I'm digging into how I balance the various demands of being a hybrid author, giving details on my current decision-tree, how I decide what to give my agent to submit to traditional publishing, etc.
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Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. Ah delightful.
Today is Monday July Twenty Fourth beginning of a new week um I I hope Christine's not listening the last week of July up ah I know I know um I mean we do have. 1 more work day of July next week on the thirty first but for all intensive purposes I think it's really funny that people get that one wrong. It should be for all intents and purposes but a very common mishearing is for all intensive. Purposes. Ah yeah, last week of July I mentioned in my discord this morning we have a ah channel for rainy days and Mondays I don't think anyone guessed the song lyric. Maybe they didn't care right. But I I did create a channel for rainy days and Mondays always get me down on a which you all get points if you can identify that song. It's an old one. It's a theme because that's what we talk about? you know, sort of like what a. What are our challenges for the week what are we wanting to overcome and I mentioned that I am on tenterhooks today and one of the girls who isn't that much younger than I am had never heard the word tenterhooks before in case, you all don't know what it means it's um.
A state of nervously waiting and apparently comes from I didn't know what it came from I figured it was some sort of tenter and hooks so it turns out a tenter is a frame for drying sheets and so forth or cloth for sales and you would hook it on there. And stretch it and so that's the state of being on tentraooks tentra hooked am I um yes so I sent Oneira off to agent Sarah on Friday I revised the first couple of chapters I was still tired. I was still mentally tired physically tired I actually feel much better today. Um, so I couldn't tell this book I couldn't tell if it was any good if it's just weird and so Sarah is.
Reading it and going to expedite the read. But um, the delightful ah Grace ah sorry Grace Draven I've got something in my shoe here and it's distracting me and I'm just going to deal with this like between my toes. You always hope. It's not something horrible. Right? Know what it was um, it's all good. It's all good. It wasn't anything horrible I can focus now. Anyway, Grace read the first 4 chapters for me because she's delightful human being. And we talked about it last night and and she gave it thumbs up. She did say she's so funny because she said so what audience do you think you're targeting for this book and I'm like Grace Darling I have no fucking clue. This is why I am. Asking you to read it and that's why you know this book fell on me. It insisted on being a written a particular way and yeah I don't know and she said well if it's a romance if it's a fantasy romance then you have pacing problems. And you have to really tie things up. You know, get things going a lot faster and I said you know that's the thing is it's not a romance. It doesn't end quite like a romance either and she said well you know then if it's if it's high fantasy then it's perfect and it's right on target and I'm like ah well.
Guess it's high fantasy. Ah um, but yeah, she said it's she said it's good. She did talk about 1 section that she said this one was really info dumping unless this comes back later and it's super important. You need to? um.
Trim that up some and it's funny because I remember writing that section I wrote it when I was at Wiscon and I would wrote it early in the morning when I woke up there and then I went out to the Farmer's market with my friend Susan.
And she you know asked me how the writing was going and and I said I just wrote the most bizarre stuff I don't even know why I wrote it and she's like well I'll just go with it. But it was this scene on ah not seen stuff ah stuff about night terrors and how they work in. In the Dream. So yeah, I'm not surprised that Grace id'd it as something that needs to be trimmed up I'll look at it. She said that she once um, wrote I've tried to remember the word that she used that she once wrote 1400 words on how to. Basically butcher a boar um field-dress a boar maybe and ah that her editor told her that she had to cut it down to 400 words, but these are things that that we do. So yeah I very rarely overwrite I very rarely write stuff that I have to cut out in chunks like that. But this is also like this. Stuff. She'd read other than those first 2 chapters that I'd revised otherwise it's all first draft and it's unusual for me to give people my full first draft so we'll see what agent Sarah says I know I've talked about this some but um, this is kind of where the.
Strategizing comes in for me as far as being a hybrid author I get asked this in interviews sometimes you know like how do I balance my traditionally published projects versus the. Indie projects you know and very often. The answer is and I think this is true for a lot of hybrid authors is it's like it's not a planned out thing. It's it's a scramble. You know I always think of ah you'll like the Einstein quote. How do I work? I grope. Um, yeah, you know it's like a lot of times. It's you know we we use the metaphor of juggling juggling the balls and you just try to not to drop any but sometimes you're like boom boom boom boom. Um, that's way it goes so anyway. Ah what I am doing as far as trying to figure out the balance of the projects is if Sarah says she wants to take this on trad sub.
I still have to do some revision work on it. But I also really really really need to get an indie project out soon if she doesn't want to take it on trad sub this is like in some ways the simplest solution if she says no um. And in some ways I'm kind of hoping that she says no and and for those of you wondering? No I didn't have to give it to Sarah if I had told Sarah no I'm just going to self-publish this one she would have been fine. Ah, it's it's partly a courtesy. Um, she works with me.
You'll like subrights you know, foreign rights and audio rights and that kind of thing she helps me with all sorts of stuff. So it's it's a courtesy for me to show her my new projects that's part of ah having a decent working relationship. But it's also she part of the reason to have an agent is she's got that feel for the market. So if she reads this and says you know I think we could really do something with submitting this to Xyzplaces. Ah because you know she has that insight now a friend of mine who self-publishes and self-publishes very very well ah like she had um, a book that came out the beginning of this year that did really well for her on Kindle unlimited. And she made $60000 on it in one month and which is great. She doesn't make that every month and she spends a lot of money on ants but she she I mean she did great right? I would love to get that kind of payday. So she said to me. Why am I even taking stuff out to try anymore when I can make so much more money self-publishing and I said well a because I'm not making $60000 a month with my Indie projects I might have a different perspective if that were the case. Um.
But also I do think there are some good reasons to go with traditional publishing. Um and I think it will become. We're we're at an interesting nexus grace and I were talking about this some last night ah I got another newsletter from um Damonza saying that they're now working up a they said they're collaborating with this service. It's not clear to me how much of this is like they're how much they're involved but there's going to be a service. That presumably authors can buy into where we can be certified have our work certified is written by humans and they're going to use ironically enough Ai to scan a manuscript and. Determine how much of it was written by Ai and then authors can like receive this certification saying that we are not that we did not use the Ai to write our books. Um, and yeah, presumably we will pay for this please reference. All of the times that I have talked about sewing shovels to gold miners. You could probably look up the tag on that in the podcasts I won't go into that rant today if you're really confused you can ask me. So.
Um, but I think that 1 thing about traditional publishing. It'll be interesting to see because obviously hollywood is talking about wanting to use Ai for writing but I think traditional publishing gives still gives a level of validation. Ah, they so. Still have the reach into bookstore distribution things like bookstore book festivals and so forth. Also if I got a nice enough tread deal. It would be money up front that I don't have to spend. Um, and it could be a really nice chunk and then you start getting into things like like the movies and the foreign rights and I would love to crack into that level of things.
So um, so yes I know I had a point and I knew that I was sort of like going tangent to tangent which is always a bad Always a bad thing so talking to Grace. Um, why am I doing trad so I almost hope. That Sarah will say no that she doesn't want to submit this to trad because it will make my decision tree easier on the one hand I do want I mean I would love it if she sold it to tread and got me an amazing deal I think in some ways it would be easier. This is my second reason. Why I think it would be much. It would be better if she does want to take it to traditional publishing because I am I think they might have a better shot at marketing it I think if we sold it to someone who really does fantasy then I think it'll. Be more straightforward. However, the signs are kind of lining up and Sarah's decision will be the ultimate sign but I did check with with my cover artist rather and asked her if there was any way that she could do a cover for me last minute for August. If I decided to self-publishlish Oneira and she said ah she says as a matter of fact, she had a cancellation so she could work me in so there's a sign. Okay, so that's that's the simple decision for you right? Sarah says no on taking Oneira to traditional publishing i.
Spend the next couple of weeks getting that ready to self-publish it in August ah, if Sarah does want to take it to to traditional publishing then I really need to get an indie project out there I really need to get twisted magic written. That's. That's the big thing and so that will take priority. The other thing that's going on is that Amethyst Run is still out on submission and we're getting these um enthusiastic replies from editors. But. They keep asking for the full manuscript and and word on the street is like 1 of them. The gossip is that this editor is no longer allowed to buy partial manuscripts because they bought too many. From authors that are like 2 to 3 years behind on finishing the book 2 to 3 years people ah and I'm I'm amused that both Darynda and Grace who are um, who tend to miss deadlines they're they're both. Just. That's the kind of writer they are ah and they were both like well I feel so much better now I've never been 2 to 3 years behind Deadline months yes um I know Darynda has been behind by at least a year on one but not 2 to 3.
Right? It's all it's all a matter of a scale. So anyway, ah it it annoys me because I am the writer who who does not Miss deadlines I mean you all know that I've bumped ah a couple but in general. And I don't think I've ever missed. In fact I know I've never missed a traditional publishing deadline. There was one time when I asked for an extra month and my editor was so happily agreeing to that that um I knew he had built in that time.
He was like oh sure, no problem because they do figure in extra time for us to miss our deadlines knowing us and how we work I mean it's the nature of it's the nature of creation. Um, but. Yeah, it's like I would actually if they bought this book I would finish it on time. But apparently this editor needs to fill their lineup right now so they want me to finish writing that book. But so then here we come back to wig on the other side. If I spend time finishing that book. There's no guarantee I'll sell it I guess I can self-publish it. Ah and so I'll have a couple of things in my pipeline but you know summertime sales drop and I need that I need that income. So. This is the the balancing act and some ways like my friend who is like doing quite well with this you know making 60 k in a month she has gone to you know she's just going to self-publish and I know a lot of authors who've done this. It's it's a simpler decision. You don't have to deal with this decision tree like I'm thinking about 3 different works and how can I write them all in time. ah ah yeah if only I could write faster and I know why I write fast I mean everybody's always telling me how I write fast and.
There are several people who are just amazed that I've already finished onera and it's like well that one wrote fast. It did write fast and it and Grace and I were talking about that too when she was saying well if you wanted it to be a fantasy romance. You'd have to do a lot of work. On it. You'd have to really eviscerate it and I said yeah and it's not that I'm not willing to do the work I'm well I kind of don't want to but also because this book dropped on me from out of the sky and you know sprung full grown from my forehead as it were. I want to honor that I want to honor that this book wants to be what it wants to be so if Sarah does come back saying you know? oh well, if I you know, changed it up to make it be a different genre I would tell her no because I do want to honor this book. I also have an idea for how the cover would look so so it'll be very interesting where we are now all you are sharing the hooks on my tentor for us to find out what does agent Sarah think. Ah, yeah, but it was very good to have Grace's feedback to have her tell me? Oh yeah, this is actually fantasy. So all of you lovelys out there if I do end up self publishing this.
I'm gonna be hitting you all up because ah I'm gonna need help getting the whole message across that this is this is really a pure fantasy. It does have a romance in it. But it's um. Definitely a romantic subplot and it's not It's it's very interesting for me to have figured out. Um, had this experience of how very differently paced. It is and the order of information so far as this being. Really a fantasy novel as opposed to strongly romance. It makes me see how my other books are are very are very much romance plot structured so and this one is a fantasy plot which. Mary Robinette Kowal argues there is no fantasy plot and I had a hard time coming up with a counter argument. So anyway, I'm just going to keep revising oera because I have to revise it either way I thought about switching to one of these other projects but ah. This book has to be revised no matter where we are on that decision tree. So that's what I'm gonna work on hope that you all are being able to make effective decisions this week and that they are productive ones for you.
And I will talk to you all on Friday and we'll have news then or you can watch my socials you probably I'll mention it before that you all take care bye bye.