A curated collection of the latest and most interesting podcast episodes about the author life.
A greeting! Thanks for taking a look today. I’m V.E. Griffith, and I’m a Three Story Method Certified Editor who works mostly on science fiction and fantasy. I’m an active member of the Author Life Community, where I participate in and host a variety of activities to help you become the author you want to be.
This week I’ve been incorporating personal struggles into my writing. No characters have died, but as ever, real life often provides the spark of imagination for fiction. Whenever I have trouble knowing what to write, I put a character in the same position I’m in, and figure out how they’d react. The fun part is when I learn more about the character, because they react differently than I would! A little craft tip for the week, I suppose.
Top 3 Must-Listen Episodes
Next Level Authors // Episode 103 – What Do You Do When You’re Struggling
We’ve featured Next Level Authors before, but it’s such an excellent podcast that it deserves another shout-out. Dan and Sacha do a great job of helping authors improve their practice that they’re always worth a listen.
After their regular updates, including detailed discussions of Dan’s struggle with repetitive stress injury in his hands, the discussed their question of the week starting just past the 19 minute mark: What do you do when you struggle to write a story?
Dan’s answer suggests that his struggle is that he can get the words out, but he has more trouble if he hasn’t thought out what he wants to write. For longer works, he returns to the outline and looks at character development and other pieces of the work. And when he gets stuck, his answer is to read more, even just a page or two. He finds reading to be inspiring to his writing, and he finds that he winds up with three or four drafts, so he gives permission for the first draft to be not great.
Sacha doesn’t like writing bad first drafts, and she doesn’t like editing either, so her approach with the struggle is to look at the root cause. Sometimes it’s because the creative well is dry, or because of a story problem, or because of fatigue. She also does things with her hands, like hand-writing chapter summaries on Post It notes, that she can then physically move around to organize her thoughts.
For Dan, the key is knowing what the main character is up to. For Sacha, she needs to know in more detail about what she’s writing. They then go into additional resources linked in their show notes.
The other thing they point out is that outside factors, such as wellness, personal challenges, hunger, and other factors can also interfere with your writing, so don’t forget to tend to the rest of your life as well.
Writer’s Ink // Episode 128 — Question and Answer Episode – March 2022
We’ve featured Writer’s Ink before, too, but I want to highlight their latest question-and-answer episode. In it, J. Thorn, Zach Bohannon and J.D. Barker answer questions from the show’s patrons. A selection include:
Is it easier to sell a completed manuscript or screen play, all else being equal? J.D.’s feedback is that it’s easier to sell a manuscript, because there isn’t a huge market for screenplays.
Do you write in silence, or do you listen to something, and if so what? J. prefers silence, J.D. listens to a thunderstorm soundtrack on a loop with noise-cancelling headphones, and Zach listens to a long playlist specific to his writing practice.
How do you choose an editor? Of course, you can go to https://www.theauthorlife.com/editing and interview Three Story Method-certified editors, but often it comes down to relationship. Most of the time you won’t get an editor off a site like Upwork; instead, you’ll get a recommendation or make a connection in your writing community, and develop a relationship based on voice and friendship.
Other questions include arguments of pitching to a traditional publisher vs. indie publishing, deciding when your work in progress is ready to publish, determining who your target reader is, and branching from indie publishing into traditional publishing.
As always, their discussion is excellent and worth the time. Take a listen!
The Creative Penn // Episode 614 – Kickstarter for Authors with Monica Leonelle
With the news surrounding Brandon Sanderson’s recent Kickstarter that raised almost $37 million (and is still open as I write this), many authors are curious about how they can leverage Kickstarter to build their audience and generate new income. It turns out that the interview was recorded before Sanderson’s runaway success, but that hasn’t changed the fundamental challenges facing authors who want to use Kickstarter to build their business.
After her business news and personal updates, the interview with Monica Leonelle starts with an explanation of crowdfunding with an explanation of revenue per customer (for example, $3.40 per customer with Amazon versus over $15 for Kickstarter). Leonelle then discusses the ability to bundle additional backer rewards (such as an ebook, an audiobook, and a hardback) and increase revenue per customer, with the opportunity to make a lot more money from a relatively modest audience (for example, $24,000 from under 600 backers). Plus, because of the relatively small number of backers necessary to make a reasonable amount of money, all sorts of authors can get funded, even in modest amounts, such as $1000.
Penn and Leonelle then go through several common mistakes that artists make, including profitability on reward tiers and choosing rewards that are low margin items. The rest of the interview discusses fulfillment, payment delays, project management, marketing, campaign design and getting the reward tiers right, and continuing use of the platform’s contact options and creator following.
The Latest from The Author Life Podcast
56: WHY THE NAME CHANGE?
This week authors J. Thorn and Crys Cain discuss their new name change to “The Author Life” and all the work that went into it.
The Wildcard: Interesting Episode from a Non-Writing Related Show
Ologies // Mythology (STORYTELLING)
I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for my ol’ Dadward von Podcast, Alie Ward, and her show Ologies. Every week she brings some new study in science to the fore, with an expert guest, introducing me to new disciplines I never thought to be interested in. From ticks and their diseases (acarology and disease ecology) to trains (ferroequinology, aka iron horses) to a two-parter a couple weeks ago on ADHD (attention-deficit neuropsychology), there’s always something here to get you learning new stuff. While the discussion is sometimes NSFW, it’s always worth the time, because you will learn something new and maybe find a new obsession. Always listen past the credits for a secret, and remember to check your crevices.
This week, though, I want to highlight an episode of special interest to writers, from deep in the Ologies back catalog: Mythology, or STORYTELLING, with Dr. John Bucher, from way back in February, 2018. I’ve listened again and found it even more helpful the second time through. It covers bastardized fairy tales and the origin of Little Red Riding Hood (way more adult than the Disney version), the difference between myth and fable, a short discussion on Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, and why narrative is important to who we are as humans.
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