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 the two bestselling fantasy authors, Autumn and Jesper, every Monday, as they explore the writing craft, provides tips on publishing, and insights on how to market your books.
Monday Oct 18, 2021
Monday Oct 18, 2021
The best way to learn the craft of writing is to study the best of the best! Join us for our first critical reading episode where we take a look at the Hugo Award winning novel the Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. We take a look at what this story does right... and what had us scratching our heads.
Warning: there are spoilers if you haven't read the book!
Do you agree on our assessment of the book's strength and weaknesses? Leave messages in the comments or join the discussion thread in the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmWritingFantasy/!
And don't forget to signup for the Fantasy Map Masterclass to be held October 28. Register at https://ultimatefantasywritersguide.com/fantasy-map-masterclass/.
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The 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 an 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.
Hello. I'm Jesper.
And I'm Autumn
This is episode 147 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And we've finally arrived at our new initiative. So once a month, we are reading a high profile fantasy book, and then we record an podcast episode about it. So this is our Critical Reading of the Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. Yes, I am looking forward to getting into the nitty gritty because I admit some of the aspects of this one or what kind of gave me the idea for the Critical Reading group when we were first talking about it. I also don't know if our listeners will be surprised at our, I think we both have a very similar takeaway from this book, but the Le there's some aspects of this one that are like, oh, that is so different.
Jesper (1m 22s):
It's amazing. I see why I want to Hugo for this is such a cool book and there's other aspects that well we'll get there all the way. Yes. You're already teasing it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we got make people want to listen to like the heart of this line, which they should be excited. Yeah, I think it's, I think it's going to be an interesting conversation. And of course the, the idea is also here to see if we can try to draw out some things to learn in terms of either D these are good ideas or this kind of stuff you should probably avoid, you know, that kind of thing is what we're trying to draw out of the Critical Reading.
Jesper (2m 3s):
Exactly. And we'll, we'll get to it, but it's all matter of opinion, obviously. So yes, you can disagree with us. That's okay. It's just our opinions, but yeah, we'll, we'll get to, it sounds good. Well, if we're going to get to it, how are things going for you over in Denmark? Yeah. Well, I don't think I have wage that much to share this week. I'm just attempting to finish up the first draft of book two in our new series. So a couple of chapters to go and maybe I will be done by Friday. I hope don't tell me that. That that's my, well, you should be happy about that or very happy, but I was hoping to finish the edits on book one, which always seemed to be getting pushed back ever so slightly.
Jesper (2m 50s):
I'm so close. Maybe, maybe the end of next week, but you're going to beat me on the book too. I will catch up eventually.
Autumn (3m 1s):
Yeah. Yeah. So I, I don't think I have that much other to share this week. It's just been, you know, what do you call it? Like a head in the sand? No, not head in the sand. That's not good, but in the trailer, how do you say
Jesper (3m 15s):
Clouds? How did the clouds?
Autumn (3m 19s):
That was not what I was looking for, but nevertheless, I know, I know you were at some FANTASY con or something or
Jesper (3m 25s):
Yes, I went to a Vermont fantasy and sci-fi con up in Burlington and that was a lot of fun. I was there, there, it was definitely, I think, more, more than 50% Saifai but at the same time, it was so much fun. You would have, I thought of you several times because they had a R2D2 that was like truly moving. You could have mistaken it for the
Jesper (4m 7s):
And there was like Ghostbusters, there was a gorgeous Ghostbusters car and some plasma things. But one of the coolest things is definitely the star wars. And there was a lead the 501st Legion for the stormtroopers. So representatives there. And so there's these guys walking around and for full storm trooper armor. And the coolest thing is that they had to go upstairs to the conference room and I happened to be up there and I look out and I see one in the hallway and I'm pointing out to my husband. He ran out there and got a picture just as the elevator doors were closing. It looks so star wars. I'm like, that is the best picture ever.
Jesper (4m 47s):
So that one framed, it's just always, we're going to take a picture of a storm trooper. It should be in an elevator. It's just so cool.
Autumn (4m 57s):
I've always loved those uniforms. To be honest, I think I always also in the movies, you know, when it seems like they just look so cool. And, and sometimes I feel like it's a shame that they had just like Canon father in the movies, just don't troopers because they look so cool.
Jesper (5m 11s):
They look so cool. It's a very cool armor. And I was actually, I mean, I've been part of the SCA, the society for creative anachronism. I used to do that back in my twenties. And so I really enjoy that, but I didn't know there was a 501st Legion of storm troopers. I'm like, dude, you can go and dress up and be a storm trooper. That is cool.
Autumn (5m 38s):
Yeah. Well, I would rather be the Sith Lord, to be honest,
Jesper (5m 42s):
Probably I would want to go in as a Jedi master, but I do come from a FANTASY background. I think any Fantasy author should automatically get to be a Jedi or Sith master just it's in our resume.
Autumn (5m 56s):
See you, you pick the good guys and I automatically pick the bad guys. I don't know what the tails,
Jesper (6m 3s):
Well, we have to bounce each other's out. It's the force there's balance.
Autumn (6m 8s):
Oh, okay. Okay. Fair enough.
Narrator (6m 12s):
A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Autumn (6m 18s):
One last reminder here on the 28th of October, we are having our very first ever virtual Masterclass.
Jesper (6m 28s):
I can't wait. It's a Maps. I love fantasy maps.
Autumn (6m 33s):
Fantasy Maps. Yes. And if you can't make it in person, there will be a recording made available for you as well. So I don't know, I'm looking so much forward to just geeking out for an hour about fantasy maps. This is going to be so awesome.
Jesper (6m 48s):
It'll be almost better to on, so yeah, it'll be fantastic.
Autumn (6m 54s):
Yeah. We'll have a lot of fun and I will share some thoughts on map-making that you might not have considered before. So whether you want to learn something or if you just want to, well, kick out with us, we hope that you will join the Masterclass. It is a very inexpensive and it is conducted online. So you don't need to leave your house or anything like that to attend.
Jesper (7m 18s):
And the fact it's actually a really good deal. It's not only is it expensive, but it's a two for one, you get a second invitation to a second Masterclass as you have to be scheduled. So it's a two for one deal. It's a really good deal. Yeah.
Autumn (7m 34s):
Yeah. So there's a link in the show notes and you can find the registration page from there and yeah, we really hope to see you otherwise it'll just be you and me Autumm and I think talking, we can talk to ourselves about map-making, but it might be slightly boring.
Jesper (7m 52s):
Autumn (7m 54s):
That's true. That's true.
Narrator (7m 59s):
And onto today's topic.
Autumn (8m 3s):
Okay. So while we're doing, while we're doing Critical Reading here today, we, I think we better start out by saying that the purpose here is to learn from the books that we read, not to bast them or claim that anything is wrong with these books. Well, with this book in this case, and we should also say that the fifth season is a very popular book. It was awarded by the Hugo award for best novel in 2016. And this means that there's a lot of people loving this novel. So everything we say is personal opinions, and we fully understand that some people will disagree with that.
Autumn (8m 42s):
And that's okay.
Jesper (8m 44s):
Yes, exactly. And actually, I didn't realize this, but it's also has won the Sputnik award. It was nominated for Nebula award and it's a world FANTASY award best novel. This, this is a highly acclaimed story. So I think it'll be really interesting to look at it, but it's definitely that's. We want to learn why this is so popular and it's okay to, you know, find things that you don't like about it, but that's why it's a learning experience to find maybe the core features that you love and then, you know, learn from those and maybe learn what you want to stay away from. If you, especially, if people are leaving reviews or comments that you agree with and you can say, well, then I, there are readers who don't want that as well.
Jesper (9m 29s):
Autumn (9m 30s):
And we gave plenty of warning as well, leading up to this episode that we were going to do this Critical Reading. So we are not going to be careful about spoiling anything here. So if you haven't read the book and you want to, I suggested you turn off the podcast now and then come back to listen to the rest. Once you have done the reading part. So yeah, I might say, oh, I think I will definitely say some sports.
Jesper (9m 57s):
Yes, I will. Definitely too. And I had written down the exact same thing on my notes for today that spoilers will fall low this. So if you are still reading and haven't finished or plan on reading it, we're going to ruin the book for you. So stop now and go read the, finish the book and then come back and listen and see if you agree.
Autumn (10m 17s):
Yeah, I think that's a good idea. So I try to divide sort of my notes into some headlines. So I have a headline called plodding, one called magic and one cold world-building and then I have a bunch of stuff underneath each headed air. So I don't know if we just want to start out with a plotting on and then go from there or do you have a different preferences?
Jesper (10m 41s):
That sounds fine though. I wanted to start with maybe a quick explanation of what the fifth season is. I don't want to do a whole blurb and Sabine Opsis, you know, we're hoping you read the book, so, you know, what's about, but just to set the stage, the fifth season is, you know, we have our summer spring, winter fall. Well, the fifth season kind of lends its name to a world ending event, like a cataclysm, a major earthquake, something that is going to destroy civilization. So it doesn't come every year, but when it comes, it's known as the fifth season. So it's actually a very ominous title once you realize that
Autumn (11m 15s):
It is definitely so, yes. Okay. So we'll assume people have read it or otherwise go and check the book description on Amazon and UK. You can see what it's about. So should I just get started on the plotting stuff and then we can see where it takes us.
Jesper (11m 35s):
Maybe we should start almost with the way we would write books and we should start with the world building.
Autumn (11m 41s):
Okay, fair enough. We can do that. Okay. So I can start out with my first point here. It's, it's a bit of a long one, but let me try to get through it. So first of all, this is from a wealth building perspective. It's incredibly complex with all, like, there was all this seismic activity that is impacting on society and we have slaves, we have outcasts. And to some extent, this book is also about people dealing with being controlled and abused and having a total totalitarian regime.
Autumn (12m 21s):
And while I, well, I do enjoy the exploration of these sort of horrible things that people are willing to do to each other, as soon as they don't see the other person as a human being anymore, but I'm still wanting it to be more personal. You know, I have to sort of mention, I don't know if it's directly world-building building, but it's in here in my notes. But in this context, I have to mention that the second person present tense that the NKG Emerson uses it's, it's probably the reason why the book won the Hugo war, to be honest, because it's different and it is very well done.
Autumn (13m 4s):
I mean, don't get me wrong. She pulled it off very, very skillfully. However, none of that changes how it really puts me off. I just cannot get into the story and the characters. I don't know how you feel about that. Autumn.
Jesper (13m 20s):
I agree. I had a very hard time relating to the characters, especially the main character, which we can get to later. But again, we're not giving anything away, but I wasn't sure if we were not supposed to realize that the older woman, the middle age, you know, the, the motherish woman and the child were the same person. But I mean, as soon as we switched between the two, I knew instantly that the little girl was the same as the older woman who had just lost her son who was the same as the mother. I don't know if it's because we write in a fantasy and it's like, well, duh, or, you know, the idea of the goddess, who's the, the may, the mother of the crone. I mean, it's, it was just so obvious.
Jesper (14m 1s):
And so I knew the whole time that this is going to be the same person and I still never related to her. But to go on your comment of the second person, I agree. That's what makes this story literary Fantasy is that it switches between a third poison person, point of view, to a second person present tense. And it's amazing that it's done. And it, I didn't notice it as fast as some people who have left comments on what they thought of the story as they read along for today's podcast. So I, it literally, I think I was about a quarter of the way through the book. And I was like, oh, this is a total, this isn't, this is using you. And this is using present tense.
Jesper (14m 41s):
And this is not what was in this previous chapter. But I will say as a literary story, I think it was done very purposefully because the chapters where the second person is used are the ones where the character has just lost her son. And she goes into shock and doesn't recover for days. And she doesn't really recover for the entire course of the novel because that point of view is always in second person. She is disassociated from herself and her emotions and it works so well. The use of you makes it feel like you're separate from this character, especially compared to the chapters where it's third person.
Jesper (15m 25s):
And so I think in that way, it works great, but I never bonded with her because this is the adult version. This is the present version of who she is. And all the other ones are memories, which their past tense makes sense, brilliant Writing, but for character, you know, wanting to hear more about this character, I told you I can share it later, but I have a quote who basically her, I grabbed the review and her title to the review are my feelings for this book are complicated leading towards negative. And I'm like, oh, that's I could have written this one. And she too mentions that she couldn't bond with the main character.
Autumn (16m 8s):
No. And I agree with what you said, because I, I also think that the
Autumn (16m 49s):
Like that's what I enjoy when reading to just disappear into this sort of fantasy world and go with the characters. And that's what you get with the deep point of view. We talked about that in a previous episode as well, but that is what kept, keeps me fully engaged. And it just doesn't happen here because as a reader, I'm also distanced from it because of the second person. And I feel like that's a real shame. And I think Stephen from patron, he also said something that I really felt like was true because he said like, quote, the point of views were a stumbling block for me at first.
Autumn (17m 30s):
But I read on thanks to you guys with a critical eye so that I could see what made this book tick. And then it hit me the pros, the writing style. It was so lyrical and almost poetic in places. And I think that that hits it home for me because I fully agree. That's also how I see it. It is not, it is more lyrical and poetic than it is storytelling in many places. And for those who love that, then that's great. But I, I, I just can't get into the character and the story you, I just feel almost like I don't care. Yeah.
Jesper (18m 6s):
And that it is a shame. It is a shame for a book that is, I think, has such potential because the world is really interesting and it sort of relates to what you just said about the lyrical writing. To me, the, I saw it more like poetry, but minimalize, the world is a very harsh world. The book has some really harsh themes things that I don't usually like to think about when I'm reading Fantasy, it's, it's dark, dark Fantasy to me. And the magic is also hard. It's hard. It is basically earth magic. And so you have this hard world it's described very harshly. The language to me is very bare at times, fractured very punctuated.
Jesper (18m 49s):
It reminds me very much of geology and earth and different types of rock and layers. So it's like this whole thing is designed to be this hard surface as Rocky surface that can, at times it pokes you in it's painful. And that is just as a writer, as someone studying Writing, I'm like, oh my gosh, I want to read this in, you know, a college class. And I would have to break it down and discuss it. But as a reader, I'm like, I didn't bond. I didn't feel it. I didn't buy book two because I didn't have that, you know, warm gooeyness of, oh my God, I love this book. It was more like, I can appreciate this on a literary sense in a scene.
Jesper (19m 30s):
And I see, well, it was done kudos to you and yeah, good. Don't need to write like that. Thanks.
Autumn (19m 39s):
No, I agree. And I think I read somewhere that NKG, Amazon didn't intend for the setting to represent our world. And it's like future destruction. I could be wrong about that, but I think I read that somewhere, but one of the characters do call it earth. So there is that, but I sort of quite like the reflections on real life here, you know, whatever, whether the author intended it to be so not, I don't know, but, but I think it is pretty cool to think about, you know, from a climate perspective in a real world and so on. And yeah, I mean, it, it gives sort of the real world angle on thing.
Autumn (20m 20s):
And I guess that's the kind of thing that also gets awards, right? Because there's more to it than just a story.
Jesper (20m 26s):
Yes. Especially the end. You know, the last thing that alabaster the one character mentioned is have you ever heard of a moon and this planet that they're on, it's a supercontinent now. So it's like Pangea, but it's called the stillness. And so it's this fast continent and it doesn't have a moon. And suddenly, you know, the last phrase like mentions a moon. So is this future earth that has been torn apart with earthquakes and all this fracturing going on. It's very interesting. And I, over on world building too, I do the previous cultures that are there. They call them the dead sieves. So you see all these ruins of previous cultures and some of them sounded so technologically advanced and there's parts of the book where there's a lot of description and then there's like a dead sieve in the distance.
Jesper (21m 15s):
And I'm like, I want to know more about the ruined cities. I would have been like hard hat on. I am going to go check it out, but they're basically the culture is, oh, we don't go there. They failed. Screw them. Like, no, I love history. I want to know why they failed. Can't you learn from previous lessons and become something better and not just wipe the canvas clean and start over and fail again. So there was that element too, where maybe it is describing our current world where we're not learning from past mistakes and past things and we're repeating ourselves and this just kind of does it with civilizations.
Autumn (21m 53s):
Yeah. That makes sense. To me, at least, I don't know if that is the intention, but, but it, it makes sense that it's a commentary on the real world. I feel like, but I don't know. It asks a bit more depth to it, which I actually quite like.
Jesper (22m 10s):
Yes. And I was definitely teased by the floating obelisks pyramids. I forget how they're described. They have a couple of different ones, but these floating blocks of stone. And I couldn't believe that the, again, that there was very little curiosity about what they were, except for alabaster, trying to figure it out. And a young girl on the cell, in the girls viewpoint. And I get days, I can't remember her name, but her, when she's a child and she's at fulcrum learning to become, I can't even pronounce it. Origin, NIST origin is what they call their magic system.
Autumn (22m 50s):
I shouldn't going to
Jesper (22m 50s):
Try. And I had to look up how to say it because it is a world real world. And so I looked up and so there's this girl, and she's curious, but it's like two people in the entire book are curious about these giant floating things in the sky that are made out of stone. And again, I find it, I find the lack of curiosity, which is something that is true for the whole book and especially the main character. She's never curious. And that's sort of against who I am as a person. I thrive off of going to know what things, you know, why things are this way. And so I really think that did not help me relate to the book because there's not a single character who was like, well, why does this happen?
Jesper (23m 33s):
What happened here? They don't care.
Autumn (23m 38s):
Yeah. And, and the other aspect of what you're saying, I feel like is, is I don't feel like there's enough at stake for the protagonist. I mean, yes, she is searching for her daughter, but the rest of what happens, like you're talking about the obelisk and all this kind of thing, all of that is sort of dealt with because, well, it's my job. So I'm dealing with it, but it's not, I mean, I just can't help by questioning here. If we, if we're trying to learn from it, what would have happened if the author had found a way to link all of this stuff around the obelisk and all that other stuff closer to the life of the character so that it make a personal difference for the character, whether she dealt with it or not, instead of just I'm taking care of my job, I just feel like that would be a lot more interesting.
Autumn (24m 26s):
Jesper (24m 26s):
Yes. I feel like the entire plot, what you have, you said you have a whole section on the plot. I feel like the whole plot revolved around the search, the present search for her daughter, and then the, how she got to where she is now, which is the two past point of views where there was some really cool stuff. Like, you know, the one time, the first time she bonds with an obelisk and a volcano erupts. And I'm still not sure if that was her, the obelisk or alabaster somehow making this volcano up here. And I thought, oh, this is going to start connecting with her. And immediately the next part, she doesn't even really ever think about them again.
Jesper (25m 7s):
And then when she moves on with the present tense where she has been a wife and a mother in this new new town, and it begins with her losing her son, she's never even wondered about, again, anything that obelisk the things that I thought like, oh, you've connected with an obelisk and it's an alien intelligence and it was talking to you. Okay. Not mentioned for the next 50 chapters. I was like, oh, I want to know more about that.
Autumn (25m 34s):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I do have some issues then. And I thought as well, if I just say infidel student, know what I'm thinking about, autumn,
Jesper (25m 46s):
I think they hit you worse, especially cause you're listening. And I think maybe I just kind of skimmed them and didn't realize it was skimming them. But you said that there were more and I realized,
Autumn (25m 59s):
Well, at least it feels like that to me. I mean maybe, maybe it's just me, but I was listening to the audio book version Al and I, and can I just say, if you haven't, you know, listeners, if you want to check this book out, then Narrator for the audio book is freaking amazing. She does such a good job at narrating this book. So that's definitely worth it. I can highly recommend the, that this narrator she's so good at it, but, but that's, I digress what I want men was just that I noticed in several places, how well, maybe you don't notice it so much when reading and I'm speculating here, but, but because of the very lyrical language, she's so good at writing that maybe you don't really notice that much, but there are quite a lot of info dumps in my view where you just get like a whole section about something that happened like in the older days or blah, blah, blah, something it's like.
Autumn (26m 57s):
Hmm. Yeah. Okay. But, but if, if it was, if I read it in a book and maybe if, if it was maybe well less written, I could put it like that, then I would just feel like, well, put all of this conversation between characters or something so that I can, I get the, as part of the action of what's happening or characters talking about it and shared that way, because it feels like sometimes there's just a whole sections about old history stuff. And it's like, okay, I guess I don't, I don't know. Yeah.
Jesper (27m 32s):
One of the reviews mentioned that if they had to read another description of meeting someone on the road and what they were wearing and what their hair color was that she would go and how you knew which part of the continent they were from based on these things, that it just seemed too repetitive. And you know, I, again, I didn't really quite notice that, except I know sometimes I, I would, again, probably just skim ahead a little bit, be like, okay, that's nice. You know, I, I don't need to know all the details. So again, I don't mean to be pointing out the flaws, but I think we're just, we're pointing out the difference between what's literary Fantasy and what is normal, like dark fantasy, what we expect in the two genres. And this is literally sold as literary slash epic slash science fiction.
Jesper (28m 15s):
So it's, it's a weird mishmash where I think it fits better actually with literary Fantasy than it does with dark fantasy.
Autumn (28m 26s):
Yeah, I do too, because I mean, as I hinted at just a moment, a Gomez, the writing is exceptionally well done. I mean, she writes really, really beautiful. I have nothing to say against that. It's it's amazing.
Jesper (28m 39s):
And the world is like you said, it's,
Autumn (28m 44s):
But yeah, that's what I mean, if that's what you're there for, then it's great. Right. But if you're there for more, like what I guess I could call commercial fiction, you meaning you're there to enjoy a story and so on, then this is not it.
Jesper (29m 0s):
And I think part of that part is also the not bonding and the plot feeling sort of flat that, you know, all these potential side plot plots could have happened, but they don't because one, the reader, the character is not curious, but it's also the character. What kind of character arc would you call this? I'm thinking it's either a fail or a flat arc. And because she never learned, she never grows. She's not curious at all. She doesn't change. Plot is kind of static.
Autumn (29m 34s):
Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to come back to that a bit when I talk about the ending, but I'll save that for a moment, but I did have another comment from, from Steven on Patrion as a last comment, I have at least on my list when it comes to world building, because I think he might have a good point here, but I'm curious what you think Autumm. So he's asked quote, the one aspect of the world building that I didn't care for is that she made up many curse words like rust and rusting. And yet she still used several modern curse words. This is probably nitty nit-picky, but if you make up your own own course words, that fit the culture of your story.
Autumn (30m 16s):
Why use modern carbon curse words too? So I think he has a point. Does New York, Adam,
Jesper (30m 22s):
I think he does. I don't know if I would have no, I don't. Can't say I super noticed it. I, I noticed like when she was using rusting and stuff. Yeah. I really, I just, I liked the ones that she made up. Cause again, it fits the world. It fits the culture of, you know, very like metal is not considered safe because it, rusts rust is a bad thing. It's leads to dead sieves, but I don't think I noticed too many modern words and what they were. And so, yeah, I think as a, you know, I would think I would appreciate them more if she, if she had stuck left them in the world that she was, especially if this was not supposed to be a future earth where people are still saying F this.
Jesper (31m 4s):
Autumn (31m 6s):
Yeah, I get the point that Steven is making to be honest, but at the same time, I must admit sometimes you can just put in the effort. I mean, I know there is a lot of debates. I've seen it in many times being debated whether or not there should be an F-word in a fantasy novel personally, I don't have any problem with it, but yeah, I don't know. I still get the argument.
Jesper (31m 30s):
I I've used it because it fit, it was actually set in modern day earth. But yeah, I've been, as long as it's not aimed targeted at kids, I don't have a problem with using some of our language because you they're already speaking English. So why wouldn't they have some of the same swear words? I mean, at that point, why are you not making up all the names? Why aren't you doing this? Why aren't you making a Calvary word? Just let's keep it simple.
Autumn (31m 58s):
Yeah, yeah, indeed. Yeah. So that was sort of my notes on the world building parts. And if I just go into, let's say, well, we talked about a lot of the plotting stuff already, but what I did want to mention as well, something very positive because I really like how we are following three women. It's the same person, of course, but essentially there's three women here in different ages, but I really liked that because I just don't think that there is enough fiction out there with female protagonists, to be honest.
Autumn (32m 40s):
And I really liked that. Yes,
Jesper (32m 42s):
I actually, it would be, it was funny being female. I didn't even think about it, but you're right. It was nice to have that and have that point of view. And also she was a very capable and determined woman. In many ways she could take care of business. She knew what she was doing. She had when she was younger, she was pushed around a little bit. But she overcame that, I guess, about the only growing she does do.
Autumn (33m 6s):
Yeah, I agree. The thing is though, as you said before, it's just too easy to guess that it's the same person. I, I also guessed it almost immediately. So, but, but at least, I mean, if we disregard the fact that maybe some people didn't get it, I don't know. But if we disregard that for a second, the fact that there is a plot twist or surprise in the story, which if you didn't guess it is, it is a surprise at the end. I think that is a very good idea to take away from that as a learning experience, you know, to try to have something that will surprise and excited readers once they get to that final pots of destroying, they're like, whoa, you know, that kind of thing is great.
Autumn (33m 50s):
Jesper (33m 51s):
Agreed. I mean, I will be, I would be surprised if people didn't, I guess I, it's hard to know how you're reading it. If you truly, she does make the settings, she doesn't tie them together at all, really until that kind of twist at the end where you realize it's all the same character, but she also didn't really go out of her way to make it seem too different. Like why they might, you know, hints that it was the same time. So I think it was a pretty easy guessed that they're the same ones. So it wasn't a huge twist, but it could have been, it is always good to have a twist like that.
Autumn (34m 25s):
But honestly, I think if you did not have the second person, if all of them have been third person limited, I don't think I would have guessed it. Oh, it's because the second person stands out so much that I knew that it has to be linked to the other people in there. And maybe it's something to do with we're different on different in different times or something. I don't know. It was just so different that I knew that it had to link together somehow. And then I could just add the two and two together and then I guessed it right away almost right. But if you had three third person limited point of view, then I might not have guessed it to be honest.
Jesper (35m 8s):
That's interesting. I still, I think I, cause I had noticed a second person at least consciously at that point. I just, again, I think it's kind of Celtic kind of the made mother and crone, as soon as it switched to a little girl, I'm like, oh, this is her as a child. I just, because she was mad, you know, she had the same power. It just seemed right to me. There was enough of the character in there as a, even a little girl that I'm like, yeah, this is the same one. So, but I think everyone would pick it up in their own path. But because the book like you were saying is it makes you think you start trying to think and solve it pretty quickly.
Autumn (35m 44s):
I have to ask, how could you not notice? I mean, did the second person is like, it jumps right at you. I mean, it's like, oh, what is going on here? I mean, instantly, I mean, how can you not notice that?
Jesper (35m 56s):
I don't know. I don't, I was reading it at night and if I was just tired or it was a very good. And like I said, I first noticed that the magic being an earth magic, which I had to laugh because of how many times you've picked on me for my debut novels, elemental magic. I'm like, here's a Hugo award winner. It's only earth element of so, but the harshness of the word and the language and just how everything just felt like geology. And I am a huge geology. Gleek I mean, if you like earth and granted and schist and you know, these big geological terms, oh my gosh, read this book and geek out and no one will know you're totally geeking out over just the geology.
Jesper (36m 39s):
So I think I was so caught up going, oh, this is so cool. Her language is harsh. The world is harsh. I love how it all ties together. I can't imagine the number of revisions to make it sound this way. And everything ties together that I just never even noticed that it was second person.
Autumn (36m 57s):
Jesus Christ. You must have been tired. It's like, as soon as I got to, to that in the audio book, it was like, I had to pause it, like what, what is going on here? It was just so incredibly different than weird all of a sudden. And I, and that, that, and that from that point on, I just couldn't get into it. So it did. But I agree with, with regards to the magic system, just to match it, I, I, I would hate to do all that research. She must have been, she must have done in order to pull this off and all this seismic stuff and figuring out how it all moves and all my God. So it must have been a lot of research behind that magic system, but it is very well done and I have to applaud her for it.
Jesper (37m 43s):
Absolutely. Unless she happened to be, or have the family of geologists. And so she was kind of eking out on it as well. So I could see that, but yeah, you would definitely have to have an interest in deep earth sciences to come up with this magic system and make it, so she talks about flop fault lines and you know, some things can only happen here and only happened there. And probably you're not into geology and not into really cool magic. There's probably going to be times you're like, oh my gosh, please stop describing rocks to me. But I loved it.
Autumn (38m 18s):
No, I, I too. I did too. I think it, because also I feel like it's a different magic system to what I, at least maybe there's already some magic system based on seismic activity and so on, but I I've just not seen it before. Maybe it exists, but I'm not aware, but at least it was a different enough that I thought it was, it was very cool.
Jesper (38m 38s):
Yeah, definitely very cool. And I would say, cause I do want to point out and it's, I think one of the things that though where I fell out of the book and what lost me is that is with the main character, the present tense, the second person a son is I think what lost me is again, her arc her arc. I assume it's a flat arc to slightly fail, but she never learns from her mistakes, which again, that would be a grow arc. But I just, there was one point what should have been the climax where I'm sure you remember it, she's on the pirate ship. Do you know, she's had this safe Haven, she's in a really good place, but she's bored.
Jesper (39m 22s):
And so she goes on a pirate ship and she is literally the one she uses her magic and pokes the spear up to the boat. And she realizes when she does it, that I shouldn't have made it visible because now they know there's this robe earth magic orogeny. And so we're going to basically have to kill everyone. She's the one who realizes it. And literally the next chapter, she goes and stops an entire volcano. No, one's going to notice a volcano suddenly just going away. I wanted to bang my head. And then she goes to alabaster the, probably the most intelligent character in the whole book. The one who's really a forward-thinking he's curious.
Jesper (40m 2s):
And he, she tells him, you know, he knows that she did this and he gets mildly like upset when she says, oh, I saw somewhere on the shore. And he's like, oh, we should, you know, we'll have to be careful. She quelled an entire volcano. He should have been jumping up and shaking her saying, you just gave away where we are. That was 20 miles from here. And so this leads to the death of her first son. The book starts with the death of her second son. I'm like that. That is when I think I decided I wasn't reading book two was when I read through that climax and I'm like, this is supposed to be the clincher for the book. And I don't care. I'm mad at the character.
Autumn (40m 46s):
Yeah. I cannot disagree with that. I have some points about that ending as well, but I just want to finish off one thing that Stephen said about the magic as well. First. So Stephen from patron said, quote, the magic system was very unique. Erogeny definitely adheres to Sanderson's loss of magic, where in origin he has limits orogeny has a cost. And the reader is given a clear understanding of how Erogeny is in this world so that he or she has a willing suspension of disbelief. In other words, it's believable, magic fits well into the story and it isn't used always to solve the problem or conflict in the story.
Autumn (41m 32s):
In fact, for all intents and magic is both the problem and the solution in the fifth season. I think that's sums it up very nicely.
Jesper (41m 41s):
I think that does as well. And even to add to that, that the magic system has the, the 10 rings the tiers. So you even have, you know, what level people are at and what they can kind of do at those levels. It's well done. I liked that. Yeah. You started off as a novice and what you have to do to advanced and how your, your attachment to the magic grows.
Autumn (42m 4s):
Yeah. Okay. So let me get to the ending here. You touched upon some of it already. So I want to say a few other things in, in addition to what you already mentioned, because I feel like the ending just leaves way too many things completely open-ended, you know, I don't necessarily have anything against cliffhangers. I know a lot of people do, but it doesn't bother me personally that much, but please, you know, when you write a story, at least give the reader a certain degree of closure, you know, just something to at least give a sense of what is going on here.
Autumn (42m 46s):
If you can take the stone eaters as an example, you know, by the end of this book, I have no idea what the Stoney ETA's want or how it all sort of links together. I have no idea. We also don't know what happened to Eastern's husband and child. I understand that this is the first book in the series, but it just left me slightly frustrated. And if I'm honest, like, you know, very honest, I have to say that I, I did not read like this book at all.
Jesper (43m 23s):
I agree with the ending, especially it felt, it felt more like the first third of a novel than the first book in a series. It didn't have that book ending. And I thought it was, we never, in the entire story, we hear that the son has a daughter. I don't even, I'm sure we hear her name, but we never see her now even in a memory. And so it's hard to feel that mother's like she gets distracted. She goes up all over the map. You're reading about two other points of view of her that I never felt a huge bond. She's kind of just like the walking dead and, and just, this is her mission. It's her last living child.
Jesper (44m 3s):
She will find her daughter, but there's no bubbling passion with that at all. And so I just kinda thought it was really weird that we had this huge pivotal character. That is the reason the woman is, you know, walking forever and what happens to her. And we don't ever see her even in a memory. And that's just seems very strange to me.
Autumn (44m 29s):
Yeah. So maybe it would be fair to say that on the plus side you have amazing world-building lyrical writing and you also have well sort of commentary maybe, or at least there is even if it wasn't intended by the author herself, but there is something you could use as least as commentary to our real world and the, you know, real situation with climate changes and so on. So, so that's sort of on the plus side and I guess those things and well, not on the plus side, but the second per the use of second person in order to emphasize how the couch of fields dos are sort of the things I, I think is what gives you the awards because it is different and it is commentary on more than just being a story.
Autumn (45m 27s):
And so that's why you is, she has one do your watch. I feel like, yes, but on the negative side to me, you have a very, the plotting doesn't, it doesn't add up, you know, it doesn't connect. Well, there was several times, like you've mentioned things that happen where it's like, it doesn't really like make logical sense. Why the character doesn't question this or look into this. Or there are several places like that. I'm also very much missing the personal stakes that we talked about as well. And if you're reading it for a good immersive fantasy story, then yeah, that's goes on the minus side as well, because it does just does not succeed on this at all.
Autumn (46m 12s):
Jesper (46m 12s):
I agree is the, the tropes, the things that we would expect from commercial fiction or that make it immersive and maybe build up the passions just aren't there, but for the literary aspects for how well it is put together and how well it all fits together in a literary sense, the writing the magic, the world-building, the use of second person versus third person it's amazingly well put together and it deserves the award. But if you're working on it from more of a commercial and epic or dark fantasy, it is just not as adhesive. It doesn't have what people are looking for, which is often characters. And your just characters are what make you turn the page.
Jesper (46m 55s):
And that wasn't what drove this story. And so I think that's a really important takeaway is it's the character. I won't even say it's a building, but I did read some of the reviewers said that the characteristics were just shallow. They didn't have that depth. It always stayed kind of on the surface. And the few times you thought you saw more, sometimes it just the contradicted each other. It wasn't very solid. Yeah,
Autumn (47m 19s):
Yeah, yeah, no, I, I can agree with those reviewers because that's exactly the, that's exactly the point here. Right? I think everything here depends on how look at it, right? Because I, as a reader, what I appreciate when reading is the good story, the good characters, that's the sort of stuff that I enjoy. But of course, I also have to respect that many other people, they enjoy the other aspects that I had on the plus side just a second ago, Ryan, I'm not going to mention them once again here, but, but those things that I mentioned before on the plus side, some other people, they love that stuff.
Autumn (47m 57s):
So yeah, I think a lot of it, well, it is like that for any book ever written. Some people love it. Some people hate it. That's the way it is, but I can only speak for myself. And I just, this is not the type of book I enjoy reading at all. And I will definitely, it's a bit of a shame because honestly, when, once I started reading it, I had, because of all the awards, I actually had quite high expectations that this was going to be awesome. And then I felt pretty disappointed to be honest.
Jesper (48m 28s):
Yeah. And I would also say that I was surprised that this one did not come with any trigger warnings in the blurb, maybe because it's an award winner. But I mean, I have, my books are so much more mild, but I mean, this is literally sexual molestation, Istation, exploitation, the death of children. There are some really horrible dark themes in this one that I was shocked as true. And there was no trigger warning. And I was like, wow, I am shocked. I have a slightly rough sex scene. And I had someone, a reader put a trigger warning on my book and I was like, don't touch this one. This one's going to really hurt.
Autumn (49m 7s):
Right. Yeah. Okay. We'll I have some final remarks, but I don't do what do we have more now on your note list? Autumn?
Jesper (49m 16s):
I think that covers pretty much everything. I think I said there was, if you go into there, there's a review by NBS Lee. It comes up as the, the highest ranked critical review. Cause 295 people have found it helpful. And I think it sums up really well. The, the aspects that are so interesting about this book, I mean, she gave it a, she or he gave it a two out of five stars. Just, it's such an interesting complex, highly written book, but it's also not what you expect if you're reading commercialized fantasy or science fiction.
Autumn (49m 53s):
No, totally agree. Okay. So what I wanted to do to finish off here is I want to take the chance to thank Steven for his input on Patrion. It is just so much more fun when we have people reading along with us here. And of course, if you, dear listener also want to provide input for future Critical Reading episodes and us sort of taking your comments into the actual podcast episode like we did for Steven here, then just make sure to join on Patrion. And there is a link in the show notes for that next Monday. I will have an interview with the extremely popular and successful YouTuber, Jenna Morrissey.
Autumn (50m 35s):
And we'll talk about using YouTube as an author.
Narrator (50m 39s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Oct 11, 2021
Monday Oct 11, 2021
Masterminds and masterclasses has been around for quiet a while - and for good reason. The best thing you can do for your author career is to invest in yourself. To learn and grow.
In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper share some of their personal experiences from being part of masterminds, as well as, thoughts on why they are so beneficial.
If you want to join the masterclass on fantasy map making, sign up here: https://ultimatefantasywritersguide.com/fantasy-map-masterclass/
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Join us at www.patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. For as little as a dollar a month, you’ll get awesome rewards and keep the Am Writing Fantasy podcast going.
Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the 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.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm, Autumm.
This is episode 146 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And today's topic is Masterclasses and Masterminds for authors. And it's actually a topic that we've sort of been sitting on for quite a while. Isn't it? Autumm
It is. We've had this idea and another big idea that kind of goes hand in hand with it. Why, why are we like Masterclasses or Willy's what the benefit of them are, especially mastermind groups as well. So this will be a fun one to jump into and I'm looking forward to hearing a reader and listener. I should say reactions because I would love to know what their take is on Masterclasses and all of these things that are out there to learn.
Jesper (1m 16s):
Yeah. Yeah. And of course we have a bit of a culture. W what is it called?
Autumn (1m 20s):
Altera photos. Yes.
Jesper (1m 22s):
That's what I was trying to say yes. With this one, but that will become clear Indian, but I think most people can probably guess it already now
Autumn (1m 31s):
Probably, but we'll see if they're right. Let them consider that we could pull twist ending. You never know.
Jesper (1m 39s):
Yeah, no, no, that's right. I've had a bit of a cipher weekend this last weekend. Yeah.
Autumn (1m 48s):
Well, I know because he, over the weekend you had a lot of refereeing and things going on.
Jesper (1m 52s):
I did, yes, I did do that. I refereed three matches in the weekend, but then Sunday evening, I, I went to watch the new Dune movie in the theater,
Autumn (2m 3s):
Jesper (2m 4s):
Yes. And then I also started watching a foundation on apple TV plus. Which is also sci-fi.
Autumn (2m 11s):
Yeah. That is a huge sci-fi weekend. How are they, how is Dune?
Jesper (2m 18s):
Actually, I think, I think for once they have actively succeeded in making a Dune movie, because I think it works. They they've sort of slowed down the pace. It even says in the, in the opening credits. So it's not a spoiler. I won't spoil anything here, but assessing the opening credits part one. So it's only going to be the part of the, part of the doom story that they're going to show in this movie. And it definitely ends as well. That it's very clear that there needs to become be more movies. I don't know how many, but, but this one actually works for once. I mean, they've tried to make doom before and failed, I think, but, but this one was good and the end, the cinematography is it's amazing.
Jesper (3m 2s):
Oh, nice looking.
Autumn (3m 5s):
Excellent. I'm going to have to put that one on my list of, you know, date nights with my husband. If I can find it playing anywhere near us, where we're still,
Jesper (3m 14s):
You should go and what's it for sure. That'd be. And, and also if anybody of the listeners, I don't know, I don't think you have apple plus two TV Autumm, but if any of our listeners do then what's foundation, as well as it goes, it has a very strong dune vibe to it. And, you know, in terms of cinema photography, it looks amazing. And it's so fun. I only watched the first episode I should say, but I actually quite liked it. I was pretty good. So yeah, a lot of scifi this weekend for me,
Autumn (3m 49s):
Just trying to get out of this world a little bit. Orange juice. Very cool. I will have to go look this up. I'm good. I actually started a Netflix series that kind of goes along with some of the murder mysteries. You and I have been reading, call it high sixties, so, and that's on Netflix. So if you happen to see it, it's actually, it's fun because it takes part. I think the ship is probably the 1920s era, the roaring twenties. And so it's got all that gorgeous styling and the art deco, which is one of my favorite design times. So just gorgeous little elements. And it's a feisty young heroine who, you know, they ship a ship's officer who definitely is kind of interested.
Autumn (4m 34s):
And she was just kind of batting them off as they did in the roaring twenties. Just like get serious. There's a murder we're trying to solve. So it's really kind of cute and good acting. I think that's actually, it might be Spanish based, but it's, it's really fun. But besides that, life's been quiet literally in a way, because you know, you know that I'm partially deaf and I've picked up a hearing aid this summer, but I finally decided it's I love hearing, but it's incredibly uncomfortable. I like, while we're podcasting, I can't have anything over my ear, like while I have it on. So there's this surgery that I've been contemplating, but I do risky surgeries.
Autumn (5m 18s):
I'd had PRK done on my eyes so that I could go from like seeing three inches to 2020, it was a miracle. I cannot believe that modern science can do such things. And there's something very similar for my ear. And I'm like all for it, except for one thing, there's the nerve that goes for your taste. Buds goes right over where they need to, you know, do their little finagling. And so then she adds, you know, me, I'm a foodie. So, you know, I'm a foodie. I love food. I was like one of my joys in life. If I can't drink tea, you know, I might as well not get up for the day. Well, just exposing this nerve to light can mess it up. And they're like, usually it's three days.
Autumn (5m 59s):
Sometimes it's a week. Sometimes it's a couple of weeks in 5% of the cases, it is a term sauce possibly, you know, the rest of your life injury. I'm like 5%. So that's one out of 20 people. This is just the doctor. He's like I said, 5% of my patients have this long-term issue. So one out of 20 people walk out of that door and they're never going to taste quite right again, I'm like, that's like saying I don't like my front door and I could get it fixed and have it moved or changed my front door. But there's a 5% chance that you're going to destroy the entire house. I don't know if it's, so I've been sitting here like flipping coins going.
Autumn (6m 43s):
I trying to think of an analogy going, you know, if I, if I had a scratch on my front door and it really drove me nuts and I hated seeing it every day, what I risked destroying the entire house, just to have it fixed should probably just suck up the hearing aid, but hurts. It really hurts,
Jesper (7m 2s):
But it isn't a hearing aid, also something about getting used to it, that wearing it enough and getting used to it.
Autumn (7m 7s):
I was hoping so, but it's actually the longer I wear it, the worst it's getting, I have, it turns out I have a tiny ear canal. Of course it's got all these problems, but so it actually wearing, it makes it feel like you have a major sinus infection. That's just like clogging your ear canal. So it was like when I pull it out, if I wanted to pay a lot of money. So maybe if I save up a couple 10, 15,000, it's really expensive. Very, very expensive. So yeah, I'm on the fence. If any listener out there or someone reading the transcripts, if you cannot listen, has any suggestions, please let me know, because I am on the fence with this one leading towards sucking it up and not getting it.
Autumn (7m 54s):
But maybe if someone has had a state, but it's got a stupid doc to me, if anyone else has had that and they've had a success, you know, let me know. I need some advice.
Jesper (8m 6s):
All right. Well, that's a call for the listeners. I don't think I can help months on that one.
Autumn (8m 10s):
Okay. Fair enough. You don't have hearing problems.
Jesper (8m 15s):
No, probably other things, but not hearing. Okay.
Autumn (8m 18s):
Narrator (8m 22s):
A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast
Jesper (8m 27s):
This week, I was thinking to keep this section sort of short and sweet by just mentioning that we had a soon call with Jason, our Facebook group moderator last week, and Luke was supposed to be there too. He's the other moderator of the group, but unfortunately he couldn't make it, but it was so great talking to Jason, But, but the reason I'm bringing it up is basically because the Am Writing fences, your Facebook group has really come a long way since we started.
Autumn (8m 55s):
Oh my gosh. As I told Jason, I remember, I remember when it was me and I was inviting a couple of Fantasy authors. I knew to join it. So if he did tell me I should get a pin for
Jesper (9m 6s):
Being an inaugural member, but yes, it's not two people anymore. It's almost 7,000. It's a crazy, yeah. We were sort of joking if we would make it to 10,000 before the end of this year, but let's see.
Autumn (9m 22s):
Yeah. That'll be interesting. You never know. I think it's slowed down slightly this last month, but it could pick up again. You never know how these things go.
Jesper (9m 30s):
No, for sure. Not. So, yeah. So if you, you, dear listener have not joined the best writing group on Facebook yet. Just search for Am Writing Fantasy and you will find us.
Autumn (9m 41s):
It's not just us saying it's the best one. It's the members and the moderators who just absolutely adore it. So that's kind of special
Narrator (9m 52s):
And onto today's topic.
Jesper (9m 54s):
All right. That was a sort of Sweden to the point. So we'll just get right into this main topic of Masterclasses and Masterminds, but I actually did a bit of digging ahead of this excellent Episode. Autumm do you know when the first mastermind was established?
Autumn (10m 14s):
I have no idea. I'm guessing it's probably, if you're not counting internet
Jesper (10m 27s):
Right? Yeah. I did some digging, as I said, I think actually there is something about Masterminds going on in ancient Greece, but, but if we just sort of look at it in a bore Middlemore modern context and I could of course be wrong about this. So this is just as far as I could figure out or find out by searching around. Right. So I could be wrong, but I think it was actually Henry Ford. Oh, really? Cause he met formally with like a group of men who did not work for Ford motor company and they met at least once a month and then they shared ideas and they solve problems and so on. So I think that was actually the first mastermind in, in modern times.
Autumn (11m 7s):
It makes sense. And there have been, you know, you mentioned that there have been a few notorious as well, groups, I believe in like the New York scene, the art scene slash writers scene, there were some amazing authors and scientists and minds that would get together and just spill out ideas. I think it is an amazing way of cooking up some really innovative ideas and problem-solving
Jesper (11m 33s):
Yeah, yeah. Indeed. And later on, Henry Ford was also asked about his secret to his success and he actually said that this group, his mastermind was the reason. So I found that pretty interesting.
Autumn (11m 46s):
It was really interesting. I had not heard that about Henry Ford.
Jesper (11m 50s):
Yeah. So I think it, it can definitely the needle. I have been part of a few, a mastermind, so myself as, as part of, you know, management groups and so on and I also find it incredibly helpful.
Autumn (12m 4s):
Yeah. And I've when I was learning to build courses, I was part of a mastermind group there. And so I've been in a couple as well and they can be, and like you said, work with work. I had a leadership mastermind course. So that was really, they're really great. And they can be an amazing way of focused learning as well as coming up with some really great ideas.
Jesper (12m 27s):
Yeah. And, and I think basically we're just going to have like a general discussion here about Masterclasses and Masterminds and then maybe, maybe a bit about some challenges with it as well. At least I have a few notes about that, but I believe what happens a lot to us authors, it's sort of like we have our head down in the daily grind of writing books and you know, we never sort of stop to consider the options that are available to us. You know, sometimes, sometimes we may not, might not even be aware of them, but this is where like, like Henry Ford that we can actually benefit from what others are bringing to the table because they, they will, other people will have a different take on a problem you have, or they will just bring some ideas to the table that you hadn't even thought about.
Jesper (13m 15s):
And I think that is some of, one of the main benefits probably from the mastermind.
Autumn (13m 21s):
Yes. I agree. Because like, like our take our Facebook group, The Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group there, it's really supportive people ask questions all the time, but the problem is it is nearly 7,000 members and that we need to have moderators because every once in awhile, you know, someone's a little snippy and in general, they're really nice and usually very encouraging. But there is also a huge chance because you don't know everyone you're talking to, to misinterpret, what's being asked or not to ask it in a way that everyone understands. And I think the mastermind group, because it is a smaller group, it's usually focused participants. I mean, some of the ones I've been in, you had to be vetted so that you kind of fit in with the other people who are there.
Autumn (14m 5s):
I mean, obviously it helps when everyone's on Author. So therefore, you know, everyone, a fantasy author, especially you got the ground rules right there, but when you have something like Henry Ford had, that's a S it could be this whole intellectual intellectual thing where there's a whole bunch of different people from different backgrounds coming together, you know, and you're discussing maybe random things. You kind of want to be vetted, but you get to know people and you get to know their concerns and maybe what they're working on. So that when you ask a question, they're like, they're seeing, you know, your lens and your sphere and they're problem solving for you. Not just as like a general, Hey, have you tried writing faster? You know, it's much more like, Hey, I know you have two kids and this doesn't work, but have you tried doing this instead?
Autumn (14m 51s):
So that may, you might be able to, you know, turn out more words. I just think they're so helpful because you, I know from my leadership course, I mean, we stayed, we're still friends. We stayed friends for years, decade because it really was a powerful impact to get to know someone that closely.
Jesper (15m 10s):
Yeah. And you took the points, you touched upon something that I think is important here because when you were in Masterminds or even Masterclasses for that matter, we are sort of all like-minded people. And what I mean by that is not necessarily that like Henry Ford, for example, if we use that example again, it's not necessarily that you have to be in the same industry. You don't even have to be authors all of them, but in our case, it will be. But, but even if you're not, I mean, like-minded in the sense that we all are there because we want to achieve something. You know, we, we want to move our author business further along the road. You know, we want to maybe earn more money.
Jesper (15m 51s):
Maybe we want to become better at writing, whatever it is, but we are there because we want to learn. And by helping each other, it basically becomes for the benefit of everyone. And of course, some people might think, well, I already know enough, but I think the truth of it is that no, you don't. We can all grow. We can all learn. And that will, that's a continuous thing that will go on for the rest of your life. So for me, joining masterminds, joining Masterclasses is there's always something you can take away from those sessions, even if you're already quite accomplished.
Autumn (16m 31s):
See, I think to me, that's where the master comes in. That wording is when you're still learning and still starting out, like, you're still learning how to write the intro, or maybe you haven't even conquered your first book. You're still learning a lot of stuff, but it's, it's huge and new that might actually not be the best time for the masterclass because you're still absorbing so much stuff that you're kind of figuring it out, but there's comes a certain point where you're like, all right, I've written a series. I've written a few novels. I kind of have the marketing done. I've done this stuff, but I know I'm not where I want to be. I have this growth and there's this kind of gap of what you want to learn, because it's becoming more tailored to who you are and your book and your journey, and nothing else is going to do it.
Autumn (17m 18s):
So short of paying for a coach, which is very expensive, you know, paying for like one-on-one or joining a mastermind group where you can have that focus and you're helping others. And usually by helping others, you end up helping yourself because, oh my goodness, like, you know, I've, I've learned to life coaching over the summer. So that really, when you start asking the right questions and you re reflect on them yourself, you start solving your own problems really fast. And it's kind of amazing that way. So it becomes this group energy where you're helping each other and you're all excited and you're all really going to push forward. And so, yeah, if you think you'd have nothing else to learn, you probably won't go to a mastermind group and have that energy because you won't be putting out the energy as well.
Autumn (18m 4s):
And if you feel like everything is too overwhelming, you might not be in the right spot for it either yet. You might need to, you know, write a book, tackle some of those big questions that you can just read a blog post for, or take a intro course on writing for. And then maybe you want to level up to the next stage and try mastermind.
Jesper (18m 26s):
Yeah. And I think, and maybe you can, you can see if I'm right here, but I think that one of the major challenges or major reasons as to why authors do not join Masterminds or not so much Masterclasses, maybe because they're not, they're not so time-consuming, but more Masterminds is the time commitment of it. I think, I think a lot of the time people are reluctant to join something like a mastermind because they are afraid that they won't have the time for it. And, and then they just decide not to. And as I've said in the beginning, right?
Jesper (19m 7s):
I mean, I've been part of a few masterminds myself. And of course I can only speak for myself, but I always have found that it is well worth the time that I put into it, because you're going to get so much out of it. And yeah, maybe it doesn't mean that you are prioritizing some of your time or allocating some of your time to the mastermind instead of doing something else, but usually mastermind, they don't go on forever anyway. So it might be like, I don't know, four months, five months, six months, something like that. And you meet maybe once a week, twice a month, something like that. So yeah, you, you will invest some time in it, but I think when time commitment concerns are the main reason for not joining, I think that's actually a bit of a shame, to be honest.
Autumn (19m 55s):
I agree. And I think it might be good to let's define masterclass versus mastermind. So a masterclass is usually a single course. I've seen them up to three, you know, three sessions, but it's usually like, it's just a very short, very focused course that, like I said, it levels up, it is advanced techniques. You're not coming in as a beginner. So there's going to be lingo and stuff that you're like, oh, you know, I, you should know this already. It might be explained, but if you've never written a book and you take a brighter as mastermind, you might, or masterclass, you might be a little behind and you might not be as you ain't need to watch it a few times. But yeah, Masterclasses usually a very short one to three sessions, you know, at the most, so an hour or maybe three hours is not a big time commitment, but a mastermind group, it tends to be more interactive.
Autumn (20m 46s):
And like, you, you can meet sometimes twice a month. It doesn't go on forever. It shouldn't be go on forever. I was invited to one that had no end point and cost a God awful amount of money. And I kind of cocked my head and said, you're not trying to teach me anything. You're just trying to get me to pay you and walked away from that one. So do you should always take everything with a grain of salt, but yes, they should be it's to me, it's almost like the life coaching. They should have a definite end point a definite target, a goal that you're going in for that you want to see happen and eat might be twice a month. And maybe it is once a week. It depends on whichever one you end up being a part of.
Autumn (21m 29s):
But as with all things, maybe you won't be writing as much, but when you get out of it, you're going to be writing so much better, faster, stronger. It's going to be worth giving up some time so that when you get to the other side of it, what you're doing, you're doing with so much more confidence, skill and knowledge. And with some friends that you're going to still have. I mean, like I've had a writers group and we stayed in touch again for ages afterwards, because we really cared for each other and you keep those friendships going even after the group is officially over.
Jesper (22m 1s):
Yeah. And I want to touch upon that just in a moment, but I just to add one thing to what you were saying about the difference between the master class and Masterminds, the master class are almost always very sort of instructor heavy. It is an instructor led class. So meaning that you have a teacher who is just explaining things, whereas the master mind, it also has it, but it's not so much a teacher. It's more like a facilitator. There is a facilitator there that will facilitate the conversation within the group. And there will be, at least sometimes there will be a bit of cheating as well, but it's, it's only a smaller portion of the mastermind. Whereas in the master class, you, you, you basically, even if it's probably virtual in many cases, but you're in a class room kind of environment.
Jesper (22m 49s):
If you see what I mean, somebody is teaching something, whereas that that's not so much the case in the mastermind, it's more about a group helping each other to become more successful, whatever success means to you as, as the member of that mastermind. Yeah. So, but I wanted to get back to what you were saying there, because one of the huge benefits I see is, and it ties in with what you were saying. It's the accountability part. You know, you were saying like, you, you get the friends and you, you, you, you stop meeting on a frequent basis, but you have accountability built in. And that makes a huge difference. You know? So you have a mastermind session, you agree some things that you are going to go and do for before the next meeting.
Jesper (23m 32s):
And that forces you to actually go and start ticking off those, those things on the to-do list. So that you, next next time you show up, you actually did what you were supposed to do because otherwise you're going to get stuck right in the mastermind. And you're not going to get much help. Plus who wants to show off for the next class and say, I haven't done anything of what we agreed I should do. I mean, nobody wants to do that. So not to say it can never happen, but in most cases it really helps you to, it's a lot about motivation. I feel like it's a motivating experience to be part of a mastermind. And maybe that's actually one of the greatest benefits of it now that I think about it. Yeah,
Autumn (24m 9s):
No, I would agree. It, it definitely, you, you ended up with accountability partners. Do you want to hold up your part of whatever you're working on or learning or doing. So, you know, you've put in the effort, you, you join a mastermind group when you, you know, you're going to be putting in effort, you shouldn't join it already feeling tired and overwhelmed and everything else, because it's, it's a bit of a commitment because you're really, you're trying to take some pretty good skills and move it to the master level. You know, you're, you're pretty solid intermediate. And you want to go to the next tier. You're going to have to put in a very focused time intensive, well, not time intensive, but energy intensive mind intensive. You're going to think about it. You're gonna work on it.
Autumn (24m 49s):
You're gonna have to be accountable for it. So you don't do this when you're like, I want to go on vacation. It's not maybe the best time in your life to do a mastermind, but it does up your skills, I think a lot. And I agree you end up, you know, putting in your effort, putting in your part. And so I think when you get done with it, maybe you're not quite as high getting all that same amount of workout, but you're higher than you were when you went in and you're better at getting your work done.
Jesper (25m 18s):
Yeah. And at the same time, I want to say, be careful that it doesn't become an excuse. I mean, I think you'll write into, in what you just mentioned on them, but at the same time, that can easily be turned round to becoming an excuse for not joining and a master. Right. Like, well, Autumm said that I feel like having a vacation. So now I shouldn't. Right. I mean, a mastermind is usually maybe as I said before four or five, six months duration, right. There will be some point during that period probably where you have less energy or maybe you have something going on or whatever. So I also feel like you might need to push yourself a bit to say, I'll give it a try. Right? Yeah. And, and jump into, of course not.
Jesper (25m 59s):
If, if you truly have something in your life that, I mean, I'm not saying that you should push past any like boundaries that you shouldn't, but
Autumn (26m 8s):
Keep your health family first.
Jesper (26m 11s):
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure. But, but, but at the same time, if you want to sort of get to the next level, at some point sooner or later, you have to start investing in yourself and your business or in your writing skills or whatever it is you want to improve, but it's just tuition not to that's the problem.
Autumn (26m 30s):
Yeah. Well, I, I guess I'm always the one who's like, oh, learn something new and let's go do that. I don't care that I've got, you know, a mountain of things, but I do see what you're saying. And I agree I've I do think more of a self-evaluation maybe you don't think you have the energy, but if you feel static in your writing career, or, you know, if you're looking at Masterclasses anywhere, but if you're feeling stuck or static, or like you're not progressing, things are not going as quickly or they're just plateaued, even if you don't quite have the energy, but you think you have the time commitment, that might be a good indicator to do a mastermind. Because being with other people who are excited, you know, and an instructor, or at least a facilitator, I like how you use that word.
Autumn (27m 15s):
Facilitator fits very well with a mastermind group. You know, being with other people will get you the energy to keep going. So as long as you have the time commitment, even if you're not feeling it really good, like you're so excited, like you're wanting to get up at 5:00 AM to go running for half an hour. You don't have to have that level of energy because if you do, I don't talk to me at 5:00 AM. I'm still asleep, but you just have to have that realization that things are not quite going the way you want them to go. You maybe you're not feeling the writing. Maybe you're like fluff about it. You're just like, maybe I'm done.
Autumn (27m 56s):
I don't know. I'm stuck. That's probably a really good indicator that it's time to, you know, level up, get into a mastermind group, get the energy, find out where you're stuck, get unstuck and push through it and come out the other end feeling really awesome. Like you did get up at 5:00 AM and went for a run and it was great
Jesper (28m 16s):
Afterwards. It's great. But I think of course the mastermind should in itself be, be a good experience as well. It's not like, it's not like you have to force yourself to it. Like you might have to force yourself for exercising. It is it isn't true. I've always enjoyed the mastermind sessions. They are quite fun. You learn a lot, you take a lot of you get inspired from it. So I think in general, it it's a very good like that. And then I was just thinking about something based on what you said, and now it's escaped my mind again, like a puff of smoke,
Autumn (28m 50s):
So that doesn't usually happen on the pad podcast. So we'll, we'll forgive you this time, but yes, but no, I agree. It is not like exercise. It's it's more like getting to hang out with some of your favorite people talking about your favorite subject and getting geeking out about it. So if you like getting excited about something. Oh, excellent. See, I just need to talk more. Go ahead.
Jesper (29m 14s):
You just needed to fill the gap then I, yeah, no, but it was because you were talking about getting excited about the writing and so on, but it could also be of course, that you feel like I've tried every book marketing trick that I have, you know, I I've been able to find on blog, post on podcasts, listenings or YouTube or whatever. I tried, like, I feel like I've tried everything and nothing works. No, maybe then this Whaley, it could also be about, I want, I just want to sell more books, you know, that could also be something you could bring into the mastermind and, and learn from there. So yeah, a lot of good things can come from it.
Autumn (29m 51s):
Definitely. I think it is just, it's a little cooking pots, Bunsen burner, and a little crucible. It's a crucible. That's what the word I was trying to find of. Just, you know, getting things going and really leveling up your skill to a new level faster than you would be able to do it on your own. And I think that's, what's important. That's why you join a group is because it is sort of like the speed training to get somewhere new.
Jesper (30m 19s):
Yeah, indeed. So I don't know if should we get to our ulterior motive now Autumm
Autumn (30m 26s):
I guess we've held out long enough and covered the basis of why Masterminds and masterclasses are actually a really good tool.
Jesper (30m 36s):
Yeah. Because, well, the ulterior motive is not that surprising, I guess, but that it's because we want to, we actually want to have our first masterclass and we actually made it available for sign up right now.
Autumn (30m 51s):
I'm so excited. Not just because I built the website and the registration page, but I'm still excited that I got it done.
Jesper (31m 0s):
Yeah. And so there is a link in the show notes and you will get right to the registration page from clicking death. And we have shared all the different info, not that much, to be honest, but there is the information you need on the registration page, but the master class is on Fantasy map-making
Autumn (31m 20s):
And that's what I was going to say. If you weren't going to tell people I was going to jump in and be like, we have to tell them what this one is about. So this is, this one is fantastic because what one who doesn't love a Fantasy map and two, this is how we met. So I think it's our inaugural masterclass that we're going to be is going to also be like with the topic of how you and I actually started talking. So it's going to be so cool. We already geek out about Fantasy maps. So
Jesper (31m 53s):
What was it? Was it last week or the week before last we had the top 10 about Maps. I can't remember. Was it? Yeah,
Autumn (32m 3s):
I think so. Wow. I don't think that.
Jesper (32m 7s):
Okay. Whatever, but yeah, we love fantasy maps and the good news of course, is as well that the master class is taking place online. It's a virtual masterclass, so it
Autumn (32m 18s):
Doesn't matter what country you're in. So that's always better.
Jesper (32m 21s):
No, no, of course there will be a bit about time zones here in the sense that we are running it on the 28th of October. If you are in Europe, it'll be evening time. If you are in the us, it'll be daytime. But the good news is that we are going to record it. So if you sign up and you can't make it in person, that's absolutely fine. We will make a recording available. So, and I think I can promise it's going to be a lot of fun. Don't you agree? Autumm
Autumn (32m 49s):
I considering I know what the slides and I know the topic I know is going to be so much fun. We're going to have a blast. And even though being a masterclass, it is mostly instructor led. We have a ton of questions and some Q and a sessions and polls and surveys. So it's going to be so much fun and interactive. And I don't think people are going to be like, that was an hour. That was like 15 minutes. It wasn't an hour. It was going to be a blast. Yes.
Jesper (33m 15s):
Yeah. And it, and we have purposely made a soda. There are some fun things coming in between the information. So it's going to be entertaining. And I think it was 38. Was it $38 or something like that? It wasn't, it Autumm yeah. $38. Yes. And it's not very expensive. And what you get as part of that package is as well that once you've signed up for this masterclass, you will actually get, get access to a second masterclass on a different topic that we're going to have on a later date. We haven't set that date yet, but you will get in as part of the package here to have that included in the price that you're paying. So it's essentially 38 bucks for two Masterclasses.
Jesper (33m 57s):
Autumn (33m 58s):
That's actually really good deal. I've looked at Masterclasses there. Even if you go to, what is it? The masterclass Lear learn something from Neil Gaiman. Those are $99. So $38 for a Masterclasses is for two Masterclasses is incredibly genius though.
Jesper (34m 15s):
Yeah. Well, the other thing is that, sorry, I was speaking over you there. That's all right.
Autumn (34m 21s):
So maybe we're being a little too cheap thinking about, you know, the, you know, $99 learn from Neil Gaiman and we're only doing 38 for $2 for two classes, but I guess we'll go with it because we've already announced it
Jesper (34m 33s):
We'll go with it. But the thing is as well that we do plan to, at some point in the future, we, we don't have any dates for anything of this yet, but we do plan some point in the future to actually run a mastermind. And the thing is that our planning, at least as far as it goes right now, is that we are only going to invite people who actually attended Masterclasses to the mastermind when the time comes. So that might be another reason why you want to sign up. So you can actually at least put your, you know, taking the, what, not a tick in the box, but you can put your like ticket in the hat or whatever, whatever you say, your name and the hat.
Jesper (35m 14s):
Yeah. Well, when we get to the mastermind, because the mastermind for sure will only be a very limited audience. So w w not everybody will be able to get in. So, but we do tend, it tends to add people to a wait list and so on if you don't get in the first time around. But yeah, we'll see about that. The mastermind part is secondary right now. The, the main point is that if you want to entertaining fun, geeking out about FANTASY map class, then get signed up for it. And then you're going to get a second masterclass at a later date. And of course the second one will also be recorded and it will be made available as a recording if you can't join in person and all that.
Jesper (35m 54s):
So yes, that's it to be a participant. I don't want to geek out about Fantasy maps, but I guess I have to help run the show. I would sign up for that. That's true. Darn it. I can watch the recording later though. That's okay. Yes. Okay. So next Monday, we have our very first critical reading episode. We'll share our thoughts on the fifth season by N.K. Jemison.
Narrator (36m 29s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. 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.
Monday Oct 04, 2021
Monday Oct 04, 2021
Monday Oct 04, 2021
Have you ever opened a fantasy book, looked at the map, and wondered what the author was thinking?
Jesper and Autumn pull out their favorite worst fantasy maps and a few map pet-peeves in this humorous episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. Oh, plus a ghost story and more!
Join our Fantasy Map Masterclass at https://ultimatefantasywritersguide.com/fantasy-map-masterclass/!
All maps mentioned were chosen in good humor and jest and reflect personal opinions that aren't meant to be mean!
Check out some of the maps we talk:
Kushiel-world map: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/118923246398203552/
Game of Thrones: https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/File:WorldofIceandFire.png
Anne Bishop: https://www.annebishop.com/s.tir.alainn.map.html
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Join us at www.patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. For as little as a dollar a month, you’ll get awesome rewards and keep the Am Writing Fantasy podcast going.
Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The 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 an 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.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm, Autumn.
This is episode 145 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And we are back with one of our top 10 episodes. And this time we'll each share five fantasy maps that are the worst, and we'll see who can well, basically create the best worst list again.
And this was an interesting challenge to be describing Maps well on a podcast. So the YouTube listener, I think everyone just go check the show notes. We're going to have a links to some of the Maps we're talking about, but it'll be, yeah, we'll do our best, but I think we can be descriptive enough of what drove us crazy about the map in question.
Jesper (1m 16s):
Yeah. And we'll, we'll try, we'll try. At least we have 144 episodes behind us. So hopefully we should be able to think about this being an audio medium.
Autumn (1m 26s):
I know. Compared to some podcasts we're like middle-aged or something we're getting into the here.
Jesper (1m 35s):
Yeah. Yeah. That, that, when you said that, that reminded me of the, some of the comments on Facebook, around the episode we did about marketing to different generations. And Jason commented on one of the, on that post about listening to that episode, made him feel really old. And I just had to tell him like me too.
Autumn (1m 59s):
Yeah. When you're aged generation is next to the top, you're like, Ooh, that happened.
Jesper (2m 5s):
Autumn (2m 6s):
That's never fun.
Jesper (2m 8s):
No, no, it's not.
Autumn (2m 11s):
So how are things over in Denmark though?
Jesper (2m 15s):
Well, yeah, so this last week has been one of those where it actually started out quite well, but then it just went downhill from there. Yeah. I mean the good news was that I went to that interview to become a referee instructor that I mentioned a couple of episodes back. And then the national football association actually came back and confirmed that I was selected. That was a good start to the week. That is awesome. Of course, I, I still have an exam to pass and I have like tons of homework I do need to do in preparation as well, learning like the laws of the game by heart and interesting stuff like that.
Jesper (2m 58s):
But it does look like this is going to happen. So I'm pretty excited about that. It's
Autumn (3m 2s):
Jesper (3m 5s):
Yeah. But then it went downhill from day, as I said, you know, so first the party who was selling the house that we were negotiating for, they decided that they didn't want to sell anyway. Oh my God. So I just said that we're going to pull the house off the market. So it was just like a colossal waste of our time, but also money of course, because we actually paid a building inspector to go out and, and look at the house and go through it with us. Right. So totally waste of time and money. But I really think that this, these people selling the house, I think they were just in it for the money. You know, they tried to see if they could sell the house with a huge profit.
Jesper (3m 47s):
And then when it turned out that they couldn't because when we placed our bit of wee bit far less than what they wanted, and then they decided, well, apparently we can't get this much money for the house. So then we're just not going to sell it. But I, I don't know. I just feel, of course it's, it's there. Right? They, they can do that as they please, but it's really annoying.
Autumn (4m 8s):
Yeah. You know, that's not the way that, you know, test your house market by like, you know, taking unsuspecting people who are sincerely interested in buying a house and you're like toying with them, you know, it's that little rude.
Jesper (4m 23s):
Yeah. I dunno. It, it also rubbed me the wrong way to that way of doing that, but, oh, well, what are you going to do? There's nothing we can do about it, but at least now we know it's not going to be that house. So we'll keep looking and searching and figuring out what to do. But what was worse than that was that our youngest son was also tested positive for Corona. Yeah. We talked a bit about it offline already. Autumm yeah. So, but yeah, he's been in self isolation since the beginning of the week with me sort of attending to him. I'm just a room service guy now.
Autumn (5m 4s):
Jesper (5m 5s):
Yeah. I think that pot actually, he quite like, so he's like, I would like something to eat and then it was just like me coming with a tray with something, food for him and stuff. So that part, I think he's, he likes, but he's doing all right after the circumstances and he's already starting to feel better and he's, what's like 200 million hours of TV, so we'll see how it goes. But at least I've not got any symptoms yet, even though I'm in close proximity with him, but I just fingers crossed that it'll stay like that. Of course.
Autumn (5m 39s):
Yeah. So near fully vaccinated. So that's, if you get it, the reason you are vaccinated, that is that it should be, hopefully be mild. So knock on wood that you'll be, everyone will stay healthy and he'll get better. Very soon. I have to admit when I was a teenager, tens, a little young, but when I was a teenager, I think I would have adored being locked in my room with a whole bunch of books and some music kid comic books and been like, yes, just bring me food and T I'll be fine. Just leave me in here for a month. Yeah.
Jesper (6m 9s):
I think like a 16, 17, 18 year old, you know, they would love that kind of thing I would to have at that age. But Tim, no.
Autumn (6m 19s):
Yeah, yeah. I was always a drawl or so was all my Crans were with me and some markers. I probably might be fine in there for awhile.
Jesper (6m 27s):
Yeah. Yeah. True. But yeah, I mean, due to all of these things, I haven't really written much this last week, so I'm not too happy about that, but what can you do that?
Autumn (6m 36s):
Yeah. We'll get back on track. It's fine. Life happens.
Jesper (6m 41s):
And how about you?
Autumn (6m 42s):
Oh, I already hinted. I had a bit of a story. So this is one that there's a lot going on in my life right now. Like everything from a sick dog that has kept me up and I'm hoping I can stay coherent for the entire podcast because I'm unlike, it's like, you know, having a baby every hour and a half the dogs go out. So I'm so tired. This was day four in a row. Parents. I don't know how you do it. I really don't know how you're doing, but I can handle a dog for about a week. And then I'm like, oh, please just get better. But I had an interesting thing that I had to share with you in the listeners that happened as you know, it was just down at my parents' house and that was, oh, it was so much fun. It was great being a kid again and getting to be spoiled with my parents taking me out.
Autumn (7m 27s):
But the day I went to leave was actually my brother's birthday. And as you know, my brother passed away in 2000. So 21 years ago, he actually would have been 51. And my parents and I were sitting around there's a little island in the kitchen and I'm like, yeah, you know, today was, would have been his birthday. Right. And they're like, yeah, yeah. And my mom said, well, you know, it's funny. It's, you know, it's like, he's there because I'm his youngest son and my one cousin or the spitting image of my brother and all the way down to his voice. And just as my mom was saying that, and my dad was agreeing the two drop-down lights above our head pop like really loud and blue, but they didn't just blow.
Autumn (8m 9s):
They blew the entire circuit in the kitchen and this is a newish house, you know, it's less than a 10 years old. They've just built it. And so like, we're like, oh gosh, that was, that's quite the timing. When, after my brother passed away, they actually had a whole bunch of electronical issues that happened in our old, old house. So we're like, oh, that was really funny. Ha ha. It's your brother. And so my dad's like, okay, he went on, he went fix the circuit, not a big deal. As we're sitting back down, finishing up breakfast, I, you know, I've got an eight hour drive ahead of me. So I'm trying to get ready to go. Mom's like, oh, I thought it was that light, that blue. I was like, no, it's that light. So they turned back on the lights. They both worked. They didn't blow either light. They're both halogens.
Autumn (8m 49s):
So when they blow, they're like this pan, the butter Che to change. But yeah, it was a, they turned back on lights and they were fine. We didn't blow either a light bulb. And so we all just, we just kind of sat there a few minutes. Like that's really weird. That's never happened before kind of, you know, acknowledged, Hey, you know, happy birthday bro. And had a few minutes of silence and then we're okay. We gotta get busy today. So I thought that was just so weird. Amazing,
Jesper (9m 22s):
Which went all out and then you could just turn them on again, as if nothing happened or whatever
Autumn (9m 26s):
We had to switch the circuit breaker. But for there's no reason. I mean, it's not just that the circuit blue, the lights pop, they won't even do it on the radio. It pops, the loud goes right over my head that I jumped off the stool. It was so amazingly loud, it blew the entire circuit in the kitchen, credible. And then when they turned back, the lights on everything worked fine, no smell of smoke, nothing. The house didn't burn down since then. It was just so strange.
Jesper (9m 53s):
It was just a sound from beyond.
Autumn (9m 56s):
Yes. And even my husband's not quite into souls and spiritual beliefs at the moment. And he was like, well, we are all, you know, every S every emotion in your body is done through electrical impulses from your brain. It's like, so yeah. Your brother would screw with the electronics early, like tricks. And yeah. So it was really, it really felt like he was there with us for a moment being his normal troublesome self.
Jesper (10m 27s):
Ah, that's, that's, that's actually a good story. I like, I like stuff like that. I thought you were like, I really don't know what I think about, you know, the whole souls and spirits and so on, but I'm also not in the place where I could, you know, say that I don't believe in it. I can't say that either, but I'm also not sure if I do believe in it, you know, it's, it's, I think it's very difficult.
Autumn (10m 51s):
I think it does take time, but there's enough NEF things that have happened in my life. I do believe that there is consciousness beyond our physical bodies. And that's how I put it. Whether you want to call it a soul or what, I don't like the religious context, you know, that, but I do think there's a consciousness that is greater than the sum of our parts and that exists beyond our physical bodies. So yeah, I would be surprised that my brother would hang around for 21 years to drop by on his birthday. But as you know, he had a tragic death, so anyone would have, you know, maybe he would, and it was really interesting though, is just when we mentioned how much my cousin and his youngest son are so much like him at least look like a magnitude totally different.
Jesper (11m 38s):
And if you should drop by at any day that it would be that day. Right. So
Autumn (11m 43s):
It would either be the day he died, which it wasn't, it was on his birthday, which yeah, that would be, especially him. And my mom were like, they're two peas in a pod. Their personalities were so similar. They'd each other like five, six times a day. So yeah. I could see him stopping by, on his birthday to say hi to my mom.
Jesper (12m 1s):
Nice. I like that story. Good story. Thank you.
Narrator (12m 6s):
A week on the Internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (12m 12s):
So we got our monthly critical reading started didn't we Autumm
Autumn (12m 16s):
Yes, we did. It's very exciting to get, see people voting on the books and getting into the one we've chosen.
Jesper (12m 25s):
Yeah, because in the next few weeks, we will do the episode where we will analyze last month book pick, which was the fifth season by NKG Emerson. However, it is now time to pick the book for October. That doesn't seem, Yeah, it's crazy, but that's the way it goes, you know, time flies when you're having fun, as they say, but as a reminder, the way this works is that we've created a poll in the Am, Writing Fantasy Facebook group. And here you can vote on which of three books you want us to read and analyze next month. Of course, we would love for you to read along.
Jesper (13m 8s):
And if you're a patron supporter, you will even be able to provide us with your views on the book. And we might just share that on air as well. So do you want me to share the books that we have the warming up for Autumm
Autumn (13m 21s):
Yes. Unless you want to pay some in a chat because I did not grab them before we started recording. Again, I here today, I'm not as busy as my dog, so I did not prepare for that. I prepared for the rest of the episode though. I did do that.
Jesper (13m 35s):
Oh, well, that's already progressed, so, okay. I'll not hold it against you then. Okay. The books that we pick this month, they is the winner of the world Fantasy or what it is called, which mark by cl Polk or another winner of the world Fantasy award, which is the sudden appearance of hope by clear north, or finally a third winner of the world FANTASY award, yet this kind of, kind of a T theme going on here. But the final one that you can vote for is Jade city by fondly.
Jesper (14m 15s):
So the voting has already started in the Am, Writing Facebook group. So either go there and place your vote, or if you want to become a more integral part of the process, you then go and join on Patrion. There's a link in the show notes for that as well.
Autumn (14m 34s):
Sounds good. I think we should give the Patrion votes, like double points because you know, they're special, important. They're more important. And I think if you are, I vote, cause you know, I have a vote on this one that we should get like 10 points, but you know, that's my opinion.
Jesper (14m 49s):
Well, we are not allowed to vote. This is the, the people voting. It's not us voting,
Autumn (14m 54s):
But we're readers too.
Jesper (14m 56s):
Yeah. But they, they force us to read Autumm and then we just read what the people want us to read. That's the way
Autumn (15m 2s):
It works. Well, it could be a worst job,
Jesper (15m 7s):
But the speaking of patron, by the way, we also want to give Nancy Hurst a huge shout out. Thank you so much for becoming a patron support, Nancy. It really makes a difference. And well, without people like you, we would probably not keep the podcast going for very long. So
Autumn (15m 24s):
Very true. Thank you, Nancy. And welcome to Patreon. We appreciate your support.
Jesper (15m 34s):
So before we get into this, we should probably say that where we share maps that were actually created for books or games or movies or something like that, the intention here today isn't to hate on those maps. So everything we say in this episode is meant as like humoristic views on Maps. So there are probably those of you out there listening who might like some of the maps that we are going to mention and you know what that is perfectly fine, nothing wrong with it. So basically just take everything we say from this point, onward as entertainment, rather than critical assessment of the Maps.
Jesper (16m 14s):
Does that sound fair?
Autumn (16m 15s):
That sounds very fair. You know, this is definitely, it was a pet peeve or something we point out it's a personal opinion. Other people may totally disagree and that's fine. We're just looking at it from our own perspectives and to have a little bit of fun and poke some fun at Maps because you know, if you want to pull up one of mine to poke fun, please have at it. I'm fine with that.
Jesper (16m 37s):
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I mean, as I said, this is just entertainment guy, so it's a, it's a, one of our worst, top 10 lists. So we wanted to talk about Maps. So yeah, essentially we have to find some maps that we don't quite like. So be it
Autumn (16m 51s):
That'd be it. I think we manage. Yeah.
Jesper (16m 53s):
Yeah. So we should alternate, like we normally do Autumm and,
Autumn (16m 59s):
But I remember, yeah, I remember last time probably because I did the post-production recording and stuff that I went first, last time. So I think it's your turn to go first.
Jesper (17m 13s):
Okay. Okay. Yeah. One day I'll make up my mind if I prefer to go first and last, but I still don't know. So maybe it's actually good thing just to get the decision made for me. There you go.
Autumn (17m 25s):
Well, I was happy to do that because as we've said, this is a partnership, so it's good if we both make decisions occasionally.
Jesper (17m 33s):
Yeah. I think this is the fourth time you pointed that out today. So I don't know what's going on. Something is going on.
Autumn (17m 42s):
I'm picking idea today. It's fun.
Jesper (17m 45s):
Yeah. Yeah. You think it's fun? I do. I like when I pick on you Autumm but the other way around, it's not so fun,
Autumn (17m 53s):
But these lists are all about, you know, giving, giving back as good as you get. So here we go.
Jesper (18m 1s):
Okay. We'll I can start with my number five, but I must also say that it felt a bit different making this top 10 list compared to some of the other ones that we've made in the past, because it's, it's a bit more like, for example, the last one we, we made with like the worst superpowers, you know, some of it was really wacky and stupid and fun. Yeah. Whereas this is a, this is slightly more serious in the way that it's, it's a bit like, that's true. A little opinion, like you said before, it's not like fun like that in that con in that sense that it's just silly and stupid. Right. So, yeah, but let, let me get going here.
Jesper (18m 40s):
And number five is not the worst map that I've seen, which is also of course, why it's number five rather than number one. But I decided to include a map, which some people might disagree with me about, but that's okay. I can take it. Excellent. But it's the, it's the map for Wheel of Time. Okay.
Autumn (19m 9s):
Well that's the famous one.
Jesper (19m 12s):
It's very famous. Yes. But I've always found this map quite boring. No, it's just like, it's one huge large chunk of land. And then there was one of my pet peeves and as well, you have the 90 degree angled mountain range. Again, I freaking hate those. What I do. Why do they keep popping up on maps all over the place? I don't understand. Mountains will never, ever form like that. So when I see it, I instantly, I mean, seeing, like pulling my head hair out, like why do you do that? Please stop.
Autumn (19m 50s):
Yeah. It's sort of magic. That would not, I can't imagine how that would happen in nature. So I do agree with you in fact that I might be mentioning something about Maps that do that later. Not quite on the
Jesper (20m 2s):
Oh, okay. Okay. Yeah, because I mean, I could also have used the map for the Lord of the rings, but we have sort of pre-agreed ahead of time that we were not going to put that on the list because if we did, we would probably both have it on the list. Not because Lord of the rings is a Batman in general. I actually quite like it, but it's just the mountains around more, or that it's the same issue again here. And I don't like, I mean, Tolkien did have a reason for it. We won't get into all of that now. Why, why, what Tolkien had a reason for it and so on, but it's just like, come on. I mean, I don't know if it's because Tolkien did it and then everybody started copying or something. I don't know, but it's, it drives me insane.
Jesper (20m 44s):
And then there was also one this, a Wheel of Time map, like in the bottom left corner of the map, there was some cold something called the wind bites, his finger. And it's sort of like, it almost looks like a small islands that forms a finger or something, but it just looks really weird. So we'll put a link to it in the show notes. So have a look yourself, but I don't know. I just don't, I don't like it. It's not my favorite map. It's not the worst I've ever seen, but it's certainly not my favorite.
Autumn (21m 16s):
Yeah. I, And I, I picturing it. It's been a while since I've seen that one, but I do. I do know you mean it's never stood out to me as a great X for such, for a book that has become sort of like a hallmark of a fantasy series. It's kind of a map. I will agree with you. They really studied. I never read the, I haven't read the books. I will admit it. I've never read the Wheel of Time. It's too long for me to even contemplate until I like, until I'm locked into a room because I have COVID and someone's serving me to you and then, or I'm locked onto a desert island, then I'll read the wheel of time until then. I'm a little busy.
Autumn (21m 56s):
There's a lot of books.
Jesper (21m 58s):
Yeah. I, I got to, I got to book six. I think it was in the night gave up. Indeed. It's just, I mean, I understand the people who like it, but just for my taste, it is way too slow paced. It's just like, nothing happens. And Sunday on book, after book, after book where it's just like, yeah, I think I've mentioned it on the podcast before, but I specifically remember some, some places where you spend an entire chapter where nothing other happens that they need to exit attempt and it takes them all chapter to exit the tent and it's like, come on, move people. It drives me crazy.
Autumn (22m 34s):
Okay. I'd have to be really, it'd be at the bottom of my book pile and I was desperate for me to get through all of them. Then that's really tough. Yeah.
Jesper (22m 43s):
I gave up. But yeah, maybe a you're hinting at somebody who needs to serve your tea all the time. And I don't know what you were hinting at there, but maybe you read it one day when that happens.
Autumn (22m 55s):
I will hope so. Considering my husband is still currently I'm away in may and I'm, he's not kidding this hint. So let's just be in the dog. Are you ready for my number five? Okay.
Jesper (23m 9s):
Autumn (23m 10s):
Go. This one, there is an example later in my list, so I'm not going to share it now, but this is more of a generic, one of my pet peeves. And it's pretty easy to explain, but names of places that are in a font that is nearly illegible, even when it's at full scale, you know, those big, fancy Fantasy fonts. And then you take that and you shrink it to fit it into like a Kindle. Why, why, why, why do you even bother naming places when you cannot read it? Unless it is full poster size and then you maybe have a magnifying glass. It's just, I don't know. That gets my, just gets me every time.
Autumn (23m 50s):
I'm just like, why don't you do that? The terrain is already so difficult and you have trees and you have this, and then you have this loopy Fullan that you're like, I don't even know what that says. And it's an Elvish. Y
Jesper (24m 5s):
Yeah. I know why I know what you mean. I, I like to enjoy Maps, you know, I, I, I'm such a FANTASY map and she asked that I love looking at the maps and I can actually spend quite a lot of time just sitting there looking at all the details. And then if there's something I can't read or I can't see what it is, it's quite annoying to be honest.
Autumn (24m 23s):
Yeah. And especially, I think a lot of authors, you know, if they get a nice, sweet, done Fantasy map, or if they do it themselves and they use these fonts, they forget that when it's on your Kindle it's or even when a paperback book, I mean, we're talking about a very small image, three inches by four inches. Maybe it's tiny. It should be very clean. And yeah, I've seen some maps that you just kind of look at and you're like, wow, I don't even know what this is trying to tell me. Why did you put it in there? And I think that's just such a frustration and that's sort of why it's a pet peeve. It's just like this, isn't it. You don't want to open it up and be like, oh, I love maps. Maps are awesome. I cannot read this one.
Jesper (25m 5s):
I did indeed. Exactly. I'm with you there.
Autumn (25m 10s):
Okay. Well, oh, we're agreeing. So I'm winning. Awesome.
Jesper (25m 15s):
Oh, well, I don't know. Well, you agreed to the Wheel of Time as well. So we even at least now
Autumn (25m 21s):
Good memory. I was trying to trick you there.
Jesper (25m 27s):
Okay. Well, my number four, I might even get even more people on my back for this one on one another.
Autumn (25m 33s):
It was exciting. Everyone pick on Yesper with me. No.
Jesper (25m 36s):
Yeah. I already mentioned Wheel of Time with some people probably love, so that's a problem, but now I'm going to go all in and get even more people upset with me because now I'm going to mention one of Brandon Sanderson's maps. Oh, you're
Autumn (25m 50s):
Just asking to get yelled at.
Jesper (25m 54s):
I'm asking for trouble.
Autumn (25m 57s):
Oh geez. So what is wrong with one of Brandon Sanderson's Maps?
Jesper (26m 2s):
Well, this is a, this is the one for war breaker and it's basically it's in the city. So it's a, it's a map of a city. And, And in my personal opinion, as I said before, I love looking at maps, so they should be visually appealing and they should look good in my view. And it should be something that readers want to spend time enjoying. And this one is not, I mean, it's black and white. There's not necessarily anything bad about black and white maps. That that might be okay. In my opinion, again, I do like colors because I think it adds a lot more to the map, windows colors on it, but it's just like the way that the city has been drawn.
Jesper (26m 44s):
It is it's hand drawn, but it's extremely busy. It's just like houses all over the map, everywhere there's houses. And I get that this probably reassembling what a medieval city would look like, but it's just way too busy. And I mean, have a look at it. I'll, I'll play, there'll be a link to that one in the show notes as well. But I have a look because I just, yeah, I, I think, you know what I mean when you see it. Yeah.
Autumn (27m 17s):
I have seen this one. I think it's, it's drawn 3d, but not from the top. More like, kind of a sign. And so you don't really see the streets. I mean, it doesn't make,
Jesper (27m 29s):
I was just everywhere.
Autumn (27m 30s):
It doesn't help you. It doesn't work well as a map, it works better as like I drew a picture of a city. It's not really a map.
Jesper (27m 40s):
No, I know. Well, you're going to have a map of a city, but then at least try to reduce the amount of houses in there and make it a bit like something that is, you have some other things than houses to look at something that sort of makes you want to investigate all the parts of the map and look, oh, look over there. There's a small fountain. Or, you know, just make it a bit more appealing and interesting instead of just 200 million houses stacked on top of each other. Yeah. I don't, I don't like it now, but yeah. So now, now I both assaulted. We love time and wall breakers go from here.
Autumn (28m 18s):
And you're only at number four. I can't imagine what we're going to go from here. You know, if you touch dragon lands, people are going to like Flay you and bonfire you or something today.
Jesper (28m 29s):
I can promise I'm not going to go there. Okay,
Autumn (28m 31s):
Good. I just want to keep him safe. Right? Well, my number four is sort of what you've already hinted at. You had mentioned perpendicular mountains, but for me, I put number four as impossible terrain, as in not magical, but terrain like floating islands, that's fine. It's magical. But I mean, illogical cannot happen like rivers flowing through or mountains, which I have seen or around legs, which would not happen mountains. Like you mentioned, that are perpendicular or just randomly place. Like someone dropped a bag of mountains right. Onto their map. And it's scattered all over our, this is a fun one, which I don't know how many people have noticed continents that are perpendicular to each other.
Autumn (29m 13s):
And my example for this is game of Thrones. Have you ever noticed that was stereos? And now I can't even remember where the three McKee are. They're like completely right angles to each other.
Jesper (29m 24s):
They are. Yeah. The other thing is with the game of Thrones Maps, the other thing is that it doesn't even look very good. It looked just looks weird. It does look weird.
Autumn (29m 33s):
Jesper (29m 34s):
Mean, if you cut out all the, basically, if you think about the game of Thrones intro thing, you know, when the camera goes around the map and all that. Yeah. That looks cool. That looks extremely cool. So as long as you're focusing on the upside down map of England, which is basically a game of Thrones, if you will, if you focus only on Westeros there, then that looks good. Actually in my mind, I think that looks perfectly fine. But then when you take all the, I also don't remember the name of it, but all the lands with the Dothraki and all that up there, when you put that onto the map as well, it just looks weird.
Autumn (30m 11s):
It does. It does not. It's too. It's like someone put England made it the same size as all of Europe and just put it at the end outside of Portugal. And it's just like, that wouldn't happen. How would that happen? I don't get it. But, and even that, I actually have another example. So I didn't think about this cities. They don't bother me so much when they kind of seem to be somewhere where maybe a city wouldn't exist, because that gets to be curious. I always think, well, the author had a reason for putting a city there. So maybe, maybe not. I always give them the benefit of the doubt. So I think maybe there's a story I'm willing to at least hold my criticism of cities just appearing in the middle of nowhere.
Autumn (30m 55s):
Maybe it's an ancient ruin. And I just don't know that by looking at the map, but have you ever seen Terry Brooks' Shannara map where there are rivers that literally go nowhere? I mean, they flow and you can see them come together, these tributaries and they flow off and they'd go into other tributaries. It's like an Esher sketch of a Map. IBD stylistically. It's like, it makes me want to, like, I want to make an extra sketch of a, a fantasy world. It makes no sense. So I will link to that one in the show notes, but I looked at that and I think this is my example, too, for like a font that you're like, why did you use that font? But then you start looking at the rivers and they're like, going up, mountains are going, they're just lakes.
Autumn (31m 40s):
They flow into lakes and the number out of them, which can happen, but not like six times on the same map. It's just, just, it's one of those ones that is a hydrologist. You know, I studied environmental science and I'm looking at this going, no rivers don't go together and then flow apart and just branch off and disappear into the wild. It just doesn't make sense.
Jesper (32m 7s):
No Am yeah. Well what you're saying, not with rivers, but this stuff that doesn't make sense us. So actually my number three pig as well.
Autumn (32m 17s):
Oh, go figure we, again, we met, if, if the listeners do not know this, we kind of met because of Fantasy maps. So I would have kind of not be surprised that we have some of the same things on our list of pet peeves.
Jesper (32m 31s):
Yeah. It's also a pet peeve, but I have a concrete one here though for my number three, but basically again with things that doesn't make any sense. Right. But here we're back to mountain ranges again. So my third pick and w I dunno, tell me why do we keep seeing this problem with mountain constantly? I don't get it, but this third one on my list is the world of Warhammer.
Autumn (32m 56s):
Jesper (32m 56s):
Don't think I've seen this. So this is a, like a miniature war gaming setting in the middle of the ocean. In this map, you have a very large circular island and yes, you guessed it. There's mountains formed in a freaking circle.
Autumn (33m 14s):
Volcanic. It could be a massive caldera.
Jesper (33m 18s):
Yeah. This is where the Elsa lives in the setting. And it's been a long, long while since I read the law for the setting. But if I remember there is a reason for it, but honestly, I can't quite remember. And also I don't really care because it really rubs me the wrong way to see mountain shaped in a circle. It's just like, what the heck is this?
Autumn (33m 41s):
Yeah. Short, if I had massive caldera, like, you know, center Rini, volcanic kind of area. Yeah. Otherwise it doesn't make much sense. Ambassador asteroid impact that kind of thrust up the land on both sides, but in general, no mountains don't form right angles. And they don't form circles. You have a very weird planet if they do.
Jesper (34m 3s):
Yeah. And what even makes this map even worse than whites. Number three, I suppose, to number five, it's also had weird mountains is that it's like, take a look at the Warhammer Map. We'll link to it and shown it as well, but take a look at it and then tell me that it doesn't look exactly like a copy of, you know, you have north and south America, there's Russian as Africa. You even have Asia and Australia. The difference is that in the middle of the ocean, there is this circular Elvin kingdom with circular mountains. But otherwise everything else is exactly like earth. I mean,
Autumn (34m 39s):
Took the Atlanta. Smith's stuck it in the middle of the Atlantic called it where the Elvis came from and called it a new world.
Jesper (34m 47s):
But he couldn't come up with something just a bit more original than that. I just have a look at it. It's insane how much it's just a copy of earth.
Autumn (34m 57s):
That is funny. And that's actually a nice segue into my number three, which is different for this one. I know we
Jesper (35m 4s):
Had coordinated this. Sometimes
Autumn (35m 6s):
It all works out. No, it's always surprising when we're on the same stream of things, but yeah, it happens occasionally. So this one,
Jesper (35m 18s):
Occasionally I like the passive aggressive, common. It happens. Okay. Finally,
Autumn (35m 27s):
I'm being sarcastic. I think what happens every time we talk, we're like, oh yeah, I was already thinking of that easiest part. However, I will tell people that I let them think that we're constantly combating. Like we are on our top 10 lists. So my number three is, have you ever, it's a Terry Good kind Map and not to pick on him because it's a good, he's a good author. But this example is just a good, good example of one that I find so frustrating. And it's sort of what you just said. It's so generic that it can be anywhere or any continent, which makes me wonder, you know, how good is the story?
Autumn (36m 7s):
How original is any of this? When you look at it and you go like, oh, that's earth or, oh, that's a continent with an ocean. And it's like the Westmoreland's the north valley. Oh my gosh. Please make it interesting. Make it original. Don't just make it. It looks like you took a piece of the Gulf of Mexico and a little bit of Texas and gave it a different name and put it on a river and called it somewhere. You Know, it's horrible.
Jesper (36m 40s):
All right. I don't think I've seen that one too.
Autumn (36m 45s):
It's just it's so it's not in color. It's just, I'm like a antique paper in black. So black and white basically. And it's just line drawings and it literally just looks like anywhere. I, this is one of those ones where I think you've seen the world, the map, they call it a cliche Ville or cliche land. That's actually one of my favorite Maps because it is so well done. And it is funny, hilarious. Yes. The dragon tail islands, you know, it's, again, the setting that every Fantasy map has these exact same settings. And it's hilarious to look at, well, this one is sort of the same way, but not done to the gorgeous color quality of that one. And it's just black and white and you look at it and you're like, it could be Mexico.
Autumn (37m 29s):
It could be a bay in Alaska. You know, there's so many places that you're like, it's like, you know, James bay upside down it's yeah. It could be anywhere. And it doesn't inspire any excitement. And you look at it, you're like, I don't know where I am. Why did you make a map of like my backyard? I don't care.
Jesper (37m 50s):
No one of course the major difference is also that the, whether it's supposed to be a serious map versus one like cliche, it's just the cliche map world. That's meant to be just fun and goofy. Right. And there's a big difference in that. It is.
Autumn (38m 6s):
Yeah. And yeah, the cliche one is definitely it's done so well that I would actually buy it as a post or it is just, it is beautiful. And it is funny. It is so funny. So I should find that and I'll try to link to that in the show notes as well.
Jesper (38m 20s):
Okay. Good. All right. Well, moving on to my number two, so it's starting to get more and more nasty now, but my, yeah, my number one is even worse, but this one is, it's not far off what you were just talking about in the sense that following the same, like, well, yeah, well this is like somebody sat down and then they sort of brainstormed like, oh no, I can't do what I normally find on a Fantasy map. And then they made a list, like a checklist of that. And then they started just checking them off one by one. I put this on the map, put that onto Map, everything that, you know, just one of each.
Jesper (39m 0s):
So this is, this one is the fictional world of Aragon. And this is the map that they used for the inheritance cycle novels. And basically it's like, you find a volcano check, you find a grant lake check, then the awesome islands off the coast, check again, a single forest. Good. And then next to that, there was next to the forest is a single desert Check. So I might be, I don't know, it might be a bit harsher, but I really don't like the map. And also because they've placed the desert right. Smack in the middle of the entire map and it just looks really weird, but I don't know, sorry if somebody likes this map, but I'm just not a fan of, it just feels like a checklist map and then just smashed together.
Jesper (39m 51s):
There you go. Here's a Fantasy map and yeah. I'm not a fan.
Autumn (39m 56s):
No, no. That sounds like my impossible terrain. Why is there a desert next to a forest? I mean there's
Jesper (40m 3s):
Yeah, those, this doesn't D this one is such, well, there's a huge forest and then a desert right next to it.
Autumn (40m 8s):
That's just strange. I mean it, yeah. Where you would find that in nature without grasslands or a mountain, a rain shadow or a high plateau to cause lack of rain. I don't know. That would drive me crazy. I'd be looking at it, going through any classes. So I'd do all of the, I think it would drive me insane. Yeah. That doesn't sound good. One. I'll have to check that one out. I don't think I've actually seen the map. So that one will be interesting to take a peek at.
Jesper (40m 38s):
Yeah, yeah. Have a look at the link in the show notes.
Autumn (40m 42s):
Well, my number two is one that I, there are some examples out there, but I couldn't find a good one that I wanted to link to. So I'm just going to describe it. And that is Maps with place names that are named descriptively based on like, if you were holding the map and looking down at it and the people on the ground would never be able to see that pattern or the places where it is a fast continent with areas separated by large obstacles. You have the names all sound the same. So there's kind of two different maps there. So it's like, you know, this massive continent, the size of Asia and something at the far east and the far west sounds like they're from the exact same culture that always kind of like, you know, they should be different.
Autumn (41m 24s):
I want to see, I want to see some representation of different cultures and different types of people in climate, on your map. Because that makes me curious to know what's where I love traveling. That's why I look at these maps. I want to know what's going on, but yeah. But then you have those other maps and one of the examples, and I couldn't find an actual link to, it was a map that, you know, kind of looked like a body. And so there was like, the Heartland was literally where the heart was and the Headlands on the
Jesper (41m 51s):
Autumn (41m 52s):
No, no, I don't care if it looks like that, unless they have hot air balloons or were named by a God or goddess, they don't know. It looks like that. That's just silly. So it was sort of like your one, your number of five, you mentioned something about the finger islands or something. It's just, no. So sometimes if there's a mountain and you can stand there and look off and say, oh, they're like fingers and you name it that way fine. But in general you don't go, oh my goodness, this looks like a Lotus flower. I'm going to name this Lotus island. Well, you don't do that.
Jesper (42m 30s):
No, no, it doesn't. It definitely requires that you get fire away from, from the, If I above the land and new, you can see it from distance. Otherwise you would never recognize patents like that. No,
Autumn (42m 42s):
Just drives me when I look at it. And I'm like cute though. It's like the Nazca lines, you know, we're going to, we have been debating how the Nazca lines were made and who they were made for, for centuries now. And it's just like, you know, don't do that to your readers. We don't want to, you don't want them to be confused over the map and why you named it? The elbow when no one knows it looks like an elbow.
Jesper (43m 6s):
Fair enough. Yeah. All right. Okay. Ready for the worst of my list here.
Autumn (43m 11s):
Yeah. This is going to be exciting. I want to hear what is the worst map you have found out?
Jesper (43m 16s):
Oh my God. So the number one on my list made it here because it's just too lazy for my taste and I'll start explaining why, and then it's going to sound pretty much like something I already said, but then there was a kicker at the end. Okay. So I mentioned before how Y hammer, the Warhammer map is just a copy of earth. Well, this one is basically the same, but it's just for Europe. So this is the, I think you pronounce it, crucial world map or something like that. We'll, we'll link to it in the show notes as well, but there are three trilogies written in this setting.
Jesper (43m 58s):
And while I do understand that they are supposed to be a fictional version of medieval, medieval, Western Europe. So I do understand that, but honestly, it just doesn't cut it for me. When you practically just take a map of Europe, slap some new country names on it and call it a day. That's not a fictional Map. No, I mean it, and this is where, I mean, like, that sounds very much like what I just said about Warhammer, because it's basically the same thing. But if you are naming the country on your map, that everybody can see when you know Europe, you can see to this Denmark and I'm from Denmark.
Jesper (44m 41s):
And instead of writing Denmark, you call it Joplin. And as a Dane, I can tell you that a part of our country, the part of our country that connects to Germany just south of us is called Joplin in real life. That's what it's called. So for a fictional setting, which I'm supposed to immerse, be me, it Mustin, don't freaking put names in there that is called in my national language. That's the name of the place that is already fucking sake. It's horrible.
Autumn (45m 12s):
That's that is, that'd be like me. I just wrote the tainted face series and it takes place in this world in this time. But you know, a different version where there's Faye and magic. And if I had included a world pap and why bother, so, yeah, and then two per se, it's fantasy and use real place names. But
Jesper (45m 33s):
I can imagine, I don't, honestly, I have to admit that I don't know what nationality, the author of the crucial series, what nationality it is, but I can imagine, and I might be a mistaking. And if I'm mistaking, then I'm apologizing in advance. But I have a feeling that it might be somebody who doesn't know the geography, maybe that well of Europe. And then they'd just think like, Jutland, that sounds like some FANTASY kind of a war. Well maybe, but it's, it's a real name of a real place. So at least do some Googling first and figure out if it's a real name before you put it on the map,
Autumn (46m 10s):
Or at least if you're going to, you know, if you're going to call it Fantasy, don't stay away from real-world words. If you found it. And you're like, oh, no one uses that anymore. That was the historic name. Just, just stay away from it. It's not worth it. Yeah.
Jesper (46m 24s):
And if you then telling me that the author actually didn't know that this is the real name and then put it on the map. Well, then I'm going to tell you, then it only makes it even worse because then, then you knew about it. And then what the heck are you then doing? Are you, it makes no sense to me.
Autumn (46m 41s):
Yeah. That's again, to me almost like lazy world building. If you're going to create a new world and you're going to call it a new Fantasy setting, make a new map. And if you have a hard time coming up with Fantasy images or a Fantasy landscape, like you just want to write a story and you want someone to hand you a map. There are programs and people who can do that for you. That is not a problem. Okay. I just found out how to randomly make a FANTASY map in like 15 minutes, I was like, oh, this is too much fun. It has, it just creates random things. I mean, it's, it's 3d and it looks pretty and you can start creating a story based on just something, something on someone hands you it's better. The world-building and mapping being is not your forte.
Autumn (47m 21s):
Get someone to do it for you and give you a hand. All right. Yes, please. You ready for my number one? This is a good, a good lead in to what my number one is because it kind of shows that I am a graphic designer. I have to admit. Okay. So my number one is Maps that looked like you sketched it while you were potentially drunk or you had a migraine and you just wanted to call it done. It's good enough. And just hate that. So there are software out there. There are cartography programs. There are graphic designers. There are people who can make you even a simple map that is quite lovely.
Autumn (48m 3s):
It can be black and white. It can be color, but don't just do these like little lines sketches. And I actually have an example for you. Have you ever seen an Bishop? She writes dark Fantasy and she has some of the worst Maps I've ever seen. I mean,
Jesper (48m 22s):
If there's any inhibition there that just got to come and murder, you
Autumn (48m 26s):
Let me know. Or they might agree. I mean, they're just, they're line drawings. They're just black and white, but there's just, there's no passion to them. There's no interest to them. They're so simple. There's simplistic. There's so they're painful. They're really painful. It's just, you look at it. And you're like, what is the point? Yeah, I will, you will. I will link to it in the show notes, but you look at it and you're like, what was the point of including this? It's just, you know, some trees and land it's, it's so boring that I would look at it. And I would probably not even pick up the book. I'd open up to the map and go, if this is all the time and effort you put into making a map and it is literally, it looks like you sketched it.
Autumn (49m 6s):
It was some thick lines over it and you call it good and published it. I just, if that's, what's your editing gonna look like, I just, I am making an immediate judgment call, which isn't probably right. But that is what we do. We judge books by their cover. We're going to judge it by their formatting. And we're definitely going to judge it by what that map looks like. And it's going to greet us pretty early in the novel before we even start reading. And if I see a horrible Map, I'll be like, oh, well, there's your book, what quality you're going to have in there. So, yeah. And Bishop one was just one that I was like, oh, this is so painful. I can't believe this. Isn't like a published novel.
Autumn (49m 48s):
This is really bad.
Jesper (49m 51s):
Oh my God. I'm, I'm curious to see how much hate we are going to get on the back of this episode, you know, because essentially it's going to be like, here are the world's worst Maps. And then in the show notes, there's just going to be a list of names of settings and all kinds of things that all the bots on the internet can pick up. And then, oh my God, I could just see how much hate we are going to get on the back of all this. But as I said in the beginning, it's Mendez entertainment. So take it for what it is.
Autumn (50m 15s):
That's a personal opinion, but, and if you need a better map maker, come talk to me. Cause lady I, your books, people say you write gorgeous, wonderful books, but you're a Maps, blah. They're just horrible.
Jesper (50m 32s):
So I don't really know how do we declare a winner of these two top five list here? Autumm because it's, I think it's a bit difficult.
Autumn (50m 43s):
I think I'm short of you just admitting I won, which is fine. I think that we, I think we might have to leave this one to the listeners if they don't, you know, come at us with pitchforks and torches for having pointed out Maps that they absolutely adore. So we'll have to see how that goes.
Jesper (51m 6s):
Well, at least as far as a controversy goes, and I guess we stepped off foot in the hornet's nest of whatever you say in English, but that's about right. But okay. Maybe we'll, we'll leave it for listeners to declare winner here because honestly I can't quite make up my mind because yeah. And not that I have seen all of the maps that you mentioned, but at least the point you made. Yeah. I agree with, and I also felt you agreed with the points that I was making. So I don't know.
Autumn (51m 31s):
Yeah. I think we can say the winner is the readers who do not have to see these horrible Maps when they pick up a book. So,
Jesper (51m 42s):
All right. Well, we talked a lot about Maps today and of course our lists here were intended as pure entertainment, as I said, but if you are interested in more like let's call it proper advice on Fantasy map-making and it's not just a lot of goofy, funny stuff that we are sitting here and blowing out then, or perhaps you just love fantasy match and you like to geek out about it then Autumm and I will actually be hosting an online virtual Masterclass about Fantasy mapmaking in a few weeks from now. So if you want interested in that and go check out the details, why the link in the show notes, that'll take you to the registration page.
Jesper (52m 22s):
And I can tell you, we are looking so much forward to host this map-making Masterclass for the very first time. In fact, yes,
Autumn (52m 30s):
It will be so exciting and we get to geek out about Maps, which again, it's what brought us together. So yay. It'll be awesome.
Jesper (52m 38s):
So next Monday, we are going to discuss learning through all the master classes and masterminds. How can such forums be helpful for your author career?
Narrator (52m 50s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. 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.
Monday Sep 27, 2021
Monday Sep 27, 2021
You've researched how to ride a horse, maybe how to shoot a bow or what that fiddly bit on a sword hilt is really called, but have you considered how combatants actually FIGHT? Or how long it takes a bruise to heal... and what exactly is the impact of adrenaline post fight?
Join Autumn and special guest Carla Hoch from FightWrite as they tease apart what so many authors get wrong about fight scenes, how to write a great fight scene, what Wonder Woman got wrong, and why dragon smoke is actually white (not black!).
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the 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 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.
Hello, I'm Autumn. And this is episode 144 of the am writing fantasy podcast. And today Jesper is on break. And instead I have a very special guest with us. So Carla, who is the host of the FightWrite Podcast. Plus you have a website and classes and so much more. So I want you to introduce yourself,
Okay. I am Carla Hoke and I am the purveyor, I guess that's the word for the fight? Yeah, the fight right brand. I have the website fight, right? If I G H T w R I T e.net, and it's kind of a one-stop shop for everything that has to do with fight, right? Which helps writers write fight scenes action, and violence. And I have a book with writer's digest and it is fight right. How to write believable fight scene. And I have class with a writer's digest university. That's always in their library and hopefully we'll have more in the fall. Oh, I guess it is fall. We'll have,
Autumm (1m 35s):
That's fantastic. This year,
Carla (1m 36s):
I'm telling you this year has been slow and fast at the same time. It's either in park or it's in full speed ahead, right? Exactly.
Autumm (1m 47s):
Yeah. And in some ways, days can be, have elements of both. And so I'm not sure where we are.
Carla (1m 55s):
Yeah. Well, you know, they say that the days are long, but the years are short. Oh,
Autumm (2m 1s):
It's very, very true. Well, that is awesome. I remember, I think your website has actually won something for reader writer's digest too. Like best law
Carla (2m 12s):
It has. So it has it's it's in there top 100 websites for writers and they have different categories. And I think mine was in the category of writers helps writers. So three years and I have won a brand award to twice with can Christian authors network.
Autumm (2m 35s):
That's so brilliant installations. Yeah, that is fantastic. And so I do want to give a shout out because it was actually the secret of how we met is a joint listener. Stephen recommended that I see if you wanted to come on the am writing fantasy podcast because he thought we would just be cool. It's like dream diner duo. Oh yeah. Big shout out to Steven as a thank you for introducing us and making this podcast happen.
Carla (3m 6s):
And what's his last name?
Autumm (3m 7s):
Carla (3m 10s):
Autumm (3m 12s):
All right. Well, I, you have quite the background in fighting yourself. So I Think that is really interesting. So this came about because you're also a writer end of fighter.
Carla (3m 27s):
Yeah. It, well, it came about because I was a writer and this is a classic case of the days being long, but the years being short, because it seems like I just kind of started, but it's, it's been like 10 years, 10 years since I started martial arts. I can't believe that, but it all started because I was writing a work that had fight scenes in it and I didn't know how to fight. And so I, my kids, I had my kids in TaeKwonDo. I think they were in like first grade and yeah, kindergarten, first grade. And there was a self-defense class that was at the TaeKwonDo studio. And I went to a couple of classes. I thought, you know, how much really do I need to know one or two classes, surely I'll know everything I need to know to write fight scenes.
Carla (4m 12s):
And I got in there and I kind of loved it. And it just, it just kinda snowballed from there. And the strange thing is I was asked in a podcast one time, and this was the hardest question I've ever been asked. He was like, what's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you? And I'm like, where do, where do I even start with that? But one of the weird things, my life tends to backpedal. Like it's, you know, circular, like I taught at a high school that was the Raiders and then moved to a whole new city, whole, whole new state and the Raiders, you know? And it's like this person I knew. And then boom, this person I knew with the same name, coaches, exact same names.
Carla (4m 53s):
And I'm like, I don't, I'm not planning this, but I went to a writer's conference and I had the work with me that I started taking self-defense for the whole reason. I started wanting to know how to learn fight scene was this particular work. And I went to a writer's conference and I presented it to a man named Steve lobby, who I did not know. I had no idea who he was. It turned out he was Steve lobby of the Steve blobby agency. He was the head of a, a writer's agency. And I presented it to him and he, he didn't really, he, he didn't like it, you know, which I'm okay with that. And he said, I don't like the work.
Carla (5m 33s):
It's not right for me, but I do like you, so let's keep in touch. And so year after year after year, we would see each other. If you don't go to writers, conferences, writers, I highly suggest it because it's, it's the adult version of camp. You see the same people. It is, you see the same people year after year after year. And so I kept up with him and anytime we saw each other to writer's conference, we would make time to kind of sit and chat. Cause we get along really well. And when I wrote the book, I got in touch with him and I was like, you know, what would you like to read this book? He's I, of course I'd like to read it. So he read it. And he said, because he also has an imprint of small house publishing for craft books.
Carla (6m 14s):
And he goes, I do love this book. He goes, I don't have it in my budget right now. And I'm like, well, you know what? I, I sent it to writer's digest and he goes, you did what? I said, I sent it to writer's digest. And he started laughing and he was like, okay girl. He said, you go for it. And he goes, what he said, you know, just be patient, it'll take about six weeks for them to get back to you. And if you haven't heard from him by then, then just, you know, reach out. And I said, I'll do that. And it was not six weeks. It was six days. Oh my gosh, I know miraculous. And so I sent him a message back and I said, would you be interested in representing a writer's digest author? And he said, may be. And so the first person, I really pitched this book to the whole reason I started writing fight scenes is now my editor.
Carla (7m 3s):
I know my agent for a book about writing fight scenes. So circle
Autumm (7m 8s):
Really good kismet there. That is really
Carla (7m 13s):
Is, it really is writers don't give up writing honestly is just a war of attrition. It's about successful authors. Aren't necessarily the best writers. I mean, come on. We've we've all read some books. They were like, wow. I mean, I've read books. I'm like, how is this person got this book out? And I don't have this book out, but it really is. It's the difference in who, who gave up and who didn't. I was a high school teacher and a track coach for awhile. And there was a psycho psychological study done that when two runners are running side by side, after three strides, one of them will probably give up, oh. So I used to coach my runners and say three full strides and at time and time again, and I think that's how it is with writers.
Carla (7m 59s):
Keep the strides. Somebody is going to give up and you're going to be the one left standing. So just, just don't give up, keep pushing.
Autumm (8m 7s):
I love that. And I think that is so true because it's, I know I've read recently that it's 10 years and 1 million words before you can really start seeing your career take off.
Carla (8m 17s):
Autumm (8m 19s):
That's a long time I would lose a lot of authors, one or two books, and that's their feeling. They're feeling it. Then they want to see something then, but to really come into your own 10 years in your words,
Carla (8m 33s):
Right. And, and the average book and its lifetime in its lifetime, a published book only sells 2000 copies in its lifetime. Wow. So if you look and you think, okay, I've self published this book, or I've traditionally published this book and you know, I've only sold a hundred books this first year. Well, yeah, that's right. I worked, you know, people who are rich from writing, first of all are probably lying or, or they have, you know, a ton of books or they are just kind of, you know, this kind of lightning in a bottle kind of situation, you know, the JK Rawlings, you know, that just hit it big.
Carla (9m 15s):
So if, if you, you know, if you're struggling, if you're not selling as many as you think you should sell, if you're like, well, I still have my day job. Well that makes you a writer. Correct? All of those things.
Autumm (9m 28s):
Yeah. You might get one series of cells and you might get, you know, three years later it might die off and it might be one, one, a new one that doesn't sell it. It's also, I love Joanna Penn for that. She's very practical saying it's not a linear curve. You don't hit it big and stay up there for, you gotta work for it every day
Carla (9m 45s):
And write. And one of the reasons why I love what I do is because I do love fight training, and I do love writing and they, they have so much in common when you are a fighter martial arts of any kind, you're not going to walk onto the mat and immediately be a success. You have to, you have to take your lumps for a very long time. And, and it's, you feel very defeated a lot. I had a, a new white belt SAIS. I've been doing Brazilian jujitsu. I've done a wide swath of things, but the one that I just, I really am sticking with. Yeah. I have as Brazilian jujitsu, I've been doing it about seven years, including, you know, quarantine and time off it's surgery and stuff.
Carla (10m 27s):
And, and the kids, this white belt said, well, I just feel lost all the time. And I was like, yeah, me too. And she was like, what do you mean? You feel lost all the time. I'm like, that's just how it is. And that's one of the things I love about this art. So you really just have to keep plugging along. You have to take your lumps and not, everybody's going to give you a good review and that's okay. I call those. And some people will give you a negative review simply because they're a negative person. Don't always assume it is about your book. Especially if it's ugly, you know what some, what someone says may be based on our actions, but the way they choose to say it is about them.
Carla (11m 11s):
And so, yeah, you're going to have some people will give you a one-star review. You're going to have some people who are very snarky and they may be fellow writers that, you know, and that's okay. And I liken that to, you know, people who aren't your fans, you know, when I'm competing, not everybody's cheering for me. That's okay. They're not my fans. I don't expect them to cheer for me. So, you know, when you, when you do have people that are critical of you for, in an unproductive way, criticism is incredibly important. You don't get better without somebody showing you, you know, where you need to improve, but I'm productive criticism. That's not about you.
Carla (11m 51s):
It's not about your work. Those are just not your, that's not your team. That's not your fans. So when you write, keep your team in mind, when I compete, I'm not competing for the people who hate me and what my opponent, it to win. I'm competing for my teammates and my coach. So you just kind of have to have that, that same attitude when you write just, yeah, don't give up, don't give up. Don't take the easy way out.
Autumm (12m 15s):
Exactly. And it's so true. And I do know it is human nature that we for, what do they say? Like you can have 10 good reviews, but it's that one bad review out of the 10. That is the one that sticks out in your mind. It's just like, well, if you look at the numbers, you probably have more good reviews than bad. So focus on
Carla (12m 34s):
Differences. Yeah. Right, right. And you know what? I actually learned a lot from a review. I got on good reads. One of the reviews. I forget how many stars it was. It, I mean, it wasn't five stars. I think it was like two or three. And the lady said that I just, she told me the subjects that she wished had been in my book. Oh, that's, that's helpful. One of the things she, yeah. One of the things she asked was, but how does a person fight when they don't know how to fight? And I'm like, oh my gosh, that's a brilliant question. And so I actually reached out to her and I thanked her for her review. And I said, you know, I had never even considered that. And so I wrote a whole blog post about it. So that's brilliant reviews are all negative reviews.
Carla (13m 17s):
Not necessarily negative critical reviews are only bad if you don't learn something from them. But again, if they're ugly and mean-spirited, it's not about you.
Autumm (13m 25s):
Yeah. It's not about you don't even let it bother you and move on.
Carla (13m 31s):
Move on. Exactly.
Autumm (13m 33s):
So my big question for you, and I want to get into like tips and other things, you see authors doing wrong, but why should an author care if they're writing a fight scene correctly?
Carla (13m 45s):
That is a very good question. And I liken it to how a boxer reps, their hands before they fight. You know, you see boxers with these gloves on, but what people don't know is you take off those gloves and you have yards and yards of cloth. There are people who work for the fighters sometimes, personally, or they work for the event and their job is to wrap hands. It's that important. And what you do is you wrap a hand tightly and you pull all the bones together so that when contact is made, the force is distributed evenly over all the bones. If you compromise that and you break, you get what's called a boxer's break.
Carla (14m 26s):
And it's a break in the pinky on this very, very edge. It'll take you out of the fight. It doesn't matter how many other amazing bones you have or how great you punch that one, tiny crack compromises the whole. And so that's kinda how I see, you know, with fight scenes. If you have done your work, if you have done your research and you are proud of this, why not give your fight scene as much importance as everything else because you have to serve your story. And I was asked recently what that means. And it was like, you only put things in the work that further the work, if your fight scene is in there, there's a purpose for it.
Carla (15m 6s):
So, you know, make it believable, you know, don't make it absolutely corn ridiculous because when you do that or just don't do any research at all or anything like that, you're letting yourself sit open for a boxer's break. And though it's the tiniest bone and it may just be a tiny crack. It compromises the entire works ability to pack a punch pretty much.
Autumm (15m 32s):
And I do agree. I mean, we sit there and Google, you know, that, that lovely meme that it's like, when did you become a neurosurgeon? Do you last night? You know, we research now and it's true, but a lot of people assume they know how to fight and they assume how fighting goes. And I mean, I see this a lot because I'm a big hiker and backpacker and I go into, especially fantasy of blast. Yeah. You go into a fantasy test and like, they're not carrying a backpack. They have no food with them, but they said, I'll do fine for two weeks. And I'm like,
Carla (16m 4s):
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Fighting is just like that. You know, hiking is its own language, literally its own language. There's little symbols that, you know, there's things that can know to take. They're really hard. They're really are, you know, and my daughter and I went, we learned this the hard way. We went on a short little jaunt in Colorado and I am in Houston. We are below sea level here, you know? And you get to Colorado, Colorado is super stingy with this oxygen. I don't know what the deal is, you know, Colorado share your oxygen. It's okay. And we got maybe a quarter mile in and I have a picture of my daughter leaning over, supporting herself on her thighs, just breathing.
Carla (16m 46s):
I was like, yeah, we probably should have gone into this whole thing differently. But it is fighting. Fighting is like a foreign language. And people like hiking people at well, I know how to walk, not a hike, you know, and people will, I've seen fighting on TV, you know, I know, I know how to throw a punch. So you know, it, it it's akin to, well, I speak English, so I guess I can teach it. No, it is. It is. It really is fighting like hiking is its own language. It really is. And so, you know, when you watch people on TV fight and it looks so easy, there's a reason for that.
Carla (17m 26s):
They've been practicing
Autumm (17m 29s):
Choreographed. I mean, there's a lot going into creating a fight scene that you're going to watch. It looks so effortless. Yeah.
Carla (17m 36s):
Oh yeah. And I mean, even like in professional fights you watch a professional fight and you're like, well, that's not so hard. Oh my gosh, you have no idea the work that goes into it. And you really don't until you start. And you're like, oh, okay. Knowing how to punch is only this much. It's the timing and the movement and knowing how to defend and you know, setting up different things. So it's harder than it is harder than people think it is. And yeah, I do have a lot of people come to me with fight scenes and I'm just like, or here's another thing, you know, they have a person in their work. Well, this person does such and such fighting style. I'm like, oh cool.
Carla (18m 16s):
How long have you done that? Oh, I've never done it. I'm like, oh, I mean, I respect the challenge, but it's like, why would you be willing to write an entire scene in Portuguese? If you didn't speak Portuguese? You know, I really don't think you would just trust Google translate. You just want somebody who actually spoke Portuguese. Yeah. Don't as a foreign language teacher, former full language, don't, don't always trust it. You know, you would want somebody who actually speaks that language to look at it and say, well, that's not really how this works. You know? So yeah. It's not, it's not as easy as it, as it looks. And if you read a fight scene, that's done very well. It didn't just flow out.
Carla (18m 58s):
You know, Chuck, Palahniuk the writer of fight club. He's been writing a long time and he, to this day, to this day, if I'm not mistaken, he's still in writing groups. He still has people critique his work. He still has the beta reader, you know? So the learning never ends it doesn't and the easier somebody makes it look, the more work has gone into it. Guaranteed.
Autumm (19m 24s):
Yeah, I can go. I can definitely go agree with that. And so what are, what do you think are some of the worst things you see or maybe the most 10 things authors tend to use that is just not true in a fight scene. So are some of the worst offenses you've seen
Carla (19m 41s):
The worst offenders, the greatest offenders. I also write for writer's digest blog. I do a monthly fight scene kind of blog post for them. And the one that I recently did was about writing authentic, oh, fight scenes, everybody. One of the things I see is everybody wants it to be authentic. Oh, well, that's not true. Okay. No, you don't don't want it to be authentic if we wanted everything to be exactly as it is. When we walk outside our door, there would be no fantasy. There wouldn't be no scifi. Cause we don't see those things around them. And it was Ernest Hemingway said it is a writer's job to write the truth. And that is, that is true.
Carla (20m 24s):
But I don't think he meant true as in factual. I think he meant true to the human condition because if you've read old man and the old man and the sea, clearly he didn't make life because you had this old man for whom the short stories name named Santiago, because fights a Marlin, a Marlin that is longer than his skiff by just holding the fishing line. Okay. Nevermind. All the things that come after that, the man is dragged for three days, he ends up fighting off sharks and I'm like, okay, that's not authentic. You know, authentic is the Marlin takes it and he grabs it and it pulls him overboard and snaps at the same time.
Carla (21m 6s):
So right. It is. And the true thing you want is truth to the human experience, the human condition, you know? And so I think sometimes people get so bogged down with wanting their fights seem to be authentic, that they don't serve the story. It's like, they'll make it authentic to the point to where they'll sacrifice the scene if they have to. But here's the truth of actual fights. And I'll just use fights on the street. For example, most of them are over under 30 seconds and that's a generous estimate. Okay. There is next to no banter and talking well, that's no fun.
Carla (21m 47s):
I know. And most of the people involved don't know how to fight violent offenders. The majority of the time they pick their target and under seven seconds. And it's not about their height, it's about the way they walk, you know? And so it's all these things that if you're going to make your fight scene completely authentic, it's may not work for the story. If Hemingway had made the old man in the sea completely authentic, Lily would have ended after the first 10 paragraphs or, you know, so what you want rather than striving for complete authenticity, just like the title of my book fight, right? How to write believable, fight scenes.
Carla (22m 29s):
You want it to be believable. And I don't think that betrays the art because how many times have we watched movies? And we were like, oh man, that was so real. But we know it wasn't right. We know for a fact, what we saw was not real, but we believed it in that moment. And that's the writer's job, you know? So number one, don't aim for 100% authenticity aim for believability too. Don't ride so much, honestly, writers care more, more than what kind of fight it was. What kind of work went into the sword, plane, everything, what they care about most is the impact it has on the fighters, on the story as a whole.
Carla (23m 16s):
That's truly what matters. And I don't edit fight scenes very often, but every now and then I do contract work for different people and, and publishers. And I worked with a lady who her fight scene. I forget one scene was I forget how many thousands of words w not thousands over a thousand. I do remember that. And I highlighted a few things and I said, you know, these are great. Everything else just kind of needs to go. And she was kind of surprised. And I said, it's not serving the story. It's really not. You have to think of it like a navigation app. You know, if you're driving and the navigation app says, here's a mailbox, here's a road.
Carla (23m 59s):
There's a two story house. Now here's this road. If it tells you all those things, it's going to divert your attention to your destination. You know, you can't put too much into it. And so I tell people a good rule to kind of think of is only write what you would see illustrated in a comic book or graphic novel, because real estate in those is so prime. You know, every single page of a comic book and graphic novel is major money, every single page. And so they have to make the most of it. And so what they do is they highlight the major portions of the fight.
Carla (24m 40s):
They leave the rest of it to the reader's imagination and our readers are smart. They can do that. And they also make it a very much sensory experience. And which leads me probably to another thing. I think people are focusing more on the actions than the impact of the actions. You really want to focus on the sensory details because that's what everybody can relate to. Not everybody can relate to being stabbed with a Katana. Thank heavens. Yes, but we can identify with searing pain. And by the way, in my book, I go over diff I've I mean, firsthand account from people who've experienced different wounds to tell you kind of the, yeah.
Carla (25m 29s):
Kind of the entire spectrum of different things experienced, you know, people know the blood, they know what blood looks like. They know what a scream sounds like. They can understand looking down and seeing your own blood on your hands and it freaking you out. So you really want to hit your reader, make them feel it. It's not what you say. It's how, how you make them feel. You know, you can look back at books. My judo coaches is taking some type of class and every now and then he'll say, Hey, have you read this? Have you read this? And he said something about Anton checkoff. And I don't remember what by Anton check-off I read. But I remember thinking I liked that.
Carla (26m 10s):
So I don't remember the words, but I remember the feeling connected to it. And Maya Angelou said people, and this is so important thing. Remember this, as you walk throughout the world, people, people will forget what you say, but they won't forget how you made them feel. And so in your fight scene, they will forget the grip. You had, you know, the caliber, caliber of bullet, what type of sword, the foot movement, but they're going to walk away and remember how they felt. And I use Chuck Palahniuk again, as another example, there's a young man at my gym who wants to write and he's really good.
Carla (26m 50s):
Like he has a blog. And I, I mean, this kid is like 16 in our blog. And I'm like, I'm a terrible writer. This kid is so much better writer than I am. He asked me one time, well, what, you know, what are some writers you like? And I said, you know, for a sensory experience, Chuck pollen, it hits it pretty hard. And the kid read one of his short stories and I warned him. I said, now Chuck, Paula, Nick is gritty. He's not a nice and tidy writer. And he goes, okay. And he came back and he told me, you know, the short story he had read, I think it's called guts. And he goes, I'm still horrified by it. And I want to take lots of hours. And I was like, right.
Carla (27m 31s):
Isn't that awesome. So even though he doesn't, you know, years from now, he may forget the words of that story, but he's going to remember that when he got done, he was like, oh my gosh. So, you know, that's what you want to read with. You know, lastly probably is less as more. It really is. You know, I think we've all seen somebody who had on too much makeup, you know, and you look at them and you just think, oh my gosh, with half that makeup, you would look amazing. You know, sometimes too much is not enough. It's like, and my coach asked me yesterday, Hey, do you want to spar? And I'm like, yeah, I want to spar.
Carla (28m 11s):
That's like Starbucks asking me if I want whipped cream. Don't insult me. Yes. I want whipped cream. Yes, of course. I want whipped cream. The rule should be, if you don't want it, say it, there should never be a question about it. So, but when it comes to writing, especially in the time that we live in, if you read more classic works like, you know, Jane Austin, Bronte, DH Lawrence, oh, I love doing Florence. They tell you everything. They tell you about the pebbles on the walkway. They tell you everything about the daisies and the sun. Okay. But those were also people who didn't have TV. And so books where their TV, you really have to get into all the details.
Carla (28m 55s):
And we're a different society now for good and bad. I think they said that humans officially have a shorter attention span than goldfish kidding. And which is one of the reasons. Well, I mean, it's true. I mean, w we're multitaskers, we jumped to so many things. And for that reason, they do suggest that we make our chapters shorter. You know, if you're a Y a author, they tell you, Hey, make short chapters. Because teenagers that read Y a which actually the audience for why a is like 18 to 35, they want to feel that feeling of progression. You know, oh, I got this chapter done. I got this chapter done. And so we live in a very short attention span society.
Carla (29m 40s):
And so you have got to make the most of every single word Michelangelo. They asked him how he created David. And a lot of people have heard this. He said, I just took a rock, a piece of stone. And I took away everything that wasn't David, you know? And, and that's how, that's how it is. You have to edit, you have to edit, what is it? They say, edit with a knife or edit with a sword or something like that. But you know, you, you write, oh, well, Hemingway again, he said, write drunk, edit sober. Yeah. You have to be willing to really cut things down. Even if it's something you love, which reminds me of another thing about fight scenes.
Carla (30m 22s):
I think some, and I'm guilty of it as well. I think sometimes we write to teach rather than reach and that's the wrong way to go about it. We want to show the reader, look how much research I've done. I'm not a surgeon, but I play one in this book. You know? And when, if you're teaching your, unless you're writing a craft book, the, okay, I'm talking about fiction and informational nonfiction, your goal is to reach your reader, not be teaching your reader. If you have to constantly be defining things in your work, you've made an error.
Carla (31m 3s):
And you know that when you use technical lingo in your work, you risk losing your reader. You know, it can take, it can take, when you send in your work to an agent or an editor, they asked for the first 50 pages they used to, I don't know what they ask for any more, but usually it's first 50 pages. So in their reading, their, their idea is if you don't have me in that 50 pages, you don't have me. So it can take, you know, a ton of time to really get a reader in your work, but it can take a page to lose them, you know? And, and you don't want that. So don't isolate your readers, you know, and again, sometimes you have to use technical lingo.
Carla (31m 44s):
And I think print the princess bride, the book is absolutely a perfect example of that. Just like the movie, which is one of those that the book and the movie really do each other justice. You know, it's not one that like, oh, this is so much better. You know, they're really both, very tongue in cheek and funny, but the fight between Wesley, as the dread pirate, Roberts and Inigo, they starts the very first one where they're spitting out all that technical lingo. Yes. It's the same thing in the book, same thing. But it talks about the foot movement and about, and not he steps, right. But dust coming off the ground, okay, that's a picture. You told me how fast they're moving.
Carla (32m 26s):
And you realize that they're shooting out this technical lingo to outdo one another. So in that case, it matters. Technical lingo also matters. If you have someone who has an expertise or proficiency with a something, it makes sense that they're going to use some words, you know, a police officer wouldn't call the trigger, the pew pew thingy. You can do that. Somebody who works with knives, isn't going to call it the sticky part, you know, the stabby end. So yeah, you need to know the technical lingo there, but at the same time, you need to show the reader. What's that means you don't tell them.
Carla (33m 6s):
You don't tell them that, but you show it. So don't worry, aim for believability rather than authenticity. Number two less is more three, right. To reach rather than teach. And I think I've missed one in there, but yeah, start there. And, and honestly, I give you permission to not write so much, that burden has been lifted off of you. You do not have to convince your reader that you are an expert in this. You only have to convince your reader that the character is an expert at this.
Carla (33m 46s):
Okay. And Unless they aren't, which is statistically more likely, it is strange. How many people in books know how to fight when the average population does not. They absolutely. Don't when I'm at writing conferences, one of the things I do is I'll say, okay, make a fist and hold it up. And it's shocking. The majority of people don't know how to make a fist. And I'm like, that's why would you know how to make a fist? Nobody's taught you? So I give you permission to not know something it's absolutely. Okay. You know? And when it comes to fighting, there are some great resources out there. There are some great fighting resources.
Carla (34m 27s):
Mine happens to be a fighting resource from the perspective of a her, which is, is very, very different. So I think I answered your question. If I don't answer the question, say Nope, circle back.
Autumm (34m 41s):
Great. So yes, you listed definitely some things that authors are doing wrong. And I agree, because I think there's often a tendency to focus on the wrong aspects. I'll see descriptions of like the sword hilt coming towards you. And you're like, you wouldn't know the emblem as it's about to knock you in the forehead.
Carla (35m 0s):
Oh, you would not. You would not. Absolutely not.
Autumm (35m 5s):
You know, there a wound is mentioned, but not the pain that goes with it. And then it seems like a chapter later, the character is fine. And I'm like, well, if you'd focus on how it's going
Carla (35m 16s):
To feel to
Autumm (35m 19s):
Carla (35m 20s):
These people heal so fast. Yes. If you want to go into the tiny nuances. Yeah. Healing time is a thing, people. And if your character is on the battlefield a lot, just because you don't get knocked out, doesn't mean you don't have a concussion just because you're knocked out. Doesn't mean you do have a concussion. And when you do get knocked out from a punch, you're not out all day, it's sometimes 10 seconds, sometimes 30 seconds, you know? So you don't have time to have a whole scene. You know, now, I mean, of course, when it comes to the human body, there's going to be variables that, you know, it depends on the age, the person and all that on my Instagram, I'm on Instagram at Carla C a R L a dot C dot Hoke, H O C H.
Carla (36m 9s):
Or you can just hashtag fight right. Once a week, I do like a little fight, right? Tip or I put a blog post that you might want to read. And one that I have coming up, I don't know when it's scheduled it. I think it's sometime this month, but it is the healing of bruise, bruise, healing time, and the different colors and the spectrum it goes through. And one of the things I say is, you know, this is dependent upon the age of the person, the health of the person. And don't think you're going to see all of those particular colors, but for reference, you know, this is what you have. So definitely I think it's important to focus on the pain of things.
Carla (36m 49s):
There's no greater motivator of man than pain. Everybody can relate to pain. So really I'm laser focused in on the things every reader can relate to versus only the readers who have held a bastard sword, or who have swung a mace. You know, how many people really have done that. So focus on the human experience, essence of the scene, which is the pain and the sensory details of it. Oh, I think that's the emotional impact. Yes. I was going to mention the other thing. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Very seldom. Does somebody, it, it seems so easy to kill people and you would, you know, we look at crime statistics and we think it's no big deal.
Carla (37m 38s):
You just, you know, shoot somebody, you go about your day. It has a lasting impact. It really does. And even if the person just kind of goes blank, that's an impact. That's not normal. It's not normal to feel absolutely nothing. And one of two things is, is going to take place either that person has some psychopathic or sociopathic issues with their brain, which is not normal, or they're going to put it in a little box in the side of their brain and not deal with it. In which case it's going to come up somewhere else in their life and just nightmare. And I cannot to, it is so common from what I've seen when people kill somebody else that they, they dream about that person again and again.
Carla (38m 19s):
And I mean, these are even people in jail who have killed multiple people in world war two. They did a study. There's a book called on killing by SLA Marshall. There's a lot of it. There's a subtitle with it too, but the main is on killing and, and he did a study of the soldiers and the Pacific American theater and how many bullets per kill. And it was an obscene. I forget like 60 something bullets for every one kill. And there is one instance where they had an enemy combatant running over, running through an empty clearing. And you had all these American shoulders shooting at them.
Carla (39m 2s):
And none of them hit them. It was very star wars, very, very norm trooper aiming. And they were all shooting over their head or they were shooting in front of him on the ground. And it's because inherently killing another person is not a normal place to exist. It's not our homeostasis. It should not be right. And so between world war two and the Vietnam war, that's the one that came next. Yet the Vietnam war, they started operant conditioning and it's the same thing they have to do with police officers. And it, they literally not only train soldiers to kill from a technical tactical standpoint, they train them from a psychological standpoint.
Carla (39m 43s):
And so they went through operant conditioning and all these little, all these things, you know, when you hear policemen talk about criminals that may have been killed, they don't, they don't say the person may say the perp, they say the target and that is distancing themselves from the other. And it's the other. And it's not a matter of coldness it's to help their brain process everything they've been through. So, yeah, and, and my book focuses a lot on that. I think people expect my book to be all about punching and kicking. And I would say a good half of it more than half of it is not, and is divided into five rounds. And there's chapters within those rounds, the rounds are sections.
Carla (40m 25s):
It's five rounds like a championship MMA. And the second round is all about the human experience. You know, it's, it's what happens to us psychologically when we kill another person, it's about what adrenaline does to you, what a surge does, what a dump does. It talks about mental manipulation and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, little things like that, that people don't realize. I'm also amazed how many characters though. They are soaked in adrenaline. Just think so clearly. So, and their hands are steady. And I'm like, I have had people ask me to sign things just after practice. And I can't, I mean, my hand is shaking.
Carla (41m 8s):
It's the adrenaline it's, it's what it does to your body. So yeah, I think the opportunities that writers are missing are actually the opportunities that number one are the easiest opportunity to, to take. And they make the most lasting impression. So step away from the technical aspect of it. I'm not saying make it completely crazy. You know what I'm saying? Look, there's some things that just, ain't a thing, picking up somebody by their neck and talking to them in the real world and a thing not possible Even then, because I did. Yeah. Oh, I know because my husband works in oil and gas and he's had to go to companies that do, they rent large equipment everything.
Carla (41m 55s):
And I asked him something about cranes and there is actually a formula. They go through to create a crane so that you know how much weight you can lift before that crane topples over. Right? And so then if I am strong enough to hold you up, your weight is going to topple me forward. And that was something in the wonder woman movie. I have so many issues with the one. I love gal Gadot as an actress. I think she does a beautiful job, but there's one scene in the most recent movie where she's holding a man over the balcony. I think she's holding him by his foot and she's leaning over and talking to him.
Carla (42m 37s):
And I'm like, gal Gadot is what a buck 25 with weights on. And she's holding this 200 pound man. She may be strong enough to do it, but physics isn't going to let that happen. Physics is going to pull her over the edge. So it's true. Make it, make it easier. And just remember physics is a thing the majority of fighting is physics. So,
Autumm (42m 60s):
Oh, I think that is actually a fantastic note to wrap up on because that is, that is something. So, you know, even though we're talking about fantasy, even though we can play with magic or maybe tweak the physics of our world a little bit, there's things that are real.
Carla (43m 15s):
We still have gravity. Magic has rules. You have to establish the rules of your magic. You have to establish reality for your reader immediately. Okay? If everybody on the planet has superhuman strength, it's not superhuman anymore. It's the norm. So you better know the rules of your world and you better print them out and keep them on the wall so that you can just glance at them. So you don't have to open a file. Cause let me tell you, who will remember the rules of your world and that's your readers? Absolutely. So I like it. I always say don't cross the streams. Meaning from Ghostbusters at the original Ghostbusters, at the beginning, don't cross the streams.
Carla (43m 56s):
Everything in the world will go into nothing. And then what do they do to get the stay? Puft marshmallow man. Yup. But we love the movie they had to, but they broke their own rules. So just, if you're going to put, if you have little rules to remember that you keep on your wall, behind your computer, put up, don't cross the streams, keep the rules handy. Do not defy the rules of your world. Do not defy the rules of your magic. And I'm sorry if we're going over time, do I just go for it? Okay. Okay. You have to have characters that can be beatable. They cannot be invincible.
Carla (44m 36s):
That's very true. Oh my gosh. If they're invincible, then the story's over the first page. Even Thanatos can be beaten. Superman can be beaten. And a lot of times what your care, if you're having a hard time figuring out, well, how can you beat this person? Okay. Well, a lot of times their strength is, is linked to their weakness. They knows who's super, super, super huge. And so what defeated him? Tiny little nanobots. They were able to drive. I'm pretty sure that's what it was. Another one. Superman. Why is he so strong? Because his home planet, you know, they have the sun and they have different gravity.
Carla (45m 19s):
Okay. Well what's his weakness. Something from his home planet kryptonite, you know? So look at, and while we're talking about fantasy, let me just, I'm going to digress super quick. Oh sure. Dragons, dragon dragons. I love dragons. I think we need to do them justice. You ain't going to stand on the back of a dragon while it's fine. You're not going to do that. It's like standing on an airplane. It's not going to happen when people think, oh, you've just got rains. And I'm like, okay, have you ever been on a horse? Do you know when you stand up on a, when you stand up on a horse, it's considered trick riding for a reason.
Carla (46m 4s):
So if you are riding, I should have gotten into the fantasy stuff straight off the bat. I apologize for that. If you are riding on the back of the dragon and you're like, what weapons should my person have? If they're on the back of a dragon, you're on the back of a dragon advantage. You, you don't need a weapon. It's like being in it. You are on the weapon. It's like, well, my person is my soldiers in a tank. What weapon does he need? He's in a tank. You know the dragon. Absolutely. If you need your wag, you know your dragon to do something, have them drop something from their claws. Oh, brilliant. Or have them use their, use that tail for heaven sake.
Carla (46m 45s):
Now they can't use it so well while they're flying because they need that tail while they're flying. Yes, it's a rudder. And you have to remember when the dragon takes off, it doesn't take off like a helicopter. You know, it's going to have to flap. And so the person on top is going to be, I'm not saying you can't ride a dragon. I'm just saying, I want to see that saddle. And I also don't think you're going to be able to keep your eyes open because of how fast they're moving. Oh my gosh, you're going to need goggles. Also. I don't think dragon smoke is black. I think it's white. And here is why. Whenever you see you have a fire and the dark smoke comes out of it, the dark smoke is what could not be burned off.
Carla (47m 32s):
Okay. It is what could not be efficiently consumed by the fire, a dragon, whatever is the source of their flame. Pretty sure it's going to be efficient enough to not have anything leftover may seem steam. It, yeah, you may seem steam in the air because the heat, you know, the humidity in the air. But I don't think there's going to be elements of that flame that aren't going to burn. That just doesn't make sense to me. And I talk about dragons in the book and I, and I call it my, my dragon soap box. Oh, the dragon soapbox. I love dragons.
Carla (48m 14s):
I, it's hard for me to imagine. And you know what, call me crazy. Don't care. Clearly I don't care. Every culture in the world has had a concept of a dragon. And so you're telling me nothing like that ever existed. How can the Vikings and you know, the Chinese who had never encountered each other, both have dragons, you know, you have CATSA. Quadel Exactly. So I, and you know, there, there are descriptions in the Bible that you're like, oh, okay.
Carla (48m 53s):
Maybe there were such a thing. So also, yeah. Get your dragon, right. People get your dragon, right. If it is a water dragon, it's construction is going to be different than if it's an ice dragon. It's going to be different than, you know, and not all dragons may have wings. Some of them may not. So, but I'm sorry. I love fantasy. Love it. Love it. Love it. And so that's one of my hangups.
Autumm (49m 20s):
Well, I'm not going to complain about that hangup. I think it's perfect. I already could talk to you for like, there's just so many nuances that I would love to get into and oh my God, this would be, this was so much fun. So yeah, I think we would carry on here for the next two hours.
Carla (49m 38s):
Yeah. Don't get me started about armor. I can go off on armor. I can go off about the weaponry. Armor is determined by the weaponry. It's not the other way around the armor that existed at the time of crossbows is not going to be the same as the armor that existed before, you know, crossbows armor from Japan is going to be different than armor from Europe. And that has to do with the availability of natural resources. So again, I could go off on that, but I know you we're running out of time. I apologize.
Autumm (50m 7s):
You know, we, we, like I said, I don't think that any listener is going to complain one bit. It's so true. I think, just to think about things like that, like you have different cultures, even if you're not using China, you're not using the earth. Think about the technology, the weapons and the different, depending on what's it, this is an aspect of you're right. Everyone's a winner.
Carla (50m 29s):
Right. And I can, I can do a whole podcast on creating weaponry to they look the way they do because they serve a certain purpose, not just cause it's cool.
Autumm (50m 37s):
Carla (50m 38s):
If you have a podcast on creating weaponry and all that kind of stuff, girl, I will talk your ear off.
Autumm (50m 45s):
Well, maybe we'll have to think about doing this a follow-up on something like that. Cause that would be,
Carla (50m 51s):
That would be great.
Autumm (50m 52s):
We could blast. Well, I, and I'm so excited to know, dragons are in your fight, right. Book, because you just hooked me. That's like, we could just, we could make your check-ins right. Oh
Carla (51m 4s):
Right. I have a fighting robots, dragons, robots, aliens, and Beasties. When I got the contract with writer's digest, they said, can two things, can you add 25,000 words? And can you add a chapter on fighting aliens? And I'm like, can I write a chapter on fighting aliens? That can be my 25,000 words right there. So yes, if you are fighting mythical creatures, if you have special circumstances, even I talk about, you know, battling telekinesis and all that kind of stuff. So there's a lot. Yeah. There's a lot of really groovy stuff in there.
Autumm (51m 35s):
Yeah. That sounds like, I think just about every listener's dream come true is being offered a book contract to say, can you write about fighting aliens or dragons?
Carla (51m 46s):
And you let your nerd show, oh, I can. So let my nerd shows like, yeah, what star Trek pajamas do you want me to wear while I ride it? Cause I have,
Autumm (51m 55s):
Yeah. Brilliant. Oh, thank you so much. And you know, we may have to, we'll have to give listeners, do you want to follow up, you know, let us know and we will maybe Carla back on that would be brilliant. So not everyone know. I will obviously have tons of things in the show notes, but let people know where to find you. Okay.
Carla (52m 17s):
The quickest way to find me is FightWrite.net. F I G H T W R I T E.net, if you mistake and do F I G H T R I G H T, you're still going to get there. I own them. It will lead you to the blog and the index. Just go to the index and peruse it. I'm trying to make it very search engine optimized so that you can really find keywords quick. And you can also buy my book directly from there. FightWrite. If I G H W R it's right here. It's right there on the back fight. Right? If I G yeah. How to write believable fight scenes with writers digest. Look me up on the Instagram hashtag fightwrite?
Carla (52m 58s):
Carla dot C dot hope because every now and then I'll put out a call on my story on, Hey, let me answer some questions for you. And I'll go, IGTV, I do have a YouTube channel that I have grossly abandoned, but I will get back to it. I just have too much going on. So that's the best way to find me. I have a contact form in the blog and, and on my website. And I, I literally answer questions, people. So send them my way. That's how I know what to write about on the blog. You know, I can write about what I think is interesting or I can yeah. Or I can write about what readers actually, or writers want me to know the answer for them. So feel free to reach out anytime.
Autumm (53m 33s):
That was good. And if you go to your website, take a look at your about section, which is hilarious on your wife's. I'm just going to leave that hook there to make people go and read your about section. It's adorable.
Carla (53m 47s):
You know, somebody called somebody called me and they said, I found your bio on a writer's blog. This is like six years ago. And I'm like, what are you talking about? And they were saying how to write a funny bio. And they had used my bio. I'm like, my bio is real. It's not funny. So get over yourselves, read the bio. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it also tells what all my fight experience is,
Autumm (54m 10s):
Which is definitely you have a resume there alone of what you're finding experiences. It is brilliant. Oh my gosh. Next time I'm in Texas. I am definitely stopping by. It would be way too much fun.
Carla (54m 22s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. For
Autumm (54m 24s):
A road trip. Cool. So come back next week for Monday where it'll be another one of our famous top 10 worst lists with Yesper and I they're awesome. There's so much fun.
Narrator (54m 42s):
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/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Sep 20, 2021
Monday Sep 20, 2021
Sure, you can target ads by keywords, age, and gender... but have you ever thought about what all that means? Not every generation is the same or will respond to the same tactics!
In this week's episode, we take a look at the different trends of Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Where do they hang out online? What are their spending habits? What key phrases will get them to buy your book... or cause them to run away in disgust? You might be surprised at which generation is the most ready to buy your book, what it takes to actually hook Gen X... or why KU might be the best fit if you write YA!
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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 an 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.
Hello, I am Jesper
and I'm Autumn.
This is episode 143 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And this is a bit of a different topic that I actually haven't seen covered anywhere else. And Autumn, you wrote this a really interesting block series for our patron supporters. So perhaps I can just hand it over to you to share what we're talking about here today.
So you want me to do all the work again? I see how it is. Well,
Jesper (1m 6s):
I prefer it that way.
Autumn (1m 8s):
Well, you've been busy, so that's fair enough. But yeah, I don't even, honestly, I don't even know where this idea came from, but there was at some point I was like, what would it be interesting to look at marketing book marketing by generation? Like, is it different to market, to boomers? Should you be marketing your books to boomers? Cause you know, when you do your Facebook ads, it almost, almost all the trainings, like say two 60 and under, well, why are boomers not buying books on Facebook? Are they not on Facebook? So I'm always curious. And you know, I like to question the status quo and see, well, why does it work this way? So I wrote a series of four Patreon posts looking at marketing to boomers, marketing to gen X, go gen X marketing to millennials and gen Z.
Autumn (1m 57s):
So I was actually really interesting and it did influence all of my thoughts on marketing. So it'll be really fun to dig into that today,
Jesper (2m 6s):
For sure. It should be a quite interesting and yeah, maybe we'll learn some stuff that we need to think about here.
Autumn (2m 16s):
No, I, I, I have to admit that it made me even rethink some of the stuff I'm doing my entrepreneurial sphere in my own life. And I think there is one generation that is like the ideal of who you should be marketing to. And I'm like, oh, I want to try this. So we'll have to get there.
Jesper (2m 38s):
Wow. Nice. Yes.
Autumn (2m 41s):
So anyway, how are things for you over in Denmark?
Jesper (2m 47s):
Well, as you said, pretty busy, I would say. And we also really still struggling with the potty who selling the house that we put in an offer for still
Autumn (2m 60s):
No definite there.
Jesper (3m 4s):
Well, we are pretty far from each other when it comes to the price at the moment, we probably have a gap like 45, 50,000 us dollars between us at the moment, which is quite a lot. And if I'm honest, I'm not really sure that we are going to be able to agree. Yeah, we did increase our offer with around 17,000 us dollars, but because the house needs a new roof, which will be very expensive to fix. Like I, like I mentioned in a podcast episode, a couple of weeks back, we have more or less offered now as much as we're willing to offer.
Jesper (3m 51s):
And if we offer more, we basically risk losing too much money if we won one day, want to sell the house again. So I think with the increased offer, we made, honestly, we're probably, if we want to sell the house again, we're probably going to lose around 50,000 us dollars the day we sell the house. And I don't like that, of course, but it's sort of within F acceptable acceptable range. I mean, we can live with that, but it cannot be any more than that. Right. And, and still, if I didn't look at that, then the selling party still needed to drop their price around 45,000 us dollars to meet us, which I don't think that'll happen to be honest,
Autumn (4m 37s):
Too bad. Cause I know you guys liked that one, so that's really unfortunate. Maybe they'll change their mind. You know, you're going, we're going into winter. And most people, most houses don't sell in winter. I know in the United States. So I can't imagine that they're selling like hotcakes in Denmark. So maybe they'll rethink that.
Jesper (4m 57s):
Yeah, usually, usually there's no problem selling houses in the winter here in Denmark that does, it goes year round. But I did talk to the real estate agent today and you know that the selling parties real estate agent, because she called me to sort of ask how things were going and what we were thinking. And I was sort of explaining to her like, you know, you're asking way too much money. And the fact that you had to put in a new roof, you need to account for that in the price, which you're not doing. And then I also told her, you know, find if he doesn't want to drop the price, but at the end of the day, the next buying party, if it's not going to be us, but the next party will have the same problem as we have now.
Jesper (5m 40s):
So you're not going to sell the house. If you keep insisting on chatting this much for it, because other people will also figure out that, okay, we need to put in a new roof, that's very expensive. We want a price reduction because of it. So you're going to end up in the same place next time. And he's been, they've had it for sale for about six months now. Right. So it's also about time that you start questioning. Maybe your price is too high after six months and you still haven't sold it. Yes.
Autumn (6m 8s):
Especially in the current.
Jesper (6m 13s):
Yeah. W w we'll see how it goes. But honestly, I, I don't know. Yeah. So we will, we've submitted the, a slight increase in our offer. And then also said in the email that this is our last offer. So we're not gonna increase the price any more than this. So either you take it off or that's
Autumn (6m 31s):
It, well, I'll keep my fingers crossed. We'll see what they say.
Jesper (6m 35s):
Yeah. I think it'll be a no, but, but maybe who knows, maybe they changed their mind in, in four or five months when they still haven't sold it. And maybe they'll come back and say, okay, are you still interested? Who knows? You know,
Autumn (6m 46s):
Maybe you'll find the perfect house coming up. I know you guys are so busy, so it's hard to look for houses at the same time, but you never know. You might find something else you like even more.
Jesper (6m 58s):
Yeah. Yeah. Who knows, but you're also trying to work out what to do and what not. So I know you are busy as well. Autumn.
Autumn (7m 4s):
Yeah. Yeah. Just a, I think it's so funny because we were just joking. I mean, it looks like I'm in the middle. It's like midnight here that we're somehow on the same continent, but it's only three in the afternoon and it is just like gray and raining. We got the fall rains coming into Vermont. But yeah, our housing where we're kind of wanting to leave here around November, you know, my husband spent all summer working in Maine. He's got some good job offers up that way. So we're kind of up in the air trying to look around too. But the housing market, the rental apartment market and the U S is just insane. So we're like, well, you can want to change something, but sometimes it's not as easy as you expected. So I don't know why we're going to end up doing where we'll end up being.
Autumn (7m 47s):
But I know the next, I know the upcoming podcast will be slightly out of order, but I am going to go see my parents and that'll be fun. So I know one of our episodes we'll be recording soon. I'll have a whole different backdrop and maybe some overhead lighting. I won't look like I'm coming from like,
Jesper (8m 6s):
Just for a change
Autumn (8m 7s):
For a change just to, you know, make things exciting and keep my life exciting. It'll be good.
Jesper (8m 13s):
Oh yeah. Sounds like a good idea. Okay. Let's move on here
Narrator (8m 19s):
A week on the internet with the Am Writing Fantasy podcast.
Jesper (8m 25s):
So the most important thing first here, Autumn. Okay. Are you ready? Oh, I'm going to spring something on you.
Autumn (8m 34s):
I'm taking a deep breath. Okay. I'm ready.
Jesper (8m 39s):
So one of the YouTube comments on episode 141, that was the one where we went head to head trying to come up with the worst superpowers ever. But one of the comments was from Zayed and he actually declared a winner. Did you notice that?
Autumn (8m 54s):
I think I did...
Jesper (8m 56s):
See that one because it made me rather happy. You want to guess who he thought was the winner or him,
Autumn (9m 5s):
If it's the same post well, no, that's right. I saw a Facebook comment, not a YouTube one. Shoot. So you better not tell me he thought you were the winner.
Jesper (9m 15s):
Of course. Otherwise. Why would I bring it up? Otherwise I would just have ignored it
Autumn (9m 22s):
Really? I swear on Facebook he said I won
Jesper (9m 27s):
No, no, no. He actually said, he actually said, quote, I'm a practicing Christian. And I got to say, I'm confused about Bible Man. I think yes. But wins on that one alone.
Autumn (9m 41s):
I don't think so. You had, it was a pretty pathetic list. I have to say that you had, I don't know if it's the worst though.
Jesper (9m 49s):
Well, that was the point of it. It was supposed to be pathetic.
Autumn (9m 54s):
It was pathetic, but I wouldn't say it was worse, but the dog had weld, whatever that one was, dog welder. I just put the heck arm fall off point. Just know, I can't believe someone even came up with those as like characters ever much less actually wrote a comic where they're included. I mean really, really stretching, cutting the risk guys. There were some really good writers out there. They'll help you a lot.
Jesper (10m 31s):
Yeah. Yeah. So I thought that was an important YouTube comment into, and that's worth mentioning of course, here on the podcast as well, I
Autumn (10m 41s):
Jesper (10m 42s):
For, no, thank you. Say it for, for being so smart about your choices on who should win. I think that it was a good choice. I would just say that.
Autumn (10m 55s):
I think you guys have a deal going. I don't believe that one.
Jesper (11m 1s):
Okay. But something else I wanted to mention was a post I did for our Patrion supporters, because I actually wrote about whether or not Kindle unlimited is good for fantasy authors. So if people want to check out the details of that post, I can, of course join over on Patrion. There's a link in the show notes, but I thought it interesting how in the post that all the top 100 fantasy books in the top 100 chart in, on Amazon, all of them are available through Kindle unlimited. That
Autumn (11m 40s):
Is pretty impressive.
Jesper (11m 43s):
What do you think about that? Every single one on the top 100 chart is in Kindle unlimited
Autumn (11m 48s):
Pretty impressive. I think that is a high stat showing whether or not it's for fantasy. I would have to admit.
Jesper (11m 57s):
Yeah. Yeah. The post I wrote was based on an article written by a written word media and it's based on some research as well, which I always like when I, she stuff that is based on research rather than on opinions. So, so I think that was a very interesting, and in fact, we have recently enrolled some of our books in Kindle unlimited as well. And I have to say, I'm not very happy about the exclusivity demand for Kindle unlimited or from Amazon there, but we do want to see how it affects sales. So yeah.
Autumn (12m 34s):
Yeah. I, you know, I'm always up for testing, but it is interesting that, you know, you brought up your path, Patreon posts on Kindle unlimited and then today's podcast is based off of four posts and Patreon. So in if I want to, yeah. If you want to hear more about read those posts, which are in depth and have a lot of market research and links to other sources. Yeah. That's on Patreon. If you want to join. And really, if you were inspired by this episode today, and once you check it out and really get into the links and the stats, that's waiting for you on there for just a dollar a month.
Jesper (13m 9s):
Indeed. Yeah. And also of course, if, if the, if you, dear listeners should be interested in knowing sort of, if we got any results from placing our books in Kindle unlimited, then do let us know. And I dunno, maybe we can dedicate like a future podcast episode to that topic or something. But yeah, if that interests you, then let us know. Sounds good.
Narrator (13m 33s):
And onto today's topic.
Jesper (13m 37s):
So we have some different generations to cover here today. We have boomers, gen X, millennials, and gen C. So I don't know, do we just want to start with the boomers and then sort of work down the list of these generations? Or how do you want to do it on them?
Autumn (13m 55s):
I, that makes sense. Or I guess maybe at times we can compare and contrast, but I think as boomers are a great place to start because they were, it was not the, what I expected was the result of what came up with boomers. It was kind of fun to get a different perspective on who the boomer generation is, especially with marketing and fantasy book marketing.
Jesper (14m 21s):
Yeah. So boomers are born between 1946 and 1964. So those are the people we are talking about. So this also means that they are an older generation.
Autumn (14m 32s):
They are they're my, my parents' generation though. Some people have, you know, there are still a few people alive who are known as the silent generation, which is older than boomers, but I left them off our little marketing analysis. We were letting them be, let them be, but they're still readers, but the boomers, they're the, I said, if you're going onto Facebook and you were choosing your targeting audience on your Shane saying 60 and under, you're totally leaving out the boomers. The boomers are the ones who are actually 60 and older. So they're an older generation and you might be surprised. Cause I think the perception is that they're not online. Maybe they do a lot of research, but there's some interesting stats about where they hang out, how often they buy and what it takes them to actually buy something, which I didn't expect.
Jesper (15m 24s):
Yeah. And also worth pointing out. Like you said, in the article that the boomers hold almost 50% of the total wealth in the us. So yeah. They have money. These people,
Autumn (15m 38s):
Yes. There's 72 million boomers still alive. This was a massive generation there and they're called boomers. It's from the baby boom that happened post world war II. So there was a huge amount of children born, still a large base of the population, 72 million. The only one that is larger than this as gen of millennials are also really large generation. So lots of people, they hold around 50% of the U S well, that's a lot of money. And I guess the question is, well, you know, do they read fantasy? Do they buy books online? Those are really the big questions of if they're worth marketing to.
Autumn (16m 20s):
And what I started to think about it, I mean, this is the generation that the first, when their Lord of the rings was published, these were the kids reading them, this teenagers, they were reading token. I would love that. Can you imagine being alive and Tolkien was writing and producing his books. That would be so cool. But they were alive with Isaac Asimov, if you like. Saifai so a lot of the clot, what we consider now, classic, they were the original fans. They were my parents who, you know, took me to see star wars and were fine with it and thought it was so cool. So they saw the moon landing. They are not anti fantasy. So I I've definitely heard that of some people saying, well, they don't read fantasy kidding.
Autumn (17m 3s):
They may talk in popular. They love fantasy. They just didn't like Dungeons and dragons. Well, that's another story.
Jesper (17m 12s):
Yeah, that's true. But the one thing that I'm thinking about, at least I, well, I don't have like a statistical research of it, but at least if I compare to my own parents, for example, I'm reading on the Kindle, for example, that took some convincing. You know, I, I don't know. I mean, of course my parents might not be like the stereotypical, you know, version of, of the boom was meaning that, that this is how all the boomers are not, I'm not saying that at all, but I could speculate, at least that might prefer to have the book in their hands, like paperbacks or hot packs and stuff like that, that I could speculate that.
Autumn (17m 56s):
I think it would be not disingenuous to say that, that if you want to market to boomers, it would probably be a good idea to make sure you have a paperback version, but they have taken, unlike the perception they have taken to computers and the internet age actually extremely well. A lot of them are like, oh, Facebook is the number one place. If you want to go market to boomers, just go to Facebook. That's where they are. But it was the stats on them. I mean, it was 70% of like boomers are online or on a computer. And of those 70%, like 90% of them are on Facebook. So they're online and what my favorite thing about them.
Autumn (18m 36s):
So they have their huge population base. So if you want to say, even 10% of them like fantasy and you know, or maybe 10% of will read on a Kindle, that's still a huge number of people. They have a ton of wealth they're retired. So they, they might work part-time but they don't need to work because they already have money and they're in retirement. So they have time to read which show that's fantastic. And they are, tend to be impulsive buyers and they're very brand centric. So if you say something to them that they like, they will immediately go and buy because they've got the money. They're not worried. They just learn what they don't have is time. So they want to make sure, you know, they have, they enjoy their lives.
Autumn (19m 20s):
They're not going to sit there and him and hall, if they think they're going to like a book, they'll go and buy the book. And then if they like you, they love brands. So they will stay with you and be a loyal follower. I mean, they sound like the perfect person to try to sell your book to, you might want to tailor your ads though, specifically to them, they're going to want different wording. And remember they were alive when token was writing. So you don't want to say, hi, as good as a token. Well, you know, you better, gosh, darn be as good as token. Cause they know who that is. And they were reading it before you were born. So make your ads honest, but make it something where they're like, oh my goodness, I want to go and try this out.
Autumn (20m 4s):
And they click and they may very well just going by like that.
Jesper (20m 9s):
Yeah. Yeah. I think you're right. It might be sometimes a bit harder to get them to read the books, but yeah, the various debt, but I was a bit surprised in your post-test worlds that your post pointed out that a lot of them is actually using YouTube as well. That w I mean, not, not creating videos, but watching YouTube. I mean, that actually surprised me a bit because that's not normally what I would think about this generation that they would be watching YouTube. Yeah.
Autumn (20m 38s):
And we'll see that across all of them. That YouTube is a really big player often next to Facebook, or a little bit better than Facebook. So YouTube, if you can find a way that taps into that market that is engaging. And I think that's the tough thing with selling books is finding a way of selling your books on YouTube. I don't think anyone has hit the perfect formula for that yet, but at the very least you can, if you can try out some videos, you could try them on Facebook and YouTube and see if you can kind of get people hooked in, try your book trailers, just make sure they're really, really good and really engaging and not boring.
Jesper (21m 17s):
Yeah. I would not spend time on that to be honest. But yeah. Well we had our little spell with YouTube already. Autumn. So yeah, we gave up on that quite a long time ago.
Autumn (21m 30s):
I don't, as I said, I don't think anyone, there's some people who do very well on YouTube and it takes a ton of work, more work than I think most people appreciate. And I still don't think when it comes to selling actual books, like being there as an author, not trying to sell a service, I don't think anyone has cracked that nut. So Hey, you could be the first one. Good luck.
Jesper (21m 51s):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, okay. Should we move on to gen X? Yeah. These people are born between 1965 and 1979. So this,
Autumn (22m 9s):
Yes, this is us. This is ours. And it's even includes my husband. If you count as you, the years you gave also includes something called they call them Zen, not millennials zinnias, which is starts with an X because they are the, a group that's, they're not really millennials. They're not really gen X. They're kind of squished in between. They call them a micro-generation, but they tend to go both ways. It can be a little bit more millennial. They can be a little more or gen X. And that's my husband. He's a little younger than me. There are some differences, but not much. But what is neat about these two generations or this generation micro-generation is we are the first ones who have an analog childhood.
Autumn (22m 51s):
We had a childhood of books and playing outside and hearing about computers in the basement of giant colleges, you know, but never seeing one until we hit our teenage years. So our adulthood has been taken over by the internet and the digital age, but our childhood, we remember playing war and kick the can and running through hayfields. At least I do. It was much more, much more a hands-on and physical. And as I say, analog, and we're the last generation who has that memory of the time before computers, which is kind of Sky Net App or something.
Jesper (23m 28s):
Yeah. Nobody, it's actually quite funny because as well, sometimes I've been, I've been talking to my sons about, you know, when we got the very first computer at home, when I was a kid or like teenage young teenager, we've got the very first computer. And I was trying to explain to them how it actually felt, you know, to get the first compete because they don't understand because computers has always been part of their life and they don't get the fact that once you sit down and for the first time ever, you use this kind of machine that has never existed before. And then I was showing them on YouTube. I found some old clips of what the games looked like back then.
Jesper (24m 9s):
And they were looking at me like, are you crazy? I was like, but you don't understand. That was amazing back then. Yeah. Just some pixels moving on a screen was amazing.
Autumn (24m 21s):
If you've been that the first time I did a, a game, that was, it was mushing. So multi-user shared hallucination. I did the college. And the fact that, you know, you could be on at 1:00 AM and you're talking to someone in New Zealand and all you had literally was texts on a screen. We didn't even have pixels for the, some of the sites I was on. And I was just like, oh my gosh, you're in Australia, New Zealand, you're in Asia. This is amazing. I can't, I still have an email that I found recently from my dad, one of the first ones on my account that somehow got saved. And it was like, I can't believe it was when I was studying abroad in Manchester, UK. And I was like, I can't believe you, you know, you asked me for this and I just sent it to you and you have it instantly.
Autumn (25m 2s):
I mean, mail was two weeks long and I could chat with my dad, like, and get information, something I needed from him like that. Well, as long as it took the attachment to upload and download, which is like still an eternity compared to today, but back then 10 minutes for an attachment, you're like, cut, thank you so much. You just saved my life. It was amazing. And I still have one of those original emails and it's just cool. It's cool to think back saying this was huge, huge, huge, huge.
Jesper (25m 31s):
Yeah, it is. Yeah. And it's so difficult to explain to people who are not gen Xs, what that felt like, but, but it, I think it's
Autumn (25m 40s):
Pretty cool. It is. I am sure there is.
Jesper (25m 42s):
And you also pointed out in your post how sorry I interrupted you
Autumn (25m 48s):
And I'm sure there's listeners who are like, yeah, this is so cool. This thing. No.
Jesper (25m 53s):
Yeah, yeah. And also you pointed out in your post to how during the teenage years of G annexes, we were influenced by dragon lands and dragons RPG and stuff. And I instantly thought, yes, that's right.
Autumn (26m 10s):
Yes. That is, that came out usually most of our formative years. So if we're a fantasy fan, it might've started before dragon lands. For me, it started before dragon lands with Anne McCaffrey. But when it came out, it became this huge phenomenon, especially getting to play the role-playing game. Of course, on the side of that, our parents, we were going through the satanic panic, which I mentioned later in some of the other generations. But yeah, it was such a big donor that we, you know, we often hid the fact that we're into Dungeons and dragons from our parents. Lest we be have our games taken away or not be allowed to see your friends anymore, but it was sort of one of the first, I mean, token was big, but I think dragon lands really defines a lot of our generation and our love of fantasy and the type of fantasy.
Autumn (26m 57s):
Maybe we still enjoy because it's changed a lot, but there's still a core of those stories that have the ELs, the dwarves that are still so much a derivative of token very closely.
Jesper (27m 10s):
Yeah. And, and the whole thing about a, you know, like an adventure group, like in, in dragon lands, like there, they are a group that goes out together and all that stuff. Right. That's very trophy nowadays as well. And I also liked, which I also felt like hit home in your article was that we like to do research before we buy. So we are checking on the internet for reviews and, and you know, other competitors, other products and stuff like that, which I definitely recognize because I do that myself, whenever I need to buy something, I'm going to check reviews. I'm going to do some, a bit of internet research to see, you know, is there some, a better alternatives or is this really the best product and stuff like that?
Jesper (27m 52s):
So, so I definitely recognize myself in, in that as well.
Autumn (27m 57s):
Yes. I think that is a very funny trait. We weren't born into the internet age, but we helped shape it. And we certainly helped shape it as a marketing platform. So a lot of us that are entrepreneurs, we know our way in and out of the marketplace and in and out of running businesses online and we do our research, we will check out comparisons. We will look at competitors, we will check the reviews, we'll read the reviews. So we're not a spontaneous buyer. We are the one that when they say it takes at least seven to 11 times of seeing an ad before someone will go and look at your book, that's us. Yeah. We will not go buy your book just because you sell it on. Instagram will be like, yeah, that's nice. You don't hook us on the first bite.
Autumn (28m 38s):
Not even close, we're going to check you out. We'll think about it. And compared to boomers. So was it a lot of more research and we are a smaller generation. We're not 72 million. We're like 68, I think. So there's less of us. And I can't remember what percentage of the wealth we have, but obviously boomers have almost half. And we have about half of what's left somewhere around 25%. So we're doing pretty
Jesper (29m 1s):
Good. We're doing pretty
Autumn (29m 2s):
Good. We were getting into our, you know, forties now and we're, we're okay. We're doing well. You know, our most famous, I think gen X-er is Elon Musks. So we, you know, some of us have done really well. None of the rest of us are working on that. We're definitely a generation of doing our research. We have some money, but we're pretty much, we've worked really hard to earn our money at this point. And we don't let it go as quickly. So you can get us with a coupon. We will launch, we will jump into an email marketing to get a coupon. That's fine. We know how email marketing works because we probably set it up ourselves. That's just how we, we know how it all works.
Autumn (29m 44s):
So we'll sign up for something. We'll get on a list. And I thought it was funny. One of the biggest things about our generation is we'll stick with you. We like brands. We like people until they say something we don't like. And then it was like, you're gone. You have one chance to lose us. And you say something we find offensive, or we don't agree with like, you're gone unsubscribe. So we're the, also the unsubscribed generation,
Jesper (30m 7s):
Right? Yeah. So I think in overall from a book selling perspective, this is where you're, you know, building up your reviews are really important. That's at least that's going to help to convince a gen X person to actually buy your book.
Autumn (30m 22s):
Jesper (30m 24s):
Move on to millennials.
Autumn (30m 25s):
Okay. Well, I want to wrap up one quick thing. So gen X is, are on Facebook, so you can still market to them. We're also on Instagram. And I agree if you're going to try to hook a gen X-er, you're probably gonna have to spend a lot more money than you would with a boomer and reviews. Being able to say other people have liked this, be very open with your reviews. That's how you're going to get them more interested than saying we're great. I write just like token and they're not going to buy that
Jesper (30m 53s):
Molina. Millennial. Stan is born from 1981 to 1996. So these are the people who actually grew up fully in the internet age. And probably most of them probably don't even know what life before computers.
Autumn (31m 11s):
No, if they have any interesting to me. Yeah. I can't imagine. So they have any recollection of life before computers. They will have memories of life before smartphones. So they might remember flip phones and cell phones. So that's kind of, you know, I can at least relate to that a little bit, but they grew up knowing computers, building computers, and they they're pretty snazzy and know their way around the marketing. What's surprised me is I thought, for sure, all the millennials, they get such a bad rap as being like the more self-centered generation. But at the same time, the oldest ones are in their forties. You know, they're taking their kids to college, they've grown up, but they are really still really good online.
Autumn (31m 56s):
And I thought they'd all be off of Facebook, but there's still a majority of them on Facebook. And after that Instagram, I mean, those are the two big ones of where you can find still millennials somehow. I don't know how Facebook keeps everyone, but they do.
Jesper (32m 12s):
Yeah, they do. Yeah. But also things like Twitter and Twitter and tick-tock and that kind of place, they also hanging out.
Autumn (32m 19s):
Yeah. They're sick talk is especially coming up, but there are, yeah, there are a little more broad spectrum. So it's harder to find out exactly like in what was interesting. It doesn't that study this statistic. I was quoting didn't show if they were on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, which most likely they are, but there could be some orders. Like, are you here or here or here? I mean, this is one of the ones. If you're marketing to them, you're going to have to market to our broad base. Cause I'm not quite sure where they are and how often they're seeing you.
Jesper (32m 53s):
Yeah. And again, the majority is watching YouTube here. Amazing. Again, I'm not so sure about this. I mean, it's interesting of course, to know that the majority is watching YouTube, but I don't think that they are watching YouTube from a book perspective. So they're just using it as it as entertainment. So there's also means that I I'm not, I don't think that you want you to conclude out of this, that you should try to sell books on YouTube to these people. That's not the point here. No.
Autumn (33m 21s):
Oh, I think you'll good luck with that. If you can find a way, but yeah. I think they're pretty much on YouTube. Like you said, for entertainment, maybe tutorials. I mean, my that's my favorite use of YouTube. I must be so boring, but I'm on it to watch tutorials on how to, to stuff. Yeah. I wouldn't do it yourself or that's how it works.
Jesper (33m 41s):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and also for the millennials, you know, they have a very, very large population-based there even lots of than the boomers, but as you pointed out in your article as well, they, on the other hand, they don't have that much cash compared to our gen Xs. We have like five, five times the wealth of the millennials and they are many more than we are. So I think money wise, they usually operate with a fairly limited budget. Yes.
Autumn (34m 16s):
I agree. There tend to be educated. And I think gen Z are even going to be more educated than millennials, but millennials tend to be educated. Their careers really haven't taken off, even though, I mean, they can be as old as 40, but they're still struggling. We'll get to the statistic when we talk to gen Z, but gen Z and millennials combined, combined, which has a huge amount of population. That's 68 million plus like 72 million somewhere in there. They only have 6% of the U S wealth 6%. So if you're a marketing to anyone who is 40 and younger, we're talking about someone who has only 6% of the U S wealth. They're going to be inheriting quite a lot from baby boomer parents.
Autumn (34m 57s):
I think it was like 68 trillion. But again, the wealthiest are going to inherit. The most, most people are going to just inherit, maybe a nice modest sum. And then you take out the inheritance tax, which is like 50%. They're not going to be made wealthy overnight. And that was 68 trillion by 2030. So they still have some ears and that's a good a statistic. So that's going to be up and down. It's going to be some sooner. Some later may remind me later. So they're not a very wealthy generation. If you're marketing to them, this is the one you want to be trying free giveaways. They will sign up for free giveaways and free coupons. And again, these are people who have grown up with the internet.
Autumn (35m 37s):
They have probably started their own businesses in high school. They know how it works. They know what happens when they sign up. Most often they've done it probably a million times and they, but they will do it. They will sign up to check out something and to give a sample, they'll go for the free sample. It might be the best way to hook them. However, they might not be able to afford to go buy all your books right away. They might have the budget for them. They might be the ones on Kindle unlimited. That's going to be the best deal for them because they don't have a ton of money. You want to keep these aspects in mind that, you know, they're the ones who are looking for things. But the nice thing is, is since I grew up in the internet age and because they have a limited amount of money, they're also really good at research.
Autumn (36m 19s):
They're really into reading reviews. And they're huge at social media, leaving reviews and telling people if they loved or hated you. So these are the influencer generation. They're the ones who, if they like you, they're going to show the unboxing. They're going to give you reviews. They're going to give you a huge shout out. However, they are definitely not brand second shirt. They are quality centric. So they might stick to you for a while. But if they find something better, they're going to move to something better. So you might not be able to hold on to these as tightly, as you might a boomer who was going to basically keep you in cherished for the last breath.
Jesper (37m 3s):
Yeah. And of course the good news is that the eBooks, at least, I mean, these people are very used to the, you know, technology and so on. So eBooks is not a problem. And then the other part of it is of course as well that they might not have a lot of wealth, but eBooks are like a couple of bucks. So for most of them, they, I think they should be able to afford a couple of bucks for an ebook. Otherwise they have a lot of problems, but not to say that some don't of course, but, but I think there's quite a big, I mean, because they aren't, there are so many of these that a lot of them will have the money to buy a three, four, $5 ebook. So yeah, it's good to know of course, to be mindful that they are operating on a limited budget.
Jesper (37m 48s):
And like you just said, autumn, this, just to me, that doesn't mean so much about them not being able to afford the books. I think it more speaks to the fact that you have to write really good books too, to keep these people reading. Otherwise they they'll just not buy any more from you. Then they'll go jump on onto another author or something instead, and try to read some other books. But because they might, you might be able to hook them to buy one book, but they're not going to continue reading the series unless they really find it really good. Yeah. So for me, I think that's the important part. Yeah.
Autumn (38m 21s):
Yeah. I agree. And I'm though, I do, I have met a, quite a few that have mentioned that, you know, they have a book budget, you know, they can only, they, everything is budgeted in their life because they only have so much money and you know, the good ones don't go over, but that's why things like Kindle unlimited are such good deals and they're going for the deals. So if there's a way, if they love reading and they want to be able to read as many books as possible in a month, they're going to read Kindle unlimited. And that's why I think you see Kindle unlimited being such a huge, you know, inducement, why so many people are a part of it because it's a good deal. If you're a serial reader and you only have like 4% of the entire U S wealth. Yeah, I do it. Not a problem.
Jesper (38m 60s):
Yeah. Okay. So Jen C born between 1997 and two, 2012. So that basically makes them between six years old and 24 at this point in time, they are so there's a lot of them, nearly 68 million people in the U S here.
Autumn (39m 21s):
So this is another big generation, almost the same as a gen X. So this is like our, our shadow copy gen Z and admittedly they're young. So there's not a ton of market research on them yet, but it's up and coming. They're starting to make their waves known in the world. But again, combined gen Z combined with gen with millennials, only 6% of the U S well, so tiny amount. So they're even less. They have even less than millennials because they're just getting into the workforce. If they finish their education, they almost, all of them have at least one parent that graduated from college and a lot of them are going on to do master's program. They're going to be one of the highest educated generations.
Autumn (40m 2s):
And so because of that, a lot of them are not in the workforce or working full time. So they have even less money going around. They have also never known a world without smartphones, and that's just terrible by amazing, amazing. They are, you know, they're going to, the next generation is going to come with USB plugs installed. I swear. They just know their way around. Exactly. So they're there. The biggest thing I think in the reason I included them, even though they're not much marketing research is that if you are targeting Y a young adult readers, you're targeting gen Z. So go and look and see what they're doing.
Autumn (40m 43s):
Of course, I thought it was so funny when I looked at why stats 50% of why readers are adults they're older than 24. So that's, you know, gen X of even boomers, millennials, they're all reading. Why are they just doing a secretly? But technically gen Z is your target audience. If you're Yia. So you should know where they are, what they're doing, how they buy books. This is really important for you to take a look at it and see where they're hanging out, which again is pretty much all over from Tik TOK to F to Facebook, to YouTube, to Snapchat. Tick-tock rising pretty quickly.
Jesper (41m 26s):
Yeah. I think for these people, you know, think of somebody who's grown up with computers, they grown up with smartphones, they grown up with apps. So it's really important if you want to engage with these people online, which is like the main place where you should be engaging with them, all the, like, you know, nice images, nice user interfaces, eh, corresponding with them through commons and in chats and you know, the whole community building thing. That's the key here. So yeah, to me, like for, for somebody, a, a gen X person, I already feel like, oh, this sounds stressful.
Jesper (42m 9s):
All the, all the million interactions in commenting on all these different social media platforms. I don't know. It's not my thing to be honest. But I think for these people, for the GNCs, it's important for them, this, this is how they, to a last degree, that's how they view relationships. A lot of their relationships are online. So it's, it's yeah. For, for, for somebody from a gen X, this is just like a different planet kind of thing.
Autumn (42m 41s):
I mean, they consider their life online almost equal to their physical life. It is about equally important, 50 50, which yeah. As a gen X or having remembered like life offline that I still prefer, you know, to be offline quite a lot. We're the, we're the generation that's like, I'm digging a social media break. I mean, I think gen Z is like, that's half of my life. I would never go offline, but they want the fine touch. They want the, they want community. If you want to get gen Z ears into loving your WIA books, you have to build community. You have to have interaction and beautiful photos and you have to have video. They like video. So they want to see all of these things and you've got to be chatting with them and you've got to be dynamic.
Autumn (43m 21s):
And you've got to also be really aware. And this is what I've been reading some way books. And the change is so non they're, non token, not at all. If you want to go read like the shadow and bone, the Grisha series of Krisha verse, it's so different from what I was reading as a teenager, there's very few elves, very few dwarves, very few overs. It's almost all humans and different races and their interactions. And, you know, they'll have issues of transgender and homosexuality. It's all there and it's very open. And those are the concerns rather than, you know, a quest group it's totally different. And it's kind of, to me, it was really a refreshing to read.
Autumn (44m 3s):
It was very exciting to read very different, but it is a completely different audience. And it's interesting. You got to go in and hang out with them and see what they're doing and be on Tik TOK and be very engaged and fun and have that community, and also have the coupons and the free books and Canon limited, because that is definitely how you're going to be able to hook them. At least have one series in Kindle unlimited. If you're doing WIA, because they're in school, they don't got much money. Don't make them pay for everything. They're probably getting it as a Christmas present from their parents.
Jesper (44m 38s):
It sounds like way too much work on them. I'm already tired.
Autumn (44m 42s):
And you have kids, your kids are technically gen Z or
Jesper (44m 48s):
Yeah, but I, yeah, that part is fine. But I marketing to these people sounds like way too much.
Autumn (44m 55s):
Yeah. I probably is. But just have your train, your kids to do it. You'll, there'll be naturals. That's why you have kids, maybe your marketing managers. True.
Jesper (45m 6s):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was talking to my oldest son because he's about to, he wants to start his own YouTube channel. He wants to do like a, well, like a true GNC, I guess. Right. So he wants to build a YouTube channel and he wants to, you know, do like those gaming videos and stuff like that. And then I was trying, I w I was trying to be like the good dad who has been, you know, I've been doing the YouTube thing for us as well and all that stuff. So I was, I started talking about something because we were talking about the intro and outro music thing that you put on videos and stuff like that. And I was sort of saying to him, well, just be mindful that you know, that some of that is copyrighted.
Jesper (45m 49s):
You can't just take some music for wherever. And he was like, yeah, yeah. I know all of that as you do. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I also know where to find it. Okay. So he knows all of it. I bet you, like, in, in four months, you'll will know more about YouTube than I ever knew.
Autumn (46m 6s):
We're going to be hiring him as our social media manager. Just watch the,
Jesper (46m 11s):
Yes. They just, yeah. They notice stuff. They do know this stuff. Okay. But what can we sort of conclude out of all this order,
Autumn (46m 19s):
That if you're a gen X-er and marketing to G and you're not doing Y a and marketing to gen Z and millennial sounds too much market to boomers, try it. I would S I would love to know if anyone is specifically choosing like a Facebook audience saying, you know, 50 and older, and, you know, just finding the right words, because again, they will actually spend money. They will go buy your books. Possibly. Like I said, you should have paper books available, but they will read online. As lot of them have adapted to like the Kindle paper, whites and stuff that feel more like a book that look more like a book. I want to know if anyone's doing that because after reading this, I'm like, they have money. They're impulsive, they're brand centric.
Autumn (46m 60s):
They sound like they have, they're retired. They have time to read. They sound like the gift of book marketing right there. Go for boomers. I want to know if anyone else is because it's totally rethought. I'm like, I now see why, if you're marketing to gen X, you're going to be marketing forever to try to get them to get, you know, give you a try. They'll give you a try, but they're, you know, they're booked, they're tired. They've got kids, they do their research. They're going to be so hard sell to, and the rust, you know, they don't have much money. These are not a huge 6% of the wealth they're going to be. It's going to take some time to get gen Z and millennials to want to spend money on you, unless you've got a really good deal.
Autumn (47m 43s):
But boomers, you know, 50% of the U S wealth, lots of free time, impulsive shoppers. Oh, I love you. I have to admit in some of my best emails, I put that in the post, some of the best emails I've ever gotten and the lengthiest emails, because boomers will correspond with you and they will stick with you. My biggest fans have all been boomers, but it took until I wrote that article to valet, oh, this is why they care. And they want to get to know you and they will stay with you and they will love you. And maybe they're not going to give you as big as a shout-out as a millennial or a gen Z, because they're going to spread you all over the internet.
Autumn (48m 23s):
They're going to love you in a really compassionate way. So I want to know if anyone's marketing to boomers. Cause I think it's totally a way to go.
Jesper (48m 32s):
Yeah. So let us know. And hopefully you got a bit of a inspiration for, you know, well, at least on the Facebook ads, you can target different age brackets. So at least now, you know, for your Facebook ads, at least some things to consider and think about on Amazon ads, obviously there's no way to select certain age groups and so on. So there you, yeah, it doesn't help much, but yeah, but at least with the Facebook ads, I think this is very useful.
Autumn (49m 5s):
Yes. And in the posts on patron, I actually went into maybe some suggested images because each generation has different traits of the type of images that call to them. So again, come, go check out the post on Patriana. If you're a member or join for a dollar a month, then go check it out and see what the suggestions are.
Jesper (49m 24s):
Okay, good. So next Monday, autumn has a very special interview lined up for you. It's about how to write fight scenes. And for us fantasy authors that is highly relevant.
Narrator (49m 36s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the and 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/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Sep 13, 2021
Monday Sep 13, 2021
The Internet is filled with advice for how to become a better writer. Some are good, others not so much.
In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper share the best of them and try their hardest to agree on one winning tip. It's not as easy as it might sound.
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the 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.
Hello. I'm Jesper.
And, I'm Autumn.
This is episode 142 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And I've actually been looking forward to this conversation, Autumn.
Oh, really? This one kind of took me by surprise. I had to look at it this morning. I'm like, oh, I need to come up with some tips. So I did come up with a few and I'm now excited to, to talk about it. But at first I was like, geez, this is so broad. Where do we start?
Jesper (1m 3s):
That was why I was looking forward to it because I was curious to see what you've come up with. And, and we're talking about the best thing to do every day to become a better writer. So this is going to be interesting.
Autumn (1m 16s):
It will. I think I came up with some stuff that I'm like, yeah, that's a good tip. So I can't wait to find out what you came up with us. You always research, plan it a little bit more than I do.
Jesper (1m 31s):
That doesn't necessarily make it better, but at least I try, I put in the effort at least.
Autumn (1m 36s):
That's right. And it's not that I don't have the effort. I just, I, I intensify my effort into a shorter amount of time.
Jesper (1m 44s):
Yeah. Like five minutes before we record.
Autumn (1m 47s):
It wasn't that bad. It was just a few hours ago.
Jesper (1m 55s):
Well, okay. So it's only a few hours ago that I did it, to be honest. Okay. Hey, this'll be interesting. Yeah. How are you going to have something planned? Yes, we can plan. Yeah. So we'll see how that goes. Well, I'm doing okay. I w I was out doing my kayaking course again earlier this week I had to strain the muscle. Oh no. Well is one on my left side of my torso based somewhere. I, I don't, I don't know quite where it is, but it's like, when it happened, you know, I felt it right away. Something like happened in the muscles.
Jesper (2m 38s):
Like, but then it didn't hurt too much. Then it was more like, it was just a smaller inconvenience, like, oh, it's okay. But then, you know, one night, once I got back home afterwards and I had taken a shower and I guess my muscles weren't in use anymore, then it started to become really sore. And then a Wednesday morning here, it was just like, oh my God, I slept bad all night. Because every time I turned, I woke up and it was the same last night. So it's starting to feel a bit better. Now I can move my arms around, like without hurting now. So it's, but it's still, if I do the wrong, like move, then I can still feel it.
Jesper (3m 18s):
But I don't know. These past two days, I've actually taken some naps just to keep up with the last hours of sleep at night.
Autumn (3m 26s):
Geez. That is pretty bad for you. That's what you're doing like a roller or was it just paddling?
Jesper (3m 33s):
No, I think it was when, well, because it's, it's the cost of we're checking now. So we also practicing, falling into the water and getting back up on the kayak on purpose and stuff like that. And I think it was one of the times when I was getting back up, I think when I jumped up onto the kayak or something, I think that was when something happened. But yeah, I don't know. It's just a, I mean, it's funny because my wife has been teasing me because she started the kayaking like six months before me. And when she come back, when she came back from kayaking, she was all this like, really like tired. And, you know, you could, you could just see the workout on her, how tired she was.
Jesper (4m 18s):
And, and then, and I was always like, well, is it really that hard because you don't get your, you know, you don't get your pulse up. You're not out of breath or anything. Right. And, and now she's just laughing at me all the time, because when I get back, I'm just like, oh, my muscles are so, because you're using all kinds of muscles that you don't normally use. And so I'm just so sore when I go, go back and really, really tired from spending a couple of hours out on the sea. So she, she, she, for some reason she finds it incredibly amusing. Now it's like I told you,
Autumn (4m 50s):
You know, it comes back around, but I will say, I, you know, my mom always told me that there's something about sea air. That just makes you tired as well. So
Jesper (4m 59s):
It does indeed.
Autumn (4m 60s):
I will. I, you know, you can always bring that up, say it makes you tired. Hello. Imagine the shock of the cold water would, you know, kind of take a lot out of you too.
Jesper (5m 15s):
Well, well you have, well, I don't know what the English words, but you have the gear on, you know, so it's not really cool. I don't know what it's called though. The wetsuit, I guess it's called a wetsuit, isn't it?
Autumn (5m 25s):
Jesper (5m 25s):
That's one of the times you have a wetsuit on. Okay. So it's not that cold. Really? Yeah. That's okay. That's cool. But, but it's more the workout of it and all that using muscles that I don't normally use. I run a lot of course, because I'm a referee, as people have probably heard me talk about million times before on this podcast. So running I'm very used to, and I'm very using used to using my leg muscles, but here you really use your upper body all the time, which I'm not used to do. So I can feel that. I bet.
Autumn (5m 58s):
Yeah. I know. Even
Jesper (5m 58s):
With my little bit of exercise program I've been doing, I, one day is like abs and legs and the next day is upper body. And you can feel, it takes two days to, to work out. I mean, not nearly as bad as the first week I started the first day. It did take me two or three days. I really filled it. But now that I'm in, like my second, yeah. Second week, almost the end of my second week doing it. It's rare when I have a day where I'm like, oh, but I did do something with my upper back arms. Cause again, you're not used to using some of those muscles and doing some weird down plank move and I'm like, that's not even possible. And yeah, it tends to be a little twin to the next day.
Jesper (6m 39s):
Go figure. Especially as writers who just sits in front of a computer all the time
Autumn (6m 45s):
Writer, graphic designer. Yeah. Website builder. I, I need my exercise program, my spare time online.
Jesper (6m 56s):
But otherwise things are going okay on UN you had a storm coming or something, didn't you?
Autumn (7m 0s):
Yeah. Well, we just had the remnants of hurricane Ida go through and it wasn't actually that bad up here, but yeah, some people died in New York and my parents in Pennsylvania, they had three days of rain and their basement started flooding. So it was bad. But what further west? I think of them. It, the whole town was flooded through, so it was pretty intense. But yeah, we have like, we've went from the eighties and like super high humidity. It was like 89. And like, it felt like the rainforest again, which we've had almost all of August. And then overnight, it blew out after a whip tail end of Ida. And it I've been wearing flat all it's it feels like September it is cool and Chile and I'm thrilled, but I was like, okay, we've gone from high humidity and really steamy, warm to, Hey, it's new England and we're in the fall.
Autumn (7m 55s):
Just not ready for that. It's good. At least I've had my excitement this week is I've been preparing for Vermont's fantasy con, which is coming up October 2nd and third there's any other new England authors, fantasy authors or readers, which most of us are readers come to Burlington, October 2nd and third, I'm going to be there. I'm going to be on panels and talking. I think we're doing a lot of podcasts. I somehow signed myself up for everything, including organizing a paperback, give away. I don't know. I just, it's my nature. I get excited, but I've done all new swag. I just ordered new bookmarks for my two series and some new banners and a new tabletop display ordered all my books.
Autumn (8m 37s):
So I have all this author stuff coming and I'm going to, I'll have to do some like unpacking boxes and videos because I am so excited to get author swag. It'll be great.
Narrator (8m 49s):
Oh, a week on the internet with the M writing fantasy podcast.
Jesper (8m 55s):
And we have also, apart from all that other stuff, you have ongoing there, autumn. And we also started a brand new initiative here. We decided for, for the podcast. And I don't know, maybe you want to explain what that is all about. Autumn.
Autumn (9m 8s):
Again, you're not preparing me. This was originally my idea. So I think I can wing this one, but you did,
Jesper (9m 14s):
You can manage.
Autumn (9m 15s):
Alright. So I know this idea. I was reading some really good books this summer. So I'm like award-winning novels that were just, I wanted to talk about them with other authors, just pull them apart because that is the best way to learn. It's like I maybe I'm missing like those college courses, the ones that never actually happened to were actually fun where you could really look at a novel and pull out it's world building C. Why, why is this novel selling so well, why do readers love it? So I wanted to start a CRA authors critical reading group because critical reading, like really don't just reading a book and say, oh, that was good. And tossing it aside and reading the next one, but really asking questions and pulling it apart and looking at the point of views and the trends, the tropes, everything that's going on in it that makes us novel tick.
Autumn (10m 1s):
And why it's really is captivating as it is doing that with other authors is a fantastic way to learn. And it's gone through a few different iterations as we try to pull this together. And you came up with the idea of somehow pulling it into the podcast. And I'm so excited about this.
Jesper (10m 21s):
Yeah, I think after almost 150 podcast episodes, it was a time to it's time to shake things up a little. So what we decided to do was basically that once a month, we will pick a book that we are going to read. I'm going to explain the books for October, just in a second. And then we will read one of these books that gets picked, which is going to be picked by you, the audience in the am, writing phase fantasy Facebook group, and also for the patron supporters, you'll be able to vote once a month on which book we should pick. And then obviously it would be awesome if you want to read along. So you can read the book while we also reading the book, and then we will dedicate one podcast episode a month to basically do a bit of critical discussion around that book that Western chosen.
Jesper (11m 13s):
And if you're a patron supported and you will be able to actually submit your views as well before the episode recording happens. So we will basically take your inputs on board as well, probably read maybe not all of it, but probably some of it aloud on the podcast and discuss your points of view as well. So that's sort of the idea and to kick things off, we already, by the time this podcast episode airs, we already did the voting. So for this month, you're too late, but if you're in the am writing a Facebook group, you will have seen it. Or if you're a patron supporter, you will, you will have seen it. And if you're not in the group, then get in there. So the next month, at least you will see the voting when it comes up, but we will be reading one of the following three books.
Jesper (12m 0s):
It's either going to be the lies of Locke Lamorah by Scott Lynch. And that this book has over 5,500 reviews on Amazon, us with five dot five star ratings. So that's pretty damn good book, apparently
Autumn (12m 15s):
World building, oh my gosh, the world building in that one.
Jesper (12m 19s):
Yeah. Or if we are going to read the fifth season by NK Jemisin, and this is not only a Hugo award-winning fantasy novel, each book in the series has also been aboard water separately. So it has over 7,000 reviews on Amazon and afforded a five star rating. And that's the second option. And the last option is shadow and bone by Lee Baidu go, I guess that's how you say it, something like that. Well, it's basically the books behind the Netflix series shadow and bone, and this book has over 9,000, 19,500 views.
Jesper (12m 59s):
That's crazy popular. Yeah. So by the time this episode airs, the voting will have finished. But right now that while we are recording, it has not. So I can't say which one it's going to be picked, but just go into Dave M writing fantasy Facebook group. And if you're not a member already just get in there and you can find the post where we will have announced by the time that this episode goes out, we will announce in the Facebook group, which of the books is picked. And then you can, you can buy that book as well, and you can read along. And then in October we will then have a podcast episode where we basically discuss what we've, what we thought about the book.
Jesper (13m 39s):
And there were some critical discussion around it.
Autumn (13m 42s):
Yes. And I'm so looking forward to it and you want to join the Facebook group anyway, because the discussion after the podcast will carry on in the group. So that way we'll have an ongoing discussion with other authors about the tropes and the trends and the characters and all the things we learned by reading this book.
Jesper (13m 59s):
Yeah. So does this a bit of an experiment trying to shake things up a bit in terms of a podcast episodes for you going forward here? So we're very curious of course, to see how this goes and if people enjoy it. And if people will actually start reading along and communicating in the Facebook group about they have use of the Brooklyn so on, and we, we hope that it's going to be a bit interactive in the sense that us listeners, I engaged with the stuff that we're doing here as well, because I think that would be quite entertaining and funny for everybody. And if you do, as I said, if you do want your comments and viewpoints of the book to be included in the discussion here between autumn and myself, you need to get on Patrion.
Jesper (14m 40s):
It, it goes down to as little as a dollar a month. So it doesn't really cost much at all. But $1 a month on Patrion will allow you to submit your views of the books as well. And there is a link in show notes to Patrion. So go and check that one out. There's also all kinds of other things rewards that we're offering to support us there. So, and speaking of patron, we also want to offer a huge thank you to Steven for becoming a patron supporter.
Autumn (15m 12s):
Jesper (15m 12s):
Yeah. It's because of people like used, even that we keep this podcast going. So thank you so much for your support on Patrion.
Autumn (15m 20s):
We appreciate having you there
Narrator (15m 27s):
And onto today's topic.
Jesper (15m 28s):
Ah, so like you also said at the top order, and there's so many ways you could approach this topic and there's probably loads of things. One could do to become a better writer. And I've definitely collected a few things here and I was sort of thinking we could just go over what we eat, have autumn. And then by the end, we can see if we can sort of agree on one of the things that is the best of them, all sort of.
Autumn (15m 57s):
So you want to come off or try alternate. Yeah. Well, I have a feeling there's at least a couple top ones that will really help you become a better writer.
Jesper (16m 8s):
Yeah. Maybe B B, honestly, I feel like at least the ones I tried to only pick like stuff that I've thought was fairly important, but I'm really struggling to figure out if one of them are better than the other, but let's see. Let's see how we, how we go.
Autumn (16m 24s):
Okay. Okay. Sounds good. Do you want to alternate or just read off our lists or describe things, how you want to do it
Jesper (16m 31s):
Now? Let's alternate a bit. That's fun.
Autumn (16m 34s):
I all right. And do you want to start with the top top one or do you want to like do the more
Jesper (16m 40s):
Oh, well, if you can, you can do that if, but I have not, at least I have not mine listed in order of importance is just random order mine. So, but if you can do that. Yeah.
Autumn (16m 50s):
Yeah. I think I, like I said, I have one or two that I think are the definite things that really, these are the things you have to do to become a better writer. So I can start at the bottom of my list. Okay. All right. You ready? Yeah, I'm ready. All right. So I think one of the things that is in a general, something that is going to make you a better writer is to write something that you're actually interested in. And the reason is if you aren't enjoying it, you won't put in the effort that you might have otherwise. And you would just, you don't make as much time for it. You'll just kind of maybe just, oh great. I have to do five minutes. Great. And you'll just, you know, word vomit, some stuff out and be done with it. But if you write something you're actually passionate about, don't worry about the marketing yet.
Autumn (17m 33s):
If you really want to learn to be a better writer, enjoy the craft, put in some love and time and write something. You love, write something you would love to read. And I think you will become a better writer because you'll put so much time and effort into it.
Jesper (17m 49s):
Hmm. Yeah. Actually I can cross one of my off the list basically more or less with that. I worded it slightly different, but I think it's the same thing I was talking about trying to write something that sort of sits in the middle of that Venn diagram between what you love, but also what readers want to read. I mean, if you're just, I guess if you're just writing for yourself, then don't worry about what readers want to read. But if you want to earn a bit of money from it, I think understanding the market and what readers want, that will also make you a better writer. That's true. Cause you will be able to write books that people wants to read, which I think is quite important, but not everybody, some people don't write because they want to sell anything.
Jesper (18m 31s):
So, so that's fair enough. I think it depends. I think I can cross that one off the list, right. Because it's very similar to what you just said.
Autumn (18m 37s):
Yes, I think so. But you're right. It's it definitely depends on what your end goal as an author. What, what meaning a better writer, what that means to you and that might've been right. Where we started is like defining what is a better writer. Do you just pull words together? Do you tell more captivating stories? Are you selling more books? What is your definition? Start there. And then you'll at least have some goals to like, you'll know when you hit your targets.
Jesper (19m 5s):
Yeah. True. Okay. So yeah, I think that that is a good one. Probably not the one that we're going to pick as the most important one, but it's good.
Autumn (19m 14s):
The bottom of my list. So you want to, since we, since you had a similar one to me, do you want to pick a different one?
Jesper (19m 20s):
Yeah. Yeah. So let me start with a piece of advice that you're probably seen very, very often also because a very, very famous author wrote it in a book about writing that he wrote and it is called write every day. And I was sort of wanting to discuss this one a bit because I mean, I understand the whole thinking behind this one. And of course I also fully agree and understand that to become a better writer. You have to write if you don't write you and I'm never going to get any, I mean, study, studying, writing, and listening to podcasts about writing, but not writing.
Jesper (20m 5s):
It's not going to make you a better writer. It is like a muscle like, like me spraining muscles, because I don't train enough. Right. If, if I was trained enough, then it wouldn't happen. Right. So writing is the same thing. It's, it's a muscle that you need to train. So I'm fully on board with all of that. But the one thing that I'm not so sure about and which is probably also why this one shouldn't make the final selection, I guess, but it's the writing every day part because I'm less convinced about that. To be honest, if, if it works for you then great. But if it sort of stresses you out, I'm not sure it's helpful, is it?
Autumn (20m 44s):
No, I agree. You shouldn't create stress. And I know I used say write every day, but recently some toss ups between exercising and then my husband getting a job, or sometimes he has to leave really early and I'm the cook. So I make him breakfast and it's like, I can't, I used to get up and I would write first thing in the morning. And if I didn't do it, then it would be all screwed up. And there's days that I'm like, okay, just deep breath, you know, do what you have to do, fit it in later. And if you don't fit it in, don't beat yourself up, you know, fit in what you can. Don't have this major goal that if you don't do it, you know, you're just going to break down and cry and come to me like I did today. So be forgiving of yourself and your writing partners, please, because life can get hectic.
Autumn (21m 28s):
But I do think it helps to have a writing goal for maybe the week one that is manageable. Not like, yeah, you know, I think I used to have one. I think it was just three chapters or something. You feel accomplished to finish that many. If you go over it, you feel great. But having one that is doable, I think is more important, but maybe being creative every day. Cause I have to admit some weekends recently. I haven't been necessarily writing as much as I used to when maybe I'll find myself drawing or something a little bit more because it's the weekend and I'm going to spend time with my husband or something else. It's, it's good to be creative every day. But I agree. But also what you were saying about it being a muscle, this one is one I think I would, I would have put towards the end of my list and I do actually have right just right.
Autumn (22m 15s):
Is one of the books, most important things you can do. I mean, you can be creative in a blog post an Instagram post, just be creative. But it's the, I had this conversation with some people, a lot of people like, oh, I want to wait until I'm inspired. And I understand that, but sort of what you're saying, writing is a muscle. And if you write often enough, you know, a certain goal every week when you are inspired, you can grab that and really turn out some amazing pros where if you're still a novice, because you haven't written since the last time you were inspired, which might've been a week ago, two weeks ago, whatever that was your muscles going to be kind of squishy and you're not going to do as much. It's not going to be as good.
Autumn (22m 58s):
So right. Even when you're not inspired because you want to build up that muscle. So you can really pounce on those days where you have time and you're excited about it.
Jesper (23m 9s):
Yeah. I agree. Fully agree.
Autumn (23m 11s):
Well, go figure, we often agree on things, which is why we've had a business together for like four years.
Jesper (23m 19s):
It's definitely helps. It does
Autumn (23m 20s):
Help. We do not have a contentious relationship. We should just let people know that now. Yeah.
Jesper (23m 25s):
We w when we are doing our top 10 worst lists and we argued about the best ones, that's a, that's like the exception that confirms the rule.
Autumn (23m 35s):
Exactly. Well, we have to poke and prod each other. Do you even get a little grouchy? So it's good. Absolutely though. I still think my husband and you are going to, so team up on me when we finally get together, I'm going to, I'm going to have to be ready. I'm going to have to make friends with your wife a little bit better so that we have a strategy in place.
Jesper (23m 54s):
I, I, unfortunately I don't think you will have any trouble teaming up with her. If he gets about teasing me, she will be on board right away. Awesome. I shouldn't have said that. That was a mistake. Forget about that.
Autumn (24m 7s):
That's all right. I already know. I don't trust Adam. He likes undermining me. So I'm a nervous, we're not going to do the spousal podcast interview. That's just going to go back.
Jesper (24m 19s):
Yeah, I know. Yeah. We don't want to go there.
Autumn (24m 22s):
All right. Oh my God. Well, I could give him my next tip. And that is, if you are writing, let's say you are an inspired TA or you just actually have some real decent writing time, which doesn't happen that often. And maybe it's a Saturday and everyone's quiet in their way or whatever. If you have some good writing time and you're planning on writing for a good stint, I would say use the Pomodoro technique, which it's a technique you can Google it. There's also, somebody has renamed it tomato technique, but excuse me, it's much older. It's called the Pomodoro. And that's where you do sort of sprints where you write for a certain amount of time. And then you take like a five minute break. So maybe it's 15 5, 15 5. And then when you hit, the end of an hour is a longer break.
Autumn (25m 6s):
And this really helps because you can work on something. And even when you're passionate about it, once you hit that, you know, sometimes it's different for everyone. Sometimes it's 45 minutes. Sometimes it's 90 minutes. It depends on you. Your brain is just going to be like the ideas aren't there. It's not jelling. It's starting to just be a little bit of out of reach. And so it really helps to have breaks to know that you're going to have a break. I think it's really important to keep your mind fresh. So I would really recommend that it's a good way to improving your writing overall is not to just push through for two hours, three hours, whatever you have, you need to get up stretch, move.
Autumn (25m 49s):
It really helps you.
Jesper (25m 52s):
Yeah, I think actually it probably dovetails very nicely with the next one I wanted to say, oh,
Autumn (25m 57s):
Excellent. We might've planned that. No,
Jesper (26m 4s):
Not at all. But this one is quite important to me. I think because this one was one that I've sort of learned recently because perhaps actually thinking about it, perhaps we should record a podcast episode about this in next month or something, but it's basically, I guess I could best sum it up as quality over quantity. And what I mean by that is that I've been trying over the last couple of months to try to write faster, to just see if I can get through the first draft quicker.
Jesper (26m 44s):
And I think it would probably would be worth discussing it in a bit more in depth, maybe next month in a podcast episode about number one, how to write faster. But also if you are one of those people who want to write faster, what you should be mindful about, because what I learned was that the faster I wrote, the more enjoyment disappeared from my writing. And it started to feel like I was just cranking out words because I needed to crank out words rather than enjoying telling a story, which I thought was quite eye-opening for me, because I actually didn't expect that. So for me, I think if you focus more on quality than quantity, it will make you a better writer.
Jesper (27m 28s):
And then that's not to say that there's anything wrong with writing faster. And some people enjoy that. That's absolutely fine. But I, I think that should probably come down the road somewhere once, you know, you know, you feel very comfortable with writing, which was the case for me, it CA I start, I want to start trying to write fast, like several years after I started writing in the first place. So probably yeah, actually five years ago, so five and a half, I think, but nevermind that. But I just think that it's, it's important to, to make sure you enjoying what you're doing. If you want to be a better writer, I guess that's how I could best word it.
Autumn (28m 12s):
Yeah. I wish I could say I totally disagree, but no, I, I feel this one too. I think we both had that realization within the last year, because even when I was working on the tainted face series that I just published and I loved the books and I love the stories, but there was times I was working on it and pushing through stuff faster than I thought, you know, I knew I could even do better if I spent more time on it. If something about the whole production schedule of trying to write things so fast that you lose that enjoyment and then you start questioning, and then if the book doesn't do well, because you never know if a book is going to do well, if it does great, fantastic. But if you realize, well, I didn't enjoy it much. It's I love the story, but you know, it's not making me millions of dollars.
Autumn (28m 55s):
I think I would've enjoyed writing it slower. I would have enjoyed just the process I miss, like when I was writing my debut novel. And I just wrote words for the sheer love of writing those words and describing that world. And I sometimes think even though it was my debut novel, and I think it's the worst thing I've ever written. I think there's a little bit of that soul in there and that sheer enjoyment and love of that world, that it cannot be replicated just because I want to write faster. And so I think, I agree. I think if you really want to be a good writer, no matter how fast you write it, if you're losing that soul and that wanting to be immersed in that world, you're losing something.
Autumn (29m 42s):
Jesper (29m 43s):
Autumn (29m 43s):
Well, good. Well, that kind of dovetails it. It's not the one I was going to use next, but it fits with that one. And I would say, if you want to be a better writer, you need to read which fittingly. We already mentioned the critical author reading group, hint, hint, but I hadn't, I had been not enjoying reading very much recently, but then I decided I'm reading the wrong things. And I started really upping my game and going for the Hugo award winning novels and literary fantasy, which once I hit some of those ones that were just outstanding and I fell in love with the world and the characters, and then one of the, you know, tear them apart in a good way to see why they were so good.
Autumn (30m 28s):
It totally changed. Even what I was looking at in my book saying, oh gosh, you know, I used to enjoy this more. I used to do this more. I want to, especially literally the Hugo award-winning novel that we've mentioned the fifth season. It is a very high level. It is very, very close to literary fancy fantasy instead of just being epic fantasy it's, it's got some word choice and points of view that are really literary fantasy, but I loved it. Oh, my question made me think and wondering why it was working that way and just why the characters were certain ways. And I just thought this is fun. This is what I love about writing. And I think it's important, whatever it is, whatever it is about writing or reading, even that you like remember that when you're writing, because you want to pull that in.
Autumn (31m 14s):
That's what you want to imbue your own writing with is those elements. And if that is intense, plotting or intense characterization, or just really beautiful words that everyone tells you kill your darlings, but you just love them. Go write your heart out. It'll make you a better writer. You might have to edit some of it out, but you know, Kevin, again, capturing that essence and often finding that inspiration of reminding you of why you were a reader, what it is about the genre that makes you love it will help you be a better writer in it.
Jesper (31m 47s):
Right? Yeah. I also had study, I studied a writing of the best I also had on my list, but I was exactly what you just said. So, so that's good. But I also had, I also had reading every day as a separate line, other than study the writing of the best, because of course studying the writing of the best. Like you said, it's, it's about understanding the story structure, the tropes. And of course you will, it will increase your vocabulary as well. But there are also days where I don't get to read just like with the writing. It's not necessarily everyday I do it, but I try to read most days of the week as much as I can.
Jesper (32m 29s):
I, I do try to do it. But one of the things that I often see debated, and I'm not sure I have the answer for it, to be honest, but it is whether you should stick to reading in your Shanghai or you, it's better to read very widely so that you get all kinds of other impressions about writing and so on. And I think for one, if you haven't read enough in the younger you are writing, then you need to read those because you need to understand those tropes. But if we are assuming you already understand this young rhe, then I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to try to read a bit wider as well.
Jesper (33m 9s):
We have been looking at writing some murder mystery stuff, and I've actually picked up a couple of books that has nothing to do with fantasy, but they are murder mysteries. But just because I wanted to see how let's say outside the fantasy younger people who are very, very popular and good at writing murder mysteries, how did they do it when it just from a plodding perspective that I thought that was interesting.
Autumn (33m 34s):
No, I agree. And I, I agree if you're going to write in like, especially a new genre or sub-genre that you're not that familiar with, make sure you're reading a few books in it. I've coached a few authors who are like, oh, I've written this, you know, I've written 60,000 words of this novel, but I've never read a thriller before and they're writing a thriller and I'm like, oh, you know, you're and they fight me with all my advice. And I'm thinking, just, please go read one, one of them before you turn away all my advice. But
Jesper (34m 5s):
Yeah, if you haven't, if you haven't read it before, then don't try to write it. That's for sure.
Autumn (34m 11s):
You will. You will. If your book takes off and you have never read a single series or novel in what you're writing, it's going to be a miracle because mostly readers, they have things they expect. And if you are not familiar with those aspects, I think that might even be first person versus third person. Point of view. When I wrote my first dystopian story, almost every dystopian story is in first person. And I don't really like it. And if it entered my head that, you know, this is what the genre expects. I probably never would have even tried it, but you can always learn from those genres and you can pool, like you're saying, murder mystery is you can do a murder mystery fantasy. You can criminal thriller fantasy, you know, Charlotte Holmes meets fantasy.
Autumn (34m 52s):
These are becoming sort of a mishmash that people like it's okay to mix up tropes and mix up some of your storytelling as long as you're doing it well. And also realizing that, you know, maybe some mashups might not work well, a cozy mystery with like dark gallows murderer, you know, like, no, you know, there's a few things that maybe the readers of each John rhe are not going to like each other. So there are those elements, but otherwise, yeah, you can learn and get really exciting tidbits. I mean, you want to learn to do some foreshadowing, read some murder mysteries. They're fantastic. They do such a good job to make you sit there and try to figure it out.
Jesper (35m 36s):
Absolutely. Okay. Do you have any more on your list? Oh, you actually
Autumn (35m 39s):
Have a few. It was
Jesper (35m 43s):
Autumn (35m 44s):
Good. All right. Yeah. So my next one to be a better writer. This is a very simple one, but I think it's very important. Turn off your wifi. Or if you really think you're going to have to Google something, make sure you turn off all your social media apps, hide your phone, give it to your, your five-year-old and make sure he can't buy anything from Amazon while you're, while mother holding it. But even if you have to use those apps that keep you locked out of your social media accounts for like half an hour, do that because you need to focus on writing when you're actually writing you, can't get that little wall and moment of distraction and just go and automatically jump to Instagram. It's not going to help you.
Jesper (36m 24s):
Actually, I will say that I don't have that problem. You know, when I, when I write, I don't end up spending all the time on Facebook or something instead. So, but I do do understand, I know a lot of people do have that problem. So, so in that sense, for sure, but it's called it, of course also depends on the individual person, whether or not that's a problem or not. But I think what I also had on my list, which is basically, I think it's the same root explanation or root cause for becoming a better writer as you were, you were just saying, and it is basically about respecting your writing time, right?
Jesper (37m 4s):
So if you, you mentioned early on, maybe set some weekly writing goals or something that, you know, keep the promises that you make with yourself and follow through on those and respect your writing time. So did you actually get that done instead of spending all your time on Instagram or YouTube or something? So I think that's the core
Autumn (37m 23s):
Of it. Yeah, I agree.
Jesper (37m 28s):
Okay, good. Well, that actually crossed one more of my list because that was the same thing I was going to say. But then I want to say something else because well, we, we trade in this stuff ourselves, but, and that's not why I'm saying it. I'm saying it because I think it's important, but educate yourself is on my list because you have to do the writing at the same time. Of course, like we said before, listening to podcasts or taking writing courses will not teach you how to write unless you're writing. But I do think it is very, very well spent money. If you try to, while you are writing also educating yourself, you know, take some online courses. So we have several of them.
Jesper (38m 9s):
If you want to take some online courses and try to learn, because it will improve your writing a lot.
Autumn (38m 17s):
Yes. And I, of course, that's it. Yes. Between the books we have and the education you could tell. I mean, part of the reason the first writing course we developed came from the fact that I took two adult ed writing courses at my local place in Maine. And they were just so, and they were not devoted to fantasy. They were devoted more to memoirs and there was times they were ripping apart the fantasy writers in the group for doing stuff. And I just wanted to know why, you know, how am I supposed to write this? Then if obviously these people are not teaching me and that pain, it led to a course for fantasy writers because you know, someone needs to teach this.
Autumn (38m 59s):
It's, there's so much to learn in so many tips and so many ways of doing things and developing characters. And it's good to be curious, pick up a book, could pick up a chorus, you know, spend some time reading blog posts. We have a ton of blog. We have like 200 blog posts on the I'm writing phases of website. It's insane. Let's be Like, no, we got some stuff for you. The free, just go listen. And it'll make you curious. It'll make things spark. Just sort of like reading books in your mind. So I agree this one was on my list. So this time I get to cross it off, but yes, educate yourself. Be curious about the craft and learn to do it better as a very important thing. I think to add to that.
Autumn (39m 39s):
And it sort of went well with what I was, we were both been saying about goals and stuff is to develop a routine and honor it. Like you said, if you can say, this is my writing time, just like how I said, normally I have to go, I'm going through a change that hasn't clicked fully into place. But my writing time used to be first thing in the morning, get my tea, go and write for an hour or so. And now that's, I've gotten old jumbled and I have yet to figure it out. That's stressing me out a little bit, but that's okay because it's a change. I had a writing time that I honored and that worked for me. And before that, when I had my full-time job, I would get home, give my husband and kids, get my tea and I'd write for 45 minutes. And that's how I did like 12 books, 45 minutes a night after I got home, I was like, hi, hi, nice to see you.
Autumn (40m 21s):
Bye-bye I'm going to go right now. It's just that you have to get your family to understand, or at least to leave you alone and turn off your wifi, or at least your social media apps. If you have a tendency to try to distract yourself with them, but I were teens, whatever it is, sometimes you need that too, to like sink into, okay, it's my writing time for me, it was getting a cup of tea, but maybe you need to listen to music. I used to have a PA page of George R. Martin that I just thought was like the most beautiful imagery in the world. And I'd read that. And then I'd be like, yes, I am ready to write, to find those cues that tell your brain. Now it is time to turn on the writing and settle into that and have it and get your mind used to it.
Autumn (41m 1s):
So that way, if you don't have it sort of like I recently have had my little hiccup, you miss it, you really crave it. And that's, that's a good thing.
Jesper (41m 13s):
Okay. Yeah. And also along the lines of educating yourself, then I would say, learn how to make sure that every single chapter
Autumn (41m 26s):
That's a good one. I agree, actually, that kind of goes with the wires.
Jesper (41m 31s):
Yeah. Yeah. It's very aligned with what we've already said, but then still it's just slightly different, but if you can grab the reader in every chapter, we will definitely be a better writer for sure.
Autumn (41m 42s):
Because it's sort of going along with that, I actually have learned to plot because I do think Panthers can write well, but I think understanding plot and plot structure is something that will make you a better writer. And whether that once the fall under education or, you know, learning to make chapters that are really gripping, those are like some of the techniques that I think you need to educate and read how other authors do it, figure it out. And by unpacking those specific techniques of writing really gripping chapters or learning to write a really engaging plot, that's character driven. When you understand those really core techniques, you will be a better writer as well. And I think it does take a couple of books and some education and some thinking to realize how that brainstorm moment of, oh, this is how it all comes together.
Autumn (42m 30s):
And when that happens, you're will be a bunch stronger writer.
Jesper (42m 36s):
Yeah, absolutely. I only have one more on my list or
Autumn (42m 39s):
One more on my list. That's a really funny,
Jesper (42m 42s):
Autumn (42m 42s):
You go. All right. So let's see. All right.
Jesper (42m 47s):
Minus something that I've actually talked about several times on the podcast before, but it is about getting feedback, but it comes with a caveat. And this is the part that I've said on previous episodes, because be very, very careful not to ask for feedback from a lot of different people, because especially when you're starting out, you don't know what is good feedback and what is bad feedback. And also if you're getting feedback from a lot of people, you'll get a lot of conflicting feedback, which is not very helpful either because you don't know which ones is correct, and which ones are wrong because you don't have the experience. So I would say, preferably, if, of course this is going to cost them money.
Jesper (43m 29s):
But if you can, it's best to work with a developmental editor who can, who knows what they're talking about and they can help you. That would be the, by far the best thing. But if you can't afford that, then pick maximum one or two writers who you trust and who, you know, have a proven track record, meaning that they know what they're doing. And then listen to what those one or two people are saying and nothing else, but to get some feedback, because if you're writing in isolation, it's very difficult to understand, you know, you might, well, you might be the blind leading the blind kind of situation.
Jesper (44m 13s):
I mean, you're just stumbling a heaven. You don't quite know. And that's not to say that it can't work. It can, but you might end up writing five bad books that nobody likes. And then you'll sort of figure it out, but getting some feedback from somebody who knows what they're doing. And couple that with educating yourself, then I think you will get to a better place much, much faster than if you don't do these things.
Autumn (44m 40s):
Oh yeah. I agree. I can't believe I didn't include feedback in my list, but that is really true. And what you said is very true. I mean, you want to choose who you get feedback from. It should be like an author. You respect, if you can't afford it, a writing coach or a developmental editor will be worth their weight, especially for your first, maybe not your first book, maybe. I mean, that'd be fantastic, but even your second or third, whenever you can afford it, it's worth it because otherwise you can't see, you know that about your life. You can't see your own blind spots because they're blind spots where someone else will read it and be like, oh, this is where you're doing it wrong. But if you don't get someone That's a good day, came up with that.
Autumn (45m 23s):
One knew what they were talking about. But yeah, it's, if you get too many other people or maybe beta readers or people who just like, oh, I don't like it. And they don't give you very specific feedback because they don't really understand plotting and structure and character development. That's not going to help you learn. It might just make you really frustrated or even steer you in the wrong direction. Just trying to write something that, you know, someone who absolutely adored Twilight loved. And you're suddenly trying to write Twilight when you were more going towards, you know, token, it's not gonna really help you improve. It's just changing your direction. All right. So my last one, which is kind of a strange one, maybe, but it's okay to do something inspiring, just, you know, exercise, take a walk and movement really loosens up your ideas as well as your body.
Autumn (46m 16s):
So my last one is actually do something that'll inspire you and keep your creativity growing. And along with that, kind of like tailor to it, keep a notebook with you. If at all possible you want to be able to capture ideas and remember to look at them and maybe organize them, put them in a Scrivener file or something. You don't want a couple of ideas and never look at them again. That's not the point, but if you can get out and do something different and creative fun with your family, make up stories, whatever it is, that'll let you know, that'll loosen up your ideas in everything. And you will be surprised at what comes, but if you don't remember to write them down, you will lose them and that's not going to help you either. So make sure you have some way of taking notes and go do something fun.
Jesper (47m 1s):
I don't know if we can do this autumn, but does any of all of these advices sort of stick out to you as the most important one?
Autumn (47m 11s):
I don't know. It's like part of me wants to say educate yourself. I think being curious about how to be a better writer is going to make you a better writer very quickly, because you're curious about it. So you're learning. But I also think having goals like weekly goals that really helped me, I guess that helped me write more, which helped me eventually a better writer. But I think curiosity, be curious how to be a better writer, whether that's through education, reading, whatever that takes, that's going to get you going and at least make you unpack things. Every everything you touch, you'll be pulling it apart by whether it's marketing, copyright, which is always good to know as a writer or someone else's book.
Jesper (47m 55s):
Okay. So I think, yeah, being curious probably encompasses a lot of the things we've talked about here. So, but otherwise I think the listeners can pick the ones that you feel talk the most to you. But yeah, I do definitely think, making sure that you educate yourself is incredibly important. And, and also I would say, unfortunately I think too many people skip that part. So yeah, there is dead. Okay. So next Monday we are going to have a discussion about marketing to different generations of readers. Are they all different or are they the same?
Narrator (48m 38s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/amwritingfantasy. 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.
Monday Sep 06, 2021
Monday Sep 06, 2021
Monday Sep 06, 2021
It's time for another of our humorously competitive top ten lists! This time Jesper and Autumn go head to head to see who can come up with the worst power to have—you know, the one that makes you think maybe NOT having any magic might not be such a bad thing. 🤣
Join us for some laughs and then comment to let us know who you think won the battle!
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Hello, I'm Jesper
And I'm Autumn.
This episode 141 of the am writing fantasy podcast. And are you ready for another top 10 episode today on him?
Well, Actually it's been a little hot and sweltering and humid. I mean, it feels like I just got dumped into Costa Rica without the beach. So I don't have a highly competitive edge, unless maybe it's a lay on the beach and drink a beer contests. So I'll do what I passed. I did not bring my game face to this one. I'm sure you did because you thrive off of competition, I think.
Jesper (1m 12s):
Well, at least we are going to try to have a bit of fun today here and share our list of the five worst powers a character could have. And then as usual, we'll need to see if we can agree on who had the best worst list, Indiana and agreeing on who won is usually the hardest part of these episodes.
Autumn (1m 31s):
Well know you always think you won, but I always know I did.
Jesper (1m 34s):
See that's what I mean; we can't agree.
Autumn (1m 39s):
We agree. We both feel that we can agree that each of us one.
Jesper (1m 43s):
Yes, but, and then sometimes somebody on Patreon are the ones who do the tie-breaking.
Autumn (1m 49s):
Yeah, that's exactly it. Sometimes they put on YouTube videos. So we, we do take votes. I don't think it's ever changed how we felt we did, but we try.
Jesper (2m 1s):
Well, usually if they do conclude that they think I won, then I definitely agree with them. And then I think very wise people voting in that, those cases.
Autumn (2m 11s):
Yeah. I would say, I think I've had more votes than you. So I think they are very wise.
Jesper (2m 17s):
No, I don't think so. Is he already with disagreeing?
Autumn (2m 21s):
I have more competition in me than I thought so we'll be good.
Jesper (2m 27s):
Yeah. Apparently, so.
Autumn (2m 31s):
So how are things over on your side of the planet?
Jesper (2m 35s):
No, it's, it's it's good. We actually started, well, we talked about this a bit offline, but we did stop looking at a house because there's just not enough space in this apartment. I mean the location of this apartment, it's, it's like 200 meters from the beach wonderful location, but it's just, it's too small for the four of us. So we, yeah, we started looking at some new houses and we found one that is newly renovated. It was a completely overhauled about a year ago. So it, it looks really nice and we are looking at it last week and we felt like, ah, this is quite good.
Jesper (3m 22s):
The price on the house is quite high. So we want that of course reduced. But just to be on the safe side, we, we hired a building inspector and we went out with him the other day to just go through the house and just check if there's nothing wrong with it. Some hidden stuff that you don't know about. Those kinds of interesting.
Autumn (3m 43s):
Yeah. Some of my favorite parts of looking at houses.
Jesper (3m 47s):
Yeah. But he found mold in the attic. Oh no. And he found the fact that the, I don't know what the correcting this term is, but basically not the roof, but like the inner inner structure of the roof.
Autumn (4m 7s):
Like the trusses or just the plywood?
Jesper (4m 13s):
The, the supporting structure. It's, it's a there's mold in it. And he even found water on some of the supporting beans. So it's, it's a matter of time before you have water pouring in from the roof. He said, I mean, the only thing that keeps out the water right now is the, the tiles on the roof. So, but if they start leaking or something, then it's going to go straight into the house. So that's of course a huge issue, but it's, it's fixable, but it's expensive. The building inspector said that he estimated it to cost about $60,000 to fix.
Jesper (4m 53s):
So it's not a small expense, but we are actually thinking to put in an offer, but of course we need to have a significant price reduction to counter for this, but we haven't put in the offer yet. So, and I don't know how the selling party will react to, we're going to ask for a huge price reduction. Right. So I don't know how they'll react to that. And maybe, I don't know, we'll see what happens next. So that's where we at. And that's way more exciting on the house front than I expected.
Autumn (5m 27s):
That's really crazy having built and restored houses. Yeah. The roof and the foundation are like two of the places you don't want problems. So, Ooh, no, indeed. But then, I mean, the building inspector said, he says that like, this is what he sees all the time because people are so fixated on isolating houses.
Jesper (5m 49s):
So they just keep isolating more and more and more most offer to make it so tight and tight and tight box as they can. But nobody ever thinks about them. You still need to ensure that there's ventilation, but they never do that. And he says, she said he sees it so many places. And then, you know, a year or two later, then the structure up there, it's wet. It's moldy because of all the condensed that is created as well. And then it's just, yeah, that's very true. So I don't know, but apparently like ventilation, it's not something people think about for some reason, which is a shame because it's, like I said, it's completely renovated like a year ago. So it's really a shame.
Autumn (6m 29s):
Yeah. That is really a shame. But yeah. I mean, it's funny the green houses and stuff, I mean, you want a good insulated core because it's easier to heat or keep cool. But yeah. I mean some of the best houses I knew one of them had a whole house turnover where they had a fan in the attic that could actually exchange all the air with outside air. Like open up all the bottom windows. Yeah. It was like five minutes. I was like, okay, that's a little intense, a half an hour would have probably done fine. But he was like, okay, hot air's out. I was just like, wow. You're you're into ventilation to more than I that's a little extreme.
Jesper (7m 9s):
Yeah. Anything exciting going on on your end?
Autumn (7m 13s):
Oh, well, one thing I'm going to share with you in, in when we talk about internet, which I actually meant to share last time, but I'm kind of glad I waited. I have a, I have, I have a show and tell, but well, yeah, so right now I can see two big things have happened. So one is, my husband is up in Maine and I wanted to give a shout out to him because he passed his main guide, which is a registered Maine guide. It's actually the oldest guide license in the United States and one of the hardest to get, and he just passed a sea kayaking test. So he is now a registered Maine guide for a C I kayaking recreation. Oh, whitewater. I just, he's got a ton of them now. So really kind of tickled that he's doing so well up there.
Autumn (7m 55s):
So shout out to him for being awesome. And then the other thing is, I'm so excited for him. He's up there obviously guiding right now and in high demand. So I'm quite happy for him. He's actually, as we speak, he is leading a moose tour, hopefully on a canoe off looking for moose in the wilds of Maine. I think that's not a bad job description. Yeah. I, I need to maybe rethink doing that a little bit every once in a while to get my license to oh, and then the other thing, well in your world.
Jesper (8m 31s):
Yeah. Well, dragon success,
Autumn (8m 34s):
That's better than mooses true. We'd go looking for dragons as well as moose. Maybe it could be fun, but then I wanted to let people know if I actually started a new exercise program, which shouldn't be as exciting as it is, but I there's gotta be other people in the world who one just feel they're busy all the time. And for me to go to a gym is like a half an hour drive. Not even counting like the time to exercise and then come back. So I don't have two hours a day to do this. So it's been such a struggle. And I actually just found a new online program that's from home and it's called high intensity interval training.
Autumn (9m 18s):
So hit HIIT and I had never heard of it before it. Oh my God. It's awesome. Because I also get bored really easy if no one has realized that here yet. I don't know. I'm good at writing books, but you know, put me on a treadmill for 20 minutes and I would rather jump off a cliff. I'd actually, I'd love to jump off a cliff, give me a squirrel suit. And I would still jump off a cliff. Not a problem, but exercise. No, but this is great because it's like literally 20 seconds. Some of them do it for one minute on one minute off, but I'm on one where it's 20 seconds for three different exercises in a row. So it's 20, 20, 20 and a 1 minute break.
Autumn (10m 0s):
I didn't know. You could get so tired in 18 minutes, but it's fantastic. So if anyone else is out there and they don't have time to do that and they want to exercise, look up, hit training or send me a message. I'll tell you which program I joined. It was like 50 bucks. It's a diet plan as well as an exercise plan. And I feel fantastic and it's been seven days and you can combine it with the habit RPG app that I mentioned last week. Oh, that's you're really flying. That would be kind of cool.
Jesper (10m 35s):
Narrator (10m 39s):
Oh, we go on the internet with the yam writing fantasy podcast.
Jesper (10m 44s):
So you have something to share first before I just do a little speechy afterwards.
Autumn (10m 50s):
Yes. I meant this is not, well, it has something to do with fantasy, but not with writing this time, unless you're talking about book covers, but I'm actually teaching a class on photo compositing, which is how I make all my covers. If anyone's a fan of my work. And as I just put on Instagram, there's nothing more fun than show and tell. So I actually did my book covers in posters for, for the course. So if anyone is watching on YouTube, you get to see the pictures, but I just, they just came today. This is the secret one. I don't think I've even shown you this one. This is another. I just was started working with about a month ago.
Autumn (11m 30s):
The camera a bit longer. Well, especially cause I have a light glaring on it, but it's called the silver web. That was a fantastic one. But yeah, so I just did four cover for pictures. So I'm so excited. They're going to be shown in a gallery and then I'll be teaching a photo compositing course in October. So if anyone else is in New England and the Brattleboro, Vermont area, and they want to know how to, to make covers through photo compositing or just fun crap and photo compositing, the Vermont center for photography, and you can see the course I'm teaching and I cannot wait.
Autumn (12m 10s):
It'll be so much fun.
Jesper (12m 12s):
Oh, nice. Cool. I just wanted to mention that the, I checked earlier this morning and it's been quite a while since we had anyone leaving a review of the podcast. So I just wanted to mention that we would love to have more people find us. And one of the best ways is if this podcast gets some reviews that will trigger the algorithms that suggest our podcast to new listeners and it'll basically become easier to find us. So just a small request to our dear listeners here. If you can please go into your podcast app and leave a rating of the podcast or even better write just a short review, you could just say something about why you listen and what you get from this podcast.
Jesper (12m 56s):
And that would be tremendously helpful for us. So it will only take you probably 30 seconds. So if you can please help us with that one, we would be so happy.
Autumn (13m 7s):
We would definitely appreciate it.
Narrator (13m 9s):
And on to today's topic.
Jesper (13m 13s):
Right? So I think once in a while can dream about having like super powers. But the thing is, what if you got the lamest and most ridiculous powers of them all.
Autumn (13m 28s):
This was a fun one to think about. And research. I did do a little bit of research, but I also tried to come up with some sort of original ones. But yeah, I, I went to, at the end, I found a list. And while to see if you found this same list, but it, it was huge. It was probably over 50 or 60 ones. And there were whole layers of those as well. Yeah. Yeah. They were just, I, it was... yeah. They were just fun to take a break and read through them. So this was kind of fun. One to do. It'll be interesting to see which ones you came up with and I take it. We're going to go from least worst to worst Worst?
Jesper (14m 7s):
Yeah, indeed. Yes, let's do that. And that's usually when we do these top 10 lists, let's alternate. Okay. Sharing one of the worst powers each and then we'll empty out our lists and then we'll need to see who actually won here. So, I mean, I did some internet research like you and all of my ones here are not, let's say something I just made up. It's actually something that exists because I thought that was quite funny to have some, some, some stuff that exists out there, but it's just completely ridiculous.
Autumn (14m 40s):
Oh, this will be interesting. Some of mine were based on it, but actually most of mine were just ones. I thought kind of my opinion that I thought this one would really sucks. You just dig to see what we have and we have any overlap and that'll be, that'd be telling.
Jesper (14m 60s):
Autumn (15m 1s):
And it's been too. Right. So we did this. I don't remember who went first. The last time we should have brought a coin say as well.
Jesper (15m 10s):
I don't remember. Hmm. So yeah. I don't know. Well, I think I said that last time as well. I don't know if it's best to go first or last. It depends on how much confidence once has in, in, in my own list here.
Autumn (15m 27s):
Oh, well, if you're not ready, you know, I'm never afraid to jump in so I can go.
Jesper (15m 34s):
Autumn (15m 36s):
All right. So what would be number five, my least worst power that I thought would really suck to have is the power of nullifying. So this would be that you don't really have any other spells that you can cast no magic. You can throw, but you can break anyone. Else's I just think that would really suck. You'd see these people doing these marvelous, amazing spells, and you basically this like seething, angry person going break, break.
Jesper (16m 4s):
You had a downer
Autumn (16m 5s):
The downer in the room. I just thought that would really just not feel fulfilling at all for a magic power.
Jesper (16m 16s):
No, that's true. But of course, if you are fighting like Sauron
Autumn (16m 20s):
on or something, then that would be quite nice to nullify his powers. That would be, I have to admit, I didn't think about in terms of fighting. I just thought it was terms of every day. So it was my least worst, but yeah, I, it would be very, it would be like the person you want by your side, during a fight, for sure. Be my shield maiden at any day.
Jesper (16m 41s):
The, the warrior of the potty. Definitely wouldn't want this guy, a woman next to him.
Autumn (16m 46s):
For sure. Friends—besties.
Jesper (16m 51s):
You just stand there, say anything, just stand there and just nullify do your thing.
Autumn (16m 57s):
I'll give you a shout out at the end, you know?
Jesper (16m 59s):
Yeah. Great. Yeah. You'll, you'll get a grapefruit for the work. Here you go.
Autumn (17m 9s):
That would be sucky. You made it worse. Amazing.
Jesper (17m 18s):
Okay. So you want my number five?
Autumn (17m 20s):
Yeah. I want your number five.
Jesper (17m 23s):
Okay. My first entry actually comes from the DC comic books. Okay. And this superhero is all the way he's willing to lend a hand to anyone in need.
Autumn (17m 38s):
Okay. Doesn't sound so bad.
Jesper (17m 41s):
That sounds good, right? Yeah. Well not when you learn that this is the arm fall off boy.
Autumn (17m 51s):
Jesper (17m 52s):
This is, this has to be one of the worst superpowers ever because this superhero, he can detach his arm.
Autumn (18m 1s):
Jesper (18m 4s):
That's exactly my thinking. Why I came up with that. Were they wrong? I mean, why would that ever be?
Autumn (18m 16s):
Can you do something with this beat a villain over the head?
Jesper (18m 19s):
Yeah. I guess you can use it as a clop on something and just a beat the SU super villain in his head with on Amazon. But you can do that anyway. You don't need to detach you opt to do that. It's called a fist. That's just stupid. I told him yes.
Autumn (18m 39s):
Even as a writing standpoint, I just, why?
Jesper (18m 44s):
The arm fall off boy. That's what he's called.
Autumn (18m 49s):
I can see why I gave up on comic books when I did. It's really horrible. Is that modern? Or is this like something from like the forties or so?
Jesper (18m 59s):
I don't know how old he is, but I guess people can Google that. But, but that, that was only my number five. So you can see what this is going.
Autumn (19m 7s):
Yeah. I see you. You, you found inspiration pretty heavily. I should get points for at least coming up with my own, not—
Jesper (19m 14s):
Autumn (19m 14s):
You know, pulling off of a comic somewhere, but that one is, I don't even know how that, I mean, I can see someone spitting that out as a writer saying, Hey, we need a blah, but it should have been cut before it ever made it into a plot.
Jesper (19m 29s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. It makes zero sense.
Autumn (19m 34s):
I, this is why if you're a writer and you're really stumbling for ideas, stop and think before you create something this bad. Okay. Please get a beta reader. Just trust me. All right.
Jesper (19m 49s):
And come up wwith a better name that fall off boy.
Autumn (19m 53s):
Yeah. Can we go for literal naming here? Seriously. Jonathan would be better. Just kill
Jesper (19m 60s):
off. All right, Adam, the arm.
Autumn (20m 6s):
That's too close to it. Isn't there Adam, the aunt. I know too close.
Jesper (20m 13s):
Okay. Number four.
Autumn (20m 15s):
Number four. This is what I actually, I think I vaguely remember from a Star Trek episode, but it's, it was sort of a power that came around in the eighties. I heard a couple of places, but it's empathetic healing. So you can, the wielder can heal anyone, but only by taking the injury into themselves. So, you know, if it's a cut, they get the cut. If we know they were stabbed in the kidney, they're now stabbed in the kidney. If the other person's dying of cancer. Well, now you're dying of cancer. It's really, I mean, it's a, self-sacrificing sort of ability and I just thought, you know, that's great. You can save your teammate from dying.
Autumn (20m 56s):
If you die, I'm not into self-sacrificing.
Jesper (20m 60s):
You can only do it once you don't want.
Autumn (21m 2s):
I mean, it's fine if you're like just cutting scrapes, but then you're got to cut that you've got to heal and maybe get infected. I think that's just, no, I don't want that power if that's my only magic, I think I'd rather not have magic. The chance of doing stuff, not knowing someone was sick with something horrible and healing them and then being sick with something horrible. I mean.
Jesper (21m 25s):
OH my God, that would be bad. Yeah. No. All right. That, yeah, that would be bad.
Autumn (21m 30s):
Yeah. I think the consequences it's I can see that. Oh, well, thank you. I'm glad you agree. That one kind of sucks.
Jesper (21m 37s):
No, yeah. That's right.
Autumn (21m 43s):
OK, it was your number four.
Jesper (21m 47s):
Okay. Number four. Yes. Admit that there could be certain and probably like very specific situations where this superpower could be somewhat useful. But once you hear what it is, I think you would prefer to, like you said before, almost have no superpower instead. Geez. Okay. So are you familiar with Marvel star Fox?
Autumn (22m 18s):
Vaguely. I can't remember the details, but I know I've heard the name.
Jesper (22m 26s):
So stock has, he has the power to excite pleasure in which basically means that he can make people fall madly in love with him. I mean, for us, regular people, you might, you might be able to think of some sort of situation where you think that could be useful for you benefit in one way or another. It's still quite nefarious, I guess. But, but as a superhero, I mean, are you going to go out fighting crime by having all the bad guys fall in love with you? I just don't understand. How is that helpful?
Autumn (23m 5s):
It's very efficient. Just like everyone though. I mean, I agree as a villain. I mean, you can go get the people who have tons of money and power and just have them want to give everything to you. It's fantastic. Easy. But as a hero, I mean, by definition, you shouldn't be using and manipulating people. So yeah, unless you're going to go make all the villains fall in love with you. And Dr. Doom is not going to annihilate everyone on the planet because then he might kill you.
Jesper (23m 37s):
Then you have all the bad guys in the world running around in your heels, like after you, because they all want to be with you. It's just like, oh my God. I told him very helpful.
Autumn (23m 48s):
You can play them off of each other. So you just get, oh, you know, he likes me better than you, or you.
Jesper (23m 56s):
That's just mean.
Autumn (23m 58s):
That's my secret. I'm actually a cruel person underneath it all. Or at least I'm cool. I have no problem being mean to characters.
Jesper (24m 10s):
That's that's true. I know.
Autumn (24m 13s):
Yeah. I think I would have to go with becoming a super villain if that was my power. I mean, maybe I try to find some good to do with it. Get lots of philanthropy going, I guess, grasping at straws. I'm thinking, okay. If you could make Bezos fall in love with you and donate his millions, like his ex-wife, the world would be a better place.
Jesper (24m 42s):
All right. Fair enough.
Autumn (24m 45s):
All right. Do you want my number three then?
Jesper (24m 50s):
Autumn (24m 51s):
I don't have a good lead up to this one. This one was kind of an idea that came to me and I thought of the, what are the consequences of this when it's sort of the opposite of my number five? So this one is the power of permanence. So any spell you cast can't be undone and will last forever. So if you change a bird that just fell off a cliff or change your friend who just fall off a cliff into a bird, they will always be a bird. You cannot change them back. So if people are starving, so you can make plants grow, they're just going to keep growing and producing fruit and like 200 centuries from now, you know, there'll be a whole city built up around your magic tree that never stops producing fruit.
Autumn (25m 38s):
If you make it rain, it's going to be raining in that spot forever. And just be flooding forever. You can't undo the spell.
Jesper (25m 50s):
So, yeah. Okay. Well, actually this is going to need some to some interesting scenarios. So if you made it rain and then if you know, it's gonna rain forever, so you start building light, then you make a, I don't know, like a lava pool or something. I don't know. Oh, shit. No, that's not going to work. So you build something, you just keep adding new magical effects, try to nullify the other one. It's just going to be worse and worse and worse.
Autumn (26m 15s):
It is the consequences of this one would just be a nightmare. I mean, it could be quite fun to write maybe a really short story on like how sucky this would be. You're going to eventually just trap yourself almost with everything you're gonna have to be to...
Jesper (26m 31s):
Actually, that's not a bad idea.
Autumn (26m 34s):
I'm glad you like it.
Jesper (26m 36s):
That's actually a good, short story idea. I think its quite cool.
Autumn (26m 41s):
There you go. If you want to write a short little Vela story for you there you have. But yeah, I think I eventually you'd be like, you're gonna be afraid to do anything. You'd be like, thinking through all the potential. If I actually do this, what's going to happen? And then you have those gut instinct ones where it's like, oh, I see my friend now, my friend is a seagull. Shit.
Jesper (27m 4s):
And like, and then you feel bad about him being a seagull. So how can I make it ha well, I should probably just make sure there's lots of fish for him. And then, and then there's fish everywhere. Doesn't know, this is not good.
Autumn (27m 16s):
Too many cats will come for the fish.
Jesper (27m 19s):
Yeah, you should put that on one of your sticky notes for a Vella story, because that's actually a good idea. It wouldn't be fun.
Autumn (27m 27s):
All right. Well, I already have it on a sticky note. I'll move it to the Vella. I story ideas. Sticky note. How's that?
Jesper (27m 33s):
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a good idea.
Autumn (27m 36s):
I'm glad you liked that one.
Jesper (27m 39s):
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, well, my number three is not going to make it into a short story for sure.
Autumn (27m 46s):
Probably should not have made it into a comic. I'm guessing.
Jesper (27m 50s):
Yeah. Well, I just had to include this one on my list. To be honest, he, this character comes from hip, the Hitman series. Okay. And he's a member of something called section eight, which is like a group of superheroes.
Autumn (28m 4s):
Jesper (28m 5s):
That part doesn't really matter, but I'll give you his name.
Autumn (28m 9s):
Jesper (28m 10s):
And then see if you can guess what his superpower is.
Autumn (28m 13s):
Okay. I ready.
Jesper (28m 17s):
He's called dog welder.
Autumn (28m 21s):
Hm. Please tell me he does not weld dogs together?
Jesper (28m 29s):
Not quite, but he's ability is that he can weld the heads of dogs on the faces of evildoers.
Autumn (28m 43s):
Were the dogs, real dogs, and were living and are now dead?
Jesper (28m 47s):
Yeah, I think so. But no. How is that going to achieve anything to just weld a dog's head onto somebody? I don't understand how that's going to help anybody.
Autumn (28m 58s):
Well, if it changes the villain's personality in there now got a dog brain. Maybe they'll stop doing what they were doing, but I just see lots of innocent animals being killed here. I don't like this one.
Jesper (29m 17s):
How is that a superhero power?
Autumn (29m 20s):
It sounds it's sounds horrible. I hope I'm glad my dog is asleep. I think you'd give him nightmares. I don't like this one, it's horrible. It's really stupid. But it's just mean, I don't believe in cruelty to animals and you're the vegetarian.
Jesper (29m 41s):
Yeah. I'm vegan even.
Autumn (29m 44s):
Oh, I don't like that one. No, I agree. I don't see how that's. I would have to read the comic book episode, but why turning someone into someone's head into it?
Jesper (29m 56s):
Yeah. I wouldn't even want to read that.
Autumn (30m 4s):
You know, you know, if you meet him a fish head, at least they would have to like jump into the water so they can breathe. I mean, this is... Why? Again another one that should not have made it off the table. Just the brainstorming session that day was really bad. Really, really bad.
Jesper (30m 26s):
Yeah. There must have been drunk or so may, maybe all of these came out of the same writing room. Like they were at a Christmas party and everybody was drunk on eggnog or something.
Autumn (30m 36s):
Yeah. I'm thinking they might've been doing LCD—sorry, LSD for this one. I somewhat had a little bit too much of something and had a bad vision. And they thought it sounded really cool, but you did not translate well.
Jesper (30m 56s):
No, I agree. It's just too weird that it's just really horrible. We're getting to the top of the list, now.
Autumn (31m 2s):
We are. Are you ready for my number two? Say you're ready.
Jesper (31m 9s):
Autumn (31m 9s):
So this one is the power, which I actually did get inspired by, by one of those posts. But this one is the power of imperceptibility. So in other words, you are immediately forgotten as soon as you leave, like the person's vision. So it doesn't matter how cool or anything you do. You just, you're never remembered. You know, heroes want to be remembered. I mean, that's half the, you know, the superhero, the whole nine yards, the suit you want to be remembered, you're this brand. But instead, no matter what you do, as soon as you leave the room, everyone forgets that you are the one who did it.
Autumn (31m 51s):
So like your friends, the other people on the team, they're all going to get the accolades. And everyone's going to forget you even exist. Not to mention just like the problems. Like, can you even have a long-term relationship or do you even have friends because no one remembers your real. I just, I can't imagine the loneliness of this kind of a power that you could be the most marvelous. You could have God-like abilities, but everyone was thinking it was God. They wouldn't think it was you.
Jesper (32m 26s):
Yeah. I think if you, if you a villain, I mean, at least if you could just have the powerful one week, that might be nice. You know, you could go and steal a lot of money and everything, and nobody will know that it was you anyway. They all forgotten you. But to have that, even as a villain for life, your entire life, it's going to be very lonely,
Autumn (32m 48s):
Very lonely and very—
Jesper (32m 50s):
Just, it's actually a bit sad.
Autumn (32m 52s):
It is. It's a very sad one. I mean, it hurts as an individual. It hurt your ego. You'd be lonely, no connections. I mean, if you love someone and fell in love, you would have to make sure they stayed, you know, you stayed in their line of sight forever. And let's just assume that blinking doesn't count. Let's just presence or maybe 20 foot vicinity or something. I mean, the stress of that. Little talk about writing for tension, though.
Jesper (33m 23s):
Yeah. But also think about how annoying it would be for the other person. You always there, like, look at me, look at me. No, no, don't look away. Look at me all the time. It would be like.
Autumn (33m 33s):
Yeah, I just want to go, you know, shower by myself or go out with the girls. He's got to go. And would you believe it, though? I mean, that's just, it, you have no proof other than, you know, watching with friends or something, I guess you could, you could prove it that way by having a friend come in and have, you know, that person walk out of the room and come back in like, oh, who are you? Why are you here with my best friend? Yeah, I know. Oh, it just be when
Jesper (33m 59s):
You don't have a friend, well, I don't have a friend.
Autumn (34m 2s):
So no significant other like, so you did find that one who didn't want to leave your site and just the test you could do, like you could have another, a third person walk in the room and just be like, oh, I didn't even know you were there just to prove that it really is truly, will happen that way. I don't know. I mean, you're, they're going to be considered insane or you're not going to consider you at all.
Jesper (34m 24s):
Yeah. Okay. That that's, that's sad. Okay.
Autumn (34m 29s):
You think that once I wait till my number one...
Jesper (34m 34s):
Okay. Let's do number two. Yeah. My number two is not sad. It actually made me laugh instead of okay. Okay. So this character who is a member of the Great Lakes Avengers. Okay. That's sounds pretty cool.
Autumn (34m 51s):
Maybe, actually I'm not so sure of the great lake. I don't know to like, are they just located in the U S with the great lakes and they don't go any further or it's a small team and they don't know global, global reach yet.
Jesper (35m 8s):
No, indeed. But this superhero, he can transform himself into a door and then you can let other characters walk through him into an adjoining room. Hmm. What do you think about that?
Autumn (35m 27s):
Can't you just use it the door, unless maybe the door is locked and this way you don't have to worry about unlocking it? Like, if you forgot your key, it'd be so useful.
Jesper (35m 38s):
Yeah. I mean, if it was like, you could walk through and then you could like teleport somewhere. Pretty damn cool.
Autumn (35m 48s):
Jesper (35m 49s):
But the thing is that you can only go into an adjoining room and that's pretty lame.
Autumn (35m 56s):
Jesper (35m 57s):
Also he's called doorman.
Autumn (36m 3s):
They really need to work on some of these. Yeah. You know, a chainsaw works pretty well too. If you don't already have a door. A door actually works... A window? They could have called them window, man.
Jesper (36m 23s):
Autumn (36m 26s):
Short of wanting to be again, a villain. That way you could just lean against the bank vault and just like, do you know, in and out,
Jesper (36m 34s):
But you have to, you have to get to the wall that is around the bank vault. Otherwise it doesn't help anything.
Autumn (36m 40s):
And he can't go through his own doorway. I take it. That would be too easy.
Jesper (36m 46s):
Yeah. Yeah. I think so. I think he, people can go through him, but yeah,
Autumn (36m 54s):
What's the point. I mean, it's not even like a novelty trick. I can see the kids going, you know, he's like showing off saying, "Hey, look, you can go through me through as a door!" And you know, just some bully going, I can use the door and I don't need you. I, yeah. Short of locking my keys out of the house or does it work for cars? You know, that would be useful.
Jesper (37m 19s):
Otherwise probably he could, he could have a job as a locksmith.
Autumn (37m 25s):
I was just going to say he would have a great job as like, for people who have lost their keys and need to get into some place. Yeah.
Jesper (37m 32s):
But otherwise, yeah, not to excuse really? No. Otherwise he's just going to be that really annoying guy at the party. He was like, are you going to the bathroom? Hey, wait, wait, wait, let me, let me, you can walk through me. It's like, no, thank you. Yeah, please do. Please walk through me.
Autumn (37m 53s):
I just be like, ill. I see why he didn't make it to like one of the big leagues of superheroes, because really
Jesper (38m 2s):
Well, you no, with all the, those modeling, you know, my opinion about Marvel and DC. So I would not be surprised if you find him in a superhero movie theater near you sometime in the near future. Sure.
Autumn (38m 15s):
I do not miss going to the movies anymore. Thank you. I'll just go read a book or write a book that doesn't have really lame superheroes.
Jesper (38m 25s):
Autumn (38m 26s):
All right. Are you ready for my worst power? My number one, the tragic and this one I just wrote, oh, it's four, four words long. Anything you touched dies. Okay. It's a power. I would assume that it is, it didn't happen at obviously until after birth let's hope, because that would really, that wouldn't have worked very well.
Jesper (39m 0s):
Yeah. But do you have to touch it with your skin or can you put on gloves then?
Autumn (39m 6s):
I would assume skin. I think we'll go with that. So yeah, it would be, you would have to be always covered in gloves or latex or something so that you're not physically touching anyone, but again, the stress of this one, my goodness, if you get a hole in your glove and then you grab your best friend's hand or yeah. You know, it's just another isolating one where this one's not quite as isolating as the other one, but the results, instead of just being forgotten, you actually could kill people you really care about. And I think I would rather have power.
Jesper (39m 44s):
Even when, well, what if you accidentally touched yourself?
Autumn (39m 50s):
I would assume... I think I will have to grant immunity. I did some of the lists I read were, I remember one of them was, you know, you weren't, a lot of them were like, you were not immune to the dire things that you could do. Like if you sweat acid, but you're not immune to it. That would really suck as a power. I don't know what the point would be because you'd slowly, you dissolve yourself as suffers. The second you worked out or something, he would slowly melt. That would be horrible. But I thought this one just, yeah, you're immune to it. You can't kill yourself, but you know, anything else you accidentally, you can't touch a dog. You can't touch a butterfly. You can't touch a plant.
Autumn (40m 29s):
Nothing. You only can eat, touch, anything you touch has to be already be dead or you will kill it, which at least, you know, great for sanitation. If you needed to like clean a whole bunch of water, just touch it. It'll always be dropped them as a major filter.
Jesper (40m 48s):
Sort of like it's the Aquaman basically.
Autumn (40m 54s):
And a whole new level of Aquaman Britta. And he was just a filter. Let him otherwise just leave him alone. Don't let them touch anything. Or anyone just be horrible. If he fell in the ocean, I wonder how big of an impact it would have to things around him.
Jesper (41m 9s):
It's just true. Just yeah, no, that, that would be pretty bad. I mean, at least, but at least you can, you know, wear gloves and try to prevent it. But of course, the problem is if you go, let's say you go, you go to the airport and airport security says, remove your gloves. No, I'm not going to remove your gloves or I'll do it for you.
Autumn (41m 32s):
No, no, please. Don't, I will remove them. Just I don't touch me. I just, the stress of it. I talk about, it'd be like anxiety, man, if you had a name, but it just wouldn't be bad. It's so bad.
Jesper (41m 46s):
Yeah. Yeah. That would be bad. Yeah. I'll give you that. That's not, that's not a good situation to be in.
Autumn (41m 52s):
I thought that would really be a sucky power
Jesper (41m 54s):
But I mean, I'm sensing a bit of a theme here, Autumn, because you keep coming up with something where people would be very lonely and isolated and I don't know what's going on.
Autumn (42m 5s):
Well, those are obviously is this, this is a list of the worst things I can imagine. Obviously, being alone and isolated are on the top of my list of not a great way to be. How's that?
Jesper (42m 17s):
Okay. Okay. Fair enough. Yeah. I just keep coming up with all the useless stuff instead. And this one is 100% completely orderly, useless.
Autumn (42m 30s):
Oh, so, all right. I tried to imagine what this one is.
Jesper (42m 36s):
You will never guess it.
Autumn (42m 37s):
Probably not. I'm thinking like you can magically mix cocktails, but that could actually be fun.
Jesper (42m 45s):
No, that could be useful.
Autumn (42m 47s):
Good for parties.
Jesper (42m 49s):
The number one on my list is one where, and keep in mind that we are talking in the context of a superhero here.
Autumn (42m 58s):
Jesper (43m 0s):
So that's why so useless, right? I mean, if you were a priest or a preacher or something, then maybe you could use it.
Autumn (43m 9s):
Jesper (43m 9s):
This is an interesting character is called Bible man too. And he actually even got his own video game.
Autumn (43m 20s):
What? all right.
Jesper (43m 23s):
And his super power is to know the Bible by heart. Woo hoo.
Autumn (43m 33s):
I'm speechless. Really a good at memorization. And which edition of the Bible? I mean, like the original that could at least be kind of interesting or are you talking about like the king James?
Jesper (43m 50s):
Well, I don't, I don't know, but he just knows the Bible by heart and he knows every phrase and every line by heart and he can recite the whole thing. So I guess if you preach it, I would be nice as a superhero. I have no idea how that will be.
Autumn (44m 5s):
Unless you're fighting demons. I can't imagine, or trying to make the angels like really like, oh wow. You're, you're good.
Jesper (44m 14s):
Autumn (44m 17s):
Angel brownie points! Why? You're really going to annoy people and you get into the wrong country where they're not Christian. You're, you're going be... I hope you can run fast and you're going to really be in trouble.
Jesper (44m 39s):
No, I really don't understand why that will be helpful at all.
Autumn (44m 44s):
I'm guessing a Christian White man came up with that one. I don't know why, but in maybe in like the fifties.
Jesper (44m 52s):
I don't know. It does not sound like yeah.
Autumn (44m 57s):
He's in there. Same writing room as the other ones. No, this is not something I think that the world needs in 2021, you have a less than coronavirus.
Jesper (45m 8s):
Maybe I actually have a, I have an honorable mention as well.
Autumn (45m 16s):
Oh, I can't wait to didn't make the top five.
Jesper (45m 22s):
No, but it was more like, because this is technically, I guess not sort of a superpower in that sense because the, the character can actually, well, he can't use it on purpose. So in that sense, it doesn't feel like a superpower, but I just thought it was so incredibly stupid. I wanted to mention it anyway.
Autumn (45m 47s):
Jesper (45m 48s):
Yeah. So this is a character called Sabu. And Sabu. He is part of an Indian comic book and he is a giant from the planet Jupiter.
Autumn (45m 60s):
Jesper (46m 0s):
And he's power is that whenever he gets angry, a volcano on Jupiter erupts. So eruptions might be pretty cool, I guess, but not when it's on another planet, just get you home to whatever you're doing. Sabu. He is on earth.
Jesper (46m 42s):
And then when he gets angry, I will kind of on Jupiter. But I mean, what is the point? Who cares? That'd be another one.
Autumn (46m 50s):
I'm like, Hey, look, put this telescope or this satellite this way, watch this. Just why?
Jesper (46m 59s):
Look what I can do. Okay. Yeah.
Autumn (47m 7s):
I, I just, that one is probably one of the most pointless powers I can imagine. That's like saying, "Hey, I've got the power of gravity!" And you're like, "I don't care unless I'm in space."
Jesper (47m 27s):
Okay. So let's just summarize before we conclude who had the worst list here. So on my list, I have the on arm fall off boy, I have the star Fox who can excite pleasure in others and I have the dog welder and then I have the doorman and then I have the Bible, man. That's pretty bad.
Autumn (47m 59s):
All right. Mine were nullifying, empathetic healing, the power of permanence, imperceptive—insperceptibility. And then anything you touched dies. tou would win the most useless powerless. But I think for like truly worst consequences, I think I'm the winner there. Sorry.
Jesper (48m 26s):
Yeah, no, I actually agree with that. I was thinking of saying the same, I mean the most ridiculous, stupid powers. I think my list is more stupid than yours, but if you want to have really, really dire consequences and live the rest of your life alone or in isolation and your list is definitely worse.
Autumn (48m 47s):
I like torturing characters. I'm sorry.
Jesper (48m 51s):
Yeah. Well, I guess it all comes down to what the scope of this list actually was. I guess we don't even know ourselves.
Autumn (48m 58s):
I guess not. We wrote two different lists, but it was fun to go through.
Jesper (49m 4s):
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So next Monday, we are going to share this best things you can do every day to become a better writer. So we'll see you then,
Narrator (49m 19s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Aug 30, 2021
Monday Aug 30, 2021
What kind of stories are agents interested in? How do you find an agent and how do you know if the person is any good? And what about your publishing contract? What should you be mindful about there?
All these questions, and many more, are answered in this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast by Jane Friedman.
Links to what was mentioned in the episode:
Publishers Marketplace: http://publishersmarketplace.com
Not discussed during the interview, but this one is interesting as well: http://mswishlist.com
You can find Jane at: http://janefriedman.com
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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.
Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The 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 in 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 in 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello, I'm Jesper. And this is episode 140 of the Am Writing fantasy podcast. Autumn is busy launching her brand new novel today, so I've instead brought someone else on, so I won't be all alone because that will be pretty boring on a podcast.
But joking aside, I have to say that I really looked forward to this conversation, our little piece of intro music there to the podcast says that you don't really need a literary agent, or worry about gatekeepers and all that stuff, but that is all true if we are talking about self publishing, but not so much, if you want to get a traditional publishing contract and Autumn and I have actually started talking a bit about maybe trying to become hybrid authors, meaning that we will have both self published books and traditionally published titles. And so I guess in some ways you could say that it's a bit of, for selfish reasons as well, that I'm are joined by the very knowledgeable Jane Friedman today.
Narrator (1m 31s):
Welcome to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast, Jane, and I hope you won't mind me picking your brain today.
Jane (1m 38s):
Not at all. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Jesper (1m 41s):
Yeah. I have a sneaky suspicion that the quite a few of our listeners will already know who you are, Jane, but the, let me just, I'll try to give a short introduction, Jane, and then you can see if I miss out something important here. So Jane has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. And in 2019, she was awarded what the publishing commentator of the year by digital digital book world. And Jane also has an incredibly popular, I guess I could say newsletter for authors with in 2020, it was awarded media outlet of the year.
Jesper (2m 23s):
And she also runs the award winning block for writers firstname.lastname@example.org and has been featured by New York times, Washington post publishers weekly. And the list just goes on and on. And that I miss anything that those are the important ones. Yeah. Yeah. And I think with those credentials, it's quite obvious why I want it to have a chat with you about traditional publishing, but maybe, maybe before we get into all of that, maybe you could just sort of share a bit about yourself that maybe has less to do with the business side, but more like who you are. So
Jane (2m 58s):
Yeah, I started in the business in the late 1990s, right out of college. So in some ways my, my life has been spent on nothing but publishing in one form or another. I did go full-time freelance in 2014. So I was traditionally employed out a book publishing company and a media company in the literary journal at a university. And then finally after, I guess it was 15 years, 15 years of, of working for other people. I decided to just embark on my own. So I've been very happy working independently.
Jane (3m 40s):
It's, it's a combination of doing the newsletter that you mentioned, which is for authors online teaching. And then I also do some consulting. So aside from that, you know, I do a lot, I do a lot of travel, but a lot of its because I go to the writing conferences. Mmm. So during the pandemic that certainly slowed down dramatically and I've spent a lot of time that my home office in the past year, but it's been good. I've been able to focus on things that I didn't have time for when I was traveling so much.
Jesper (4m 11s):
Yeah. W what, what drew you to publishing and writing original that, do you, do you do you know, it was more like some people stumbled out to collage and by coincidence they end up in some sort of industry, but I was there something in particular that drew in there.
Jane (4m 26s):
So it's, it's hard for me to say that I was drawn as much as it was the, maybe the process of elimination when I was growing up, I, I come from a very rural part of the United States. There wasn't a whole lot to do other than go to school and go to the library. My mother was a very bookish person. She was a librarian, in fact. So I spend a lot of hours in the library and I was just good at school. And I liked reading. And I dunno that I think this happens to many people who ultimately become English majors or they studied creative writing and they think, well, I I'd like books, I'll study literature. And so it just, I, but I think I'm fortunate in that I was able to turn that into something that actually pays the bills.
Jane (5m 10s):
Not everyone does that.
Jesper (5m 12s):
Oh, I know that. That's true. Yeah. I still have very fond memories myself of the library when I was a kid. I just, I don't know. I just love I could spend hours and hours in their well, but back then, it was the most comic books I was looking at. Of course. But yeah, you could just go out and take a new one and another one in another one in, and sit there for hours. Just go through all those pages. I don't know. There's something about it. Isn't that? I don't know what it is.
Jane (5m 36s):
Yeah. I I've always been drawn to bookstores and libraries from a young age, although I will admit now in the digital landscape it's I do a lot less of that. And I do have as much of a fascination with computers and with figuring things out from a digital media perspective. So I like bringing those two areas together.
Jesper (5m 58s):
Right, right. Yeah. OK. Well, in terms of, of talking about traditionally publishing contracts and how to get one, which is actually something that I'm, we are asked, but not all the time, but on a similar, a regular basis on them. And I, my cohost asked about how to, how to do that, how to get those kinds of contracts. And honestly, we're not the best one to advise on this because while autumn, they did have a contract like 10, 15 years ago, but I don't, we are not like the expert on this topic. And also, as I said, a bit earlier, 'cause we actually considering trying maybe to see if we can find an agent for ourself maybe in the years time or something, once we have a novel written for that particular purpose, I was thinking that maybe we could just try to structure our conversation in, in the same fashion light, sort of a bit of step-by-step where, where did we start and, and with what happens next to the next time.
Jesper (6m 56s):
So on, in the process, because then it might make a bit more sense for the listener. And obviously where we start is with the story of self, you know, and do you, do we need to sort of think about what kind of story or what kind of novel we are we right. If we want to get it traditionally published?
Jane (7m 18s):
Oh, a little bit, but not too much. So in other words, I think first and foremost, you need to write the story you feel called to riot, or that your interested in writing or, or that you are passionate about. And that's sort of cliched advice. You hear a lot, but its true that it takes far too much work, especially in my mind to go through the traditional publishing process, to try and write something that you think is going to just fit the market. To me, that's actually what self publishers do. There are always studying what's happening in the market and trying to jump on where the readers are going that happens in traditional publishing to, but I think there's also a concern for what's this writer doing that only they can do on, usually it comes out of your own obsessions or interest areas.
Jane (8m 12s):
So, but on the, on the other hand, you know, you do have to be aware of kind of the model that traditional publishing works under, which is the way, if you're a first time author for them, they want the book to be a certain length. You know, they're going to get dissuaded. If your book is say more than 150,000 words are more than 120,000 words, it's usually the, where things start to get rejected more often because it's just too long when they don't know you yet as an author, they haven't established an audience for you yet just costs more in terms of time and editing to do a longer book. And if you're writing something that is a real mashup or hybrid of lots of different things, if it's really too far out there that might also dissuade them.
Jane (9m 3s):
So they like things that are both familiar and fresh, which are, this is very frustrating to writers because what defines that? No one knows, you know that when you see it.
Jesper (9m 15s):
Yeah. Because, and I don't know if this is right or wrong, but I have this impression as well that traditional publishers and I guess therefore also agency, they don't like to, I mean maybe some agents do, but, but if we sort of just take it in the broader sense here, I have a feeling that they don't like to take meant to many chances, meaning that they probably prefer to have something that is at least fairly similar to what is generally on the market today. Do you think that's a correct assumption or am I just reading into things that I shouldn't no.
Jane (9m 53s):
And I think its true that they want something that fits the genre or sub genre. They like, they don't like things that are hard to categorize or that don't have good comparable titles or authors. So you should be able to usually imagine your book or yourself sitting alongside other books and authors, you know, you can say a free to use like ex they will like why if, if, if a publisher can't do that because your work is too odd or it's just, you know, it doesn't fit the model and yes, it's going to look risky. Oh
Jesper (10m 27s):
Yeah. So, so, so that also basically means I fully agree. What you said before about in the others are probably doing far more market research, then the traditional publishers as are bad. But if it doesn't mean though that you should be doing at least enough market research, then to be able to understand what are the true those tropes and what to do, what do I need to deliver upon? Because if you are getting too creative and maybe thinking that, let me write something they've never seen before, because then I'm going to blow their mind. They will probably think, well, I can't sell this stuff. Yeah,
Jane (11m 4s):
Jesper (11m 7s):
But what about stand alone versus series? And if you are trying to get an agent, would it be best to just write a complete standalone thing? Or do you give them like, here's this book one of the series and leave it open-ended or doesn't matter maybe. Oh yeah.
Jane (11m 26s):
Well there is of course a really strong tradition of series in science fiction and fantasy as well as some other genres like mystery or romance. So, but if it's safe or safer to propose a book that is the first and a potential series, so it can stand alone. But if it does really well, you're ready and it would make sense to continue it. Mmm. So I know that it's like a little dance that everyone is doing and, and the reason for this, his publishers or, you know, they like to see how things perform before they fully commit.
Jane (12m 7s):
So it's not that they're going to abandon you after the first book, but if, if, if the sales just don't go in the right direction, especially like after book to are booked, three of the sales get softer and softer instead of stronger, and you may find yourself getting dropped by the publisher. So in other words, what that would mean on a practical level as that you would never want to query a series saying this is a five books series and you have to take all five
Jesper (12m 33s):
It's something that
Jane (12m 35s):
Basically works to both, both of you and the publisher and to a corner.
Jesper (12m 40s):
Yeah. But I'm also thinking, and I don't know how often that happens, but I'm just, I'm, I'm, I'm just speculating a lot here. So do you have to correct me every time and say something incorrectly, but I'm assuming a lot of things I guess, but I would think that spending the time to right, like say the book 1, 2, 2, and three, and then give them big one and say, okay, here it is. I have two more books. If you are interested is probably not the best use of your time. I, I, I'm thinking it's probably a better to just write the first book, leave it in at least enough open-ended that you can continue and then just see if they want it before, because you couldn't, you just as risk spending a lot of time writing three books and they don't even want it.
Jesper (13m 22s):
Or even if they're want book one and then they will never buy books two and three.
Jane (13m 25s):
Yeah. Yeah. I, yeah, I would not, I would not write all 3, 4, 5, however many books there. I would not write the whole series and then start querying. I would write the first book and then have a really nice outline of how the series might unfold. And that doesn't take much, like it takes maybe a paragraph per book to show what direction you're going to take it in.
Jesper (13m 49s):
Yeah. Okay. So basically like a bit of a plot overview or something, so to do the age and can see what are your thoughts are.
Jane (13m 56s):
Right. And you wouldn't even submit that first. You, you have to sell the first book before you could have that conversation or at least interest them in the first book.
Jesper (14m 4s):
Yeah. Oh, okay. Well let's assume that we have a story written out there and at least we think that it is abiding to tropes and we believe that we have at least written something that is fairly common in of course it has a good cover and it has a good showing are trophy title and all that stuff. And we don't need to find an agent. And I think, I think the general advice is that you should not try to approach any of the big publishing houses without an agent. Is that right?
Jane (14m 34s):
That's correct. There are closed to authors'. So you're only weigh through the door is through an agent unless you happen to know someone on the inside or do you have a really good famous bestselling author friend who is going to make an introduction for you, even if that were the case though, you'd probably an agent to help you negotiate the contract, which I know we'll talk about. So yeah, I'd, I'd say when you're starting to query agents are step one and if the agent search doesn't go as intended, you can then start looking at publishers that are smaller, independent, that don't require you to have an agent they'll take your submission directly.
Jane (15m 14s):
Jesper (15m 15s):
Yeah. And I want to come back to that one about the smaller publishers, but I guess first, I mean, how do you find an agent? That's like the million dollar question that everybody asks? Probably yes.
Jane (15m 28s):
So it's actually not, it's not rocket science. There are a few recognized up to date databases that you can use. And you just filter down to the agents who would be interested in your work. You can do this at sites like QueryTracker dot nets, do a trope.com. There's also publishers marketplace, where you can look up deals that agents have maid and you can filter the deals by genre. You can also do keyword searches and those deals. So if you are, if you have some sort of EY space opera, let's say that you could actually search the deals for space opera and look for agents who seem to like those sorts of books.
Jane (16m 11s):
So if you use any, one of those are the best. If you use a combination that helps to consult different sources, you can then once you've got a working list and it might be, you know, for genre fiction, generally you can almost find a hundred agents just write off the bat without even working that hard. So then once you've got your list of a hundred or however many, you would want to go to that agency website, make sure that there are still open for submissions. Sometimes they'll close, you know, check out there guidelines, make sure its a good fit, look at their client lettuce. Do you think that this person is going to actually like what you send them and then you send off your query.
Jesper (16m 54s):
And can you sort of just assume that the people are the agents that are on the list like that are good agents or, or do you need to like vet the list yourself as well to Czech? Like do they actually know what they're doing? So yes. Yes.
Jane (17m 10s):
So the, the three sites that I mentioned are I think, quite reliable, it would be hard to find and unreputable agent threw one of those three sources. I'm not saying it can't happen, but the likelihood is greatly diminished. I think where you get into real trouble with bad agents, if you start Googling around very broadly, like if you go to Google and just type in and literary agent that has a terrible, terrible idea, you will get all sorts of scammers and people who have a financial interest in luring you in and charging you money. And who knows what? Now there are definitely good agents better agent's there are some who are more well-known and less well-known.
Jane (17m 54s):
Those are who, those who are still establishing their career and those who have been around for decades. And that's where you get into really subjective concerns. Like some people they want to get the biggest possible agent or they want an attack dog agent or they're like, actually I would like an agent. Who's still building their list and maybe they'll, they'll pay more attention to me if I'm one of their early clients and these are all legitimate reasons to choose one agent over another in the United States, there's the organization called the AA L a, which if you're a member of, of you have to abide by a certain code of ethics and it's also a place to go with complaints.
Jane (18m 36s):
So if you do have a bad experience, you can go to the AAL eye and say, you know, one of your members has treated me poorly or you, you tell them what happened and that they can help address it. Not all agents are going to belong to that, but a good number of them do. And there's a similar organization in the UK. And I have to imagine probably in Europe to
Jesper (18m 59s):
Yeah, because it it's, it's difficult. Right? And, and sometimes you see you on the internet, these really bad examples where you yeah. Almost like bordering on fraud almost right. Like from, from because the, the terrible thing is that the authors in this case are there sort of chasing a dream. And if somebody then says, okay, I'll take you on board. I guess a lot of people won't have there critical census M on God there. And, and then they jump in and say, well, regretted later. So the, oh
Jane (19m 35s):
Yes, you're absolutely right. A lot of people are preying on people's dreams, hopes and aspirations. You know, one of the first signs you may be dealing with a bad actor is that they praise you to this guy's and then ask for your money. So that's the sequence of events that should raise a red flag for you. People writers, especially to just get really taken in when someone says, oh, you're, you know, you're brilliant. You're a genius. And you know, it's what you've been hoping for all this time, for someone to select you and validate the hard work. But you know, the truth is that agents and publishers both tend to leave you feeling a little cold.
Jane (20m 16s):
There are not the most complementary people in the world. We tend to be very pragmatic, critical, well, you need to change this and this. And then, you know, maybe it will sell it. They just don't think they don't want to build up your hopes. In fact, there'll be very realistic.
Jesper (20m 36s):
Yeah. And I guess it's well, well, if, if, if they ask you for money that you should just run for the Hills, right? I mean, why would you, you, you shouldn't pay them anything unless they make a deal
Jane (20m 48s):
That's right. They only earn money when they sell your books. So they are in the U S agents get 15% of everything that the authors make. That's 15% of the advance, 15% of the royalties, 15% of, you know, an option sale. Or it can go as high as 20%. If there's a co-agent that gets into more complicated territory. But in other words, you're not paying them out of your pocket. There are like some rare cases where maybe the agent will say, look, you know, I really like what you've got, but there are these issues that need to be resolved. I can't resolve them for you, but maybe you should go hire this editor.
Jane (21m 31s):
And there are going to help you, you know, maybe, maybe in you, you would invest at that point, but just be super cautious because, you know, until you have an actual manuscript that the agent wants to represent, you could just be spending a lot of money for, for nothing. You'd have to agree with what they're saying, I guess is what the point I'd like to make. You have to see that there. Right?
Jesper (21m 55s):
Yeah. Quite recently here, I heard another example of M and agent, which again, of course it was fraught, but the agent was like saying, well, this, this is really good manuscript, but there is a lot of issues in it. And then lo and behold, I can fix them for you. You just need to pay me X amount of that. I can't remember how much it was, but something, and then I'll get my editor, which I have in house and they we'll fix it for you as well. That sounds nice. But again, don't pay them money.
Jane (22m 24s):
Oh yeah. I don't, I don't think it's a good idea too. If, if an agent does think, I mean, it's, it's true. There are many projects that need editorial work, but you have to be careful when the agent ha has a possible financial interest in you having that work done. That's not good.
Jesper (22m 45s):
But if you are then going off of these lists as human, and, but maybe by the way, maybe you can, you, maybe you can email me those lists that you mentioned earlier, then I can put them on the show notes for people. But if we're going off the list and let's say with, and sending out Query letters, which I'll come back to in a moment, because I want to ask about that as well. But let's say we are sending out hundreds of Query letters maybe. And then let's say some of them are a bit positive and they come back and say like, okay, this looks interested. But then I have heard examples of agents and saying like, they want to change something or this character doesn't work or this part of the plot doesn't work or whatever, but wouldn't, you sort of be chasing your own tail.
Jesper (23m 29s):
If you keep correcting things to every time one of those agents comes back and say something
Jane (23m 34s):
It's possible. So what you've described is called a revise and resubmit request. So this is where an agent has a phone call or sent an editorial letter saying, look, I'd like to represent this, but you need to change these things. And they'll go into sufficient detail that you, you get it, you know what their trying to get you to do. And then you go off and do it. But you have kind of going back to my earlier point, you have to agree with the work. Like you ha it should excite you like it. You should feel like, wow, yeah, this is going to make such a better book or yeah. I can see why they're making those suggestions and I can do it.
Jane (24m 14s):
Like I'm willing to compromise in that way. Usually what I tell people as if, I mean, it's like a revise and resubmit request's is great. Just neutral speaking. It means that they are really C something in the project or a new, and they, they would like to see it come to fruition. They don't issue those to just anyone. And there are probably testing to see if you have the ability to edit yourself, because that's really required when you begin working with the publisher, you know, the, the editor you work with is going to expect you to take revision suggestions. So this is like the first, you know, the first hurdle that you have to get over.
Jane (24m 58s):
But in any event, if you query several dozen agents and then, and you see a pattern in there, response, like there are all wanting you to do X, then, you know, okay, I'm getting a really strong message here. That X is a issue that has to be resolved. But if you get a bunch of feedback and it's all over the map, some people are like, we need to change the character. And others are all, you have to change the plot or no, you can't, you can't have this setting or your dialog sex. Like if there is no pattern, that's when I would really be reluctant to make changes.
Jesper (25m 35s):
Yeah. No, that makes sense. But what about those famous Query letters then? What, what do you, what, what you do you focus on there?
Jane (25m 47s):
It's almost all about this story promise. So the query is, were talking about as short, very short pitch are usually not more than 300 words, maybe 400 for some types of fantasy, where it might, you might have to do some set up are world-building to make sure that the whole thing makes sense, but very short. And we're talking about character problem setting. Those are the key elements. The rest of the query outside of that is really just housekeeping. So by housekeeping, I mean, there's, you know, maybe a hundred words of a bio.
Jane (26m 27s):
There might be an element of personalization there where you talk about I'm approaching you because I see you represent blah, blah, blah, which is similar to my book. And you'll of course I have the title and the word count. And you'll comment on the, the comparable titles, what you think is going to be similar. But the, like I said, the book of the query, though, that decision is made on this story, does the agent or editor think that this story has legs in the market, as it intrigue them, does it make them excited? And does it make them want to read or request the manuscript? Now there's a difference between sending a query by itself and sending a query with sample chapters.
Jane (27m 8s):
So if an agent or a publisher for that matter is asking for a query, plus the manuscript, they probably know from experience that a lot of writers are crap
Jesper (27m 17s):
Are writing their queries. So,
Jane (27m 20s):
You know, if they see the query in there, like, oh, this is a mess, they'll just flip to your first pages and see if there's something there. Yeah. So in those cases, I think the query holds less weight. And the agent's probably more interested in just reading the opening and seeing if you can write. So there is some reassurance there, but I hope, and that you're gonna be judged on the right thing rather than you're ability to pitch. But for those people that you're just sending the query, there are, those might be agents who are more concerned with things like, do you have a high concept? Can you write just to really snappy pitch, were the character are the voice really comes through? Does the book kind of sell itself when, you know, the general outline of the story?
Jane (28m 4s):
So it does put a lot of it puts more pressure on the writer to have something that just feels exciting, whether that's the character or that premise, or, you know, something about it, you know, that jumps out.
Jesper (28m 16s):
Yeah. And it's, it's just so much easier said than done to, to right. In, in an interesting M summary, I guess, of this story 'cause as well when you are, well, not even if it's not even in a blurb level. Right. But it's more like just the summary of what's happening. It's it's, it can be very difficult to actually make that sound interesting other than its just like, oh, well then there is this story about this guy who this guy does, blah, blah, blah. I mean, it's, it, it very easily becomes this sort of boring bland synopsis,
Jane (28m 55s):
Right? So that's precisely what you want to avoid in something that's really light kind of plot oriented and mechanical because that will be a turnoff. Even if the book is very plot driven, I think it's necessary in the query to be able to marry together that character and the plot M and in the case of fantasy, you need to probably have a couple sentences upfront that kind of establish the parameters, like our way on a ho in a whole other like a world or planets. What's the what's defining life in this world that you've created. You shouldn't assume too much about what the age and are editor may understand about the world that you've created.
Jane (29m 39s):
You have to be pretty direct. And you know, I think the thing that often gets left out of the queries icy is the relationship of tension. So most times we're really intrigued by stories where we see people in opposition or people are trying to preserve her relationship that matters to them, but there are forces getting in the way, are there personal motivations or what they need to achieve is in conflict with someone else in the story obviously, and you might have a village and it's really clearly in protagonist antagonist situation I'm. So I think, think about the relationship dynamics and what, what striving the story forward from that perspective, in addition to whatever interesting elements your fantasy world has in it, that's going to be, but hopefully these are whatever's magical or fantastical about your story is also built into what the characters want.
Jane (30m 36s):
What's giving them trouble rather than just, you know, window dressing.
Jesper (30m 40s):
Yeah. So in a, rather than just riding about the one on one ring, having to be carried to Mount doom, you also write about the relationship between Sam and Frodo and how the struggle and so on.
Jane (30m 53s):
It's like excellent example.
Jesper (30m 55s):
Yeah. Yeah. And why, while you were saying that, I just got to thinking, because you were talking about those sort of websites with lists of agents and so on. I, I just started wondering all of a sudden, if there wasn't like a repository of like, here are the examples of really good query letters or something that some people could look at it as examples, do you know if something like that exists?
Jane (31m 19s):
In fact, the query tracker site that I mentioned has a really robust set of resources and message boards and posts where they feature query is that actually worked in the, you know, there is even the potential for you to post your query in the message boards and get feedback from other people. Although you have to be careful or you can get a lot of different opinions. Yeah. You're left feeling more confused, but I think one of the best ways to write a better Query, I think to the point you're making is to actually see a lot of them. And you, you start to see what works.
Jesper (31m 56s):
Yeah. Yeah. Because it's often rather than trying to invent the wheel again, you know, it often works a lot better if you can. Just, the same thing goes for when we're writing blurbs, for example, the autumn. And I often do check out like, what are the, when this shop Shaundra, what our, like the bestselling books in the shop show on her. And it's, there are like some common elements that they use across those slopes. Because again, you will start seeing commonalities and you can start see, oh, oh, okay. I see. They always focus on something to do with this part or whatever. And then you can make your own version of that obviously, but then you are already like 10 steps ahead.
Jane (32m 32s):
Jesper (32m 34s):
Yeah. Okay. So let's, well now we have a book. We have found some Asians to send Query letters to, and we have written an awesome Query letters. Well, hopefully, so let's say that one of these agents then comes back to us and say, okay, this, this is great. I would like to represent you. What, what happens now?
Jane (33m 1s):
So they'll have a conversation with you where they talk about that, their strategy for submitting it, there is no right or wrong strategy here, but they, you know, they're going to hopefully be very open and transparent about what they want to see happen. And the approach they'll take. For instance, some agents will put things up for auction and they'll make editors bid against one another, but you have to feel like you have a pretty hot property because if no one that shows up to your auction, it's a little embarrassing. The more common approach that covers most projects is the agent will send it out to a select number of editor's that she thinks are going to be most likely to want the book.
Jane (33m 45s):
And then there will be some waiting and let's hope it's not that long. You know, maybe a month, maybe two months, you know, some of this depends on time of year. Like right now, it's a slower time because it's summer people in there away. And you can tell the agent, you know, I want to hear, I want to hear from you every time you get something from an editor, whether it's a rejection or whatever, or you can tell the agent, look, that would, it would be really hard on me to hear about every rejection that comes through. Can we, can we touch base on this state?
Jane (34m 27s):
And we'll talk about what's happened so far. Of course, if there's good news, the agent is going to call you right away. So if there is good news, the agent will bring you the offer and the offer starts off as it's not a contract, its usually a, they say, OK, this is the advance we're offering. These are the most important deal points. Like is it world rights or not? What's the royalty rate look like? And there'll be some other little details. Like, is it a one book deal, a two book deal? And then if you just have one offer, its kind of this very straightforward, do you take it or not? And it's not the agent's job, you know, to push you in one direction or the other.
Jane (35m 7s):
But to explain to you the merits of the deal, you know, the pros and cons and help you make a choice, that's right for you. If you have a competing interest, that's wonderful. And now you can decide where do you think is the best home for the book who is going to do the best job of bringing the book to market?
Jesper (35m 26s):
Yeah. And I'm also thinking that, I mean, just from a business perspective, I mean, if, if 'cause at this stage, you shouldn't be too much of the author wanting to get anymore, but you should more put your business hat on and say, okay, what makes sense here? And I'm almost because I, I'm not an expert on this, but I've heard like the advantage. They usually are pretty low when you are first starting out. And what I don't quite like about that to be honest is the fact that the publisher has absolutely zero skin in the game and it's so if they give you a very, very low, a advanced than well, they'll probably just leave it for you to figure out how to market and they're not going to throw as much money behind it.
Jesper (36m 15s):
So, and, but I guess that's more like common nowadays as well. 'cause the publishing houses probably also struggling a bit with finances and so on. So they put all the money on the big name authors and then everybody else gets us very small piece of the pie. But it is that right to you think. Yeah.
3 (36m 33s):
Jane (36m 35s):
With the book publishing and sometimes it's hard to talk about it. Generally 'cause each publisher can operate so differently from another one in the us, for example, there's tour, which is really well known in the science fiction and fantasy space. And you know, if you had an offer from them, even if it were a low advance, it could be really helpful to be published by them just because of the really significant direct to consumer community that they have access to that you wouldn't. So there's a lot of this decision variables here. W I think its true that a low advance means the publisher isn't going to be as focused on getting a return on their investment.
Jane (37m 21s):
But I think people aren't as M there not as gracious with publishers as they might be of other businesses, like let's say Silicon valley startups have a 90% failure rate, but we don't go around criticizing them. Well maybe in recent years we do. But once upon a time we do, they go around criticizing them so much. We called them innovative and disruptive, even though the failure rate was high book publishing has always had a pretty high failure rate. I think the penguin random house CEO, Marcus Stoli recently said, it's a 50% failure rate. And by failure, meaning this book did not earn back the money that was invested into it, not just the advanced, but the time spent by the staff and the printing costs.
Jane (38m 6s):
But he doesn't see that as a failure of publishing. You just use it as, this is a very risky business that we engage in every book as a startup in his mind. And I think it's true. And it's like creating a new marketing plan from scratch every single time. Unless, you know, you have imprints that are devoted to a single genre, which is why I mentioned tour because I think those sorts of publishers, do you have an advantage in that they're going after a similar group of readers with a lot of the things that their publishing when you get so big five publishing where it's really random, like it's all sorts of books that are coming out. I think that's when it gets very, very, very difficult.
Jesper (38m 50s):
Yeah. And I want to return to something you said earlier about the publishing houses there, because if, if we're looking at the big five, w we have a chef HarperCollins, Macmillan, penguin, random house and Simon and Schuster, oh, that's probably the five very big one. But so if we haven't agent and where they probably gone on to these big five and nothing happens early on, you mentioned about maybe looking at the sort of next tier down kind of publishing houses. So in what is like the general view on doing something like that and having your agent ghost to go in to those, how do they age and just do that automatically, just you guys just go to everybody automatically or how, how do you approach that
Jane (39m 43s):
It's going to vary by agent, but most agents are gonna go to mid size houses and there really let's say prestigious or established smaller processes. So for example, in the U S there's a grey Wolf and Grove Atlantic, which were both independent publisher's on the literary ends of things. There are considered small by big five standards, but they punch way above their weight. You know, the, when the book of prizes and get on the bestseller lists and they tend to invest in there authors over many, many, many years. So even if your first book doesn't do well, even if your first five books don't do well, they're probably going to stand by you because they believe in what you're doing as, as an artist, because they believe in literature with a capital L.
Jane (40m 31s):
So I think that's the advantage you get. When you start working outside of the big five model, you get people who are in it for lots of different reasons, some are in it just for the commercial money, bit of it. And there has to be some focus on that or else the publisher won't stay in business, but many publishers, the smaller they get, the more mission-oriented they are, are they're in the business to bring attention and Lite to certain types of literature or stories. So it can be very satisfying. You could have a closer relationship with your editor and if they can be more agile, more experimental, more open to collaboration, easier to reach in communicate with than your big five publisher.
Jesper (41m 10s):
And you also need to have to trust the agent that he doesn't go out and query some sort of a very small press somewhere that actually has no, no mussels to, to, to use or whatever. And the market, right. I mean, I guess the agent needs to, he, he should know that, that kind of thing, right.
Jane (41m 29s):
They ought to, yes. I have seen some shocking sails from agents to really small presses or what I would even consider hybrid publishers where there might be no advanced or even the author is asked to pay some money. And I think of how you did not need an agent for that deal. And that, that was a total waste of everyone's time. So if you have a docent agent, at some point, there are going to say, look, I I've gone to everyone that I think you should publish with. There might be some other publishers out there that could be smaller, or maybe, you know, the places that offer very small advances. It's not worth my time to go to these places, but if you want to be my guest, so you might reach that point.
Jane (42m 13s):
Jesper (42m 14s):
Yeah. And at that point, I guess the new self-published that novel and you ride a new one on, and then you gave that one to B and say, okay, try this one instead of, I guess,
Jane (42m 22s):
Oh yes. Age agents, a good one should have a conversation with you about, okay. Let's what's next? What are you doing? What's your next book? Do you have anything else in the drawer? Like what do we think the next move is?
Jesper (42m 33s):
Oh yeah. Yeah, indeed. Okay. So, but let's assume that everything goes well, of course, because we want the success stories here and you then get that offer. And you mentioned it a bit earlier on as well, Jayne about the, the contract itself. And obviously the agent should be able to, to some extent advice you on, on the contract. But I, at the same time, I've heard some really like awful examples of what might be in those contracts. So what I mean, well, I guess what I'm getting at is I'm not a hundred percent convinced that you can just trust that the agent will understand everything and tell you everything you probably need to will read everything also to small letters yourselves.
Jesper (43m 16s):
And if you don't understand them, maybe even get a lawyer to look at it as something. But what, what, what's your view on that? I mean, usually
Jane (43m 23s):
You can trust the agent to take care of the contract in its entirety and explain to you what every claws means and what you are getting into. And where are you might be making compromises or thinks that where you're agreeing to something that's less than ideal. Usually some of the most important parts of the contract to negotiate are what would S what would be, what would be an unacceptable manuscripts scenario. So like where there is a difference of opinion between you and the publisher about what, what changes to make what's acceptable, what happens in those instances? So that should be carefully negotiated. As you know, most agents are going to try to ensure that you don't have to give back the advance.
Jane (44m 6s):
If there's some disagreement that would lead to no publication of the book, you don't want to be in that vulnerable position of having to give back money you've already spent. And there is, there are lots of ramifications of negotiating that well, and most agents are very focused on getting that part, right? The other big issue has to do with reversion of rights. So, and again, often, if things haven't gone well, but the publisher, you want to be able to sever that as cleanly in as quickly as possible. So the reversion of rights clause governs how that happens when it can happen, how long it takes, etcetera. You know, those are the areas that every agent knows about. You wouldn't have to have, I think, be concerned about what their doing on that front I'm.
Jane (44m 52s):
But of course there are lots of things like, oh, you know, what are the royalty escalators? Like? How does your royalty increase the sales increase? What are the different percentages for all sorts of sales, which are there, what are the rights sub rights situation's there is your agent going to be handling any of those sales and you could hire a lawyer to help, but they would have to know that publishing standards are, umm,
3 (45m 15s):
Or you could also
Jane (45m 17s):
In the U S if you're a member of the authors Guild, they have a contract service where they'll review any contract at no charge. There might be something similar in other countries where if you go to your author society, they have something comparable. Right. So it doesn't, it doesn't hurt to get another set of eyes, but your age, I mean, that's your agent's job, but that's job number of one is
Jesper (45m 38s):
To go out. Oh, I understand. Yeah. Yeah. And maybe on just to skeptical, but because I'm, I'm also just thinking that the agent has he sort of playing he or she is sort of playing on to horses at the same time here. I know on one hand they, of course the one to have a good relationship with the author. 'cause the author is the client, but at the same time, they also want to close that deal with the publishing house, because that's the only way they're going to and earn some money on all the on hours they spend already. So I'm just a bit skeptical that you can a hundred percent just trust their word all the time. And maybe they sort of smooth out small things. He in there. Yeah. It's not a big deal that you can, you can access this. And because then we can close to deal kind of, I don't know, maybe I'm too skeptical.
Jane (46m 23s):
I think where those sorts of issues come more into play is when the books are already under contract. And, you know, there were differences of opinion or there is some tension between you and the publisher. I think there are the agent is I find them, there are going to try and smooth it over to as best they can because they don't want to lose the relationship with the editor or with the publisher because they have more books to sell presumably to those people. And they don't want to burn a bridge. So I think agents still do work. I don't use the word attack dog slightly, but you know, some of them are very aggressive on behalf of their clients and they have too much power to be pushed around by a publisher and they can, they could say, look, I'm not going to bring you my next book by whatever new, huge talent there is.
Jane (47m 12s):
So they have a lot of it depends on the agent, how much leverage they have in that regard, but they can, you know, give editors' the cold shoulder, uhm, with the contract or something that might offer a reassurance is that you usually agents deal with publishers multiple times over the years. And they end up having an negotiated boiler plate for their agency. So you're not starting from scratch each time you get the benefit of every other contract that agent has negotiated with that publisher. Right. And, and then they'd make some changes that are unique for you in your project.
Jane (47m 51s):
So anything that, you know, that would be of concern to the opp, to you, it's going to be of concern to the other clients. So that's why I'm less worried about the issue.
Jesper (48m 4s):
No. Okay. No, that's good to you clarify that because if it's probably in just me being to skeptical, but I'm also not in use to that kind of, that part of the publishing world a as you are. So it, so that was good too. You could clarify that, but, but Looker Jane we've already sort have been from the beginning to the end of the process and we could probably keep on from on our wire if we needed to hear, but you shared so much, very good and insightful information. So I was just wondering if, if people want to learn more about you and your advice and
Jane (48m 45s):
My website is the best place. That's Jane friedman.com. You can find out all the of courses I offer the book's, the newsletters it's all mentioned. They're
Jesper (48m 55s):
Excellent. And the thank you so much for your time, Jane. It was a pleasure talking to you today.
Jane (48m 60s):
Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it.
Jesper (49m 3s):
Alright. So next Monday, Autumn will be back in and we haven't quite decided what are we going to talk about yet? But I think it's going to be one out of funny top 10 lists.
Narrator (49m 15s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Aug 23, 2021
Monday Aug 23, 2021
Dominic asked a question in our Patreon group and we answered with this episode! Does race and gender really matter in fantasy?
We take a look at the history of fantasy up through modern trends, looking at how fantasy has changed and is still changing. This simple question leads to an outcome that surprises Jesper... how important do you think race, gender, and sexuality are in fiction?
And a big thank you to Dominic for the question! We really appreciate having you with us on Patreon. ❤️
Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.
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 in 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 in 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm Autumn
This is episode 139 of the am writing fantasy podcast and a while back at, well, to be honest, this is, yeah, Quite some time ago, we received the question from one of the patrons supporters. Dominic asked if race sex like male and female and sexuality matters and is relevant to think about when writing fantasy fiction. And that is what we aim to answer today. Or at least you have some thoughts on that because we noticed how the same topic actually came up a few times in The Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group. So it's apparently something and above author's are wondering about,
Autumn (1m 16s):
Oh, I'm looking forward to this one. And actually in a couple of books I've read recently, you kind of prepared me for this one. So I think will have some stuff to discuss, but first, so how were things going in Denmark? Good.
Jesper (1m 34s):
Well, it's going fine. I actually started a kayaking course. So the other day. Yeah. Well, I, I S I think I emailed you a bit about it, but we never got to talk about how we went
Autumn (1m 51s):
In curious. So yeah, you're out in the ocean and Denmark. This it is August, so that's okay.
Jesper (2m 1s):
Yeah. It's okay. I mean, of course you, you have all the gear on and so on. And so it was that because it's called, but there was, and we went out on Tuesday. So a couple of days ago at the point of recording this and that there was a lot of waves and a lot of wind. So it was, and so they do like a five to six weeks course where you sort of learned all the techniques in how to save yourself if you fall into the water and all that kind. So you, you, you do a lot of practicing over like five or six weeks, and then once you're done, you are sort of released, not that you can't just go out as you please, even, I think even after that, but you, you can go out with some other people in and, and so on, but at, on Tuesday than I was out for the first time, and we were to post to sort of first just sale a bit, but there was way too many waves.
Jesper (2m 57s):
So it's like the instructor said, no, lets just go back closer to the, to the shore because this is way too much waive here. Ah, so we, we did that and the, all my way back I fell in for the first time, which was not on purpose. Oh
Autumn (3m 14s):
No, it's a good practice though.
Jesper (3m 16s):
Oh. And then we got back and then yeah. And at that point we haven't even practiced how to save ourselves. So anything so, but it was very shallow water 'cause we were trying to keep close to the beach, but because of all the wave's, so if I could just, you know, stand on there on the bottom of Maya. So we, it was not so bad. And then when you were supposed to Trane saving ourselves, so he set, like we needed to tip over on purpose M two times each. Oh. And then, you know, gate get out of the kayak while you were basically upside down. So underneath water, get out of the kayak and get up and turn it around.
Jesper (3m 57s):
And then he showed some techniques on how to climb on, on board again, which is pretty difficult. I have to say, because you were out in the water, in the kayak, his shaking and not very sturdy either. And you had to climb on border with that if that's not easy, but M but he showed some techniques to do that. A and so I think the first time I try it, I actually got up on the kayak and the knot plumped into the water on the other side of, if I was just back in the water.
Autumn (4m 28s):
Oh, that's great. I wish I had a recording of that. Oh, well you make me miss my to practice things. Yeah, yeah.
Jesper (4m 41s):
Yes. And then I did my two practice, a, you know, tipping over on purpose. And then he said like the Indian, he said, okay, I think that's it w we will stop for today. Let's say go back. And then we, we were sailing back and then I, I accidentally tipped over again. So I ended up in the water for the fifth time then. Well,
Autumn (4m 60s):
You got you're dunking in that. That's great. Oh, oh, you definitely making me. When I, before I met my husband, like I had done whitewater kayaking and there was never a particularly good at the roles, but, you know, I was used to going down rapids. I was doing all that kind of stuff. And we got to me, it was in, it was a lot of lakes. What we both got CK at kayaks and they had a 17 foot sea kayak, but it had a rudder on the back. So yeah. Some of those techniques on how to get into it and I'm like, oh, you don't want to watch out for the rudder. But yeah, I would, we left, I sold mine. He still has his cause it's a fiberglass one in, and it's gorgeous.
Autumn (5m 40s):
It's so much later than mine, but I miss the times we've had on the water, you know, me, I've had sailboats like KX, we'd still have canoes. So I like the water. That sounds like a lot of that. Oh
Jesper (5m 54s):
No, I like it at two one. And, and you, you can, you can sell some really, you know, some of you are very nice trips, right? You that you can do on the sale down on some very nice like streams where you can go and watch some nature in while we were sailing as if it's very nice. I think that like it, but I have to say Tuesday evening when I came back and I had taking my shower and I was back in the couch, I had a bit of soul muscles study. But if it's a good way to get some exercise in as well,
Autumn (6m 25s):
There it is. You making me miss it. And you will do this. One of these times, there is actually a trail call the Maine coastal kayak trail in main. And I forget, I guess too, like 200 different Highlands. You go to an island every night and you camp and you just keep going down the trail. So you and your wife and your kids, you're going to have to come over and we're going to have to do it because its been my goal to do that. Ever since I moved to Maine was deleted part of the Maine kayak trial. So I think that this might work out a lot of these days it could be really fun. So that would be cool. Okay. Well we get to the gut plans,
Jesper (7m 0s):
But I'm like,
Autumn (7m 2s):
Oh well I'm, I'm solitary again. As my husband's off, back up in Maine guiding people on moose, watching tours, canoe watching canoe in whitewater rafting. So if I'm getting all these gorgeous pictures of Lake's in the sunsets and moose and I'm sitting in our little cabin and very dry Vermont working on in graphic design thinking to get myself back up to me and as soon as I can, so we're starting to figure that out so that maybe he'll have less of a commute when he goes to work. Instead of being seven hours away, we, we could maybe be a couple of hours away from home. That'd be nice, but otherwise good doing some fun designs.
Autumn (7m 43s):
And we're actually in the middle. I dunno if you can hear the rain, but if anyone hears in the thunder, interesting sounds we're in the middle of the end of a tropical system. So we've had this height. It's like not hot the humidity, but its high humidity in damp and its just been raining like the rainforest all day. It's its very nice, but its also very stinky. So I'm, I'm expecting you to the tree to fall over or some thing again. Oh I know. And a bear coming to the cabinet or something. Hopefully not because I don't really want the dog and the bear to say too much.
Autumn (8m 24s):
Usually every time we dealt with bears, I almost always had the dog like some of our high. So I was never that worried except for one time, literally in this property we were walking to the main house and I saw this creature moving through the field next door in, running into the woods, like running towards us. It was going across our path and I've just looked at me. I'm like, damn, what is there a Shetland pony rules? And then I realized it wasn't a Shetland pony. It was one of the biggest black bears I have seen outside of a Labrador in, I mean I've seen some there seeing a huge, even in a grizzly while we are in dead horse, Alaska, what? This was like at least 300 pounds, he was massive.
Autumn (9m 4s):
And we had the dog with us and he was ahead of us. And he was well-trained if you dropped out and you kind of throw your arms open and you call for him and he's like, oh, so he turns around and comes running for me. And I'm just focusing in on our dog while there is massive black bear runs right behind them. I'm just like, holy, oh, like I said, I had a little fizzy gig. This was a man. He wasn't even on the size of this thing, but it was really cool to get the sealer bear. What I saw that I mostly saw it blurry behind the dogs come back to the, for a cookie.
Jesper (9m 46s):
Well, at, at at least that dog is very quick. I mean, I mean even if the, even if the bear wanted to attack it, I guess that the doc had run away. I mean, I think unless it's the stupid enough to fight back,
Autumn (9m 58s):
Oh, he's a terrier. So we might get an in his head that I can take it out. But
Jesper (10m 5s):
Tell him, I said that you want to fight me.
Autumn (10m 8s):
Oh, do you have food as there at the end of this? Because there's are no food. It's not worth it
Narrator (10m 22s):
Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (10m 26s):
So Autumn, I thought I would bring something slightly different for this section. Oh,
Autumn (10m 31s):
Okay. I liked do you know? I like changes what's up.
Jesper (10m 36s):
Yeah. I actually found an app that helps to improve your habits and getting rid of bad habits. It's basically like gave me five habits.
Autumn (10m 50s):
That sounds kind of cool. This, this thing.
Jesper (10m 56s):
So yeah, it was because doing the you and your summer holidays, as I was sort of thinking, you know, I do a lot of what is cardio exercising, you know, running and stuff like that, but I don't do very much. So in terms of, of, I don't even know what it is called, like, but do you know like bodies, strength, exercise, and kind of, you know, like core so strange. I don't know how much of that. I, I just mostly do. Oh yeah. I mostly just do running and I thought I should be doing more of a muscle strength than, and body strength and stuff like that, but I've always found that kind of exercise and quite boring.
Jesper (11m 37s):
So I never get around to do it because it's like, ah, nah, I don't want to. So during the summer holidays I started, I, I must find a way where I can sort of motivate myself to do this stuff that I don't want to do. And then I found this app or this app you afford. So especially in, just for the phone that you just downloaded from the app store, but in his called habit RPG. So already from the name, you can hear that it's, it's a game basically.
Autumn (12m 5s):
But if it's
Jesper (12m 6s):
It's pretty cool. Oh yeah, because it's pretty cool because you basically create a character like it's a role-playing game, but so you create a character and you as sort of M you leveling up your characters, so you put it in your own habits. Ah, you can either put it in habits that you want to do. Or you can put that in habits that you wanted to not do right in. I don't want you, if you decide you put it in yourself and then you set your own schedule for like, it could be that I want to do on, I want to not do this thing every day for whatever it may be all. And you can put it in several as well. And you define if it's difficult or easy and so on. And then the more difficult it is, the most experienced point that your character will get from completing it.
Jesper (12m 51s):
And so basically every time that you've done to have that you wanted to do you do you click in the app and you say, okay done. And then your character gets experienced points and he levels up and you can buy equipment for him and all of weapons. And you can go on question and fight boss's in all kinds of stuff. So there's fighting. Like you don't need to sit down and press anything. You just, you just say, I want to fight this boss. And then if you complete enough of your habits, then you'll the feet, the bar. So it's oh, that's awesome. It's pretty in, in a sense it's pretty primitive, right? It is a way to just game-ify your getting good habits. So I showed it to my sons and they've downloaded this as well.
Jesper (13m 33s):
And they, they, they put it in all kinds of habits that they want, they needed to do like a, we need to read more. So they put it in like, and I have to read 10 pages every day and stuff like that. So they put that stuff in, into their habit RPG. And so it's, I think it's pretty cool. So I, I thought I would share that 'cause some people might find something like we got useful.
Autumn (13m 53s):
Oh, I think that sounds really useful. I'm always trying to get myself off of it, the computer in, out the door Morris. So that could be a good one. Usually, you know, the dog encourages me, but he's not exactly high M running or anything. Exercise. He can only go so far being so small. So that would be kind of, I might have to look into it too.
Jesper (14m 15s):
Yeah. It's, it's actually quite cool. Especially for those people who, who like role-playing games and stuff like that, you know, it, this, this will be write down there early and the once you get to the level 10, you can choose. If you want to be a major or a warrior or a range, you're all kinds of this guy. It's
Autumn (14m 32s):
Pretty cool. It is. I could see this totally transforming someone's writing. You can, you know, you're leveling up your role playing game while getting your writing done. So yeah. You can
Jesper (14m 42s):
Put it in. Yeah. Oh yeah. You could put it in your writing sprints, if you want to, like, I want to write 500 words per day. You could put that in to you and say, OK. And then I put that in and every time you do what you press that you've done it. I like it.
Autumn (14m 60s):
Anything else? Oh, oh, I don't think I have anything exciting to announce. I should probably check out stuff, but like, it's been a little hectic. I will have to put that into my role playing habit game.
Jesper (15m 15s):
Oh, wow. Yeah. Okay. So it'd be at, let's move on
Narrator (15m 20s):
And on to today's topic. So,
Jesper (15m 24s):
So race, sex, and sexuality in fantasy. And well, to be honest, Autumn, I'm not sure that in terms of its relevance, that it's any more or less relevant than in fantasy than it is in any other
Autumn (15m 43s):
I would say it's probably, I agree. It's probably just as important in every genre, but maybe fantasy because of its own history in where it stems from has its own hiccups and problems to overcome might be a way of putting it in what way? That, like, if we say that fantasy started with token, which I agree with, most of the fantasy is a genre did start with him. But fantasy, as a type of storytelling has been going on since, you know, go back to ancient Greece, even prior to that, story's a fantastical nature in a magical beast.
Autumn (16m 25s):
And the incredible powers have been along for around for a long, long time. But if you start with Tolkin and you do read the actual, oh, Lord of the rings, there's very few female characters or absolutely no sex. And there is a lot of instances that if you say this is what our traditions, what were based on, and you looked at what modern readers, like there is a lot to overcome.
Jesper (16m 58s):
Yeah. Especially in now that would just have some the holidays. You know, I have been reading a lot of work over the summer holidays and at least if we were talking about like the sex scenes and stuff like that, not that this erotic erotica bud, but in fences, you novels, like just the fact that you spent almost any time at all talking about what the characters are doing, you know, in a bedroom kind of things there it's, it is very, very limited what there is in it's actually quite rare. I would almost say that in a fantasy book that there
Autumn (17m 33s):
Is anything I like that. Yeah. I would say unless you're getting into fantasy romance, there's some babies in some dark fantasy. And I think that there might be a little bit more, but yeah, you're getting into specific sub genres, but if you're in sort of the and epic or high, I think there's a lot less though. Again, it depends on if it's leaning towards Y a or if it's leaning towards adults.
Jesper (18m 2s):
Yeah. But even the stuff that is written for adults, like epic fantasy novels for adults it's there was almost none of it in, in, in those books. And, and I also think that most readers would expect there not to be stuff like that. So to some extent that I think it is important to consider what reader expectations are and, and think about that. But at the same time, I don't see why this, why you couldn't do it like a bit more of this sexy stuff in the book, if you wanted it to.
Autumn (18m 38s):
I agree. I think there's a definitely room for there's some room for so much. I mean, up until a two books I read recently, I would have said that gender has become almost normalized. There was a time like in the eighties, it was always like the token female you had. I'm all the guys in the question and one token, female, and that's all, there was an almost, I would say almost every book I've picked, picked up since, you know, the digital age of eBooks and E reading, that there was always been a nice cadre of women that were well-developed. But then I read two books in the summer and they are horrible for the portrayals of women.
Autumn (19m 20s):
They were noticeable that all the characters were men or that there's a only bit part's for the women are, they were never point of view characters from the women. And I, in one case, the woman in the story, we were one of the two types. They were either mousy in, quiet, in a little insane, or hard-ass brittle cold and possibly an assassin. And that's it. Those were the only type of woman. And I was like, wow, how did we backslide here? I've heard other authors at her, got male authors say, I don't know how to write women. I've been like, there are people, right? People M you know, everyone's a different, it's not that hard, but then I read these two books.
Autumn (19m 60s):
So I'm like, wow. Some people really don't know how to write the opposite gender. And then I have to admit, I read a different one. What, actually, one of those, the mail point of view character was so strongly was being in the guy's head in a way that most fantasy books I had never been into the house. If I ever needed the description of what it was like to get kicked in the groin for a guy, oh, this book has several really good passages. So I was like, oh, I have never considered that. And so think about it. I've never read that in a fantasy story before either. That's fascinating. Why don't we hear more about this effect and say, oh, I've been in a male's head, you know, the male night for, in male majors for ages.
Autumn (20m 43s):
They've never gotten kicked in the groin. Huh?
Jesper (20m 49s):
Well, yeah, to be fair. I think that's the part that would be difficult to write about the other JIEDDO or if, I mean, that, that, that's going to be difficult to imagine what that feels like. Yes.
Autumn (21m 1s):
I don't expect a guy to under S to write about what it's like the nurse, a child, but they could probably try to make up something. And, you know, at this point I could always refer back to this book if I ever need to write about a guy getting kicked in the groin because very good descriptions, but those are some of the new, so, yeah.
Jesper (21m 22s):
Yeah. But I think apart from like the sexuality stuff that if we also touching or talking about racist, because I think the nice thing about fantasy is that it sort of offers us this freedom as author's too, where we imagine new resources, we create new cultures, but we can use those things as tools too, like examine maybe the sexual biases or gender biases or stuff like that. And Macy may use it as a vehicle to, to make the reader well, could we say like reconsider his or her on her own cultural assumptions to some degree.
Jesper (22m 4s):
So I think that that's what fences, you probably does better than most other genres or Spotify as well. Of course, if you could put that in the same category here, but anything that has to do with like our, the kinds of raises in humans and other kinds of people in cultures where you can start playing with these things and maybe show a different perspective as something that makes the Rita thing a bit of like, huh, oh, I guess, I guess you could look at it like that. You know, because it becomes less dangerous is the wrong word, but it becomes less like confrontational when it's an elf and a dwarf rather than, you know, two humans of, of different skin color or whatever.
Autumn (22m 49s):
I was going to say the same thing that you are differences in skin color become so much less when you're talking about ELs vs door's versus giants versus cognisent dragons are set in and dragons. So sitting at the trees we have, as you know, so there are, I think I agree fantasy, and sci-fi, you have managed to broaden the differentiation of the different races, but also, you know, there's still a lot of subjectivism that there's still a lot of us versus them, you know, human versus, or especially elves, elves are always Hottie. You know, they don't like the other races or dwarves or always in other ways.
Autumn (23m 33s):
So there's always those portrayals. And I think it's exciting when we get into something that has different, that kind of, you even breaks those moles and starts making me question why certain species are like this. It's why I do like fantasy that comes up with new, new creatures and characters and races, because it's fun to see something different. And it was a, and it's also, sometimes I know some of the newer fantasy is much more nuanced. I just finished a book, which I didn't even tell you. I finished my first one that we were currently reading. And it was interesting because it actually kind of talked about religion and some of like, it kind of tied up some Judaism, Muslims sort of like this that they had.
Autumn (24m 20s):
This is one God that has the skin, especially woman's flesh, its just like, oh my goodness. So my you don't cover them head to toe. Don't even talk about like they say the problem of writing along in sex, when you came, you used the word sex is, but it was interesting to look at, it had to have that pulled apart and it was literally, it wasn't even a different race. So they just stuck with humans for the whole book. And I'm like, this is really interesting. I think I have a much better understanding of this mindset and when it's being forced on other people in why other people are trying to force it on other people, I really thought the book was well written in that way. And if it was nice because it was a fantasy world somewhere totally different, it didn't use, you use the totally different God just to kind of pull that out elements at if you were paying attention and you're like, oh, oh this is the sort of probably what inspired them.
Autumn (25m 14s):
And that is so interesting to read.
Jesper (25m 22s):
Yeah. I think that either, if it's like very deep, world-building where it really has nothing to do with like cultures or races or whatever you want to call it here on earth, but it's just so well developed that you can actually understand Y you know, a certain made of raises behaving the way that they do and how they act toward the other genders or if it's really, really deeply built. I really enjoyed at all. I also enjoy. Or if it's, if it's actually to show that you can almost, you, you can sort of recognize that this is probably built on, on, on this, this kind of this culture or this religion or something from, from real life.
Jesper (26m 12s):
But then it just starts to sort of explore the, some different viewpoints on it. Or maybe it makes you sort of understand maybe where these people are coming from me. Not necessarily that, that do you agree from it, from reading it, but at least you can sort of, you start seeing their perspective and you can translate that perspective into real life in some ways, I guess, okay. I, I can sign, they kind of see ware in their culture of this makes sense of something. But I kind of like that if, if it's either, oh, I think the stuff just sort of told a plumber's in the middle where it's just this machine thing and it may be based off some reality, but it doesn't quite either as it's, it's almost not well-built enough either that you can sort of map any of the two sides together.
Jesper (26m 60s):
So I think those are the things that I like the, the least, but it's of course on all of the matter of taste, bud, but I just like, if there is a bit of intention behind it,
Autumn (27m 12s):
Yes. I think the intention is always the importance and it is interesting to watch an author grow because I always, that was told you, I just let red many of lay BARDA goes M novel's. So the growth of stories, and I thought her world building was not top of the notch. You know, if you could obviously tell which parts were from where, what of this world that she was drawing from, you know, Russia Nazis, there was some neat ones. It was sort of like Africa wild west. I'm like, oh, that was kind of a cool thing to lump together, but it was not really original, but it, as a story grow, we grew and the world's grew more in depth than she explored. The more I became more authentic too, where she was when you stopped seeing what it was based on.
Autumn (27m 58s):
And I thought that was good, but it definitely, it took the first trilogy to get there. But what she was incredible, one of the best authors I've read about was her characters in her dynamics and actually in another aspect, she was so good when I mentioned she's really good at plot twists, but she's good at character twist, like looking at race's. So she talked, she had transgender or transsexual homosexual, every bisexual EV I think there was one that might've been more asexual. And so almost every diversity that his modern and his really out there with specially with the younger readers, this as a white book, and yet she covers all of these gender and stereotypic topics so well, and every character is, is unique.
Autumn (28m 43s):
And it's not even that, it's not like when I was reading books as a kid that might deal with homosexuals or asexuals or something, it was always kinda like, you know, if that was so controversial in her world, no, it just is. It's just, just the way it is an accepted. I'm like, this is nice. It's nice to get into that mindset where this is not something you need to bring up and tear her apart and explain it as just like, oh no, that's fine. That's fine till you're a woman, but you would rather be a man. Okay. We're good. Just like this, this wonderful. This is perfect. So that was one thing that you said in her character, his and how they relate it to the world in related to each other.
Autumn (29m 26s):
I see why she's doing as well as she is, because she's very brilliant in now that her world is getting deeper. Its really good. But yeah, if when you get a chance to read her, as you're going to have to take a little breath every once in a while, because there's definitely parts of the world, you'd be like, oh good, have done more to it. But I think she's a great example of looking at genders and the stereotypes and characters and you know, again, she doesn't have different races. She doesn't have elves and dwarves in all of those things that keeps with humans. And I think that's becoming a lot more of a trend. I'm seeing, you know, some of the high fantasy books going that way, but there's a lot of books that are coming out there.
Autumn (30m 8s):
It's just people just humans' and just exploring the topic and be in religion or gender, why they were mean to each other, what are the cultural differences? Why are we fighting? And those are all of a hidden Subutex. And it's like, wow, this is, this is different. And I kind of think that's so special in its own way,
Jesper (30m 31s):
But that was also a bit of what I meant when I said that I'm in my fantasy in this regard and makes you reflect a bit about that, your own opinions to people who are of a different sexual orientation than yourself. If you know, reading a hundred thousand words about these people or however long the book is, but, but you are spending a considerable amount of time in the head of these characters and you start to understand or at least see how they live their life and, and what it means to them. And, and that's where I think it really matters a lot of these kinds of things because it helps us become better people basically.
Jesper (31m 15s):
'cause we start to understand that. I mean that this is what reading dusty people in my view, like we, we become better. People, stories heal people because you, you, you, you become more in empathic towards others because you start understanding how they feel and so on. And so I think that that is all very good. But at the end of the day, I'm also thinking now that we're talking about it, that if we are talking about a topic like sex or race or sexuality and stuff like that in, in books, what it really comes down to at the end of the day is just a conversation about characters actually. You know, because with you, it is just the matter of these characters.
Jesper (32m 0s):
They are who they are and their experiences through the life that they live influence who they are. So the person and they influence their surroundings, but they aren't just people.
Autumn (32m 14s):
No, that's so true. And it is also, you have characters who, you know, they overcome, they get to be friends with people they might not have thought of before. And so maybe you start seeing that other side, it's really, it's up to authors. And again, you could be maybe a very narrow mindset author where something is right, and something is wrong. And that's what you want to put in your story. But to be authentic to that, you should understand the other side as well. But I would say a lot of fantasy authors have at least the ones that I read are a very liberal and they were trying to make you see, people are people and life is living. You know, whether it's a sentiment tree or a dragon or your next door neighbor who you really just can't stand, but there are a person than they have feelings.
Autumn (33m 1s):
And so if that comes out in fantasy, that we do our best to understand it. And in your right, the science, there is a bit of actually quite a few studies about readers and reading. And it shows that people who read a lot of books actually have more empathy and they understand we live a hundred, you know, a thousand different lives, but through the stories. So we understand people in can transport ourselves into someone else's head so much easier as a reader. I haven't seen the studies as authors, but I would assume it probably carries over 'cause we really, as an author, you really spend time in heads. I've whether it's a villain or like you always bring up that politician that I just could not get into his head.
Autumn (33m 45s):
I am not meant for politics. Did you learn something about the strengths and weaknesses of other people by putting yourself in their heads and writing a hundred thousand words in there? Point of view. And I've always said my FA my favorite character is the one who's point of view I'm writing in it at this moment. I don't care if they were the worst character in the room were the best character in the room. But they're my favorite one, because I am going to tell the story to the best of my ability to tell their story the best way I can. And so when you do that, you do transform yourself and you open yourself up to other possibilities. And that is the power of story is to be able to maybe bring some understanding the world in I've said before, it's changed fantasy change.
Autumn (34m 34s):
The reading I did as a teenager changed who I became because I grew up in a very conservative, very small minded community and I was reading it. It wasn't even dragon Lance Mercedes Lackey. I was totally the one in who I read some things about, you know, a woman. I still remember the scene, a woman who was selling a was a prostitute and they were writing buy in the one person it's like, oh, well that is so low of her. And I was like, she has nothing else to sell, but herself, she isn't that bad of shape in that out of poverty. And it kinda like, this is a slap in the face. I'm like, so yeah, this isn't like, it's a moral choice. She has no other choice. And it made me start questioning things from a very young age and wondering about the stuff I was being taught and whether it was right and how I wanted to view the world.
Jesper (35m 27s):
Yeah. I think that's, you, you, you were saying a lot of true things too, because essentially, and like you say, if the character, they didn't have any choice, if you, that the fact that the customer didn't have any choice, then that gives you a new perspective. But on the flip side, have that, for example, we've, we've been doing a lot of, or still are doing a lot of research about pirate history and stuff like that, because we want to write a, some stories about pirates in the future. And with regard to all that research as well, we both watch the Netflix show is the pirate kingdom. Oh yeah. I'm and there are, for example, it really rocked me the wrong way.
Jesper (36m 12s):
That's how they protect, portray and Bonny in that series. There 'cause, if you have like, like you were ex just explaining that from that book, if you understand why to coat it is in that situation. And they act that way because maybe they don't have any choice or maybe they have chosen this because it made sense or it aligns with their motivations or whatever, then it is fine. But in the Netflix show, for example, I really, I must say I really enjoyed the show, so I, I'm not putting the showdown because it is, I think it's really informative and a very good show. If you like pirates, then go and watch it. But the one thing that I did not like what was the on Bonnie pot, because they basically portray her.
Jesper (36m 55s):
Like, she's just as a kind of prostitute that just runs around and does the, you know, prostitute thing in quotation marks here. Yeah. But, but if they don't give her any sort of motivation or explain anything, so afterwards during the summer holidays hear I got a bit of annoyed with it. So I actually went and I found a nonfiction book about Anne Bonny and her life. And then I bought that and read it. And my God, she
Autumn (37m 21s):
Is so fascinating. It's so fascinating,
Jesper (37m 25s):
But they just did not get that across at all. And that a Netflix show, which was the shame, but the, the whole point that I was just trying to make here is that it doesn't really matter if a character is of a certain sexuality, or if there are in a certain situation whereby they are doing things that normally would be frowned upon. But if you can make sure that it is clear why day in the situation and why, what they're doing is aligned with maybe their motivation is just to me, I need to do this to get out of this situation. Or, you know, long-term, I, I, if I can just earn enough money, I can buy my ticket out of here or whatever it may be. But as long as it's clear, why are they doing what they're doing?
Jesper (38m 9s):
You can easily have characters who are doing things or are acting certain ways, or maybe that's just the way that AI on the personality. But if, if the Rita at least understand, don't, don't necessarily agree with it. But if they at least understand why, then you can get away with all of these things. And then at the same time, you will make the reader start, think a bit about, well, maybe these kinds of people who does this thing that I don't like, whatever that may be, that maybe they're not too bad, all of them. Right. And, and thus, you, you will start healing the world that bit.
Autumn (38m 45s):
So just a bit, I hope. And I do you think to play on me to add to that is that I think a lot of traditional fantasy up until possibly recently, the people who are different we're changing or leaving there society because they we're like the cultural as normal. And so they were going to find a group where they're accepted. I think that's something a lot of us feel, but I have noticed a shift where there's a lot more stories where no, they want to speak up for the other people in their society who feel the same way, who are also put it down. They don't want to just, if it's not the classic tropes is like, like I said, this, the token female, she's the only one who wants to be your hero.
Autumn (39m 29s):
And she is the only one who wants to go carry a sword. Well, no, now she's speaking up for her best friend and the sisters that are out there who are, they should be given the choice. And I've noticed that a lot on several, the books that I've read recently. And so I see that as a cultural shift where it's like, people don't want to be the only one. They know that there's enough other people in the planet, even if its a fantasy world there or not, the only one and they want to help everyone. And I think that's also exciting. And again, I think it's interesting. Like if I was studying this in school, you could actually track the difference, the society and the different generations and how we're trying to make things better and save for a lot of different people.
Autumn (40m 12s):
And it shows and our fiction. And if that is the importance of why it is in there, that's why when society goes crazy, they start outlawing and then burning books. That's why I wasn't Plato who said, you know, basically books are one of the things. If you wanna have a controlled society, you don't let people read because as soon as they start reading, they start understanding each other's so much better. So yeah, they might be fantasy, but it's incredibly powerful literature and it'll change people's minds.
Jesper (40m 46s):
Yeah. Oh, well it still happens today in some parts of the world where you're not allowed to read whatever you want. Exactly. And yeah, it's not even that foreign. Yeah.
Autumn (40m 54s):
It's not, unfortunately, I mean there is, we were just talking about other current cultural things going on in, you know, there is a lot of societies where women are not allowed to read or the different people are not taught to read and it's to control them. Once you give people the ability to read, they start questioning and they start learning and they might learn something that you can't control. And I think that's, that's why reading and literacy is so important. And that's why as authors, it's also important that the things we put into our stories, it's one thing to tell the tale, I'm all for a really good story. But I, even if it's not an overt a thing I put into the plot, I think my world view of who is of, of accepting people in protecting life, in caring for people just comes through because those tend to me, the characters I create, or I tend to push all the characters that way eventually.
Autumn (41m 51s):
And the other ones just get tossed off
Jesper (41m 58s):
This entire conversation. Just got a lot deeper than I thought,
Autumn (42m 4s):
Oh, well I think that we can blame Dominic. It is all your fault. Thank you for asking this question. But yeah. So I guess it was an easy question to answer. Does it make a difference? What gender sex, race, ethnicity, or whatever you want to call you or your characters? Is it a big deal to have those in your fantasy? It's possibly the biggest deal if you want to change the world.
Jesper (42m 31s):
Yeah. Well, yeah. And it's about creating characters and what race and sex and sexuality they are, that that's part of my being. And so it is very important. And to me, it's, it's not something you just pick at random, you know, trying to think a bit about it when you create your characters and see if you can incorporate something that, and now that you need to force any of it into the, in the story, if it doesn't belong there, but if it would make sense or if it would give a different perspective to some of the storytelling and basically enhance the story, then why not use it. And also during your world building, I think it would be good to think about some things and think about how would it influence society.
Jesper (43m 12s):
How would it influence other characters? If this couch is very different from everybody else, how, how would that influence relationship's and so on? And how do you society view of this group of people or this particular race or whatever it may be. You know, all those sorts of things are very important to think about. So does it matter? Yes. I think it matters a lot. I agree.
Autumn (43m 35s):
I think we can wrap it up there that this is, this is important and I agree, especially world-building in should come from there. You should not just pick because diversity is a good buzz word. And because you want to be popular around among the Gentiles, you're going to have someone who's transgender, don't do it to be popular or to get the sales, do it because you are care about the topic you've researched it, you understand it, it fits the character and it's the world you want to create. Don't just do it to try to, you know, fit in for the other readers. Do your homework readers will know. They'll know what the difference.
Jesper (44m 12s):
Yeah. The story is king. As we like to say some times
Autumn (44m 17s):
Jesper (44m 18s):
Well next Monday I have an excellent interview lined up for you. I'm talking to Jane Friedman about traditional publishing contracts.
Narrator (44m 25s):
How did you get an agent and many other things? 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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy 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.
Monday Aug 16, 2021
Monday Aug 16, 2021
Monday Aug 16, 2021
What is the difference between preselling your book and making it available as a preorder on sites like Amazon? Is one better than the other?
Tune in to the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, episode 138, where Autumn and Jesper share the result of a recent experiment, using the pre sales function as mentioned by Mark Coker, the CEO and founder of Smashwords, in episode 118.
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Read the full transcript below.
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 an 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.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm Autumn.
This is episode 138 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. Back in the eighth episode, 118, Autumn talked to special guests, Mark Coker, the CEO and founder of Smashwords. And during that conversation, some new tools where shared, which was around how to resell your books as opposed to set up pre-orders or pre-sale as you write and say, presale you books, as opposed to setup, pre-orders like to do on to Amazon. And you have been testing that out, Autumn.
Autumn (1m 8s):
As always, I'm the perfect Guinea pig for all our experiments. So I tried out for free sales and I have tried out preorders, both on Smashwords in other places. So we have some results to share on some thoughts and tips. If anyone wants to check out this feature and I can't wait to share it, but really today we're both kind of getting back into the driver's seat because you just back from vacation.
Jesper (1m 38s):
Yeah, yeah, indeed. I mean, we recorded the bunch of episodes before the holidays to carry us through. So in reality, well, for the listener, that sounds like it's only been a week, but for us it's been a month since we last recorded anything.
Autumn (1m 51s):
Oh, I know you have to record it even late. Cause we had so much stuff to talk about forehand. So yeah, we have a lot
Jesper (1m 60s):
Of future pants to the future plans to have to talk about
Autumn (2m 5s):
Definitley, but you have a good vacation. It's been good. Yeah.
Jesper (2m 8s):
Good vacation. A lot of relaxation and the doing as little as possible apart from reading a ton of books, I think I managed to read five books, which has never happened before or some of them where a fairly short, but there was also a one very long won in between. And so, yeah, and that was good. And the way it's been busy, so busy coming back, I must say a and the, the, the, the thing is that time off work always makes me think about a million new things. So apart from writing stuff, in what we should write about how we should tackle our next series, which we just talked about offline here, I've also filled up my pocket of marketing ideas, primarily like Facebook ads, strategies.
Jesper (2m 54s):
I think you noticed all in once I started emailing about, can you make new ad images for this and that?
Autumn (3m 1s):
I know you're on vacation. I started getting some new tasks. So I was like, wait, what? So I'm not on vacation. Doesn't mean you could assign me things. Yeah. It, you know, so it was fun. Oh yeah.
Jesper (3m 14s):
Yeah. That, that happens. So, you know, I, I stopped thinking once, once I get down, then my brain start thinking about new things. So I think that's good. It's good to take some time off sometimes.
Autumn (3m 25s):
Yes. I think it is very good. And I have to admit, even though I S I had a total task list that I, I didn't actually get the bottom, have there still few things on my list of things I've meant to do while you're on vacation when we didn't have our normal sessions when we record. So they're still have stuff to do, but I have to be in, I snuck in some extra books and some extra reading as well. So it was nice to meet me. You slow down a little bit and get some reading in it. It was kind of,
Jesper (3m 56s):
Yeah. And the, the other thing that actually happened while I was on vacation was that like, I got an email from the national soccer association. Oh yeah. And they, yeah. They asked me or they sort of, well, how do you say that? But they suggested in a nice way, because they have a position coming up a as to become a referee Instructure oh, instructor, referee Instructure. So they send me the email and says that we would like you to apply for this position, if you would please consider it really. So, yeah. That's pretty cool.
Jesper (4m 36s):
So, and of course there is no guarantees that I will get it. I was not the only one, but I think they have, like, that was five people as something on, on that email that they have picked out and say would like you guys to apply for this. But if I understand correctly, I think there are going to hire a couple. So it's not only one person. I think there are going to be a couple of, but yeah. So as we know from the recording, this podcast, all the courses we do with writing and I love teaching. So I think this is excellent. So I would like to become an instruction. And if I'm honest, one day, at some point in the future, I will not be able to run as well anymore. And she catches up with me.
Jesper (5m 16s):
So maybe teaching would be good to get into.
Autumn (5m 19s):
Yeah. Oh, I can see that. Let's not talk about age because I'm even older than you. So lets just not, that might be that, you know, it's so flattering to even get an email asking you to apply, but good luck. That would be really kinda cool. We just spend like two hours talking to you. You didn't oh, you're just telling me this now. And I always do this on purpose and I think he like holding out on me.
Jesper (5m 46s):
Yeah. I could, I could just say it to the listener that a, we just had a two hour like business and writing meeting. And I think I started up by saying, I want to ask Autumn a question and then I did not ask the question until two hours later and I gave her like three teases throughout the two hours that I'm going to come back to the question
Autumn (6m 7s):
That you didn't know where it was. We go to each other, having to use, I was like, okay, what is this question? And then you have to keep hitting sing about, but if we got through it with the question, we can do it. Yeah. Excellent.
Narrator (6m 24s):
A week on the Internet with the Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (6m 27s):
So Autumn, another thing I want a spring on you here.
Autumn (6m 30s):
Jesper (6m 32s):
Already? We are recording, but the first time in the months, so I'm kind of like coming to the, the gates running now
Autumn (6m 40s):
That you saved all of these things up on you have in place. This is why you been thinking about while you're on vacation are the things that you can the spring on me. No, I know.
Jesper (6m 49s):
No, but this is now on probably a month ago because that's how long it's been since we recorded. What did you notice? How Dominick wave in on Patrion on which one of us? One episode 123 where we did the top 10 lists of the worst characters, all the worst people that we could think about teaching magic. Did you see to the, he actually I have sometimes to say about who
Autumn (7m 15s):
You bring this up 'cause he said you won that's my reading this out. Otherwise you would probably have forgotten about this topic of conversation,
Jesper (7m 30s):
But he did say something else as well. Yeah. He did say something else as well. And that's where I first my memory, he was saying that the way I was trying to move the goalpost and change the rules of our top, Tim you where I have no idea what he means. That's you, that's not as important either. That was the important thing was that you said you wanted, he said that I was the wind up that episode
Autumn (7m 58s):
And he apologize to me, but I don't know that it was just one opinion. I'm still holding out for other's
Jesper (8m 8s):
I'll really oh, patron supporters. Very important. So
Autumn (8m 15s):
Maybe we can double Waite him. At least
Jesper (8m 16s):
They have to say, I want to him, that's it.
Autumn (8m 18s):
Yeah. That's all you need. So know I see how this goes. Oh yeah.
Jesper (8m 24s):
Oh yeah. A quick reminder here. A as I mentioned in the past few weeks, on the past few weeks of episodes and we might just mention it next week as well, but after that it'll be too late. So this is one of those last kind of reminders now. But we have decided to offer everyone on our email list, a massive discount for either one of our flagship courses. So I want to mention that in the autumn,
Autumn (8m 53s):
You said either one, you have forgotten your month off, we decided it was going to be for three, either have the three courses
Jesper (9m 1s):
Three. Yeah. That was you explain what those costs as well.
Autumn (9m 5s):
Obviously I've kept my mind going in. Was it on vacation? But yeah, so we're going to offer coupon for either the ultimate fantasy writer's guide, which is our premium premier writing Corus, the one-stop shop for everything, from how to write, develop ideas, to marketing and building your author brand and platform to crafting incredible fantasy world, which is our world-building mega chorus, which is so freaking awesome. But it'll take you to sort of along the, you will develop a world, not just for a world, but you're going to actually develop it in conjunction with really feeding into your story and creating a world in a story that are combined and just intricate.
Autumn (9m 48s):
Or we decided that you remember it's like, that was like the beginning of the previous episode. We decided we would throw in our master mailing list of course as well. So if you have questions on how to, to email marketing and talk to the readers and turn your readers in the super fans, that of course we'll be having a coupon to only if you sign up for it though.
Jesper (10m 15s):
Yes. So we will be emailing out this voucher. It's going to be $150 off, but if you want to get your hands on it, you'll have to get on the email list fast now because it's going to be super. So you're going to, you are going to be too late. If you don't get on the list quite soon, we have placed in the link in the show notes from where you can do just that. Yeah, but don't linger.
Autumn (10m 38s):
You don't linger where you are going to be signing up for the next time. Maybe we'll know if we, when we decide to do this again today.
Jesper (10m 52s):
So we are going to talk about preorder versus presale as we said up at the top. But I think we need to explain what is the difference here? Yeah.
Autumn (11m 1s):
Think so as to what you, okay. You want me to explain this, right?
Jesper (11m 6s):
Oh no, no. Well you hear me. Oh, okay.
Autumn (11m 9s):
All right. You can see if I get it right. So a pre-order I hopefully a lot of authors are familiar with this though. It was interesting when I was talking to mark Coker that he said that a lot of authors still don't use pre-orders and that typically the authors who do use pre-orders tend to be the higher earning one. So I thought that was the kind of an interesting to statistic, but a pre-order his, when you put up your book and you say it's, it shows up on Amazon, it shows up on Smashwords actually Barnes and noble cobalt. All of those platforms do have pre-orders. And so you'll see it often there is the book cover and it'll say a release date and you can go ahead and click the button so that you were buying technically before it is released, you don't get an actual copy of the book.
Autumn (11m 58s):
You just gets M you get to put on your order or early it's like you don't, you, once it's released, you will be there in the first ones to get it. And most authors, when they do pre-orders often offer a discount. So you're usually buying in. So if you're book is normally four to 99, maybe you're gonna be able to get in 99 cents are 2 99. Then you get a little bit of a discount by ordering it early. And for authors, it's nice because you usually depends on the platform, but often all those sales dumped in on one day was a pre-order often, those first few days after release are the biggest selling days for your book. And that part of that is because you have maybe a month, two month, six months, or even as possible of pre-order where your book shows up as being live.
Autumn (12m 43s):
Some authors, they make it fun and they use M a fake cover. They will just say like cover coming soon. And they'll do a cover reveal and you can do all this stuff. It's kinda if there's a lot of stuff that goes on with pre-orders, but that's it. You put up the book for pre-order and you don't see any money from it until it is finally released. The day that is released, whatever day you decide to have as a really estate now pre-sale is different and is something that smashed where it's has come up with. Those are the only platform I'm doing it. And actually my coworker has put it in four, a patent. He just wants to own this one, which I don't blame him. Cause I have seen Amazon pickup. Some of the things Smashwords does first.
Autumn (13m 26s):
So leave him for, to sign, to kind of copy, write this one himself. But the pre-sale is that in between steppe, you can put your books book up for pre-order and you don't see any money from it until you release it. Presale is that space in between where you put up the book for pre-order you do have to have it up for pre-order and then for certain people, or you could do it for the public at large, it's kind of cool. You can get it into the nitty gritty. You can actually sell the book before its available in stores like Amazon. And what's kind of cool is that means if your book is going to be in the Kindle unlimited, but it isn't released yet. So it's not in Kindle unlimited.
Autumn (14m 8s):
You can actually run a presale and not run a foul of Amazon's terms of service. So that's kind of a cool tidbit if you are a Kindle unlimited customer, but yeah, this gives you a chance. You, you sell it like as a regular book, except for there's some really kind of cool twists and why it works out as a presale. It's very exclusive. And you know how to readers love exclusive deals. This gives you some income between the pre-order and actual launch.
Jesper (14m 39s):
Yeah. Now I haven't tried this pre-sale stuff, but since you had the Guinea pig here, Autumn, but it sounds to me very similar on you. You, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds very similar to what we normally like to do in the, in the sense of, if, for example, we want to release a book in Kindle unlimited. We noticed some readers like to read on Kobo or something. So what is a pretty good strategy is to, for example, if you have something on Patrion, you could go to your readers and say, okay, for during this two week window, you can buy the book via Patrion here.
Jesper (15m 24s):
If you, if you don't wanna buy from Amazon, here's the two week window where you can buy it and you can avoid buying it from Amazon, if you prefer, and then, you know, you can then use book funnel and just post the book from the link inside patrons. So when you buy it from here, but using Patrion that it makes it easier in the sense that they're already paying money in so on so they can download it from there. Or you could, you could do it yourself if you want it to using the sales link directly from BookFunnel. But I guess this the same thing, isn't it?
Autumn (15m 53s):
It is the difference to me. I think the difference. Well, the, but I was talking to mark. I said, oh, well, you know, I already sell my books on my website and I often have done that, releasing it early. And we've done this for our own books if we re released them early from our website. So if you buy directly from us, you know, it's often available a week or two weeks before the preorder date comes up so that we do that. 'cause we get a higher royalty rate, which is fantastic. You could get people to trust us in, come and buy from us directly. Presales are kind of filling that niche. If you do not know how to do that, set up the actual ebook sales directly from your website.
Autumn (16m 34s):
So it works and it, you do get a higher percentage Smashwords set. So does a 80% royalty rate. So that is, you know, better than you're going to get off of Amazon, which was kinda cool. And it sort of that idea, there is a few differences where if there is an anti piracy pledge that people are signing. So that works out really well, that if you're selling the book like literally two months before you would ever released it on the pre-order, you, you, you know, you know, they're not going to be sharing it around other people because that's, oh, you, that would be something that would be concerned about it. If I was doing a pre-sale, that was way out front of my pre-order date. And the other difference is you can actually through M through Smashwords they have, they done it so that they can get a second discount that if they sign up using, in giving you your, their e-mail address and so subscribing to your e-mail rate, they can make me get another small discount or a big discount.
Autumn (17m 34s):
So you could say, pre-sale, it is 4 99. But if you agree to my email list is going to be 2 99. So suddenly this is a way of generating people to get on to your email list. And that's kind of the thing about the pre-sale 'cause if you do that, you would obviously there's two ways of doing the settings and we can talk about the setting's, but you could make it a public one. And so, you know, people who just go to Smashwords where you can just spread the link everywhere, and the people who can go and find it like a regular book, and then they can get a discount. If they sign up to your email list, I was like, oh, that is, you are getting a sale. Is that you're getting money.
Autumn (18m 14s):
And you're getting someone on your email list. That's pretty cool. Or you can do a private link. And so in that case, you're probably just sharing the private linked, like you sent to your Patriot supporters or the people that are already on your email list. Well, in that case, they're probably not going to care too much about signing up for your e-mail list. Cause they were already on your email list. They probably can still sign up and get the discount. But yeah, in that case, when you have a private link, if you know that little extra coupon deal, isn't that exciting though. Speaking of coupons Smashwords is one of those places that does offer coupons that you can use and generate, and you can use those coupon codes with the presale.
Autumn (18m 56s):
So if you want to do still do something exclusive too, the readers who are specifically on your email list, you can give them, Hey, go and get this book on presale before it's out in stores. And if you use this code, you can get 10, 25% as well. So if you could make people get so excited, you could, you make the coupon good only for one or two people and use it as a give-away there's a lot of fun things you can do with the presale length and how they have it set up.
Jesper (19m 27s):
Yeah. Yeah. I can see that, that, that is different than the, for sure. The, the, the part about getting people to sign up. That's not something that you can do anywhere else. So that is quite unique. It was.
Autumn (19m 37s):
So that's why he kinda convinced me to like, oh, I know you're selling books on your own website, but you should give this a try because you can generate people signing up to your email list. And I'm like, okay. That is, that is pretty gosh. Darn cool.
Jesper (19m 50s):
Yeah. And the other thing about is that if all of the setting up have the payment modules on your website or setting up the payment collection, some of our books on which you can do now-a-days, but if all of that feels too daunting and to technical than at least this, I mean, it's probably like ticking a box when you have uploaded Smashwords anyway, isn't it?
Autumn (20m 11s):
Oh, it was two pages, but mostly just radio button check boxes. So yeah, you have to start by uploading you're pre-order and the caveat you have to have your completed final manuscript. So, you know, often with pre-orders people set it up and they're like, okay, you know, S Amazons like gives you five days'. You have to have it before release that you need to have the final version of uploaded on this case. You need to have your final version. So you have to plan ahead and you have to have the final book. And that's I think really the key here. So you're purposefully pushing off your pre-order, even though you have the final book, instead of releasing it, just to use the pre-sale.
Autumn (20m 52s):
But yeah, once you have that uploaded, there's literally a button in your Smashwords dashboard that says, Hey, you know, sign up for pre-sale and you go through a few questions, like, do you want to public? Or do you want the private, do you want to offer a discount through email? Do you want people to have to sign up the, the antipiracy pledge? And you answered this really quick questions. There are mostly radio buttons, just like thinking about it and have done. And off it goes it's up there. And whether it's public or giving you a private link, there you go. It's it's really pretty painless. I will say.
Jesper (21m 28s):
Yeah, the, that is pretty cool. And of course the nice thing being as well, that with the presale here, you're, you're collecting the money right away. I, I guess, I mean, some people might not know, but for example, if you are doing pre-orders on Amazon a if the reader then seize you, pre-order on Amazon and they buy via the pre-order, like you said before, it's not going to be delivered also not charged until the date that pre-order goes like, but what some people might not know is that Amazon actually does not count pre-orders against your bestseller rank or the book rank on the release date now.
Jesper (22m 11s):
Autumn (22m 12s):
The time to go, but not in here.
Jesper (22m 15s):
No. So basically the stuff that you sell during your preorder is not going to help on your ranking at all. So of course, if you're white, other retailers do not punish you like this. And honestly, I feel like it is Amazon punishing you for doing pre pre-orders, which I don't understand why. No, but they do. There's probably some reason for it, for somebody in the past who was gamed the system, and then they have done something like this. I couldn't imagine, but I don't know. But on the contrary, the other retailers, they will actually give you a bonus on release day. So the pre-order will increase your visibility in their store, but your ranking will also increase from the cumulative buys when the book goes live.
Jesper (22m 55s):
So you actually getting a booster twice, if you are using pre-orders on the other retailers, which is quite cool that, but of course we know 90% of all the book sales for most authors comes from Amazon. So that means that Amazon in general are the only one we are majorly concerned and focused on, unfortunately, but that's how life is we. This also means that the pre-orders in Amazon, I guess that the reason we usually use pre-orders of them. Yes. But the reason we do it is not because it's going to help on the ranking or, and also not because it's going to help on the more sales and so on.
Jesper (23m 37s):
But actually the reason is just because it can be very stressful when you have a deadline and when you have a pre all the way that we do it, because Amazon is not very flexible in moving the dates at all now. But I think if they allow for you to do it once that one today, what are
Autumn (23m 57s):
The days? And that is yeah,
Jesper (24m 0s):
But what we normally do is that we make sure that we have the entire book ready and done and final. So we actually will, we could of done is we could just release it and make it public. But we already said it. We always set it up as a pre-order for one, because there was no stress. Then we don't have a deadline by which we need to upload the final files because we already did. But the other thing is that then that allows us to run some of these other things, doing the pre-order a meaning, for example, then we can tell people, Hey, if you want it earlier, you can buy it directly from us. Of course, we do have all these websites, shenanigans that we need to take care, have a lot of them gets to do, but the, but then we have that possibility too, to sell the book directly.
Jesper (24m 46s):
And 'cause, we can offer that earlier than other people getting it from buying on Amazon, there was an incentive, they have to buy it directly from us. And of course we want people to buy directly because then we were getting the full royalty ourselves. We don't have to pay 30% to Amazon for instance. And the other thing is that we need, we don't do this always on in, but sometimes we do, we like to run some sort of giveaways or something related to the, to the action release of this new book, just to get the word of mouth going as well and, and people sharing online and so on and so on. So you can do some, have all of these other things when it's on pre-order technically you could also do it if you just pop into the book.
Jesper (25m 31s):
But the problem is that when there is no time limit limit on things, you could come up with some arbitrary, the time name on and say, you have to do this within one week to get this price. You could do that as well, if you want it to. But yeah, but when you do and the, yeah,
Autumn (25m 48s):
Yeah. If you do the pre-order though, you can, Elise, you can get people excited about the giveaway. You know, you have you, maybe you have a month or two months to tell people when this releases there's going to be one week where if you get back to me with the first word in chapter 28, then you will be in for a drawling. You know, you get the two month window to let people know about that. Where if you just released the book and you say, OK, you have one a week to do that. If it's you just have those that one week to tell people, Hey, do this and you can get into it. So the time limit is totally different. And I'm surprised you didn't mentioned this, but with you, you have a pre-order you have the website where the book is going to be live. So if you want to set up any advertising, you have the link to the website where, or the book's going to be live.
Autumn (26m 32s):
You can actually get all your ducks in a row and have your advertising ready for launch week. And that's that's to me, I think Y the authors who do do pre-orders, they have all their ducks in a row. They have the advertising, they have the giveaway are the scavenger hunt after release. They have all of this excitement going on and they use that pre-order period to generate that excitement and to get people ready. And really, they know the rules, they, they know what's going to happen and they can celebrate what the author, where they author said, oh, by the way, really start yesterday that I'll tell you, you're like, Ugh, okay, what you said, you don't feel quite catching and you have to catch up. So I think pre-orders, Mmm.
Autumn (27m 13s):
Yeah, you have to have all your stuff together in the beginning, but it gives you a chance to have a lot more fun. And I think to celebrate, because you're not freaking out that you need to get the final format done and getting up there and all of those other things it's already to go, and you can kinda kick back in and just do some Instagram posts on it.
Jesper (27m 33s):
Oh yeah. I, at least I feel like the entire release process of a new book is it's less stressful. Once everything is just on pre-order and you have your time to get all those ducks in a row and so on and so on, and this is how I feel, but I do also know, and I have a full disclosure here. I do know that there are some disadvantages they have, and I mentioned before, right? Ah, how its in a sales on not counting against your sales rank and so on. So there are definitely this advantages to doing pre-orders but yeah, to me taking the stress out of the picture. Oh yeah, yeah. That is worth some money to
Autumn (28m 8s):
Me. Yeah, I agree. And it is interesting. So I did try to with a presale, I ran it on the last book in my tainted face series instead of putting it up for sale early on my website. And actually I've always been, I'm not a good procrastinator. I always do stuff as soon as I'm supposed to. Or like that's why assigned times and deadlines for it because if I don't do it when I meant to, and then forgot to do it. So I still have to put up the final books for sale on my website, which I do have some odd, some readers who always wait for me to do that. And I'm just realized that and I now feel really guilty and I've got to go on my website and get it all set up. But if you, I did try it out.
Autumn (28m 48s):
So instead of selling it directly on my website, I decided to do it and Smashwords pre-sale and I think it had mixed results. You know, it was hard because I only tried it once and I literally only did it as a two week window 'cause as you and I both know, I was very behind getting this last book out the door. It was very long, 150,000 words. So I it's not horribly long, but it was so long and I have other projects and other things going on. So it kinda got backburnered when it should of been front in Bernard. And I only had a two week pre-sale trial, but I did it public. And I also did it, did send the link to the mailing list and I did have a lot of people go and check it out, but I will have it.
Autumn (29m 31s):
The final result is I did not have a ton of sales. I think just like pre-orders just with everything is you have to have your ducks in a row and you have to let people know you have be either advertising it or on social media and posting about it in telling your newsletter quite a few times. And I think there's one, maybe two other things that might cause people to hesitate before they go and buy your presale book office Smashwords and I dunno if you can guess what those are you. Mm, Nope. I've got to put you on this, but
Jesper (30m 8s):
It's very late from you. My brain is not working. Oh, you know it is, we are recording now. My brain is not working anymore. You
Autumn (30m 14s):
Just going to make me to take pity on you. Cause you know, I always do. But the first one is not many leaders to know what Smashwords is. So they it's not Amazon. It's not Kobo. It's not Barnes and noble. And goodness know Smashwords has been around almost as long as Amazon has been selling eBooks, but still it's never made it in to that big name categories. So they see Smashwords and they're like, oh K and new profile and knew place to have library of books. And I do you think it's unfortunate. It's out of the problem. It's always as problem, but of all the seller's that are out there and Smashwords M really does it's best authors are from indie authors are from a third near and dear to mark Coker his heart.
Autumn (30m 58s):
He is an indie author. That's why he created this platform. So I, I respect so much that he does for indie authors. And that's what I try to tell people about smash where it's, because I don't want to see this one go away. I had like the pronoun when the pronoun was out there for authors. Oh, it was just a fantastic thing. And when they collapsed and closed up shop, I was very sad, but Smashwords, I don't want to see that happen because they have been leading a forefront of stuff and tools that are available to authors, indie authors, that the other platforms are slowly putting into place as well. So there are kind of like, you know, there, there scavenging off of smash words like coupons Smashwords you used to be the only place where you could create your own coupons.
Autumn (31m 43s):
And I just saw, I don't know if it was Kobo. I forget which other platform now allows you to do that as well. I was like, oh, I know where they got that from. They did not come up with that on their own and they're not doing it just to me that they're not doing adjust to compete with Amazon. They're doing it to compete with Smashwords actually. So that's one thing to keep in mind. So yes you, are you going to have some readers who maybe they'll follow the link and they'll see Smashwords I don't know. I don't know if I want to start a whole new profile. So I think you have that going against you. And then the other one in, I almost feel guilty saying this one. So I'm surprised you didn't guess, but have you been on the smash where its website and looked at it recently that you can think of it, but it was developed in, in 2010 ish I'm and it looks like it was developed in 2010 ish.
Autumn (32m 34s):
And to me that as it's so superficial to say is that, but it's a problem if you've never seen Smashwords not following it, you don't think it's superficial.
Jesper (32m 46s):
No, I don't think the superficial, because I mean, if you, if you come to a website or you, I mean, it's similar to that. So imagine somebody who wants to let's say buy one of our courses, for example. Yes. And then they go on to Am Writing fences, you have.com and this is something that could of been developed like 15 years ago. Would you, by the cost of, I wouldn't, I would think like, well, okay, if this is the quality than I don't wanna do that. So I understand that part, but I think even more, your first point is probably even more important in the sense that if you think about like the average reader, if you are, let's say you used to buying books on Kindle or even on Kobo, it doesn't matter.
Jesper (33m 26s):
But you, you used to buying eBooks from one of the major retailers like Kobo or Amazon. So you go on to Amazon, you find the book you wanna buy, you put a, you press, the one-click buy. And the, you say delivered too. My Kindle and whipped. You have to you the books on your Kindle, right? And as soon as you take the reader out of that environment, the first thing they will be asking themselves is how do I get this file on to my Kindle now? Because I can't click that button where it says delivered to my Kindle. And it might be that, you know, that it, at the end of the day, it's quite easy with Smashwords and so on it's because we sometimes have to same problem with BookFunnel yeah.
Jesper (34m 6s):
Where some readers comes to it and they didn't like, they don't understand how they can download the book and get on the kennel from BookFunnel. Even though like, there, there, there is like a button like click here and then on does a good job in explaining how to do it. And it's very, very easy, but I can easily say that because I've done it so many times. But for the, for the like 65 year old lady who likes to read fantasy books and just goes and click one button on Amazon and the need, the P S Kindle for her to go to BookFunnel or to go to the Smashwords so someplace where she's not used to be and freak out how to, which buttons to click to get. And it might be easy for us because we're used to this and we work in this environment everyday, but I think we have to keep in mind that most Redis they don't right.
Jesper (34m 53s):
That they are not familiar with all these different sites and services and whatnot. So for them it's massively confusing. Yeah,
Autumn (35m 1s):
I think, yeah. And in that case, you know, you're, you, maybe you get so send people there because they were really excited. Cause I had a ton of people who have followed the link to go and see like, oh my gosh, the books available in the last book in the series is available early. They were excited. But when you have never been to Smashwords before, if you don't know this story, because you know, what are the readers care that they support in the authors? And they're really fantastic. And all that, they land on a website that was built in 2010 and looked like it was build in 2010 and then they might not feel that comfortable saying, yeah, I can totally use and go with it. And I feel comfortable. I know they're going to support me if it's, it doesn't have that feeling that, that kind of sleek look, modern look.
Autumn (35m 47s):
And I'm like I said, it as part of me feels bad saying that because I know, I know how many people I've uploaded a book there and they're like your 28 in line to have him, you know, converted in, turned on to a computer, into a book because there's 28 people ahead of me uploading books at the exact same time. This website is active. All the time books are being published at all in on all the time. And I redesigned our course website while it was live. And even though I knew what I was doing to then take it from the staging site too, the actual website while it was live. And we have students who are like taking the class, even though, you know, you, you tell them I'm gonna to take you down for like two, three hours.
Autumn (36m 30s):
Hopefully everything will be fine. It's wracking it. It's a lot of work. And I can't imagine doing that on a website, the size of Smashwords actually that's oh yeah, for sure. I, there is a really funny story in, I cannot remember which book store it is, but they went and did an update recently and they accidentally turned everyone's book into the exact same one, like this dragon book, which it looks so as the dragon book and they apologized profusely. But I couldn't imagine being on the other side, having pushed the staging site to live and then going wholly, oh my God.
Autumn (37m 11s):
Yeah. We just screwed up the entire website. I would not, you could not pay well, you, you would have to pay me. Gosh, awful. A lot of money to put up with that level of paranoid craps so I can understand why the website, it hasn't been updated yet, but it shows, and I think it does hurt Smashwords itself. And also you, if you're using it in your sending readers who don't understand what Smashwords is, and they looked at the website and going, and it looks like, you know, 2010 Yahoo Yahoo or something, it does not look sleek and pretty. And so those are the right to especially also let me see.
Jesper (37m 51s):
Yeah, we actually also 'cause we were talking about putting in your credit card somewhere. Right. And, and that's where there that's really where the big barrier is because even getting people to, I mean, we've been talking at some point in the past, we talked about maybe if we, because there is quite a lot of people who don't like Facebook and probably like a year or maybe two years, I can't remember what quite a long, a while ago, before the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group became what it is today. There was a point in time when we were sort of debating, should we stay on Facebook? Or should we move somewhere else to mighty networks? We talked about at some point. Absolutely. But also then that doesn't even cost money for people.
Jesper (38m 32s):
But just the fact that you have to create a new user profile somewhere on the mighty networks app that you don't know, you're not familiar with it, that Facebook has on your phone. Everybody knows it. Everybody uses it. So already there is a barrier, but that if you then add on top that you need to put on your credit card and you don't know the brand, you don't notice. And maybe if it looks a bit dated as well, you could be worried about safety, ah, of putting on your credit card information as well. I mean, there's just so many barriers that you need to get across there and it's really not easy.
Autumn (39m 4s):
It is not. And I saw that with my results. Like I said, I did not advertise it heavy. I was just kind of, you, you know, that it was just, I was happy that we get the book out. Oh, that's that was done. I was happy with that. I was, I should have marketed it a hell of a lot more, but even so I did not see many for the number of people who did follow the list. Cause we have quite a big e-mail of reader list and to see the number of people who did follow it versus the number of people who, because you can see the status, I will say that in Smashwords that gives you a great stat. So you can see how many people looked at it. How many people download it to the sample, how many people bought it, those are all clearly laid out for you in your dashboard.
Autumn (39m 44s):
And to see those, the number of people who went and looked at the book versus the number of that. So that I actually went and bought that. You're like, yeah, that's something, these are readers who desperately want the last book in the series. And I did not have a ton of people biting it. I get more people who would buy it from me directly from my website. So this shows that there was something about the presale, something about that. That was just like people where like it's something stopped them from actually buying the book early. And as a reader who just, while you're on vacation, I red seven books, I've read the whole everything in lay BARR to NGOs M Grisha vers. So I ran all of her books. And as if I do, I can get one of the, the next one that she hints at early, I wouldn't be buying.
Autumn (40m 32s):
So knowing that if you're hopefully developing fans, who are that excited for the last book in the series, and they're not willing to pull out their credit card, something was stopping them. And my guess is not that they didn't want my book. It's something on the website.
Jesper (40m 48s):
Hm. But of course all have that doesn't change that a, the pre-sales function that my Coca and, and Smashwords developed in. It's very, very cool. So I would still say if, if the listener here missed out on the details, then go back and listen, listen to episode 118. When autumn talked to my coach and you can hear a lot more details about all the things this map, which can do if it was a very good interview. So
Autumn (41m 16s):
Yeah. Oh, in there just so people can know. I mean, there they work as a distributor or that you can send out your pre-orders to Cabo all those other platforms. I still like it. And they have an amazing customer service. So, you know, feel free to join, create an account. I think they're better than digital in many ways. And then send them a message saying, Hey, where are you gonna update your website, helped me out.
Jesper (41m 43s):
And don't see that autumn asked you to say,
Autumn (41m 46s):
Please don't get that mad at me. We've had a great conversation.
Jesper (41m 53s):
Oh right. So next Monday we are looking into a topic which has actually been brought up several times by different people. And that is how relevant race and gender is in fantasy.
Narrator (42m 4s):
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 Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. 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.