What is it like to write for a massive franchise like Star Wars?

How do you get such writing opportunities?

Mur Lafferty - the Hugo and Nebula nominee, as well as, the winner of the John W. Campbell Award - joins the Am Writing Fantasy podcast to share insights, and a peek behind the curtain, on such an exclusive opportunity.

 

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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 (1s):
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 on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt, and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s):
Hello, I am Jesper, and this is episode 83 of the am writing fantasy podcast. So Autumn is taking a well deserved break today, and I'm instead joined by Mur Lafferty, who is both a fellow podcaster, but she is also a highly accomplished writer herself. She has won the John W. Campbell award for best new writer and also a Hugo. And she's also a Hugo and Nebula a nominee for best novel. And I'm quite sure I forgot some of your other rewards there or about a huge welcome onto the am writing fantasy podcasts.

Mur (1m 8s):
Thank you so much. I'm pleased to be here.

Jesper (1m 11s):
Yeah. So before we get into all this that we're going to, we're going to talk somewhat about star Wars and how it is to write in a setting that is already established and, and just in general, your experiences with writing and star Wars, because you written a novel in there, but before we get that far, maybe, maybe you could just share a bit more about yourself and your writing apart from what I just mentioned.

Mur (1m 35s):
Sure. I started, I guess, professionally, I started around 2002 when I started to get jobs, playing writing for roleplaying games, primarily with white Wolf. And I worked on several of those and then podcasting became a thing. And so I started sort of chronicling my attempt to be published and while attempting to be published. And so I started, I should be writing in 2005 and yeah, it'll be 15 years old next month actually.

Mur (2m 7s):
And yeah, then I started to get published. I sold a short story or two, I self published a superhero novel that, and I published it on podcast via podcast and it got some attention from a small press. So then we, they published it. That was 2007, I think. And then I started selling books to orbit and most recently ACE and the teens, and then I was approached to do the solo novelization.

Mur (2m 42s):
So I got to write a star Wars book too. And then I also approached to do a Minecraft book, which came out after the solo book.

Jesper (2m 50s):
Yeah. Sorta the lost journals or something. Right. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I use still self publishing. Some of the books are all traditional puppies. It's

Mur (3m 0s):
All traditional published because I'm mainly not very good at multitasking. I would love to do some self published stuff, but I'm just, it's hard for me to think about two stories at once. So if I'm, if I'm writing a book, I'm writing that book.

Jesper (3m 17s):
Yeah. Yeah. And I know as well that, well, I actually listened to the podcast. You, you also host with you fellow host, Matt, that did stickers podcast. I listened to that as well, but I was actually wondering before we get into the topic of today, because you must have gotten into podcasting, like in the really, really early days, I think because you've been doing this for a long, long time.

Jesper (3m 49s):
And it's always interesting to me to ask somebody who is like a really early adopter, early adopter of something. Why did you decide to do podcasting back in the day?

Mur (4m 2s):
It's hard to explain. I mean, besides the fact that I thought it sounded cool and I could do it, it's, I've always loved the idea of being a DJ, but being live is kind of scary for me. I did a, a monthly local radio show with a friend of mine and the anxiety levels were huge just because I'd be thinking this is live. I have to keep talking. Oh, no, all I can think about is how I'm not talking.

Mur (4m 33s):
And now that's all I'm thinking about. And my cohost was very good at filling those empty spots when I would freeze up. But right around the time podcasting became a thing. Broadband was becoming a thing and like internet radio has been around for forever, but you needed to have huge of ability to just, to, to download a bunch of stuff. You know, it's, it's huge file streaming files.

Mur (5m 3s):
That was just not feasible to the average, you know, home. But once broadband became a thing you could conceive, it would be easy to send out a 15 Meg file that you would expect people to download. I mean, I remember back in the nineties, when somebody at the company I was working for found the very first South park short and which was 50 megs and mailed it to everybody in the company and brought the server to its knees.

Mur (5m 33s):
So yeah. So it was, it, it sounded like fun. And I could talk into a mic, but if I screwed up, I could fix it. So that's, it just seemed like a fun thing to try and I did. And it was fun.

Jesper (5m 47s):
Yeah. Do you see any difference nowadays in the podcasting landscape? Because I don't know. I mean, we've been running DM writing fantasy YouTube channel probably for like three, four years, but the podcasting element, we transitioned into podcasting probably like a year or year and a half ago. So that say we are still fairly new, at least compared to you and in terms of podcasting, but I still feel like it is like a very like early environment in terms of podcasting.

Jesper (6m 21s):
Do you always also feel that I have to offer so many years or do you see a huge different compared to back then?

Mur (6m 26s):
Oh, it's huge. It's huge difference. I, you know, I remember almost all of the major shifts in podcasting. The first being when I tuned started to support podcasts and when Libsyn came around and the idea of your podcast becoming popular was not a huge hit to your finances because your internet provider wouldn't go, Oh God, why are you suddenly distributing this podcast to so many people?

Mur (6m 58s):
There was a time when, you know, a sudden spike in downloads would be very expensive for you, right? And Oh, what what's happening now is it's like the, the corporations, like the big channels and backed by big media money and hosted by celebrities. Those shows are validating all the work we put into podcasting, which is great because you don't say you don't get that weird look on people's faces when you say I have a podcast, unfortunately, because they're there and they have validated it.

Mur (7m 41s):
That means they're also the biggest thing on the block. And it's much harder for independent podcasters to get noticed because of that. This is, this is always the funniest thing I say when the mentality of the time. And I like to say it to other writing podcasters, because when I started to my knowledge, I would say to my knowledge, there might've been somebody else. I don't know. No one's ever come forward to tell me, but to my knowledge, I had the second writing podcast and the first was a Michael a stack poles, the secrets.

Mur (8m 15s):
And because there was only one I figured I would talk to Mike and ask him if he thought it was okay, that I did number two, which is, you know, these days it's laughable. How many writing podcasts are there? Ask me for permission. Not that I could or should give it, you know what I mean? But it was just funny at the time. And it's like, I thought there was a space for me because Mike was talking from the point of view of a veteran of decades of fantasy and science fiction writing while I was trying to approach it from a beginner who was trying to learn as many lessons as possible to pass on to other beginners.

Mur (8m 53s):
So, but yeah, like the idea of contacting somebody else and saying, Hey, I might do something kind of like what you're doing. You cool with that? Yeah. That's not a thing. Now, everybody knows what a podcast is. That's really cool. And it's easier to do than ever, but it's, but there's the downside of, I wouldn't when people ask me how to start a podcast, now I have no idea because you know, my advice is go back to 2005 and, and start one when there's like a couple thousand podcasts.

Mur (9m 32s):
And I wouldn't know how to start out with episode one in the current landscape of podcasting, but more power to everybody who gives it a go cause more content is always great. But yeah, I feel very old in the fact that my experiences aren't terribly relevant anymore, but I mean, I keep producing and, and so there's that, but as for advice on how to get, get started or, or get a foothold, I, I have no idea.

Jesper (10m 11s):
No, no one, I guess to some extent, one could say that similar to one self publishing came around, you know, there's a lot of podcasts, but there's also a lot of poor ones. It's easy to make a podcast, but it's not easy to make a good one. Just like self publishing. It's easy to publish a book, but writing a good one. It's not easy. Yeah. So, but, okay. But maybe we've nerded out enough about podcasting and whatnot. And as you try to get into the topic that we were supposed to talk about here, because we really wanted to invite you onto the, to the am writing fantasy podcast here.

Jesper (10m 45s):
Because when I look at your career, of course, from a fire here, but you're probably one of the writers out there that has the most experience in writing, in a setting that somebody else created. And as you said in the beginning, there, you, you started out writing in, in some roleplaying settings already. So already there you were riding in settings that somebody I'll create it. And then afterwards you, or later on, you wrote solo, a star Wars story. And also that Minecraft book, the lost journals, as we mentioned before, but I was thinking maybe to start us out here, could you talk a bit about, what is it like to write in a universe where, where at least I assume that you have to abide to some sort of established law of that word.

Mur (11m 33s):
Oh, they're very established laws. Yeah. It's, there are a couple of things that some people don't understand. A lot of people when they write, they have this sense of this is my baby and it's mine. And you know, if anybody says anything bad about it, then you get wounded to your very soul. And if anybody wants to change anything, no you can't because this is what I created. And I got to learn early on that when you do work for hire, you're writing in somebody else's world, it doesn't belong to you at all.

Mur (12m 8s):
Nothing does. And so it, it gives you a sense of freedom to just let go. So going into it with the knowledge that, yeah, I can say I made that, but I don't own it. And I'm not getting any more money from it. Is, is it was a familiar feeling to me getting writing in somebody else's world has the challenge of already well established boundaries, but it's a fun challenge to figure out where you can go from there.

Mur (12m 45s):
I had a lot of, of, of ideas on how to add to the solo story. Some of it just being telling a scene, everyone seen on the screen in a different point of view. So the challenge was not just not necessarily in the plotting and the characters, but more in retelling it. So people don't feel like they're reading a script and you know, it's a different medium it's it's film is different than books.

Mur (13m 20s):
You can tell what people are thinking. You can give a little bit more backstory. You're not confined by a budget or minutes. You're, you're confined by your deadline, of course, but you know, it's so it's, it's, it's fun playing in somebody else's sandbox, as long as you understand the rules and you don't get too attached,

Jesper (13m 40s):
But is it expected of you that you need to read up on the lore and understand a lot of different things before you even get started writing a novel in the star Wars universe?

Mur (13m 51s):
Or do you well,

Jesper (13m 53s):
Do somebody fact check you or how do they do that?

Mur (13m 56s):
Oh, they definitely fact check. They fact check the hell out of it. I had, I know of at least two fact checkers who were commenting on the manuscript and they're fact checking about tiny things. It was an amazing public Hidalgo knows so much obscure star Wars lore. I don't understand. I think me may not understand like base remember basic things in life, like a short grocery list or something because he knows how many chickens are in the star Wars universe. He literally, I'm not just picking that out of a hat.

Mur (14m 27s):
I know he knows how many chickens there are. I think there are two, but I can't remember. I just remember somebody told me that somebody asked Pablo that and he knew, so yeah, there are people out there to fact check you, but they're one of the reasons they came to me is because they knew I was a huge star Wars fan. And my agent was in touch with the publisher of the, all the books. And I had done two short stories, one for star Wars, insider magazine, and one for the first volume of, from a certain point of view, which was the telling of the first movie from a lot of different points of view.

Mur (15m 10s):
I wrote about Gritos murder from the point of view of the band. And so I, they already knew that I was passionate about star Wars and was hoping to get a larger project. So that was, you know, it didn't just drop in my lap. It was, it was maybe over a year in communication and hoping something would happen. Right.

Jesper (15m 38s):
But in terms of the Lord, and I mean, given that you're already a big, or you were already an hour already, a big star Wars fan, do you then have to read a lot of Hans solo stories in the case of where you have to write a Han solo story or two to understand all the moving parts around that character? Or is it more like, because you are already a fan you can start writing and then they will do the fact checking and correct you for world inconsistencies and so forth.

Mur (16m 5s):
It's kind of in the middle. I mean, I did do some research, but you know, they just because the extended universe had gotten so huge, they decided to wipe it and call it legends. So none of that stuff was Canon anymore. And so a lot of what people thought of were classic Consolo stories weren't Canon anymore. So when it came to his early stories, all I needed to know was who Han solo was. And I mean that, like, I need to know who his character was, how he acted, you know, that, that cocky smuggler guy.

Mur (16m 45s):
And I picked up a lot of other star Wars things just to sort of get in the mindset. And I read a lot of star Wars novelizations because I wanted to see what other people had done. So I got a lot of inspiration from Jason. Fry's the last Jedi novelization. Cause he did some really cool stuff with that. And so that was very, very influential for me. But, you know, I knew that if I said something wrong, whether it's the name of a planet or the background of a character who has a name on the script, but we never hear it said out loud in a movie, that kind of thing.

Mur (17m 27s):
They were there to, to make sure that got fixed, but you know, they expected me to know what I was talking about. I had to do some of the heavy lifting essentially.

Jesper (17m 39s):
Yeah. Yeah. But when you then have to write your story, did they dictate sort of where they wanted you to go with the story? Or did you have creative to tell the story you wanted to tell?

Mur (17m 52s):
Well, I had the script that I had to go, you know, it can't deviate from that at all, but I was able to in fact, required to put, put in my own scenes. So the first thing I did was send them a list of scenes that I thought would add to the story. So I wanted to do a prologue, the S the movie begins with Han running away from a deal gone bad. So I wanted to tell a little bit about that deal. And I wanted to put in more about Kiras experience between getting separated from Han and then meeting him again.

Mur (18m 33s):
And I wanted to put in more about emphasis, and that was the only thing they cut. They just outright said they didn't want was a bit of history on emphasis because they, they didn't want to believe the words they use, where we're not ready to explore the backstory of this character yet, which, you know, made me think that somebody else was already on deck to do it. So, but they gave me a lot of leeway. I put some humor in where, as somebody who's had long hair, several times in her life, I thought that if Chewbacca had been in a mud pit for days or weeks, then one shower on a spaceship was not going to do it.

Mur (19m 17s):
And if he was with landing, Kalryzian the biggest space dandy. There is nobody would have better product than him. So I wrote a scene where chewy approaches Lando and they try to communicate cause Lando understands a little bit of Wiki, but not a lot. And he, he says, you know, basically, do you have anything to help me get all this mud out? And Lando gives them permission to he just trashes his bathroom. And I had so much fun imagining that scene.

Mur (19m 49s):
And I really did not think they would let me do it. And they approved the whole thing. So it was, you know, just telling little scenes between the scenes you get in the movie or some scenes I told from different points of view than you would think of, because I told Kira meeting Han at the big fancy party on the space yacht. I told that from her point of view, not Hans. So she got, you know, we got to see her reaction to him and what she thought of him and how she viewed everything in the room happening.

Mur (20m 27s):
So while I was still telling the scene exactly how it was in the movie, it was a bit different because you kind of see that scene from Han's point of view, whereas in the book it's from QRIS.

Jesper (20m 41s):
Right. But it almost sounds to me like, and I don't know if I'm right or wrong here, but I'm just thinking in terms of give, being, giving a script and saying, okay, you need to, you need to follow this. And, and I, I, by the sounds of what you're saying, it sounds like it is a fairly detailed script. And then you have to find your own way through that in terms of injecting some of your own creativity here and there, where you can, but would it be fair to say that it's more like if you were not experienced and seasoned writer that then it almost sounds like it would be pretty difficult?

Jesper (21m 20s):
Would you say?

Mur (21m 22s):
I think so. It might be because it's I did before I wrote the scene, I just told you about Kira from curious point of view. I was feeling really down because suddenly I thought I've got, I didn't have the script. I was able to take notes on the script. I was flown out to San Francisco, took notes on the script and came home, but they also gave me the middle grade book, which was already done. So I had a novelization already, and I'm like, I've got the movie, I've got the middle grade novel and I've got the script.

Mur (21m 57s):
How in the world am I going to add anything to this? Because there's already so much. And it was, yeah, I struggled a lot. And I w I was very relieved when I came up with the same scene, different point of view solution. You know, there's always the, you come out of every movie going, man. I wish we'd learned more about X character or Y character. And when I'd read the script, I'm like, yeah.

Mur (22m 27s):
Some things need to, I think there's some things missing here. I'm not sure if I don't know. I, I would think that seasoned fan fiction writers would probably take to it just fine. So long as they understood that you can't just go anywhere with this, you have to follow some very specific rules, but it is a lot like a approved fanfic, it's, it's writing about beloved characters and a beloved setting, and just pushing a little bit more of your own story into it.

Jesper (23m 4s):
Yeah. And I think heading into it as well, you probably, I mean, I could imagine some people feeling quite daunted already before you even start to like, okay, all, but all that law and all those details about the world, it can almost feel like a mountain to climb before you even get started. I think some people could feel that at least. Sure.

Mur (23m 24s):
But there is a mountain of Laura out there, but say the details of the eyelids of the, of course, I can't remember their race now, but the, the, the band playing in the MOS, Eisley, Cantina the details about their eyelids and how they respond to light have nothing to do with solo. So, yes, I know that from my previous story that I wrote, but I'm just saying little details like that were not important.

Mur (23m 58s):
I didn't need to go out and read all the Darth Vader comics to write solo. I didn't need to play the role playing game. So there, there were, there's a lot out there, but when it comes to specific stories about specific people, it can be, you know, much more of a focused approach.

Jesper (24m 24s):
Yeah. I can see that. Yeah. But so once you have written a novel like this, does it then become part of the, of the established law and the Canon, or is it treated like it's, it's like just a separate novel and it doesn't, it doesn't become part of the official star Wars universe, or how does that work?

Mur (24m 41s):
It is Canon. It is, it is. That's why it's so closely fact checked and, and, you know, we did very close edits. It's it's it is cannon.

Jesper (24m 53s):
Right. Okay. And you mentioned early on that you had been in a year long conversation with those guys in order to get to the stage where you could write this story, but how did this, how did that conversation start in the first, first place? How did you get into even being considered to write the story?

Mur (25m 14s):
My agent knew the publisher and dropped my name as somebody who was really interested in star Wars. So, you know, next time you need an author for star Wars, consider my client, and that's how the conversation got started.

Jesper (25m 29s):
Okay. So is it more like, do you think that, you know, it is very much dependent on agents and sort of like that it would be almost impossible unless, you know, somebody there that you could, that other people could get into. I'm thinking about listeners here who might be interested in getting into writing star Wars or something, would that even be possible without an agent and being encompassed right already and so forth?

Mur (25m 55s):
I really doubt it. They're, they're going to want to, to approach them. It's easier to have an agent and they, they're going to want seasoned writers with a track record that they know won't like, leave the project or screw it up. And I'm not saying an agented writers would do that. I'm just saying that when you have an agent speak for you, that carries more weight with editors.

Mur (26m 26s):
So for, for the unaided, I don't think it would be very easy. I can't speak for my publishers. So it's just my opinion, but everybody I know who writes for star Wars is agented

Jesper (26m 38s):
Right. And does it benefit at all for those who just write a lot star Wars fan fiction, and if they do that really well, would that help them?

Mur (26m 48s):
I honestly, I mean, I really don't know some, some, I mean, I know agents who read fanfic for fun and would like to find clients that way. Sometimes I know editors who read fanfic for fun. So it's not outside the realm of possibility, but you gotta remember that. I hate saying this out loud, but according to copyright law fanfic is illegal.

Mur (27m 19s):
And a lot of places, you know, is the author doesn't mind. They just turn a blind eye to it and they say, you know, just don't send me anything, have fun, go play in my world. I don't care. Just don't send it to me because that can open legal doors that are very bad. But so I, I don't know on an official level how that would work out. And again, I can't speak for Del Ray, so I'm not going to, if my editor might think otherwise, but I know I I'll, I'll tell you 99% sure that I don't think you could sell your fanfic to the star Wars universe.

Mur (27m 58s):
I really cause they have very specific ideas of where they want to go with their stories. But, but yeah, I don't know. I don't want to squash anybody's dreams, but I doubt I would have had this chance if I didn't have an agent who was knew the right people to talk to.

Jesper (28m 18s):
No, I understand. But it's also very interested because there is a lot of fan fiction out there in not only for star Wars, but for different kinds of settings. Right. And it's, it's interesting because at least, at least somebody's like, you know, star Wars, brand ownerships, you know, they certainly have enough money and the power to go after stuff like that, if they wanted to. But it seems like they don't really do that, right?

Mur (28m 42s):
Oh no, they don't. Until you start making money from it, then they'll come down on you pretty hard. But like I said, there's like a handful of people who frown on that kind of thing. And they're kind of seen as the ogres of the world. So it's, it's a lot of people don't mind, but they can't like there have to be some rules regarding it, you know, don't sell it, et cetera. But yeah, I'm not saying there's not excellent.

Mur (29m 12s):
Fanfic being written. I know that for debt, for a fact, I've rent a lot myself and I wrote it when I was younger before the word fanfic was still very old right now. I wrote Fred saber Hagan fanfic but it's it's yeah, I it's, I don't know how similar my story is to everybody else's so yeah,

Jesper (29m 38s):
No, that's fair. That's fair, but okay. I'm thinking maybe to broaden out a bit more here, I mean, we can still focus on star Wars if you feel more comfortable with that, but I'm just thinking in more, a bit more broad terms here. It could also be in relation to some of the white Wolf stuff that you wrote in the past as well or whatever. But I'm just thinking if you are to advise a listener, for example, of this podcast who maybe is, let's say they have a couple of novels under their belt, so they're not completely new to writing, but they, they are still building their writing career and they might be thinking about, would it be better for me?

Jesper (30m 18s):
And I'm not talking fanfiction now, since we just establish that that's not legal, but, but would it be better for me to just create my own universe if, if I have only written a few novels and then write in that setting or would it be, well, I guess I can't ask you if it would be better to write in somebody else's university, you know, if you contacted somebody or you re made arrangement with somebody who already have an established universe with established readers, but I guess I'm more asking about how do you see the pros and cons on, on each one of those and what kind of things would the listener need to think about if they consider that either?

Jesper (30m 59s):
Should I write in somebody should step this word? Well, because that can sort of lift my meat up a bit versus should I create my own?

Mur (31m 7s):
Are you talking about writing fanfic or a license?

Jesper (31m 11s):
No, I'm more, I'm more thinking like, so for example, autumn and myself, we have an established setting that we are writing novels in. So for example, in theory, if somebody then said, Hey, I would like to write some novel, just like you did for star Wars. Right. I would like to write a story in your setting and I'm not talking fan fiction. I'm more talking like you write, for example, in, for lack of a better example, our setting here, meaning that we be basically sort of become the star Wars part in the story here, meaning that we are the ones editing it.

Jesper (31m 49s):
We are, the ones may be publishing it or whatever, but they write in, in another setting. It's just like, I guess also when you wrote for white Wolf, I guess they were the publisher, they were the ones publishing and you were more a writer on staff day or whatever you would call it.

Mur (32m 5s):
Right. I was freelance, but yeah. Yeah,

Jesper (32m 7s):
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that's what I'm thinking. How do you see the pros and cons about riding in somebody else's setting versus creating your own?

Mur (32m 16s):
Well, I'll be honest with you. I think that if you want for your career to move forward in a traditionally published sphere, you just need, you're going to need to write books that people see. I, when I was starting out, when podcast fiction started to really become a big thing, like in 2006, 2007, a lot of us were writing stories in each other's worlds. I had, I did my superhero novel and had a lot of friends write short stories in the world.

Mur (32m 51s):
And Scott Sigler also has done the same thing was his stuff. I wrote a novella for him. I don't think that was, it was fun. And I learned a lot, but I don't know how much it actually furthered my career until, you know, I sold my own story to orbit if you want it, like, I don't regret it. I'm definitely thinking if you, if that sounds like fun to you, then do it.

Mur (33m 21s):
Why not? You're going to learn everything you write you learned from. And so if nothing else, you're going to be perfecting your craft, I would warn you to make sure there's some pretty clear rules about who owns the, the work, because it can't just be a friendly handshake. You should write something down because if they think, Hey, you know what? I really liked this character that I wrote in your world, and I'm going to go sell it.

Mur (33m 55s):
Does that belong to you? Or does that belong to them? And then if you're not friends anymore, then that can get really ugly. So you'd want to do something to make sure the legalities are all there, but I don't know. It's, it's, it's fun. But if, I don't know if that's how you're going to get a mainstream publisher to notice you,

Jesper (34m 22s):
No, maybe I'm thinking that if we are, because there's probably a difference between a traditional publisher here versus self publishing, because if we are talking self-publishing, I could actually see that it could be beneficial to, again, I fully agree with what you say about that. You need to have a contract in place with the people who, whose world you're writing so that everything is clear and what can you do and what can you not do going forward and whatnot. So I fully agree with that, but if we assume that is in place, I could see what self publishing that it might actually, in some cases benefit you from writing in somebody else's setting, because you can tap into their readership and if they are publishing it or editing it or whatever, then they will probably promote it for you as well.

Jesper (35m 10s):
And if they already have 5,000 readers who buy a Kindle books, then that's pretty cool.

Mur (35m 18s):
If you're, if you're talking like in the self publishing sphere, definitely. I think it's a great idea. You know, I got Scott Sigler's fans interested in me when I wrote the novella in his world. And it's, it's really good to have the cross promotion. I think, great. I have not done a ton of self publishing since I started traditionally publishing traditional publishing. So I can't say what it takes to get a completely new original world in front of people in self publishing.

Mur (35m 57s):
So I'm really not sure how one would do that. So I can't say whether the, whether playing in somebody else's sandbox or building your own world would do better in self publishing, but you know, why not try both? I mean, it is, like I said, it's fun and it, it sets up your networking for sure. And the people who, you know, you and autumn who publish your friend, who wrote a story in your universe five years later, if you guys are doing another big project, you could think, Hey, you remember that person who wrote that cool thing for us.

Mur (36m 43s):
I mean, that's, that's networking that doesn't die unless you kill it. So, you know, there's definitely not, I don't, I don't want to downplay the action. I can't tell you if one is better than the other, but I think, I think they're both good ideas, but it's it's, it was a lot of fun to do. And I think it made me a better writer and made me tighten the bonds I've made in podcasting, which helped my career along later.

Mur (37m 15s):
So the thing is, you never know what's going to help your career never, which is why, you know, be nice to people and hit your deadlines and you'll go far. I know it doesn't sound like it. And it's not something that, you know, you put the camp, you put the coin in the machine and the candy comes out immediately, but it is something that you never know what's going to benefit you. So why not try as much as you can, as long as you can, and then still be nice and hit your deadlines.

Jesper (37m 49s):
Yeah, I think that's, that's good advice. And as well, if, if there was like one thing that if we say we had a time machine humor and we could travel back in time, and there was only one thing or one message that you could send back to your former self when you were just starting out writing, do you know what, what would that be?

Mur (38m 7s):
Oh gosh,

Jesper (38m 9s):
I caught you off guard there. Sorry.

Mur (38m 12s):
It's the thing is I stopped. I had a real crisis of confidence when I left college. And for some reason thought that that now that I was out of the academic atmosphere, I would never improve on my writing. I didn't think my writing was that great to begin with. So I would never get any better. And I talked myself out of doing it for quite some time. So if I could go back to her, I would say, don't quit because you do get better. Every time you write something new, you get better.

Mur (38m 42s):
And, but if I went back to myself at the start of podcasting, I think at the start, I was afraid of publishing my own stuff until I saw other people do it because I was afraid it would kill any chances for it to be published. Because once you publish something yourself, you do that does get rid of the first North American print rights or wherever you are print rights. And that was something I was afraid of losing.

Mur (39m 12s):
But then I found out that some people just didn't care and thought it was more important to build an audience. And some publishers, if your book got enough attention, wouldn't care and still buy the rights. So, you know, I was careful at the beginning and I don't think I sh I mean, I was, I was pretty pioneering and trying lots of different stuff, but I think I could have tried more if I had not been so afraid to put my own fiction out there. So I would've said don't, don't worry about it. I mean, right now really good fiction podcasts are getting more attention to than some books on the shelf at the bookstore.

Mur (39m 48s):
So definitely don't be afraid of that.

Jesper (39m 53s):
No, I think that those are both good advice. It's basically, it's like, don't be afraid. Keep going and don't give up. Right. I think that's, that's some of the best advice we can give to, to, to new listeners or those just starting out.

Mur (40m 8s):
Yeah. And it sounds so simple and people would go, of course, but no, I suffered my career suffered. Of course it did from quitting. I hadn't been so worried about never improving and actually written in my twenties. You know, I might be farther along in my career right now.

Jesper (40m 27s):
Yeah. And I, sorry, go ahead. No, I was just speculating while you set that, because it made me think as well that I think one of the things about this writing stuff is that we are doing it, especially when we're starting out, we're doing it so much in isolation. So it is for one, because you are in isolation, it is easy to give up because there's not a manager standing there telling you to get to work or whatever. And the other thing is that you have no idea if you're good at it or bad at it because you have nothing to compare against.

Jesper (40m 59s):
Yeah. So yeah, giving up, it's just very easy. And I think those who makes it a lot of the time is just the one who, the ones who kept going

Mur (41m 8s):
Exactly. And, you know, there's a, there's a phrase that you can either take ferry is very, very negative or actually quite positive. And that is nobody cares what you're doing. And you can think to me that, that, that nobody ever is going to read my stuff and nobody cares, but also you can be like, so I can go stand in the corner and dance naked with a chicken on my head and no one's going to care. So why not just do the writing equivalent of standing naked in the corner with the chicken on your head and dancing and see where that gets you because nobody cares.

Mur (41m 41s):
So you can do the weirdest stuff, the worst stuff, and nobody cares. And then once you start getting attention, then maybe you can make more careful decisions. But at the beginning of your career, you could do anything it's always liberating. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's actually a perfect note to end on because it's, it's a very positive one. Like I've been really negative this whole time. I'm so sorry. I don't want to be honest, but you know, no, I think it's important to be honest about things at the same time.

Mur (42m 16s):
It is also a matter of, as we just concluded here about keeping, keeping, going and not giving up. But at the same time, you shouldn't go into it with your eyes closed. You need to open your eyes and understand what you're dealing with here. And listening to podcasts like this one or others where you're, you're getting the truth of things that will help you in the longterm. But, and I don't think you've been negative at Alma. I think it's been good. Thank you.

Mur (42m 46s):
So is there any place where you would like people to go to check you out on the internet or wherever if they want to learn more about you and what you do more? Yeah. You can find all my stuff at <inaudible> dot com. That's one R M U R V E R S E. And that's where you can find links to my books, links to my podcasts and a press kit and all that. And my blog, which really is just my list of podcast episodes. Cause I don't blog much anymore, but that's where you can find me. And when the world's not on fire, I'm on Twitter more often and that's twitter.com/mighty Mer.

Mur (43m 22s):
Excellent. So thank you so much for joining us today. More certainly. It was a pleasure. Thank you. So next Monday, autumn, we'll be back and we are going to discuss how some people seem to have a bit of an attitude to what the fantasy Shunra.

Narrator (43m 41s):
If 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 Yesper on patrion.com/and writing fantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep the M writing fantasy podcast going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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