Hi everyone, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
This week, we’re talking about a special state of being: The Debut Author. Who are these mysterious creatures, caught between a new chapter of their lives and the rest of their careers? What do the fates and their futures have in store for them? And how the heck do you kill all of this time waiting for your book to be released?? Being a debut author is uncharted waters for most, how exactly do you navigate this? We talk about all of these things, yell about cookies, and Kaelyn nearly dies of shock after Rekka makes a sports analogy mid-episode.
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
We Make Books is a podcast for writer and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, and your thoughts on Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings Series.
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
Rekka:00:00 Welcome back to, we make books, a podcast about writing, publishing and everything in between. I'm Rekka Jay. I write science fiction and fantasy as RJ Theodore.
Kaelyn:00:08 And I'm Kaelyn Considine. I am the acquisitions editor for Parvus Press. And today we're talking about debut authors, uh, which Rekka still is one.
Kaelyn:00:20 As of when this is being released. But yeah, not for much longer now for much longer than two weeks.
Kaelyn:00:26 I will no longer be a debut author and we'll have to hang up that hat. So this episode was inspired. Well, we already had the idea to do an episode on being a debut author because I've seen it come up a lot and since we agreed that we would do that, it came up a few more times. Um, @ka_doore - K.A. Door, who is the author of the Perfect Assassin, did a tweet thread about the handbook that needs to be written for debut authors.
Kaelyn:00:54 Someone should handle that.
Kaelyn:00:55 Yes. And um, Kai did offer that. If anyone would like to pay her to take two weeks off of work, she would happily write that handbook. And so some of our topic points were taken right out of that. And then Melissa Caru, author of The Tethered Mage @MelissaCaru also sort of talked about what an odd sensation it is to be a debut author. So those were two that I wanted to just shout out and thank for, um, you know, just kind of guiding our conversation a little bit. And also, you know, like say, hey, we see you. You know, cause as you'll hear in this episode, sometimes you're just like, what am I doing? Who, who am I now that I have a book deal and, and what am I getting into.
Kaelyn:01:40 It's both an identity and existential crisis.
Rekka:01:43 And it's a big to do list as well. So, um, we talk about the tasks that you need to accomplish, the things your publisher will be doing. How would it talk to your publisher and your agent during this time when you feel like maybe they're just busy and they don't have time for you because they're supposed to be doing something and you shouldn't be bothering them. Stuff like that. And then also like how to feel and how not to feel and how to distract yourself from your feelings.
Kaelyn:02:04 Yeah. So, um, we hope you enjoyed the episode and by the way, stick around through the end of it because we have some news announcement type thing and then also we have a giveaway the end of the episode. Um, so, uh, stick around. Take a listen there and um, we hope that you enjoy Episode 11: Debut Authors
Kaelyn:02:32 We don't have the material to make cookies.
Rekka:02:32 We're going to grab stuff out of the kitchen.
Kaelyn:02:46 Rekka, how long have you known me now? YOu can't be like, oh, cookies and then not have cookies for me.
Rekka:02:51 We'll make cookies when we're done.
Kaelyn:02:53 God dammit, now I want a cookie.
Rekka:02:56 Let's get through these episodes and earn our cookies.
Kaelyn:02:59 But only because I like you.
Rekka:03:01 My idea for today was to talk about what life is either going to be like if you are a, uh, a newly signed author or what life is like if you are on your way to your first release stage or what life was like if you are listening and, and feeling these feels in retrospect.
Kaelyn:03:25 There's a lot of feelings going around here.
Rekka:03:27 I'm trying not to make this one like a tear jerker or my own sob story, but there is the potential for some feelings and having to talk about them.
Kaelyn:03:38 Hey, look feelings, feelings are okay, feelingare things.
Rekka:03:42 Are they though?
Kaelyn:03:44 I mean I don't have them personally, but I'm told that -
Rekka:03:48 I just feel like life would be easier without them.
Kaelyn:03:51 It is, it definitely is.
Rekka:03:54 Um, I tried to put my feelings in books and not contain them in my human self.
Kaelyn:04:00 Well that's great because then we keep getting books out of you. So as long as-
Rekka:04:04 It does work -
Kaelyn:04:05 As long as you keep uh, on that track, I'm happy. Um, so yeah, we're talking about, you know, what happens over the course of getting signed your pre-release and then your book coming out and what your, your life changes if you will or lack thereof. In some cases.
Rekka:04:22 Things are going to change except they also kind of aren't.
Rekka:04:26 Um, so when you have signed your book deal, unless you are an outlier, you don't get to quit your day job.
Kaelyn:04:35 I mean that would have to be one hell of an advance.
Rekka:04:37 It would. And considering you probably only get a portion of it when you first signed the contract, it would really have to be a hell of an advance because now whatever that is, if you were to quit your day job would have to last you probably like 18 months.
Kaelyn:04:50 Well, here's, here's, I'll take it a step farther. If you have an advance that would allow you to quit your day job, you're probably not a debut author.
Rekka:05:00 Right. Or, or somehow you got a really good agent -
Kaelyn:05:04 Or you're Robert Mueller.
Rekka:05:05 Is that his debut?
Kaelyn:05:08 Well No, I mean like, you know, if he gets a book deal he's going to get -
Kaelyn:05:13 I'm sure he'll be getting a multimillion dollar advance.
Rekka:05:16 Anyway, the um the advance you get is not going to allow you in 999 cases out of a thousand is not going to allow you to quit your day job. So your day to day life doesn't change except now you are a signed author and you have signed author responsibilities. You thought your manuscipt was done. Let me tell you, your manuscript's not done yet.
Kaelyn:05:42 Also, if you thought your manuscript was done, please go back and listen to the previous 10 episodes of this.
Rekka:05:47 Right. So there's more work to do on your manuscript. You will be, um, meeting and starting to work with your editor at your publisher. And um, you'll probably start to talk to different people at the publisher who are going to help with the launch. Uh, as you get closer to that. And so we just want to kinda list and you know, topic by topic, go over what kind of things you need to be expecting.
Kaelyn:06:16 Yeah. So we won't spend too much time on like the meeting with your editor kind of thing because I'm, we did a lot of that in episode three for the um, you know, sort of walking you through the process, but you'll meet your, you know, meet your editor officially if you haven't already. Chances are, you've probably talked to someone before this, um, sit down and get a timeline out, get a, you know, we expected this by this date, which again will probably be in your contract, read your contract. Um, what the main thing that you're going to kind of have to pay attention to before that leading up to this is marketing and promotion and your publisher should be handling a lot of that. Have a plan. Again, this is probably hopefully something you talked about before you sign with them. It might even be things in your contract.
Rekka:06:59 Which would be good because then you have it to reference and everyone has signed the agreement that these are the dates and the, and the things that are going to happen and the expectations for the marketing.
Kaelyn:07:13 Yeah. So leading up to your book release. Um, so you might be going, okay, well that's what like my publisher's doing, like, but I'm not, you know, I'm not buying ads and doing, uh, you know, marketing stuff. But you might be recruited to appear at different events or readings. Um, you might be asked to do like some promotional stuff, you know, interviews or things of that nature.
Rekka:07:39 Mmmhmm, so the other thing that you can be doing, you know, like up to this point, when you were a drafting author and you were writing your first book and you were on submission, if you had any presence on social media at all, it was probably related to like, oh, this is so hard. Or you know, commiserating with other writers and that sort of thing. And now you are an author with a publishing contract and you need to start thinking about how to get future readers onto your social media. So that's something you can sort of be doing is, um, looking at ways that you can build your platform for readers as well as, you know, your fellow writers or just your friends or the companies that you followed or whatever was your Twitter before. If you haven't started to cultivate it toward your writing presence, then you might want to start to like reconfigure how you talk on social media, not as in like become someone fake, start to talk about different things. Um, start to, you know, the process of launch and -
Kaelyn:08:47 Keep everyone up to date with you know, what's going on with you. Um, one thing is it's, it's just nice to see, I really enjoy seeing people that I know or work with, you know, saying like, oh, it's this many weeks or I just got this back and it's, it's nice. It's a way of, you know, kind of, because this is a community of people you probably got a lot of support from over the years. They should want to cheer you on.
Kaelyn:09:13 Um, but also it's just kind of one of those, and you know, it depends on how big of a following you have, obviously, but just keeping the reminders going that like, I have this book coming out.
Rekka:09:27 Right, because eventually you can do a cover reveal. You can, you know, tweet that and then pin it to the top of your feed. And now when someone goes to your Twitter profile, you've got your preorder link at the top. Um, now in your bio you can say the release dates and, um, you know, if you've got a short link, you can put that there. Your banner can now have your cover art on it. You know, now you see, you start to like turn this into sort of a funnel for somebody who appears at your profile for the first time. They know exactly how to find your book because you've made it easy for them. Part of your half of the marketing is just keeping up your presence and making it easy for people who find you to also find your books. Um, this does not mean that three times a day you need to tweet pre-order my book, preorder my book, pre-order my book. You're -
Kaelyn:10:20 Oh please, don't do that.
Rekka:10:21 You're going to chase people away with that.
Kaelyn:10:22 You are. Yeah. It's, um, you know, when something comes up or you know, something changes or you have news, it's always a nice little time to be like, Hey, I've got this book coming out also.
Rekka:10:32 So you have this publishing deal and you're talking about it on Twitter. Um, you know, you're not revealing anything that's, you know, secret to your contract or anything like that, but you are talking about the process and you're sharing it with people. And those people may be writers. Those people might be future readers. Um, they might be friends, but in the rest of your life, since you didn't get to quit your day job, um, you might be tempted to tell your coworkers about your new book or, uh, people at the grocery store, et Cetera.
Kaelyn:11:01 Random people in passing.
Rekka:11:05 Random people. That impulse may fade rather quickly. When you get to the same question from every single one of them thing, which was how much money did you make or when's the movie come out? Which is a great way of saying, I don't plan to read your book. I just want to know when you're famous. I just want to be able to say I knew you. Um, yeah, those, those are the types of questions you're going to get from people who don't really know how to engage. My, uh, my coworkers. Um, the one who was most excited for me basically said, so you don't need this place at all anymore and well, not quite.
Kaelyn:11:39 They don't know how things work.
Rekka:11:41 And I believe there is a perception because I left that job. I believe there's a perception that people thought I left it to go become a full time writer. And while that would be absolutely wonderful, that is not reality that I ever expect to come true of being able to support myself fully on my writing without pulling some serious hustle and probably working harder than I do now to market the self published books.
Kaelyn:12:06 Give us all of the words Rekka.
Rekka:12:08 Yes, and Parvus will be clamoring and say, no, you can't self publish that. We want that. So, um, so that is, that's like a weird realm that you're going to exist in. You want to effusively bubble over with this news and it's not going to be taken exactly how you mean it from a lot of people. Like, um, just to warn you, there are people who are going to think you're bragging. There's that, going back to that perception that you can now quit your day job and all this kind of stuff. People might think you're bragging because they don't understand what really hasn't changed all that much. Your book is going to come out, but, um, it doesn't mean that you're going to start driving a Tesla. I mean like those big advances, that's what people see because those are the ones that make the news.
Rekka:12:51 So that's what people might perceive that you are um, expressing when really, you know, like part of it is your excitement. Part of it is your relief because you know, you worked really hard and yes this is a good book and yes someone does want to publish it.
Kaelyn:13:07 You know, at the end of the day this is, this is hard to say. Your coworkers, if they're good people will say, that's great, congratulations. When does it come out? Oh, I'd love to preorder a copy as far as they're concerned, that's all they need to-
Rekka:13:16 Right. That conversation was a moment in time for them where it was like this is your new brain space where all you can think about is wanting to talk about this book all the time.
Kaelyn:13:27 So just, you know, be aware that like, yes, this is life changing for you. For other people it's something that they're aware of and they're happy for you about, but it doesn't really mean that much to them.
Rekka:13:38 And to that point, even within like the social media circles where you do have a lot more support, like you'll announce your book cover reveal and you'll get maybe a little bustle of attention that day, but it's going to fade similarly because not everyone has room on their plate to obsess over your book the way you do.
Rekka:13:57 And most people don't even want to. And most people are doing their own thing and have their own obsessions. And so that can lead to almost like a dysphoria about the process. It feels very strange because yes, it's happening, but there's nothing to tell people today that isn't the same thing you told them yesterday and it can feel, it can actually start to feel a little bit extra lonely, um, because you feel like everything should be great, but you're slightly disappointed because you can't talk about it. It's actually easier to talk about how you are still searching for an agent or a publisher than it is to say, I am still working on my copy editor.
Kaelyn:14:36 Well, there's more people to commiserate that the pool every time. This is the thing is every time you hit a success -
Rekka:14:43 Like a career point -
Kaelyn:14:44 You're taking another step up the pyramid, if you want to think of it that way. And there's coming -
Rekka:14:49 You were a small fish in a big, in a smaller pond,
Kaelyn:14:52 There's fewer and fewer people every step up. So, you know, when everyone's at the, you know, in the pond together going, I'm just trying to get my, well, let's say that's the ocean.
Rekka:15:04 [laughs] Yeah.
Kaelyn:15:05 I'm just trying to finish my book. Then you go to the, I finished my book. I'm just trying to get an agent. Then you get the agent, then you're just trying to get a publisher to pick it up. Then you get it published. Then every success narrows the field of people that you're in the same boat at.
Rekka:15:21 That's right. It's like a funnel.
Kaelyn:15:23 Yeah, exactly.
Rekka:15:24 And there's a lot of filters and the folks who were with you in the ocean aren't necessarily going to follow you into your little Koi pond if you wanna, you know, talk about like making it all the way to the end of it.
Kaelyn:15:37 Oh, it's definitely a Koi pond.
Rekka:15:39 Um, goldfish bowl?
Kaelyn:15:41 I like the Koi pond.
Kaelyn:15:42 Some flowers in there, a little water for landscaping, some pretty fish, nice plants.
Rekka:15:48 Um, so and too that, um, you know, along with that comes the imposter syndrome. And the funny thing is, and I've heard this mentioned many times, is that the imposter syndrome hits harder the more success you find.
Kaelyn:16:05 I was going to say actually this is part one of the impostor syndrome.
Rekka:16:08 Well, yeah.
Kaelyn:16:09 Before you're published.
Rekka:16:10 Yeah. Um, it's part of a whole process of, I think part of it is I feel like I should have eyes on me, but things haven't really changed all that much. Therefore I must be bad. That's kind of what posture and you know, like there's that game, um, where you like do the fortune cookie thing and you end every fortune cookie with in bed.
Rekka:16:32 Imposter Syndrome is that, but it ends every thought you have with therefore, I am a bad person and a bad writer and my books are bad and no one likes me. It's a very long version of the -
Kaelyn:16:43 That, that's a big one -
Rekka:16:45 But it's kind of what it's like. Um, things that are normal, things that everyone is experiencing end with this thought of, therefore I am bad and I should feel bad.
Kaelyn:16:56 Um, something about writers, and I'm going to say this and I don't mean it in the like re- bad reality star type way. Writers need attention. And while I know that sounds like a petulant child, I don't mean it in that way. I mean that this is such a vulnerable thing to do. So when I say need attention, I mean, need encouragement -
Rekka:17:26 We need a cheer squad.
Kaelyn:17:26 and attention and people going, you're doing the right thing because for a debut author, you don't know if you're doing the right thing. This has never happened before. So it's nerve wracking because it's, you're like, yes, you're out of the ocean, but now you're in like Lake Michigan and at least you knew what was going on in the ocean. So being you feel adrift a little bit. So getting attention, when I say that means encouragement, discussions, talks and plans about things. Just attention on you and your book because it makes writers think like, okay, yeah, I got this. We're good here.
Rekka:18:03 Yeah. And his frequent check-ins as you can get from your publisher, like encourage them to do that because it does, it just makes them, you know, cause it can get really quiet.
Kaelyn:18:11 I -
Rekka:18:12 They're part of the job.
Kaelyn:18:12 I mean, I will say my authors, you know, depending on their personality, some of them are happy just being off in little author world forever. And um, you know, only talking when we need to, but like a bunch of them, like I, I email them every other week, every week or so, and just be like, hey, how's everything going? Need anything, you know, how's the next book coming? Um, one because I like all of my authors and I like to hear from them, um, too. But I think authors have a thing a lot of times that they don't want to bother their editor too much. And like that's nonsense. You should absolutely, every time there's a problem, be talking to your editor. But, so I always try to do that just to open the door for like I'm having this problem!
Rekka:18:55 And if you have an agent, um, that you have another layer of like somebody that can be part of your process or, or help reassure you in these like scary, quiet moments and things like that. And so, um, the bigger the team of people that you work directly with on your books, I think the better you'll feel because you know, if, if you can set up a rapport with your agent or your editor or something like that where you are in touch pretty frequently. And also on that note, like know what you want out of the relationship from the start and -
Kaelyn:19:26 I was just going to say that before you, you know, really get into this, um, a good conversation to have with your agent and with your editor, especially your editor because you know, your agent, that's a different relationship. They work for you. They, um, your editor technically also works for you, but it's a different, it's a different relationship with them.
Rekka:19:46 There's a power balance there.
Kaelyn:19:47 So having a quick conversation of like, you know, check-ins, how much communication, um, you know, I always tell my authors, like, if you need something, email me just, or you can send me a text, you can DM me on Twitter, whatever is easiest for you. Um, just, you know, I'm fine with you being in constant communication. It doesn't have to be relegated to our scheduled calls. Um, some editors, you know, understandably don't, you know, want that, they'll have more boundary set. Um, I on the other hand, have no boundaries. So, um, yeah, so that's, I mean, that's most of the pre-stuff.
Rekka:20:26 Yeah. Um, and just further on that note, like don't pretend to be a super altogether, not at all anxious author, and then suddenly 10 months into the process or, or don't just suddenly have a breakdown on them. Like, be okay with like talking to them whenever you want to -
Kaelyn:20:46 Accept that this is going to be a stressful process and is going to put you in a very vulnerable position. Because if you try to keep up a brave face the entire time, you're going to lose your mind.
Rekka:20:57 You have allies in this now, that's what comes with the publishing contract. So, um, don't be afraid to reach out to them, if you have questions.
Kaelyn:21:05 It's a skill to acquire as well. But you know, eventually your book is going to come out. So then that's going to come with a whole other separate set of anxieties.
Rekka:21:15 You will have been getting busy as your book is approaching. And um, what I wanted to also point out is that like in these long stretches of silence, you can be finding your community also by going to conferences. And we've talked about this a little bit, I think in episode, uh, the first two episodes we talked about, things you can be doing while you wait.
Kaelyn:21:40 Oh yeah. Episode three after publication. We did a lot of, um, stuff about things that, you know, if you want, if you're interested, we talk a lot about that, but we, you know, we'll discuss it here, again, maybe go into a little more detail.
Rekka:21:51 Yeah, it's just, you know, there are other writers who are at these stages. They're at every stage of the process and these are the people that are going to understand what you're going through the most. So, um, you know, find them at the conferences, friend them on Twitter and then it won't be quite as lonely through this whole process.
Kaelyn:22:10 But also at these conferences and conventions that is a chance to promote yourself and your book.
Kaelyn:22:15 Going to these and signing up, you know, sign up for a panel or depending if they do that, do a reading. Um, first of all, they're a lot of fun and it's a really good experience to have. But I think, um, it, it gives you an idea of how hard it is to get up and talk about these things and you know, crowds and stagefright aside, this is something Rekka and I keep discovering when we're working on this, it's hard to organize your thoughts on this topic. Um, I always think that giving presentations about things or discussing them is a great way to sort of force yourself to sit down and confront realities.
Rekka:22:55 And one of the things you're going to be doing at this point when you're waiting for your book to come out is preparing these sort of like nonfiction autobiographical sort of stories.
Kaelyn:23:05 Oh yeah.
Rekka:23:05 And doing presentations at conferences is a great way to get in the mindset of nonfiction because it is a huge shift. I had a really hard time when I was writing the essays for Flotsam is released all the blog appearances and that sort of thing. I had a huge mind block of being able to go from nonfiction to fiction. It's a, it's a skill to develop and it's not the same as writing fiction.
Kaelyn:23:33 No, and I mean I will say as someone who, uh, prepares information like that for our releases writing, it sounds like it should be such an easy thing. I just need write my biography and tell a couple, you know, things about myself. Well, here's one thing maybe a lot of people don't consider. You really need about five versions of your, about me.
Kaelyn:23:56 One that is literally two sentences, like the kind that can just be stuck in the end of a magazine thing. One that's maybe a paragraph one that's two paragraphs, one that is considerably longer and more detailed and that's for if somebody really needs a lot of information about you, where you the author or the focus of everything. And then one that is kind of like a press release and that's the one that, it's funny cause I said press release, but it's actually what you're going to say out loud to people real quick about yourself. Think of it as if you're in an interview and like, so introduce yourself, introduce herself. I'm, you know, in my case it's, I'm Kaelyn Considine, I'm the Acquisitions Editor for Parvus Press and I also head up our editorial group and then you have to, the end of it should factor into what about you is relevant to the conversation, to the conversation that's taking place.
Rekka:24:52 And it should sound natural.
Rekka:24:54 Because, um, when you say these out loud, it's very different from writing for them and let them -
Kaelyn:24:58 Practice them. I mean you heard I just did mine right there and I have that memorized at this point. It's, it comes, it's, it's like a reflex now.
Rekka:25:08 Yeah. And that's important because you know, you get frazzled, you might, um, you know, sit down and they've got the mic running already, you, but you realize like you just sat down on the end of your sweatshirt or something like that and you've got to readjust and they're already asking you to introduce yourself. So like these things that are practiced ahead of time, and I don't mean to make it sound like you're regurgitating it by rote, but you want to be comfortable so that, um, you know, the simplest things aren't difficult in that moment because, you know, you'll need to focus on the interview questions, you'll need to focus on, you know, whatever the topic is. So, um -
Kaelyn:25:46 Get into this mindset where you are an author and you need to be able to communicate that quickly, effectively. And as a reflex, it will take a while to get used to that. Um, when I first started with Parvus, I did actually, this is, this is a good example. Um, I was just very, I won't say shy, but like people would, you know, I'd introduce myself and say on the Acquisitions Editor for Parvus Press, oh, that's so cool. I'm like, yeah, you know, it's not a big deal. The thing is it is a big deal and I should not have said that. But you want to, I don't want to say come off as humble, but like I personally get uncomfortable when people are like impressed with me and I think that's -
Rekka:26:33 A great way to deflect that without actually deflecting it is to say, yeah, I'm super excited about it. So it's like you are appreciative and grateful for what you have, but also like acknowledge that it's an awesome thing. Yeah. So that's something to like maybe, you know, put in your pocket for getting compliments is don't deflect compliments. Like if you were a football player and someone passed you the ball, you would not deflect it and what you want in -
Kaelyn:26:58 Rekka, was that a sports analogy??
Rekka:26:59 I, I, I've watched like a bunch of football in the past or -
Kaelyn:27:05 Oh my what? Oh, oh boy!
Rekka:27:07 Don't ask me to make a baseball analogy. I'm falling asleep because it's gone on too long.
Kaelyn:27:12 I'm sorry. We need to stop for a second listeners because I am, I'm so happy right now.
Rekka:27:20 Who says I'm going to watch football this fall?
Kaelyn:27:22 No, we're going to watch football now.
Rekka:27:25 Sorry, this is the end of the episodes. We're going to take a break. What is it? August through February and then we'll be back in March.
Kaelyn:27:31 My world has been rocked, you know, in the best of ways. Anyway -
Rekka:27:34 Don't deflect compliments because that is what you want and if you keep deflecting them, people will stop giving them to you.
Kaelyn:27:40 But I mean in my case I like, you know, and it was a mind shift. It was the, you know, I have to get myself into the like, Oh Haha. It's no big deal. Get away from that. And like now people were like, oh wow, that's really cool. Do you like it? I love it. It's a lot of work, but I really enjoy it. You know, don't you know, you can, there are ways to roll into it to say thank you. I'm really excited. Thank you. It's a lot of work. But I love doing it, you know -
Rekka:28:04 So, so, but like here's the thought. That person is excited about what you just told them. This is a great time to pitch a book at the same time. So by deflecting it, you end the conversation. This is like Improv. Yes and, not no.
Rekka:28:21 You know, so that's not sports ball referencing but I've never done it.
Kaelyn:28:27 I still, I don't know what I've said for the last, I'm going to have to go back and listen to this and find out what I actually said because I'm still in a daze from -
Rekka:28:34 No, you're good. You're good. Um, yeah. So you want to keep the conversation moving, especially if this person is now interested and enthusiastic because as an author you have a chance to tell them about your story. As an editor, you have a chance to tell them about your, you know, your upcoming calendar. These are not people that you want to say. Yeah. It was great talking to you by like, you know, when you're, when you aren't prepared to have these conversations ahead of time, that's what happens. You kind of like end up closed up because you realize, oh I should be saying-
Rekka:29:08 Sure, nevermind they left you know, so we're good with words but I'm talking out loud is a switch. A nonfiction is a switch and honestly now you need to be moving into marketing mode. You're pitching yourself, you're pitching your book, you're putting on the personality of the author you want to become.
Kaelyn:29:28 So Rekka, real quick, you went to Reader Con recently.
Rekka:29:31 I did.
Kaelyn:29:32 And if you don't mind talking about it.
Rekka:29:34 Yes. What did, what did we do leading up to Reader Con and this is to imagine that like Kaelyn would call me up because I had a three hour drive to Reader Con and I had expressed to her a couple of days before that it was a little nervous. I realized I was going to be on a podcast and um, so I knew I was going to be interviewed. I knew I was going to meet new people and that someone was going to turn to me and say, tell me about your book. And I have been so busy with lots of editing and lots of other things. And my, and the tricky part about having a second book coming out is that you kind of also have to pitch the first book because it's -
Kaelyn:30:12 You've got work that in a little bit.
Rekka:30:12 I suddenly said to Kaelyn, um, a few days before Reader Con kind of like, oh, I should be thinking about my pitch. And Kaelyn said, this sounds like an opportunity for me to dig in my dress up box and put on mustaches and hats and pretend to be someone else.
Kaelyn:30:28 One of them was a tutu.
Rekka:30:30 I like to imagine that you did dress up for each of these voices that you assumed. She called me while I was on the road to Reader Con it'a a three and a half hour, a little bit less. I think it was a three hour drive and she called me up with a different accent every time pretending in character to be somebody who was calling me for an interview or a newspaper clip -
Kaelyn:30:53 Or somebody at the convention, you know -
Rekka:30:55 BUt it was funny because you, you were so in character and I'm like, who is this person that just calls me up out of the blue and asks me to tell them.
Kaelyn:31:02 Why are you laughing at me?
Rekka:31:04 People don't -
Kaelyn:31:04 You don't laugh at people that want you talk to you.
Rekka:31:07 So I would be giggling awkwardly and Kaelyn would be like, I don't understand what's going on.
Kaelyn:31:12 Is there something funny happening. Is this a humorous book?
Rekka:31:15 So Kaelyn's Scottish accent, Russian accent. And what was the last one?
Kaelyn:31:22 Did I do?
Rekka:31:22 Transylvanian or something?
Kaelyn:31:24 I thought I did my Bronx accent.
Rekka:31:26 I don't think you did in New York.
Kaelyn:31:27 North Jersey?
Rekka:31:28 No. No.
Kaelyn:31:29 Okay. I don't remember.
Rekka:31:31 I, I would have given you like credit for authenticity based on your location. We had a few different accents going on. Some, some were more distracting than others. And -
Kaelyn:31:44 But see that's a test because things will be distracting us.
Rekka:31:47 The, yes, exactly. So she made me not memorize but sort of outline my -
Kaelyn:31:54 Bullet points.
Rekka:31:55 My book's marketing in my head so that when she asked me about it each time I told her it was different.
Kaelyn:32:00 And it was natural. It wasn't, uh.
Rekka:32:03 You want it conversational because otherwise it sounds like it wasn't a script that you had memorized otherwise it's a book report or something.
Kaelyn:32:09 Exactly, yeah. It's um, it's your back copy. So, um, you know, but the whole point of that is like, it sounds silly but you need to practice because you're not gonna realize how hard it is. I think everyone thinks like, oh well, whatever. I just have this book. It's like, uh, you know, I mean, okay, cool. Tell me about it. You have 30 seconds.
Rekka:32:29 And in fact that's a good point because many authors when they tell you about their book, and hopefully they've learned this by the time they've queried an agent and submitted it to a publisher, but many of them will just start telling you the plot from point a to point z.
Kaelyn:32:46 And you don't want to do that.
Rekka:32:47 That is not a book pitch.
Rekka:32:48 That is, that is going to make people eyes glaze over and they are going to walk away going, what the heck was that? Even if your book is amazing.
Kaelyn:32:56 Yeah. A book pitch is plot, character, setting are the three. If you have 30 seconds, that's kind of what you need and you're thinking of this going like, okay, so I need a sentence for each of those. No, they should all work together and maybe you will need, yeah, maybe you only need a couple of words just for the setting. It's set on a distant planet. It's in a hidden fairy forest. It's, don't, I'm gonna say this, don't overcomplicate it.
Rekka:33:24 Right. The things you think are important to your book and really fascinating probably don't matter so much in the pitch.
Kaelyn:33:31 That is, that's actually a very good point because this is something I come up with with authors a lot. Your favorite part of the book does not mean that that's the important part of the book.
Rekka:33:41 Or it's not the part that's going to sell it.
Rekka:33:43 So be careful about like how much you try to jam into your pitch. Just make it about the fascinating things. And some people hate comps, some people love comps, but try to have some comps on hand. And by comps we mean you know like titles that you can compare your book to that are going to express what a person might be able to expect when they open it up.
Kaelyn:34:06 So one last point and then I promise we'll stop talking about this because like we have planned to talk about pitches, but like this is really, you know, it is important -
Rekka:34:16 And this is a good moment. This is like you've got some downtime. This is really ideal time to be fixing.
Kaelyn:34:22 I know that this is not something everyone does wakes up and knows how to do, but learn how to read a situations and be self-aware. Um, if you're at a convention and there's a bunch of people all just hanging out talking, you know, you might go, go around and introduce yourself or you might say, yeah, since I've got this book coming out and like, oh, what's it about? Give your pitch and then stop.
Kaelyn:34:48 Because chances are no one else really, I mean, unless people are asking you questions about it, the thing is that if they really want to know, they're going to go buy the book and read it, but just be self aware, don't corner people and make them listen to you. Don't, um, you know, people that are clearly just not interested or being polite because here's the thing, you don't want to be the person that got the reputation for, oh my God, they would not stop talking.
Rekka:35:15 Oh, here they come.
Kaelyn:35:15 And I was like, um, it's, and it's a hard thing to do sometimes. Just, you know, reading people, engaging what they're, you know, thinking and feeling about what's happening. But, um, it's important because you don't want that reputation of like, oh my God, they just would not shut up, crap. They're coming. We gotta, we gotta get outta here. So just be self aware. Um,
Rekka:35:39 If someone introduces you at bar con to an agent and you need an agent, then absolutely have your pitch like fluid and ready to go. And that's a good point. At Bar con, you might have some alcohol in you. So you also want to practice your pitches when you might be stumbling over your tongue a little.
Kaelyn:35:55 Yeah and also you want to practice your self-restraint when you have some alcohol in you.
Rekka:36:00 And cut your alcohol with some club soda or maybe don't drink alcohol if it's not good for you,
Kaelyn:36:07 Just be self aware, just you know, know what, know what you're going to be like.
Kaelyn:36:13 In sobriety and otherwise.
Rekka:36:15 Yeah. So be realistic. And if it's going to impact your career negatively, then skip it.
Rekka:36:19 You can still hang out at Bar Con and sip a cranberry juice. So um so conferences, that's where we were getting at was are great way to um, hone this skill, your sales, but also build your community of support. So now your book is here. Your blog posts are out. They give you, like when those blog posts get launched at the, um, the sites that are hosting them, that's a great opportunity to retweet and share it and pitch your book again to people on Twitter, um, in a natural way because you have new content to deliver them. Um, you know, leading up to launch, you can post about how excited you are because genuine enthusiasm is going to be welcomed versus you know, just book pitch, book pitch, book pitch, book pitch. And so your book is out and what does that Book Launch Day like?
Kaelyn:37:13 Pretty much like any other day, any other Tuesday except you feel like something should be happening.
Rekka:37:20 So you might be tempted to reload your browser, you know, to see like are people talking about me? Check your phone a lot, you're checking your email a lot, looking on Amazon, watching the ranks, like try to have something else to do that day. Maybe if you can make plans to go to an aquarium or you know, like if you want to take the day off, you can, if, if going to work will keep you busy and distracted and won't give you opportunities to access like that might be the best place you can be. It's tough.
Kaelyn:37:50 Yeah. I think, um, it's, it's funny because I'm never quite sure what authors think is going to happen that day, but here's the, like, you're not going to have like a bunch of reviews flood in on your first day. You're not going to have like immediate sales numbers. You're not, there's really not a lot that can happen now in the coming weeks. And I would say even for the first week, there really isn't a lot that's going to be, it's going to be happening,
Rekka:38:16 Right. Except you do want to see that you are present. Yes. Like you know that the marketing has continued that um, you're talking about it on social media. Like you, hopefully you have the same sort of activity from your publisher. Um, any PR is going out. If there are articles about the release, you know, depending on how big it is, then you know, these are opportunities to share and keep that momentum going. And if you have some friends with their own audiences who have read the book, you can ask them to also, you know, help you out and tweet about how much they loved it, if they had a chance to read it.
Kaelyn:38:52 Exactly. So, um, yeah, so that's, I mean, that's debut day and there really is not much to it unfortunately.
Rekka:39:00 And the best thing you could do is work on book two.
Rekka:39:02 And you know, try to avoid good reads, try to um, you know, stay away from the reviews because they're not for you. Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself and don't hinge like your entire experience of being an author on what happens on that day.
Kaelyn:39:20 Yeah. So after release -
Rekka:39:22 So following your book launch, you will probably have some appearances to make at either libraries or bookstores. Um, indie bookstores. This is a great way to get them on board with your book, by having your events at their location because, um, they're going to expect that you're going to draw some audience. It's stuff that they can entice their, uh, customers to the store with. But, um, so that bookstore is happy with you. You've brought local people. Um, on that note, if you are trying to plan as many things as possible, you don't want to cannibalize the book sales by going to two places that are really close together. They're not going to appreciate it and you know, going to have a weird awkward quiet visit with one or both of those. So, um, try to drum up as many, you know, people that you can bring along, they'll try to drum up their customers to come along, things like that. Um, you have to expect that one or more of these might be a bit of a dud. You know, if you are just trying to find any place that you can get into.
Kaelyn:40:26 Keep your expectations, realistic too.
Rekka:40:28 Yeah. Because you don't know what the audience for your genre is going to be like at any of these locations. So it might be crickets at some of them and that's okay. You know, eventually someone always tends to wander in and -
Kaelyn:40:40 And just be like, hey, so what's your deal?
Rekka:40:43 Well, sometimes they know and other times they're there because you're an author that succeeded and they are somebody who wants to write a book. So that happens too. But, um, yeah, so you've got maybe some podcasts appearances is that are, uh, broadcasting as, or after your book comes out, you want to keep sharing those, some interviews, um, on blogs or you know, if you're lucky radio or something like that, get in touch with your local papers. Maybe they can announce your book launch. Um, so you have, um, one book out, chances are you've got another one in your contract or an option. And if you're a writer, you know, chances are you like doing that. So once the dust settles, and honestly, if you can make a habit of doing it in the midst of chaos, that's even better. But keep working on your writing.
Kaelyn:41:29 Well, I'm going to qualify this by saying that you're probably working on your next book before the first one's out.
Rekka:41:34 Yes, definitely.
Kaelyn:41:35 Um, so if nothing else, if you're overwhelmed and you're worried, keep working on your craft, keep like working on the thing that made you an offer.
Rekka:41:46 Now you will see other authors on Twitter and around talking about how awful the second book is. And so since that's such a topic, I think we can save that for another discussion.
Kaelyn:41:57 Oh, definitely. Yeah.
Rekka:41:58 There's a lot that goes into focusing on writing a book when one is coming out. Um, as we mentioned, all the distractions of copy edits coming in and stuff like that. So I think we could talk about that for another half an hour or -
Kaelyn:42:08 No, that'll be, that's another episode. No problem.
Rekka:42:11 Not making this one run on any longer than it already has. But yeah, I mean, you're not alone in this, and there are lots of other authors who have already gone through this. There are authors who are going through it at the exact same stage that you are right now, and there are authors who are looking forward to going through this, figure out the best way for you to cope with the strange silences and the process.
Kaelyn:42:29 Have a list of things that you can be working on, things that like your blog posts pit, practicing your pitch, and when you're feeling lost, confused and directionless, pull out that list and go, all right, I'm going to spend some time on this thing.
Kaelyn:42:45 Um, and just in life, I find that generally helps.
Rekka:42:49 But, um, knowing what the next thing that you need to do is sometimes a really clarifying thing that can just break the mood that you start to fall into the malaise of like, oh, am I good enough? Like you're, whether or not you're good enough and someone bought your book, so you are please, you are good enough, like repeat it into the mirror to yourself, but um, you know, break through that by just getting some work done.
Kaelyn:43:12 Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, um, I mean I think that's the episode.
Rekka:43:16 That was more than the episode.
Rekka:43:19 Sorry, folks.
Kaelyn:43:20 Um, so, you know, hoped that was informative or maybe a little, a reassuring hopefully. But, um, you know, it's good. It's good stuff to hear.
Rekka:43:29 And if this has, um, brought up more questions or anything like that, please reach out to us on Twitter, ask us some, you know, refining the questions and we can reapproach this topic with more specific things in mind in the future.
Kaelyn:43:42 Exactly. Yeah. So, um, thank you everyone for listening and, uh, where can they find us on the socials?
Rekka:43:46 They can find us @wmbcast on twitter and instagram and also at patreon.comWMBcast. And if you could leave a rating or review and the apple podcast app, we'd really appreciate that and we'll read those in a future episode and we will.
Rekka:44:03 Alright. Thanks everyone. We will talk to you in two weeks.
Kaelyn:44:07 Two weeks. Uh, wait. Well what's happening?
Rekka:44:11 Hold up a minute.
Kaelyn:44:11 So, um, in two weeks, our next episode is starting Submissions September, we're doing one episode a week for September, so you're getting four instead of just two like, you know -
Rekka:44:22 Potentially five.
Kaelyn:44:23 Potentially five. Yes, we have to-
Rekka:44:25 Possibly you are going to get five episodes.
Kaelyn:44:27 So we're covering pretty much all of this steps leading up to submitting your work and then also the process of doing that. So, um, we, when we were organizing, and I know it doesn't sound like it, but we do organize and you know, try to plan and think about things.
Rekka:44:46 How dare you?
Kaelyn:44:46 Um, but when we were kind of putting our thoughts together on submissions related topics, we were like, you know what, I feel like it's doing a disservice not to do all of these at once. And then we're like, well that would take two months. So that's a long time to go through all of these. So we decided we're going to do Submissions September, like I said, four episodes, one every Tuesday, possibly five episodes depending on, on how this some things a workout and we're just going to cover the topics related to that. And um, so we're excited to do it and I think it's, I think it's a good idea. Tell us it's a good idea.
Rekka:45:24 Well, yes. And at this point we are about to start recording it long before you're going to hear those episodes. So if you've asked us questions about submissions already, thank you so much. We had definitely taken those into consideration. But um, if you are listening to this episode at the end of August, then, um, all these episodes are already recorded. So if you have extra questions, go ahead and, and start shouting them at us. But if we don't answer them during September, no, it's just because of the timeline being what it is. And we'll get to them in another episode.
Kaelyn:45:56 If we get enough questions, we can do another episode, that's just a wrap up.
Rekka:46:01 Yeah, absolutely. Six episodes in one month. Why not?
Kaelyn:46:04 Hey, you know, we have nothing but time, right?
Rekka:46:08 Yeah. Time is great.
Kaelyn:46:09 So, um -
Rekka:46:10 Speaking of those book launches though, in the, in our next episode -
Kaelyn:46:14 Oh yes, yes.
Rekka:46:16 I would like to entice you all.
Kaelyn:46:18 So the first episode of submission, September is coming out on September 3rd, which also happens to be the book launch of "Salvage". Rekka's Second Book Day. Very excited.
Rekka:46:29 Or this awesome person, RJ Theodore.
Kaelyn:46:33 Yeah, I've heard her like, she's fine.
Rekka:46:36 Sheis exciting and she is magnificent and she is -
Kaelyn:46:39 The embodiment of all things right and good to in the world. Yes. Um, no Rekka's second novel in the Peridot Shift Trilogy, "Salvage" is being released that day. So, um, to celebrate that, uh, we're going to give away three copies of "Salvage" to, uh, I don't know. What do you want to make the stakes here?
Rekka:46:58 So the first three people to share this episode to their friends on Twitter and use the Hashtag #sporkpunkwieldersunite can choose from an ebook or a printed copy depending on how you prefer to read, because we definitely want you to read the book and, um, let us know if you've read "Flotsam" too, because if you haven't, there's, there's some spoilers in "Salvage" for "Flotsam", it's a one arc.
Kaelyn:47:23 Right. And print copy, you know, Rekka, will sign it, obviously.
Kaelyn:47:26 Yeah. So, um, so yeah. Okay. That's our episode. Uh, so September, Submission, September, get ready for that. We're excited. Uh, release of "Salvage". There's a lot of S-s coming up here.
Rekka:47:36 It's a very alliterative uh, sesserrating civil, months.
Kaelyn:47:41 So, yeah. Well, thank you everyone again, so much for listening and we'll see you in September. We're going to be a, we're going to be pretty tired.
Rekka:47:48 Yeah. If we, we, you know, the episodes will go live. We may not be alive.
Kaelyn:47:53 Yeah. So just remember us fondly. All right, thanks everyone.
Rekka:47:56 Take care.