Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!
In this episode I chat with speculative fiction author, Jennifer Martain, about all things Indie Publishing.
Jennifer shares why she chose Indie Publishing over Traditional, why she prefers newsletters over social media, why deadlines are an author’s best friend, and why you absolutely need to accept who you are and just be yourself.
As an added treat, Jennifer shares where she gets her ideas from. (Hint: Personal experience!) All the more intriguing when she writes about psychic abilities, aliens, angels, and multiple realities.
You’re not going to want to miss this episode!
To connect with Jennifer visit her website at https://jennifermartain.com/.
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Find the full transcript of this episode below.
Episode 17: Navigating Indie Publishing with Jennifer Martain
Jo: Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. Today, I chat with author, Jennifer Martain, about all things Indie Publishing. Jennifer is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina. As a child, and immature adult, she wanted to be everything from a cardiovascular surgeon to an actress. Around age 40 she finally decided to just be herself and has been much happier ever since. Jennifer loves to travel and has a special fondness for megalithic structures that challenge our current understanding of human civilization. Jennifer writes speculative fiction. Her first book, Daughters of Men, is such a wonderful read and includes angels, psychic powers, aliens, and multiple realities.
In this episode, Jennifer, not only shares how many of her story ideas draw from personal experience, yes, you heard that right, but also, why she chose Indie Publishing over Traditional, why she prefers newsletters over social media, why deadlines are an author’s best friend, and why you absolutely need to accept who you are and just be yourself.
There are honestly so many practical tips in this episode to build your brand and start your author career. You are going to need a pen and paper for this one.
So when you’re ready, grab yourself a drink, find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the show.
Welcome to the show, Jennifer. I’m so excited to have you here. One of the things that I think is so special about the Indie Author community is that there are so many amazing people out there so willing to support each other. And so you and I kind of crossed through newsletter swaps, and then we read each other’s books, I think, and have swapped emails and I’m just so excited to learn more about your author journey, but also because I think we already share a lot in common in that we have this interest and fascination with the weird and wonderful. So welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you here.
Jennifer: Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me because I was excited just to have a little girl chat just anyway.
Jo: Awesome. So I want to start just with you telling my audience and myself as well. What pushed you into becoming a published author? What has your writing journey looked like?
Jennifer: Well, I think like a lot of us, from a very young age writing was something that I just did and I’m lucky enough that there were other things that I was fairly good at. But I think this is the one that got me, the, you know, the pats on the back from the teacher or, you know, or mom and dad would stop what they were doing and be like, wow, that was a really great story, which of course really wasn’t, but you know, they’re encouraging me. So I think that it was just always in the back of my mind, something that I felt like I, I did have sort of an innate skill for. I definitely qualify that with a whole, lots of learning and journey involved, you know, but, and then like a lot of other people, by the time I went to college, I ended up in the English program, I ended up getting, you know, actually kind of a dual degree. It was kind of a crazy, funny thing, but anyway, so part of my degree represents, basically English that’s in a nutshell, liberal arts degree, right? Like what is it really used for? Well, that’s a good question. I took some creative writing classes as well as of course all the literature classes and that sort of thing. But I think that really, what it came down to for me was that I, I just loved reading. I loved from a very young age being transported into these worlds that were way better and cooler and more interesting than mine, you know?
So , and so to be able to, hopefully, hone that type of an ability to share what was going on in my crazy brain, you know, with other people to hopefully give them an escape and maybe, you know, maybe help bridge a gap somewhere. Like I don’t want to sound all, you know, presumptuous about it, but I, I think that when we’re reading things that really touch us, we do tend to learn a little something about not just the characters we’re reading about, but we learn a little bit of something about ourselves, I think. Even if it’s just the juxtaposition, you know, oh, well I would never be that horrible person I’m really enjoying reading about, but I do tend to do this, you know, that sort of thing. So it’s, that’s kind of a rambling answer, but in a nutshell, I think that’s the short version. Surprisingly, that’s the short version.
Jo: That’s cool. So you’ve got four books out at the, oh, sorry. You’ve got two books at the moment
Jennifer: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Yes. I I’m all about trying to get the other two out, so things.
Jennifer: And that, I think speaks to the journey that your podcast represents is, you know, how we keep ourselves motivated, how we keep ourselves moving. Cuz I do technically have two published things. One is a very long novel, you know, traditional publishers would never have wanted it. It’s 400 pages long. And the other actually just released is just a short little 8,000 word novelette, just fun, quick, easy to read. And then the other two that are on the, on the table for this year that I’m still working on that journey, I do still see this path hopefully happening of two more novels, before the end of the year. And I still find my brain a little sidetracked by some other short projects along the way. So we’ll see.
Jo: That’s awesome. Cause I saw on your website too, that you have lots of poems as well, so you’re a poet as well, which is really cool.
Jennifer: Well, thank you. I do enjoy writing poetry. I don’t know if that makes me a poet or it just makes me somebody that likes to do it
Jo: Well, they’re beautiful.
Jennifer: Well, thank you. Thank you. I have to say I was a little scarred in college by a poetry professor, well actually, he was a TA, so I’ll, I’ll give him that, but who told me I didn’t qualify for the advanced level class because I wasn’t good enough. And then from then on, I was not a poet
Jo: Oh, I hate that.
Jennifer: My face is turning red.
Jo: Yeah, no, that, that’s so horrible. It always breaks my heart when people have had that kind of negative feedback or negative judgements made and then, you know, it’s so easy to kind of shut down from that. But you obviously didn’t because you’ve got these beautiful poems up on your website, which is so cool.
Jennifer: Thank you. That, that was part of my, um, I think my life journey has been, you know, kind of unique like everybody’s, cause I don’t mean like mine’s special. But speaking for myself, I really did not start, coming into my own and feeling confident of myself, including my mistakes and all the things I’m still working on, so all my shortcomings. But I sort of started accepting my package around age 40. To me, the 40th birthday was a really big milestone. I was super, super excited, chopped all my hair off, let my hair grow out gray and just moved on. And so part of that was starting that writing path, taking it a little more seriously, it’s still taking me, you know, a decade. But just accepting that, yeah, this is where I’m going to end up that sort of thing and taking these little nibbles at it while I worked other day jobs and that sort of thing, but one of them was, you know, what, if people don’t like the poetry, they can click the screen off. There you go.
Jo: Awesome. I love that. There is something to be said about that magical number 40, because I’ve talked to a lot of people that have always wanted to write or had a passion for writing. And then there is something about that age that kinda spurs them into not giving a damn about what other people think and just doing it.
Jennifer: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And I think what’s fascinating to me is, you know, again, I realize this being a podcast, but I do have white hair now, and running into young ladies, you know, so clearly in their twenties and the hair’s an easy thing. So to them, that is something that they, they stop, they say something about, you know, oh, you’re so confident, to let your hair grow or whatever. And I’m like, okay, younger self. I am talking to you now, since you said something, I know I’m a random stranger in line at the grocery store, but , don’t wait until you’re my age. Just be yourself now. I could have started like what you’re talking about, Jo, you know, we, we could start this path so much earlier and for various reasons in society and family and our own self doubt, we don’t. Yeah. And you know, or most of us don’t some do, and, and they’re the rare soul and I’m like, wow, you’re so impressive at 20 years old. Right?
Jennifer: I was not, I was a mess
Jo: I can totally resonate with that because I was 39 when I really got serious about writing and yeah, so it’s only really been over the last couple of years. Now, I think I saw on your website though, Daughters of Men, which is your amazing novel that I’ve read.
Jennifer: Oh, thank you.
Jo: Really, really loved. But I think you wrote on there that in the first draft was written about a decade ago. Is that right?
Jennifer: Yes, definitely. Definitely. I cranked it out , actually I was laid off from a job that I hated, which was a gift from heaven. Um, I stuck it out there as long as I possibly could. It was one of those truly miserable dynamics where, you know, every day was a slog, tears, indigestion, like just all of it.
Jennifer: And, um, and when I was laid off, I had this concept like, oh, you know, I, I’ve been doing writing off and on and you know, and I’m fairly decent at it. And why can’t I write a novel, of course I can write a novel and I’m gonna sit down and I’m gonna write it in three months and it’s gonna be fantastic. And I’m going to suddenly be rich and famous and it’s all gonna be wonderful . Right. So at that point I was still doing some personal self growth. So I have to say just the mere act of sitting my, you know, butt in a chair, as a lot of writers say, just sitting down to do it and crank it out was a miracle, not even a small miracle. It was a big miracle. Unfortunately though, I thought it was really great and it wasn’t
Jo: As we do. Yeah.
Jennifer: Yeah. It just wasn’t, it just wasn’t. I really, I did not understand, how to structure a story. I had written previous to that, I had written short works that actually, interestingly enough, I did have an innate sense of structure for, but in the longer format I got so wrapped up in the juiciness of the characters angst, and this moment, you know, and all that sort of thing that I really kind of got a little, like, wonky about it. I, I kind of got a little lost. These other characters popped up and kind of ticked the story out away from me. And it just got a little crazy. So the short version is yes, I did crank out a first draft, but then I really did nothing with it for a number of years. I would occasionally, maybe every 18 months, two years or so, I’d pull it back out, read it again and go, okay, what’s wrong with this? It’s not bad. What’s making it just not publishable? And it genuinely took me a really long time to kind of get a sense of the problems with it. And I have to say, then I probably should have just printed, it probably should have just used scissors and cut out the parts that were worth saving and started from scratch. I did not. So for whatever my years and wrinkles and wisdom is worth, you know, the whole kill your darling, I did this the hard way, I edited it off and on for another couple of years, you know? Like, and so even now I, it is something that I’m proud of, but it’s something that my next one will be better. You know, I still, if I had just started from scratch, it would have been cleaner and I wish I had. Yeah. So, yeah, but golly, I love the angst.
Jo: Yeah. Well, I know you need that in a story, right? It’s so good. It’s so good. That’s really cool that you pushed through and put it out there in the world too. And knowing that your next book’s gonna be better because that’s the way that I think the mindset that I think we all need to adopt is you know, start messy, get it out there, put it in the world, prove to yourself that you can do it, and know that every new book, every new story, you are leveling up, you’re gonna get better. That experience is gonna count for something, but just starting is so important.
Jennifer: Exactly. We, you know, we tend to set these glass ceilings for ourselves. It’s, you know, really common phrase, but it’s, for me, I’m such a visual person. Like I can really envision it right there, crystal and just overhead brushing my scalp you know. And there is that, you know, there’s that fear of just putting something out there. Also, when I did put it out, the cover was horrific. And, and I say that with all the love in my heart, to the artist that worked with me for the original artwork, he, I just have to say in case one of his relatives is listening to your podcast, he was recommended through some past clients of mine and my day job and that sort of thing. And he himself is fantastic, but as we were working together and I’m trying to tell him what I want, we just lost that vision. Mm. And so, you know, not only did the story go out and really probably needed some better edits for structure, but also it had this cover that then within a few months, I’m like, what was I thinking? You know? So, and then, and so there, there, you know, every once in a while, I’ll see that old cover, like Goodreads, hasn’t gotten rid of it, you know, May and Goodreads. Like, you can still see it as the first edition, you know, that sort of thing. And it stinks that I just have to, we all have to, but speaking for myself, I just have to accept, having a chat with someone in a situation like this, especially I really hope somebody is listening and going, wow, it’s not just me. Right? Like, you know, we do put things out there with our best intentions and six months later we realized it really wasn’t our best.
Jo: Absolutely. Absolutely. I totally resonate with that. I put out my first book and I didn’t even really love the main character. Of, of all my books, a lot of people really love that particular book, but I can’t even bring myself to read it again. I’m just like, I just don’t love it. Like, I’m just…
Jennifer: I haven’t read your first one yet. I’m still, I’m nearly finished with Unspoken Truths, really enjoying it. And I loved your short story collection. Oh my golly. I loved that. Oh, it was so addictive. I was like more, more.
Jo: Thank you. I appreciate that. That’s cool. That’s cool. It’s funny cuz Unspoken Truths is my favorite. That’s my baby. I put my heart and soul and everything. And I just kinda got a meh reception. You all love the other one that I wasn’t quite so passionate about.
Jennifer: Isn’t that funny sometimes, that might almost need to be a separate podcast episode for you to consider. Is that whole, dare I say, bad advice to writing to market. I think that that is something that has a place, but I do think that a lot of potentially really talented writers get confused by writing to market. What does that really mean? And if someone that, whether I intend to or not, I continue to produce, speculative fiction just because I can’t seem to stay within a genre to save my life. That’s all I can tell you. Just doesn’t seem to happen.
Jo: Yeah. And I totally understand that, I have difficulty with that too. And I guess it’s different for everybody. If you are in it for the money, then writing to market is probably what you need to do and go for those high earning genres like romance and mystery and thrillers, and that. For myself, I want to write because it makes me happy. And so, my stories struggle a little bit with the genre as well, but you know, if I’m enjoying it, I figure there’s somebody else who’s out there who’s going to love it as much as me. So, yeah. Yeah.
Jennifer: I absolutely think so as well. And just so that I don’t sound like a hypocrite by accident. I don’t have a problem with writing to market, I actually am about to start one of the short projects that I kind of have in mind when I can separate the time to do it, is a writing to market project. You know, it’s something that, I will find joy in doing it because of this particular thing, which I’ll share with you as soon as I can. OK. It’s something that I think will be, from a financial standpoint, it’ll be something that should bring in a regular number of views, gradually increasing readership, and hopefully put some money in the bank would be fantastic, right? Like nothing wrong with that. But in the meantime I hear you because that’s how I feel as well. You know, if we’re, if we’re getting joy from something that we’re creating. I think there’s a little bit of the Field of Dreams-ness about it, right? If you build it, they will come. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t, I shouldn’t say it doesn’t mean we don’t still have work to do, you know, we, we still need, to make sure that they can find it, you know, all the aspects that cover, metadata, description, website, these sorts of things. But essentially I’m less worried about finding the type of reader who doesn’t mind not knowing what genre it is. Because hopefully I can do my job to captivate her with the sample pages, you know? Yeah. I mean, that would be the hope. Right. And I am all about giving away as much as possible in the sample pages. If Amazon and Barnes and Noble and everybody else would let me give away 95% of the book, I’d be glad to, you know.
Jo: I love that. That’s so cool. So cool. I haven’t seen the other iteration of the cover for Daughters of Men. So when did you first publish ? When did you first publish it then?
Jennifer: So it came out in November of 2019. Okay. There’s actually a mildly funny story that may have value to your listeners that are writers. I don’t know, but I just got, as we like to say, a wild hair up my ass and decided that, you know, dangamit, next week was the week. That was it. I’d sat on this thing long enough. I’d edited it long enough. It was gonna be going out. It was gonna go up on Amazon, you know, whatever, just stick it out there. So I crammed all the information I could cause I’m a research freak, into, oh, buying a bundle of ISBNs because I’m gonna have more books, and oh, let me set up, you know, all these sorts of things and, I even paid, not much actually- are you familiar with David Wogahn? I think it’s how you pronounce this, his last name. W O G A H N, I believe. Actually a really great resource as far as like blog posts and help. Oh, cool. And he has a, a consulting business where you, when you need to ask himself publishing advice, you know, he’s, he’s a really useful resource. So anyways, I even paid him a little bit, just to have a phone call with me, and he literally was like, wait. You wanna publish in a week, you’ve waited this many years and now you’re gonna rush? He really in a very polite and kind and professional way, tried to talk me out of it. He was like, you don’t have any reviews ready to go. You haven’t tried to drive any presales. You haven’t done, you know, all these things. And I’m like, dude, you don’t really wanna hear what’s wrong in my life. So let me just assure you that it needs to happen and it needs to happen next week.
Jo: Oh my gosh. That’s I did. Yeah. good on you. There’s you know, for your first book and that there’s something to be said with just starting messy, just proving to yourself that you can do it and the cool thing-
Jennifer: that’s what I had to do.
Jo: Yeah. And the cool thing about the indie author world is that that book is forever yours. You can pull it anytime you like, you can put a new cover on it. You can relaunch it. You can rewrite the whole thing, if you like. You’ve got all that power and control.
Jennifer: And I’m sure that, and I don’t mind speaking candidly because Amazon’s not listening, I’m sure that I really pushed the boundaries of, once I saw it as an ebook and I caught mistakes, I hadn’t caught for the past 10 years, you know, that kind of thing or whatever, I kept uploading again and again, like fresh versions. I’m not sure how, this type of moss grows around the world, but around here in the south, in the, Eastern south Eastern United States, we have Spanish Moss, and it’s beautiful gray, kind of creepy looking moss, tendrils that hang down from certain trees, usually Oaks, and that sort of thing. And I had always thought it was capitalized. I thought Spanish was capitalized. Like, you know, little mistakes like that, that you put out there in the world and sure enough, there’s going somebody who can’t think of anything else to say. You know, I’m a master gardener and spanish moss is not capitalized.
Jo: See, I would’ve had no idea, that would’ve been my first go-to too, was that it would be capitalized, but there we are.
Jennifer: I was like, well, you know, yeah, but mine is set in a parallel world, it’s capitalized there. What can I tell-
Jo: Exactly, right, exactly. Yeah. This is a work of fiction. So anything goes. So what made you then choose being an indie author versus traditional.
Jennifer: Yeah, great question. After I wrote my first draft, which again, hindsight telling me exactly why it got rejected, I did submit it, actually so many years ago, I’m trying now I, I think I might have only submitted it to one potential agent, because I, I don’t deal with rejection well, it’s still something I’m working on. And so it was an author, actually another local author, totally different genre, our paths crossed a number of years ago, so for a brief time, we were that sort of like girlfriends where, you know, you occasionally get coffee together kind of stuff. And then, and then later on you realize you really, really don’t have anything much in common, so I’d like to still call her friends, but haven’t seen her in 10 years, but nonetheless, she’s very good at what she does. She actually did have a literary agent, with one of the big agencies, and the junior agent that would occasionally help her was trying to get clients. So she actually said I’ll put in a good word for you, just make sure your query letter is fantastic. And I’m like, oh God, no stress there. Yes. So so, I’m gathering that my query letter wasn’t fantastic. I was also allowed to submit 10 pages, which in hindsight clearly also were not fantastic. But I did have these daydreams of doing the traditional route because isn’t that what we all sort of grow up, it’s kind of like the Disney princess thought, right? Like, you know, oh, the world will be perfect and the chipmunks will come out and sing, if I have a traditional gig. You know, and it just did not work. And then I got frustrated and just said, you know what? Indie publishing’s coming along. And again, keep in mind, this has been a multi-year process and it genuinely was. So the more I read and the more I researched and the more, I just kept dipping my toe into freshening up my research and pulling that old manuscript back out and that sort of thing, I think part of that was just my really, really lengthy process. It was part of really getting more accustomed to taking ownership of my issues with facing rejection and instead looking at it as well, maybe it’s because you, you Jennifer really have an innate sense of your own path. And I started realizing that I really do have, we all have our internal compass, and I really did have a trend north, and traditional publishing was not gonna work for me because this weird story that I wanted to tell was not gonna be something that they wanted. That they might in the future, whatever, which is fantastic, and I have nothing against traditional publishing, especially as much work as Indies have to put into things. But I think that’s how I sort of just ended up trying to translate my personal issues with taking ownership of it and going well, I’ll just do the Indie route.
Jo: Yeah, I totally get that. I’m a bit of a control freak. And so the cool thing about being an Indie author is that, well, the positive and the negative is that you’re in charge of everything. Right? So yeah, you have that control.
Jennifer: So we can only blame ourselves, but at the same time, blame, being the negative word, the positive word is, you know, that we can control. Right. That’s more than one word, but you understand what I mean? Yeah. Like it’s, it’s that sense that we can really get stalled out or we can say, where can my feet step to next? Mm-hmm . Yeah. At least that’s what I’m working on. I’m still a work in progress.
Jo: Well, another thing that I saw, I think it was on your website again, but it’s interesting because I think we’re following a slightly similar trajectory, and cos I’m starting to think about a little side project that’s more write to market as well. And yeah, but then you’ve done something interesting where you’ve got two books out at the moment, and so your Daughters of Men, your novel, looks like it’s, you’ve put it wide. So it’s available. Is it available everywhere?
Jennifer: Pretty much. I can’t say everywhere because I still haven’t uploaded it to Ingram Spark. And as for distribution, it’s available ebook and paperback, obviously Amazon, Barnes and noble. I have it on Kobo and Apple as well. Google play, I just haven’t gotten around too, but because I am so O C D and I mean that sincerely, so anyone that might be triggered by thinking I’m joking about it? I’m really not. Yeah, no. I like, I really have to control things. So, the Ingram spark dashboard a number of years ago, and again, I need to go back and look at it, but a number of years ago, I was like, no, no, like you can’t tell me has to be this way. And so instead I created individual accounts. But yes, in a short version it’s sort of semi wide. Okay. So it’ll, it’ll shortly be wide. There we go.
Jo: So you’ve got that book. So you’ve got that book wide or, or semi wide going to be wide, right? But then you put out this novelette, which I’ve just downloaded. Haven’t started it yet, but I have downloaded.
Jennifer: Oh, thanks.
Jo: But it looks like you’ve got that in Amazon KU. So is that gonna be exclusive?
Jennifer: So I wanted to kind of play around with that. I do think that, I totally understand that, that people may have a love, hate relationship with, with Amazon. My relationship has been incredibly positive, so I that Amazon really gives authors the tools to be able to experiment. And like we’ve been talking about at length, that freedom to make a mistake, basically. Now, they are the biggest pond out there, you could even call them an ocean, but instead of literally jumping in multiple oceans across the globe, you’re experimenting a little bit. So with My Alien Life, the little novelette, I had this idea that, I do enjoy writing short stories slash novelettes, there’s a fine difference. And I thought that it might be really fun to just do a series of those and I didn’t, they won’t necessarily have that many connecting threads. There’ll be very different styles. That way I can explore the moods that I’m in. Although I do think, and I did make a joke about this, I think on my website, someone who does read other works like Daughters of Men and the sequel, Like Moonlight on Water, that’s gonna be coming out, they’ll find that they’re these little Easter eggs, little breadcrumbs, I gluten free breadcrumbs, um, you know, there, you know, there are these little things that you’re like, oh, I, that kinda reminds me of a little bit. So because in my head, it’s all one big universe.
Jo: Yeah. Yeah, no, I like that. I, because I’m, like I said, I’m doing a similar kind of thing. I’m just contemplating doing smaller works, more of a series, playing around and maybe trying exclusive for those. Just seeing what happens.
Jennifer: This first one, I did release on Kindle Unlimited. And actually, because you’re so sweet, you are on my newsletter list, so you you’ll see that today I was like, Hey, everybody it’s free today. Yes. Help a girl out, download it like. And so it’s having a fantastic day, you know, at the time we started our, our podcast, it was number two in the little hour long, the section for hour long.
Jo: Um, yeah, congratulations.
Jennifer: You know, I think, well, in the freebies, right. Top of the freebies, you know? OK. I’ll take what I can get.
Jo: Exactly, exactly.
Jennifer: And so I thought it might be fun to just try doing the Kindle Unlimited for that first one. And then when I have the second one, maybe I’ll move the first one, because it’ll be part of a series, maybe I’ll move the first one wide, but always have it first launched on Amazon. I think. Yeah. I’m feeling like that might be a nice play, because Amazon really does give you a lot of tools and I do, I love the instant gratification of being able to figure out in a short timeframe, what metadata’s working. And I use tools like Publisher Rocket that Dave Chessen Kindlepreneur, love it, totally worth the money, anybody that can afford it, absolutely do it. So Amazon gives you these abilities to kind of learn, you know. You’ll notice that on my little novelette, I don’t have a traditional description for it because even as an author, I think one of the things we all struggle with is by the time you’ve written, the book is how do I summarize it in 90 words or less, you know, or something. Yeah. Yeah. And, and in this case, I was like, you know what, Amazon school figured out for me, I’m gonna play around with some metadata. I’m gonna find out which readers seem to be resonating with it more. And that’s the part of it that I’m gonna pick out, you know, for the description. So it’s, it’s my little playground right now.
Jo: That is really cool. I’ve heard of the opposite being done. Have you heard of Mark Dawson?
Jo: Mark Dawson, he’s amazing. You know, I think he’s got a podcast. He’s got all these wonderful Indie author courses and definitely, and I think he does a little bit of the opposite where I think when he, and it may not be with all of his books, but he releases them wide first for a really short period of time, and lets his newsletter list know. And like, if you want my books, then get them now. If you are a Kobo reader or Apple reader or anybody else, and then he moves them into KU where they kind of sit for the rest of the time.
Jennifer: Oh, interesting.
Jo: Yeah. I thought that was really interesting.
Jennifer: Yeah. So he feels, obviously he feels that works, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. But has he explained kind of the thought process, is he sort of like casting a net and drawing people in?
Jo: So I think what it is, and I could be completely wrong, so if anyone’s listening to this and I get all those emails and that correcting me by all means, ‘cos it was a long time ago that I think I heard this and he might have changed his strategy now. But I think for him, that KU is just a really good earner. But then there’s always that battle with yeah, but I don’t want my readers to miss out. So yeah. So it’s allowing that opportunity for readers and that who maybe don’t subscribe to KU to be able to still purchase the book on other platforms. And then it goes primarily into KU because it’s just, like you’ve said it can be easier for a marketing, they give I think, free book kind of promos that you can apply for and things like that.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s makes a lot of sense. So I think whoever’s listening, play around with it. Again, all you do when you make a mistake is learn. Right? That’s all. So just keep trying.
Jo: That’s right. That’s right.
Jennifer: And like you said, you have an ownership of your intellectual property. Don’t be afraid.
Jo: Yeah, well, that’s right. And so, you do, pre-orders?
Jennifer: So I have experimented with pre-orders and I think, I joked once with you in an email, we were sharing back and forth. Oh, I’m never doing it again. In a nutshell, I do enjoy setting deadlines for myself. I do usually blow right past them. But it is very important to have a deadline. I cannot stress this enough. And I don’t take it lightly that I blow past them. It’s more just sort of an inevitable, but if the tighter a deadline I set with the higher of a goal, it’s sort of like, I think the phrase is, you know, if you, if you don’t shoot for the moon, you’ll never touch the sky, I think might be one of the catch phrases. And for certain personalities it’s different, you know, some people really get hung up on missing goals. I do two, but the negativity that I instil on myself, I turn into a positive it’s one of the white hair things, you know, after turning 40, it just, it’s just all different in my brain. So pre-orders, I did experiment with Amazon for the sequel for Daughter’s of Men is, um, called like Moonlight on Water. I am still writing it. I had thought that I would have it finished in time to publish, well actually I was originally gonna publish it on my sweet, dearly departed grandmother’s birthday because she inspired, the Mimi character, but that’s okay. Gami’s in heaven and she loves me and she understands, so I missed her birthday. I ended up having to cancel my pre-order that was on Amazon. Whereas, Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble, they don’t care if you push the pre-order date, they don’t have a problem with it. And inherently something that might not be obvious to writers just starting out is that these other platforms do not charge customers when they order the pre-order. They only charge them at the time of delivery. Amazon is different. Amazon would love to take your money immediately and put it in a sweet checking account where they’re earning interest on it every night. So that’s the reason they give writers such a hard time about, changing the date on their pre-order and they have their, their penalties. That said, I do want to share that Amazon from my experience, including most recently with this one, when I sent them an actual personal email through the contact options you have on the website and just said, Hey, I don’t mean to be slack. I don’t mean to let you down. I do respect this as a professional platform. I am genuinely doing my best, but you know, X, Y, Z, and I didn’t go into detail cause none of their business nor do they care, but I was like, you know, XYZ circumstances. Like a lot of us go through, came up and you know, and you know what life happens. So I accept my punishment. I know I’m not gonna be able to have a pre-order for a year. But I just kind of wanna proactively let you know, before you just figure out I’m not uploading my manuscript in time, you know, whatever. Jo, the nicest response came back. An actual human typing the response said, you know what? A lot of people, because of the pandemic and everything, a lot of people had, been having in, in the way this person typed it, they were like, you know what? A lot of people have various life issues coming up. We love our authors. Wow. We understand, you know, that sort of thing. And they gave me an exception. They said that when I am ready and I know I can keep that date that I’m welcome to re-list my pre-order. And I thought that was so genuine. And so human of this big behemoth, and I just think that that’s worth something, you know, Our mom has always told us if you ask nicely, you never know. Right.
Jo: That’s right. It’s showing that professionalism and just giving them the heads up. And that’s such an amazing story. That’s so positive to hear.
Jennifer: Really respect that, you know, that one little person in this big giant company, and it could just be that one person on a good day, or maybe Amazon secretly has this as a policy. I don’t really know. Yeah. You know, but, but it was just that sense that, Hey, I was tearing myself up for the fact, oh, I’m gonna be banned from pre-orders for a year, you know? Oh my gosh. And then the response that comes back is the universe says, you know what, it’s, it’s actually gonna be okay. It’s gonna be better when you put it out. And that’s really what matters.
Jo: Ah, that’s so good to hear. That’s so good to hear. Cause there’s so much negativity sometimes I think about different distributors of books and that, and so it’s so good to hear those positive stories. So do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Do you write every day? Do you, what do you do?
Jennifer: Oh yeah. Okay. So we might almost have to do a check-in. Let me just tell you right now that I am in the middle of overhauling, the way my brain is wired. And I say that jokingly, but seriously? Yeah. So I had always in the past, going back to as a little kid, I would, have, you know, like a lot of us feel our muse is talking. Right? We just have this, whether it’s triggered by some angsty teenage moment and you sit down and write a bunch of dark, weepy poetry, or like, oh, you know, what would be a cool idea is dragons? And then you write out 8,000 words in a night, you know, that kind of thing. That was always how I had written up until, the first draft of Daughters of Men, which really was just a determination that I was gonna crank that sucker out. But that said again, as I’ve already joked about the first draft was terrible. So lesson learned, but nonetheless, my process is in process right now. So I do have several ideas that I really want to see executed. There’s a certain quality of writing that I don’t wanna sacrifice. Mm. And that doesn’t mean like I’m the best in the world. It’s just I really want to make sure that I’m taking the time to have these fully fleshed characters. Sometimes they need to simmer in my head. I do tend to usually have a good half dozen subplots running around and that’s just because my characters are so real to me. Yeah. That, you know, they stubbed their toe a week ago and, you know, low and behold now they have gangrene or whatever. Right. Like it’s just these things going on. And so what I am in the middle of doing now, is teaching myself to tell my brain, to teach my brain, to train my brain, that when I sit down with a certain scenario around me that that is writing time. It is not editing time. It is writing time. It’s not consider how I can reorganize my website time or check social media dejus or whatever it might be. And that’s something that is difficult for me because I’m really type a and O C D. I’m equally happy in a data driven world. I build my own website, so I’m more than happy to go in and tinker with it for 15 hours at a time. I’m more than happy to experiment with MailChimp and be like, oh, but how can I accomplish this? You know, that sort of thing. Look at metadata, all that kinda stuff. And so I, I call it booking. Versus writing mm-hmm and right now booking is something that at at least, in the last several months in particular, booking short of writing that little novelette, booking has taken 80% of my time. And yet when I allowed my brain to do what it wants to do, I cranked out the little novelette, and it’s only 8,000 words, but nonetheless for me, I wrote that at a very quick pace. So I know I can do it. What I’m trying to work with is teaching my brain, just like we take ownership of things like a tendency towards depression or negative thoughts or all these sort of things, and I have a lot of experience with all this. So I’m like, okay, I train my brain to recognize that I’m actually just hungry. I don’t really need sugar. That kind of thing. Similarly, I’m trying to train my brain to write, to sit down and write, to understand that it is writing time and not editing time because OCD, people love to edit.
Jo: So do you have any tips or tricks then how to make that your writing time, like do you have any particular routines or anything that you do to really make your brain function that focus that that is writing time and not booking time?
Jennifer: Exactly. Well, so I am still a work in progress, so what I would offer for whatever it’s worth right now. In general, I mean, I think they say that, you know, it takes about two weeks to form a habit, that sort of thing, so I’m in the middle of forming my habits. That said some of the things that seem to be consistent with the various resources I’ve looked up, and again, similarly, even to, I think a lot of writers, from that creative, well might also have experience with some sort of mental health challenge. It’s all actually in my mind, very similar. So for me, trying to a clean space, which you talked about in your last podcast. Yeah. You know, a clean uncluttered space. That also includes things like, before I have writing time, I’ve already checked my email. I’ve already, looked at social media or whatever, and I’m really not a social media person, but a lot of people are, you know, I’ve, I’ve done these things. I know they don’t need my attention or that they need my attention later in the day or something. So then I can turn that part off. And from, from there, my big challenge right now that I’m really working through are writing sprints, which a lot of people talk about. A lot of people use, I have trouble with them, so I’m working my way through them because essentially to me, a writing sprint is about turning off that self doubt. It’s about turning off the editor and it’s about just getting those words out. That said, I’ll share that. I just discovered as in like two days ago, but I think it’s gonna be really helpful, there’s an author named, Chris Fox. What’s the title of his work? It is called 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox. I just wanna give him credit. He had a background, it seems in the financial system. I think he did mortgages that sort of thing. He had to teach himself to allow himself to write poorly, but what he found, and this is my hope, what he found was that the more he pushed himself with these writing sprints and he suggests starting really small, he suggests starting with five minute writing sprints mm-hmm so that you don’t stare at the computer for an hour, you know? And he said that once he became a better self editor and got more comfortable with writing sprints, that he found that it organically merged. And so that’s my hope. That’s my goal. My goal is, is that it, it’s not about cranking out junk. It’s about sort of like coughing and clearing your throat before you give a speech, you know?
Jo: Cool. Oh, I like that. I started, I think, I dunno that I finished that book, but I started it quite a few years ago and I remember him saying just to start little, because then you’re not going to be faced with that failure too. If you start with something too big, like I have to write for an hour or I have to write a thousand words today, and you are out of the routine of that, then you are potentially setting yourself up to fail and it’s gonna be harder to get your butt in the chair and do it the next day as well.
Jennifer: Exactly, exactly that we are our own worst critic inherently. And then for the people that say they’re not, well, maybe you really kind of should be because we really are first filter. Right. I say that jokingly obviously, but yeah, I think that we do have to push through, but we also are trying to push out our, our best version of our first draft. Right. Yeah. And, and I think that’s really important. And something else that you actually just talked about in your previous podcast, and we’ve all sort of heard from other people, but it bears repeating is, writing is not only about sitting down and typing or scribbling with a pen. Writing is also about, oh, I’m taking a shower, washing my hair, and I’m thinking about Lil and Saul and what they’re gonna do when they find out that Eileen really wants to ride a motorcycle, that sort of thing. And by the time that, and this also follows Chris Fox’s advice, by the time we sit down to do our sprint, we should already really know not the, the nuts and bolts, but we know the gist of what we’re about to write. We know that it’s this scene with these characters and we may even have a little bit of dialogue. Yeah. And. Something that I’m allowing myself to do. That’s really helping is I’m allowing myself to just skip places. And I think you mentioned this, actually, I was nodding a lot in your, as I was listening to your last podcast. So I’ll just leave a big old, high highlighted yellow section of junk text where I’m like, Adam got mad, find a good reason, you know, that sort of thing. And then, and I’m just continuing so that the juicy, beautiful, angsty wonderful part that I’ve been dying to write on paper, I don’t wanna miss that opportunity just because I’m stuck with how to segue paragraph one to paragraph two. Right? You just don’t wanna get stuck there.
Jo: Yeah, absolutely. I wanna talk a little bit about your marketing, because you’ve got two books out there. You’ve got two on the way, you do pre-orders and that, you’ve got a fabulous newsletter, I just love it. It’s so short to the point.
Jennifer: I don’t, I never hear any feedback. So do you?
Jo: It’s so short to the point engaging, and then you have these links to the most fascinating articles that kinda work in with your stories and that too. So I absolutely love it, but you are not on social media, which is yeah. Which is something that I haven’t come across with authors nowadays. So I want to hear more about what you do to market your books at the moment.
Jennifer: Well, so. I technically am on Twitter. I just don’t really use it properly. I, I’m making a little bit of an effort. As in, I think I’ve posted like seven times this year. I’ve only posted like eight times total since 2012. And funnily enough, I actually have like a hundred and some odd followers because I did a couple of those things, it wasn’t book sweeps, but it was a similar thing and it, and that’s, that’s very, I think, well, worth a podcast, if I may offer that, to talk about those things and where what’s a waste of money and what’s actually useful for people. But nonetheless, I have a bunch of followers on Twitter and I don’t talk to them. So I’m working on that. I do have a background actually in marketing and sales. So even though the hat that I wore for those day jobs, and I’ve had a whole variety of day jobs, a plethora, but each one had a different flavor. But that said, I think that what my takeaway is that oftentimes for independent writers or anyone just starting a business, you really do need to look at it as a business. So for example, if you’re starting a little coffee shop cafe, you’re not gonna necessarily have, you know, the high end umbrellas out on the patio that you would really like. But you are gonna make sure that the cup of coffee you’re selling is fantastic. And you’re gonna make sure that the customer has a good experience in your little cafe, even if it’s missing the outdoor seating that you’re dreaming of. And I think that for an independent author, it kind of goes part and parcel. So there are certain things like your cover that are super crucial, and obviously the quality of the writing and the execution of the presentation. So, a file that doesn’t have a lot of problems with it. Those things really matter. But other than that, I’m a big believer in, in if you build it, they will come. So because I’m lucky enough to have some actual skills in my back pocket, I’m able to do a fairly nice website and things I didn’t have to pay someone, that sort of thing. I’m also more than happy if anybody’s ever curious, I am more than happy to share all the tips and products and things that I think are worth money and not with anybody that asks.
Jo: You know what we might have to get you back on again so that we can have a show just for that.
Jennifer: Yeah. So I think that social media is coming for me. It’s just about, I do, as you can tell, I talk a lot. So I don’t have a problem with sharing. I have a problem with oversharing to an unfiltered public audience. That is something that social media is difficult for me about. I don’t want to just be talking out loud, which to a certain extent social media is about, without having a sense of really who I’m talking to. And I think part of marketing for authors is knowing really who your targeted reader is. I actually had a little unpleasant micro episode, unfortunately by email with a, with another author, which was a little sad. It was about doing a newsletter swap, but she actually got really offended when I asked her, you know, like, Hey, I’m more than happy to do a swap. Absolutely. She actually had a really big newsletter list, so it was clearly gonna benefit me. But I just asked her a couple questions about her reader demos mm-hmm and by demos, I mean, demographics, and I’m not talking about like, you know, do you buy stocker shoes or what, how did you vote in the last election I’m talking about? What do you like to read? Mm-hmm you know, do you read, are you a Kindle only, you know, or do you know that you’re people only like really hard sci-fi, which is what I was guessing from this particular person. That sort of thing. And my question really shocked her and unfortunately we went a little bit sideways, so I just, you know, tried to through email, smile and wave boys, like the penguin saying Madagascar, smile and wave. But for whatever it’s worth for, for writers starting out, I, I think that’s part of the marketing is to really have a sense of who you’re talking to. And if you’re not sure no problem, but start with the sense of, you know, would I be talking to somebody like my aunt Sally, you know, and if not, that’s fine, but you probably know somebody that you think you would be talking to. And I think that’s part of what’s challenging for me with social media is that I don’t have a sense of, I feel like I’m talking into too big of a mouthpiece, whereas through emails, it feels a little more personal, you get a little more immediate feedback, even if it’s just from the lack of opens or the click rate or anything like that, you know, tells you a little something, something. Running a contest and two people enter, oh, guess what? Like, you know, that kinda thing. Um, and so that’s why I’m not a good example for social media.
Jo: So you do a lot of newsletter swaps though. Have you dabbled in any other Amazon ads or you’re on Bookbub as well, have you dabbled in any other kinda promotional things?
Jennifer: Um, no, I, yeah, Bookbub, I’m learning Bookbub because I actually think there’s really a lot of benefit there in Bookbub without even having to spend money. I think Bookbub is definitely something that people really need to pay attention to and invest in, you know, recommend to other author’s books. You can pick a particular flavor so that you even if your approach maybe is that you always wanna give five, so you look like the hero, you know, that’s fine, just find every, you know, equestrian, YA fiction target niche, and review all those. Um, I have tried Amazon ads. I feel like they can be done better than, than the few times I’ve dabbled with them. But I also think that Amazon ads, when someone does not yet have multiple works or enough reviews, I think that’s, that’s really key to the success of Amazon. So I think a lot of those very well meaning, and actually really helpful, free webinars and, you know, things that we can all get information from. I think that really the core piece of that is that, that they really work best for authors that already have multiple titles with a fair number of reviews. And by a fair number of reviews, this could be misinformation, but I have read in a couple places now that for Amazon, that you really need 15 reviews. That 15 is sort of that threshold before their algorithms start kind of treating it differently. And that’s really, that’s, that’s really a challenge. So I think Amazon ads are really useful, but I think my opinion and, and telling myself, you know, a few years ago or whatever, I, I really think that the focus first is on that whole build it. If you build it, they will come. So make your product, your brand, your work, as well presented and as authentic, that’s the big deal be authentic. Know yourself in all of your gooey flaws and, and just know that readers are just as gooey and flawed as you are. Right? So just be professional. So I’m not saying that’s an excuse for bad typos, what I’m saying is, is that if you drink too much coffee and you have more cats than children, that kind of thing or whatever, that’s fine. Readers love that stuff. Right? And just focus on presenting the most authentic version of yourself that you are comfortable with as a brand. I mean, a lot of authors pen names for really good reasons. Mine is that I still have a day job in a small city. So, unless I tell them about it, I really don’t wanna be like, Hey, oh, and I’m a real estate agent. Uh, exploring marketing and social media and ads and everything. I think that first thing that’s really important is to really feel good about your package website wise, cover, content, newsletter, that sort of thing. And I do think without rambling too much, cause I’m sure you touched on it in many other episodes I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, taking ownership of the potentiality in your email newsletter list is the single greatest favor you can do for yourself, even if you haven’t yet published your first book. So starting with reaching out just a friends and family and just getting the hang of it, getting a feel for it, choosing a color palette that works for you playing around with like, oh, golly, I didn’t know it on a cell phone. It was gonna look that weird, you know, that kind of thing. Just start and grow and, and even with the potential of using Story Origin like you and I both do, to do newsletter swaps or something else, then write something that you feel is representative of your work, but is a, a short story with a pretty cover and it’s gotta be, you know, whatever and let that be your reader magnet. And you’re gonna find that you’re nurturing people that you actually know. And there is a huge difference between that and spending money to advertise to millions of people through Amazon’s platform, because the 15 people that you start with to the 75 people after a good couple of swaps, to the 200 or whatever, those are people that actually, if they saw your name scroll past on a Barnes and Noble page, they’d be like, oh, I know that author. That matters. It really matters. And so when it’s time for your first book, whether you need reviews or whether you just wanna make sure that your first day, you at least get five people to download it, you know, something like these are the people that matter. Yeah. So I think it’s more important than social media just saying.
Jo: Ah, but I love that. It’s awesome advice. I think that, like, I’ve been joting down so many notes cuz I, I need a big revamp of a whole lot of my things from website to reader magnet to everything. So I’ve been jotting down notes as we go.
Jennifer: Like we all have to take that sort of fresh look. Yeah. You know, I love looking at everybody else’s stuff. I love looking at other author’s websites and I sign up for a bajillion author newsletters. That is such a great way to learn and it’s free.
Jo: Yes, yes. I totally agree. I totally agree. I can see we’re running outta time a bit, but I really have been dying to ask you this question because I read Daughters of Men and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it before. It was a little bit of a, well, it’s funny, it’s, it’s a little bit of a genre jump for me, but I absolutely loved it, but you’ve got everything. You’ve got angels in there. You’ve got a woman with psychic powers, she can kind of see auras and angels and you’ve got an alien in there and you’ve got multiple realities and there is just so much goodness. Like I just, I so enjoyed it. So enjoyed it.
Jennifer: Thank you. Thank you.
Jo: But of course, I want to know where you get your ideas from, because I think in some of the emails that we were going backwards and forwards, and I’d shared a few of my own kind of quirky interests and things like that, that you had said some of the experiences that your characters had, were drawn on your own personal experiences and that, so I want to know where your ideas come from.
Jennifer: Oh, let’s see. so I intellectually as well as experientially, I think there’s some truth to the fact that there are multiple realities that that’s my personal opinion, you know, I’m not forcing it on anybody. Um, but I, I have had that sense of dreaming and I, and I think a lot of us do, I’m not saying I’m super special or anything, I I’ve had that sense of dreaming, some of the characteristics of the dreams, as far as, the buzzing, the crackling, that sort of, kind of an electrical sense to it, that Lila describes. I have experienced that and genuinely felt either while I was in the dream with that, that sort of lucid awareness or after waking up that I was actually in another reality that I was actually experiencing something that was legitimately real, not just my brain sorting through like how to deal with the angst of a relative or something like that, you know, like, cause we get those too, you know, the, yeah. You know, the Freudian dreams and the Yungian dreams and you know, the pure symbolism dreams, we all get those. But I feel that the dream state, is potentially a pathway, and I’m certainly not the only one, there are shamans around the world, , various mystics, there are religions, there are a lot of different ways and, and science is kind of catching up, which is the, the nerdy fascinating part to me. Science is kind of catching up. They’re kind of touching on it a little bit. They’re okay with the idea of multiple realities, even though the math kind of gets a little wonky here, and that kind of thing, but I think we’re getting to this concept. The things that I have experienced, really, I, I don’t know how else to explain it. And there there’s a fun, I’m gonna send people down a rabbit hole, you can Google after this podcast, there’s a fun thing maybe some of y’all have heard of called the Mandela effect. So, oh see, you’re nodding. Yes. So I am literally one of those people. It’s named after the Nelson Mandela. I am literally one of those people who in my eighth grade, first period science class with my biology teacher, Mrs. Stout. If you’re listening, hi, Ms. Stout, you were awesome. She tells the class that day about Nelson Mandela. And I’m sorry to say in eighth grade, a lot of us were like, who, you know, but she, she says he has just died in prison and she gives us this, um, I remember her explaining how significant this was, how his death in prison made him a type of martyr, and that this was gonna really end apartheid, hopefully that there was a lot of, you know, potential for it and all this kind of thing. Well, as anyone sitting here listening knows, or will Google and find out, he did not die in prison. This is an alternate reality memory that I have, like this wasn’t a dream that I was sitting in class, you know, with a bunch of other people, couple of whom I probably could find on Facebook or something and be like, do you remember this yet? And so I think that, that for various people and I have probably a dozen similar memories, that were notable things I remember seeing on the news, or I remember certain tragedies, unfortunately, that I remember being broadcast and explained to the public differently. And I’m not getting into the whole politics of fake news. I mean, like literally I have a different memory of that day mm-hmm and there are a lot of people like that. So parallel realities really kind of fascinate me. The science behind them, what might actually be happening kind of fascinates me. And I think that the dream state is that option for people. And I think that certain other people’s brains, whether through something like psilocybin or mushrooms or something like this, you know, maybe they achieve it in their, you know, their culture where it’s, where it’s not just a casual thing, it’s part of their religion or the mysticism, they might be able to achieve these. We might be able to naturally achieve them through certain dream states or awareness. The other aspect of it is that I’m just, I’m just, just a wee, a wee teeny bit psychic, just a wee bit.
Jo: Oh, I love it.
Jennifer: So I’m not somebody, you know, I would absolutely love to be of service to like law enforcement or something. I don’t have control over it, but when it comes, it comes. The sparks that Lila describes her, she calls them angels, that’s something that’s real to me. Now in the book I have fictionalized, you know, sort of that conversation she has with them and stuff like this, you know, I it’s fictionalized. But the sense of being able to see and be aware of the energies that are around me in a tactile way, auditory, visual, dream state, it’s just, I’m just weird like that, you know, what can I say? Like when I was a little kid, it kind of freaked me out, but I had a mom that was very patient. She was just like, oh, sure, honey. Okay. She was like, sounds good, sweetie. And then, and I did unfortunately read bit too much, Stephen King and Dean Koontz love him to death, but, again, coming into the ownership of myself, really kind of helped me kind compartmentalize and really try to understand that the paranormal and the supernatural might really be just versions of a language in the way that religions are versions of a language and science is versions of a language. And that really I’m just, we are all just part of a story. And I don’t think any of us know the whole story we don’t. Right? But we do get glimpses of page, you know, 812 ahead of us, you know, because we’re all in the same book, we’re all bound together in the same story.
Jo: Yeah. I have been nodding my head to all of that because not only do I find it so fascinating, but I haven’t had this, I haven’t had the same experiences as you, but I’ve had similar ones that hence, uh, my books often have ghost stories to them because yes, the spirit world is very, very real to me in real life. Yes. And so through fictionalizing, and you might find this too with your stories through writing fiction, where that is a bit of a background concept, it’s my way of putting it out in the world to potentially get people, to just to think about life a little bit differently. That there’s more than, you know, what we, what our five senses experience.
Jennifer: Exactly. Exactly. I could not possibly agree more. And, in the sequel to Daughters of Men, like Moonlight on Water, that’s really explored a little bit more tangibly. Because I, I feel that as we broaden our own understanding of what other people may be going through and kind of work through, again they’re different languages with the same story. So as we try to work on our own translations and understanding, I really think that that ends up helping to resolve that sort of soul level angst that a lot of people feel. Whether they are either in their own reality or in your reality, living through a reincarnation life, or, you know, maybe they’re terrible people, then you think they’re gonna go to hell or heaven or purgatory or we’re all in purgatory or whatever the version might be. And, and I mean, it actually really respectfully because I think that they are all truths, they’re just told in different languages, that’s my personal opinion. And so yeah, when I’m coming up with these things, Sal the alien or whatever, there’s a lot of the just too much fun for words, ancient alien astronaut theory involved with, with Sal, right? I love that stuff. And I’m fascinated by, again, the sense that the world has room for all of it. The universe has room for all of it, you know, a Supreme being creator, whatever you believe in, they’re certainly capable of coming up with all of it, all the versions. So there would be a psychic with an alien, with an angsty 13 year old, who happens to be a genius, right? Like why not?
Jo: Why not? Exactly.
Jennifer: And a hot contractor, cause you gotta have a hot contractor. Yeah.
Jo: One of the things that I found so hard in your book was, I didn’t know who to root for because I just loved them all. So it was, you know, like normally you would have, oh, I really hope she ends up with this person. And then I’m like, I don’t know. Can she have them both?
Jennifer: I’m so glad you don’t know. Because that’s part of, these characters are so fun to write. You know, but I, I would like to think as the creator of the story, I would like to think that that is their authenticity is, is that you don’t know who to root for. They all have their pros and cons, and Lila bless her heart, just a couple of days ago, I had someone review that book and her comment, and she gave a good review so yay her, I appreciate it very much, but one of her things I had to laugh, she said that Lila was so frustrating because every time she was about to find out an answer from Sal, she’d interrupt him. And I’m like, yeah, hello like that. because that’s her character flaw. She doesn’t really want to know the answer. She doesn’t want to, you know, and, and how many times do we do that in our own life, right? Out to shatter our glass ceiling, but instead we just, you know, draw shade across the top of it.
Jo: Well, it has been such a joy talking to you and I’m definitely gonna have to have you come back because I feel like we’ve got so much more that we can talk about too so good. Just to kind of wrap up, what are your future plans? I know you’ve got two books in the work this year. Do you have other books for the years coming up.
Jennifer: Yeah. So the, the arc for the Daughter series, which Daughters of Men is the only one out like Moonlight on Water, if I can get my brain to do what it needs to do, that will come out August 16th is my current target publishing date. Again, as an independent author, I reserve the right to change my mind. I feel like I can keep that deadline. So I’ll have that one coming out mid August. It’s actually a, it’s a three book series. There is a component that I don’t want to rush putting into, I mean the first book was 400 pages, honestly, there’s some, there’s a little fluff in there that I could’ve edited out, certain sentences where I spent time describing I don’t know a lampshade or something stupid that didn’t need to be described. Right? But I loved it. But this book will probably end up around, probably still meaty enough, it’s still gonna be around 300, 350. I, I just enjoy a good story. But that said, there’s a component that really needs to be told, so there’s gonna have to be a third book, that would definitely be in 2023. Like it’s just not gonna happen. I’m more interested in writing Fey is the one that I would love to put out by the end of the year. That one, it really has an ending that if I do it correctly, people are gonna be like, wait, what? Like oh, in a good way. And so I’m, I’m really intrigued by that one. And that one probably will read for most, you know, genre, readers. That’s probably gonna feel more like, like a paranormal suspense or a psychic suspense. It probably will fit a little bit more easily into a genre, but it’s actually in the Daughter’s universe as a side story.So, you know, savvy readers are gonna catch some of that.
Jo: I look forward to that one.
Jennifer: So yeah. So those, those are the two covers that are already done and paid for. So dang it. Those books gotta get written. Yeah. and, um, and then I would like to do a couple other shorts in the Sometimes Story series following behind My Alien Life. And other than that, I would just say real quick, because I’m so fascinated by, I just sort of discovered a fresh interest in Kindle Vella. And so I actually am thinking about playing around with that and maybe even doing a different pen name and just having fun with doing something that is a little sassier and just maybe playing around, I already warned to my mom that she might not wanna read it, like, but I think that’ll be fun. I think if I can keep my brain entertained that I’ll be able to write more.
Jo: Oh, so fun. Oh, that’s awesome. Oh, like I’m so looking forward to your new book.
Jo: Just finding time to read them, but I downloaded your novelette.
Jennifer: Thank you. Yeah, I do appreciate it. And I totally understand, you know, reading for all of us, I think even avid readers, it’s still something, there’s still those times when we just wanna watch Netflix instead of read for whatever reason, you know,
Jo: And just by nature of what we do, there are so many good books out there. Like my reading pile is ridiculous.
Jennifer: Exactly. Exactly. I hear you. So no worries, but thank you for downloading it.
Jo: Of course. So where can people connect with you? How can they get in touch with you and find your books?
Jennifer: Clearly I’m not on Twitter much, but I am technically on Twitter and I am making a little bit of an effort. So if you’d like to laugh at my lack of posts feel free to find me on Twitter, at Jennifer Martain. My website is the simplest, because there you can sign up for the newsletters that, according to Jo are entertaining. Yeah.
Jo: Oh, I love them.
Jennifer: And so my website is, there are a couple of different domains that’ll get you there, but the simplest is jennifermartain.com. And other than that, Jo’s sitting here trying and talk me in to do an instagram.
Jo: So that’s a watch this space maybe by the time that this goes out. I’ll be able to put it in the show notes. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Jennifer. So I appreciate you coming here and we’ll definitely have to talk again,
Jennifer: I really enjoyed it. I feel like we’ve had a cuppa.
Jo: I got so many wonderful takeaways from chatting with Jennifer, but here are a few of my favorites.
1. Be yourself now. Accept who you are. Don’t wait. If you’re holding off on following your writing, passion, start now.
2. Move through the fear of putting your work out there. Put it out there. Be proud and know your next book will be even better.
3. You don’t always have to write to market. Write what brings you joy.
4. The beauty of Indie publishing is when you know better, you can do better. You can change the cover, upload re-edited files. You have the control.
5. Particularly when you’re starting out, don’t be afraid of experimenting with going wide with your books or exclusive with KU. Study the market and find what works for you. It’s possible that with different books, you can do both.
6. Set deadlines to keep you on track with your story. Consider pre-orders to help keep you accountable.
7. When things go sideways, as sometimes they will, keep things professional. Let the right people know you’re going to miss your deadline and act with integrity.
8. Keep your writing time as writing time, not editing time. Create a routine to train your brain to be ready to write.
9. When you are ready to write, have a clean space and limit distractions. Turn off your self-doubt and inner editor, and use writing sprints. Start small and increase. Jennifer recommends the book 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox.
10. Non-writing time can also be writing time. If you’re thinking about your characters and plot. Then when you do sit down to write, your ideas are more fully formed.
11. You don’t always have to write linear, skip around to the scenes that really spark your interest. You can always go back and fill in the details and segue later.
12. Get clear on who your market, audience and readership is, and then leverage your newsletter, it’s content, ads, and newsletter swaps to appeal to those reader.
13. Be authentic with your branding, embrace your flaws and be comfortable with who you are.
So I hope you got as much from this episode as I did. If you did enjoy this episode, please rate, review and share with a friend. It really does help me to keep this podcast ticking along and only costs you a minute or so.
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Until next time, happy writing.