would say there's not much that we could not find some way of going, oh, that's a horrible idea.

Autumn (41m 47s):
But if we did this, we can turn it on it's head. So I think anything's going. Sure.

Jesper (41m 54s):
Okay. Next question. How long did it take to, oh, sorry. How long did it take you to fully complete your first story?

Autumn (42m 2s):
Oh, that's mean I just take it. They want the first one that we actually published is correct. Probably, probably. I like to say that born of water, I think took me three to five here. I do. I, well, I, I started at then I ended up writing handwriting, a story that became the whole series of Friends of my Enemy. And then I went back to Born of Water and worked on it again. I ended up rewriting it three times. Cause the first time was just typical fantasy tropes. It was boring and I knew it could be so much better. And then so I rewrote it and then the second time after that, so the final time I rewrote it, the third time was M I just thought of the characters were jiving in fitting.

Autumn (42m 51s):
I had so much to learn even with an English degree and writing classes in creative writing classes, in adult ed classes, it just had so much learning to do. And I still look back at it and go, oh God is so much learning to do. But yeah, it took a long time. But then Rule of Fire was a year of Spiri of Life was like nine months. And when I did Friends and my Enemy, I did four and a half books in a year. So we got faster and better. Definitely better. Definitely very luckily enough, but how is how it goes very much so.

Jesper (43m 32s):
Yeah, I think my, my first book was one and a half year, I think.

Autumn (43m 38s):
Oh, that's not bad.

Jesper (43m 40s):
No, but it's not quick. I mean, I know that, well, all of these is relative one person, so quick is another person's slow. So, but one and a half year, I think for the first book and then book number two took me maybe half a year, a bit more than half a year. Same for books three.

Autumn (44m 1s):
So, and nowadays I think, well we were down to like four months, three, four, and then combine any when I each have my books in the tainted face areas, which is the last one I'm releasing on my own. I was writing a book and two and a half months. And those were 80 to 90,000 words a little bit. I think the last one is a little bit longer in that took, that took a little bit longer, but yeah. And then editing of course. So another, it usually takes me a month to edit so three and a half months for a complete book.

Jesper (44m 35s):
I think I've gotten. Yeah. Okay. This one is interesting. What are your ambitions?

Autumn (44m 44s):
Is that on writing or is it personal? It just says, what are you ambitions?

Jesper (44m 51s):
Oh, I'm of course reading is as part of the, you know, the author career. That's at least how I read it.

Autumn (44m 56s):
All right. I was gonna say, I know my ambition as a young young girl and still, I would love to be the first ecologist is on another planet. Cause that would be fricking cool. So barring that because I'd probably not gonna be the first button is on another planet unless like trip into a worm hole and end up there on my own writing wise. I definitely, I don't. And that's weird because I can actually say I, of course I wanna sell more books. So I want more readers. I would love to be as big as maybe, you know, commander George R. Martin, but I'm also, I do it because I love it as well.

Autumn (45m 39s):
So I'm really happy. I've got over 20 books. I have to think about this one. What's your ambitions at this point, we besides maybe from selling more and writing more.

Jesper (45m 54s):
Yeah. But that's why I think is a good question because of the more you think about it, the more layers there is to it definitely. I mean, I would like to, I would like to earn like a very healthy living from, from writing. That would be an awesome, I think, and I would really love to see our own fans as you will come to life on, on a TV series, like on Amazon or Netflix or something like that would just be awesome. I would just love that. So I guess that's an ambition. How does an ambition I have to say, I, I, I think it would be really cool to be well known enough that like the release of maybe the last book of a series was almost like an event.

Autumn (46m 41s):
And if that was ever the case, I would love to have on like other indie authors, like have them do readings of their stories while we're waiting for my books is released because I would just be such a cool way to support the indie community to introduce them. Yeah. Introducing them to other new writers and even to have other writers I've in, we want other writers to hopefully Wright in our world. And I thought about the tainted phase kind of set up the same way where it could go into ways, places where I can't write it. So if someone else wanted to pick it up, that would be, we were really, really swell to half kind of a world where people like, I want to write with you. That would be fantastic.

Autumn (47m 22s):
Yeah. That be cool.

Jesper (47m 23s):
Yeah. Okay. What are your favorite authors fantasy or otherwise to particularly resonate with your style or have influenced you? You don't wanna start with this one. So that's a tough one. Tough one.

Autumn (47m 38s):
Well, I can say obviously, you know, this, that Anne McCaffrey is the author. Who'd introduced me to fantasy writing. So I I've recently gone back and re-read the first full book of her is Dragon Flight. So that's the one that I read first and I look read it and it's not that the writing isn't good. The writing is good, but the theme's, you know, what's aloud the, one of the main hero, literally a the hero. And she is afraid of him at times he shakes her and it's supposed to be love. And I'm thinking, yeah, that's all I had the 13 year old. Yeah. So it's like if I had a 13 year-old girl, we would be sitting down in and talking about why this isn't appropriate, how it's changed.

Autumn (48m 18s):
This has never, in a way you should be treated by someone who loves you. So I was really shocked, but I want to go back Mercedes Lackey. I know, changed my views on a lot of things. She's a very liberal writer. She is a very good writer. I wanna go back and reread it like her M Waldemar series of Harold majors and stuff in it. Whenever we were just a couple of those to see if there is good, as I remember as well. And of course, maker Margaret Rice and Tracy Hickman we're in there. And then a few in there. And my favorite book is actually called the wood wife by Terry Wendling, which is odd because it is more, is not even urban fantasy.

Autumn (48m 58s):
It takes part in the desert. But the secret of this book is that it was inspired by my favorite artist who is Brian Froud. So if no one has watched, you know, like labyrinth and all of there, crystal, all of those things are puppets here in his wife created the frauds. He is absolutely. I got to see his work in person. When I was sent my year in England, I went to one of his viewings. Then I got to see Brian Froud original paintings. It was fantastic. And there was a series of four books written based on his paintings. And I have all four of them and yeah, T a the wood wife, which is the third one based on his paintings is one of my favorite ever.

Jesper (49m 44s):
Oh, nice. That's a much better answer. And I can come up with that. But I, it was like, well, I'm with you on migrant rights. And Tracy Hickman, of course the dragon, all lands stories were the ones that introduced me to fenders you. When I was a kid,

Autumn (50m 1s):
did you read Star of the Guardians? That was also by then, that's more of a space opera. I highly recommend that. Not to interrupt, but you should read it too.

Jesper (50m 12s):
Okay, cool. Yeah. Well actually bought a, just like a month ago, I bought a whole, the dragon lands books, all survey on my Kindle and I will read them all again. That's awesome. So, yeah. Other than that, I would say probably Anne Rice. Oh yeah. And because I have tried to read some of, of, of an rise books that are not the vampire critical Chronicals, but those are not really not my favorite. Umm, some of them, it feels, I don't know if it's just coincidence, but then I think there's a lot of like religion stuff in all the books, not nothing against religion.

Jesper (50m 55s):
People can do write and read what they want, but it's just not quite kind of my cup of tea. But the vampire story is like interview with the vampire in all those books, with all this stuff and all that stuff. It is just, I still have this vivid memory of reading through these books in and just the whole mythology she created about how the first vampires came to be and how we know everything involved and all, all of that origin story is, is just like, oh my God, I loved it. It was just like, it was so well done and it makes perfect sense as well. There was, there was logic to it, so oh my God. I just loved that.

Jesper (51m 36s):
She was yeah, really good at foreshadowing in not having major plot holes and CAC characters that are just gripping and storylines that are gripping and not being afraid of killing things off. So it was, yeah, I do love her books as well. So yeah, that's probably what has had the most influence on me I think. And it plays into my love for world building. Of course that's very much to do with world-building. Yes. Okay. Next question. Have you ever started a book that just died in the draft? How did you know it was dead?

Autumn (52m 12s):
I will actually, I can say yes because I started writing books to two black throne black blood, which is the first park is out as a novella. And so I started writing the second book, which is to be a titled Ebonrue and I was probably three or four chapters. And maybe even as far as five chapters, which I know we were talking about an novella, so that's, you know, it's, it's good chunk out of 14 chapters. And I just said, no, I was struggling with it. I was in hating the process and I absolutely love writing. And the funny thing is I was playing with two series at the same time and I kept thinking about the tainted Fae I'd released in first novella, both of them to see which one I wanted to right in.

Autumn (52m 54s):
And I finally just said, you know what? I really want to write the tainted Faye. And I switched to it. And I think I like busted out the entire book one then, like I said, in like two and a half months. So it's not, I don't consider it fully abandoned because you and I are either talking about picking up that series or that theme or if we don't eventually I will finish it because I don't think I've ever, I even know that series is that my abandon trilogy that I'll never publish I finished at. So I always kind of finish what I start.

Jesper (53m 31s):
Yeah. And again, the same for me when I start something, I will usually finish it. So, but technically, I mean, I have had the first book in my Keystone bone truly do you, for example, and what is Papa is, is not the same as the well I started, so I've definitely, definitely died in the draft and I actually deleted 50,000 words and started over and I'd heard a bid at that point in time, but I knew it was stepped because it was just organically evolving into a story that was not what I wanted to tell at all.

Jesper (54m 10s):
And hence I sort of learned maybe it's all good, good idea to plot. That's very true. Yeah. Okay. Have you ever released a book that flopped and what did you learn?

Autumn (54m 26s):
I would say Friends of my Enemy has all been, had a hard life the entire time. Those who have found it have loved it and like given it five stars and they adore it, but they're definitely lower and it is AMS ads. I, you cannot touch the word like this dystopian post-apocalyptic it costs more to get clicks on those words because of novels like the hunger games you just can't afford. It is more than the book it's worse, so I don't even market it. But when I read it is some of my favorite writing up to the Tainted Fae. I actually DOR the tainted face is more than friends of my enemy, but I think it's better writing and better characters in my epic fantasy series.

Autumn (55m 14s):
So I feel bad for it that the people that it's like my unnoticed story that no one really knows about. And a lot of the fantasy readers are like, oh, I don't read post-apocalyptic because it's like, it's near future it's real world. But it taught me so much. I wouldn't have been able to write the Tainted Fae, which is also in urban fantasy it's real world it's now. So I wouldn't of been able to do and it was a great learning experience. I still absolutely adore it. If anything was ever turned into a movie, I think that one would fit very well because the characters are just rock solid. Awesome. And they still talk to me a lot. So I don't care. I feel I would love it to do better. The people who have read it, we love it to do better.

Autumn (55m 57s):
The narrator would like it to do better, but I am, I am a hundred percent is still in love with it. I don't care.

Jesper (56m 9s):
Yeah. And I would say the first book in my Keystone bone turn of the desolation as definitely not done very well. And I mean, it gets downloaded quite well, but that's because its Permafree so, so, but before then it was very hard to any, any copies of it. And I, and I think because the question also asks what I learned and I definitely learned three different things, but of course I can mention here so that the listeners can take that away in hopefully avoid the mistakes I've made. But number one is that the world building is actually very rich in this book and in the series and is very well developed.

Jesper (56m 50s):
But then like, like you see often in new fantasy authors, I'm in debut novels and I was like everybody else. So then there's way too much in for dumping in this book in a way too much nun, engaging ways of telling sum, you know, a history of the world of why things all the way, day on, so on. And then that's not very good I'm so there is debt. Secondly, I used this book actually as an example in our self publishing success course to show people what not to do because the, the cover on this book is not signaling that this is fantasy and is not doing a very good job.

Jesper (57m 30s):
And as I said, so, you know, of course I, you know, I used it as an example of show you is not what, not what not to do. And I, as I also said, and the costs, I should really change it, but I never get around to it because there's so many things I need to change this so many places. And 'cause this book is, has been out for so many years. It's not as simple as just updating the cover on Amazon. I need to, I probably have like 200 different tweets schedule that goes out and then I need to change the Amazon, all of those and on websites. And so on is, I don't know, it's just too much worse. And I, I really don't feel like in, and the other hand and allows me to is show in this so puppet, so cost, what you have to do. So, so it actually serves a purpose nowadays.

Jesper (58m 17s):
And number three, last thing I would say as a top three things I learned was that you are a character and your main character really needs to have some sort of personality or something that stands out. Whereas the main character and this book, well, she definitely has hardship in her life because I'm always mean to characters or if there is that. So she does not have an easy time at all, but she's not distinct enough that there is there's something missing in terms of making her more special. So that's also something I learned. I learned a lot more about character development since I wrote that first book, but that's how it goes, like all of them, so that before the more we ride the mobile and we all have to start somewhere.

Jesper (58m 59s):
And so usually when we look back at, at, at our own first books, years later, we always crunch all of them. Doesn't like her first book. I don't like my first book. And I think most authors feel the same. Yes. But there are, it doesn't mean that it is a bad story at all. It's a good story, but it's, it's just, I could have written it a lot better nowadays if, if I did it now, but so is life that's very, yeah.

Autumn (59m 23s):
Born of water would be so different. So I wrote it now, but I'm not going to go back and rewrite it because that's like 20 some books ago.

Jesper (59m 31s):
So yeah. So we have two questions left, Autumn, and we're coming up on an hour. So let's do it in last two. And then I think that's enough.

Autumn (59m 40s):
Okay. All right. That sounds good.

Jesper (59m 42s):
So this one goes in style story description, et cetera. What a piece of work chains, if you switched roles in your co-writing. Oh yes. Oh yes. But I'm not sure I could pinpoint how, but definitely. Well, you have, I mean, I'm a more of, I, you do the first draft and I do sort of like my overlayer and then I do the editing and we're still kind of working out the process. I still haven't there's some days I got it all was perfect. And then there's some days I fumble with in a bit, so I am still working in and out, but I think it's, it would be so different if we did it in reverse.

Jesper (1h 0m 23s):
I don't think it would work quite the same way.

Autumn (1h 0m 28s):
No, me neither. I would definitely be different for sure.

Jesper (1h 0m 33s):
I think the other thing is that keep in mind that Autumn is a native English speaker. I'm not right. So switching, it just makes no sense because having, having all of them doing the, the last touches on it is just much smarter rather than somebody who is not a native English speaker, trying to edit something, an English speaker has written in it it's sort of does not make much sense to me.

Autumn (1h 0m 58s):
Yeah. I think it would be pretty inefficient. Yeah. I, I don't think we could do anything other than maybe me making a more in depth plot and you writing it and then me doing what I'm still doing. And that's just seems silly because we already, we beat and we talk about the plot and we come up with together. So why would they do it first?

Jesper (1h 1m 16s):
All my, yeah, I think of it. Yeah. And then the other part is, and the other part is that you quite like editing and I hate everything. So there's that as well.

Autumn (1h 1m 26s):
Yeah, that's true. So if we ever want to torture, you all know, please don't make me edit anything.

Jesper (1h 1m 36s):
Well, so, okay. Last question. How do you know when to finish editing and put the book out?

Autumn (1h 1m 42s):
So this is when you give it to me, right?

Jesper (1h 1m 46s):
Well, yes, you send it to all of them and it's done.

Autumn (1h 1m 52s):
So for me, the answer, this question, and I know it's done what, I always start with a content, but I do a read through as fast as I can as many chapters as I can end of day. And I have a spreadsheet, which is a very organized and just Jesper should be very proud of it because this is a gorgeous spreadsheet. And I usually avoid spreadsheet. If you have to say, well, I avoid them like the plague. So I have to have one good one and it's a very in depth. And once I have, I go back and I fix the chapters that I have highlighted as these are the ones that need the most work. And then I go back and fix all the other ones. And then I go back and I run it through like pro writing aid and do all those changes in.

Autumn (1h 2m 34s):
Sometimes if I of chance, if I feel like there's still something missing, I'll do one more, you know, gentle, fluff through. But then we send it to the editor and then we send it to the other editor and then they send it back to me. And I do the corrections and changes from both editors. And if I have a time, I'll read through it one more time. I do a lots of, lots of lots of pieces. So basically I know is ready to be published when I'm dreaming it, eating and sleeping it, I can recite passages from it by heart and have a whole book of quotes to the side that I know that I've pulled out. I all, I have often left and readers. Like how can do you remember about a book you've written? And I'm like, do you know, I've probably read this story 50 times is probably not that bad, but I've read the book that we're publishing at least 20 times before it is actually published.

Autumn (1h 3m 23s):
And that's what I know it's done as, and the biggest joke, this is a joke. I've read it in her scene. And other people's of mentioned that when you're editing and you change something and then the next editing passed, you change it back to how it was, you know, you're done.

Jesper (1h 3m 40s):
Yeah. That was just from what I was about to say, because I fully agree that obviously you need to be thorough. And that's also why we use two different editors to edit every book. So then it goes through more people than, than just the single editor. Ah, and then we usually have some typos layers as well on the backend, maybe 20, 30, 50 people on the backend who also goes through. So it's been a through a lot of people before we publish it. But all of that said, I still wanna sort of post S S like warning out there that there is a time where you need to say, okay, this is as good as I can make it. And let's move on to the next book, because keep polishing and polishing to get it like zero dot 5% better.

Jesper (1h 4m 21s):
That's just not worth your time. So all of this comes with a warning.

Autumn (1h 4m 26s):
Yes. There's a point of diminishing returns, which I just was something I was trying to email you the other day. I actually finally remembered the word I was trying to say, but there's a point of diminishing returns on that little curve where, you know, it's taking more work than it's worth. And that's when you know, or the other way, you know, is when your writing partner says, here's the next book for you to work. And you're like, okay, so the next one is going off to the editor.

Jesper (1h 4m 56s):
Good point. Yeah. So I think above all, thank you so much all through all of your listeners for sending you these questions.

Autumn (1h 5m 4s):
I think actually, yes, very much. So we might have to do this once a year or something.

Jesper (1h 5m 10s):
Yeah. Maybe, maybe. So, thank you so much for your questions. And next Monday, if everything goes well, all of them will have a great and interesting interview lined up for you.

Narrator (1h 5m 25s):
Do you like what you just heard? There's a few things you can do to SUPPORT THE AM WRITING FANTASY 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 Jesper on patreon.com/ Am Writing Fantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast, going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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