Episode 168 #LuckFavorsTheBold Sometimes you get to be the belle of the social media ball

When someone with 10 million followers on Instagram shares a pic of herself reading your book—things happen. And they happened for Jess. But there’s a little secret history there. Sure, lightning struck, the stars aligned and everything fell together. But if Jess hadn’t done the groundwork, it probably never would have happened.

#AmReading

Jess: Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parcak, @indyfromspace www.sarahparcak.com

KJ: City of Girls, Elizabeth Glibert

#FaveIndieBookstore

The Vermont Bookstore in MIddlebury Vermont

Episode 167: #ChangeAndRearrange Book Coach Jennie Nash returns to tackle some effective strategies for revising; it can be a tortuous process, but it can also be where some of the fun happens!

Jennie mentioned Susan Bell’s The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself.

#AmReading

KJ: Bowling Avenue, Ann Shayne

Jess: In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids, Travis Rieder and Red, White & Royal Blue Casey McQuiston

Jennie: Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

#FaveIndieBookstore

Chaucer’s Bookstore, Santa Barbara

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Episode 166: #SummerWriting: Tips for getting the work done when the season shifts around you.

EPISODE

Whether you’ve got little kids, big kids or no kids, things shift in the summer. Top tips from this episode for moving your writing forward while still enjoying the season: Go ahead and X out some days. Write on the plane but not on vacation, while you travel alone but not with family–but make it a choice, so you’re not feeling guilty that it’s not getting done. Lower the bar. KJ wrote 9500 words in June, but they were hard won, she’s proud of them and that’s over a tenth of a book draft, peoples. When you can, get some words in. Finally, let some things go–but not your big work or your big dream. Take the summer off social, not off your novel. Get up earlier, reply to email more slowly, eat a bag of salad for dinner every night. Figure out what matters (and it better be your writing) and let something else be the thing that slides.

#AmReading

Jess: High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life, Tiffany Jenkins

The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus, Ryan Jacobs

KJ: The Gifted School, Bruce Holsinger

The Library of Lost and Found, Phaedra Patrick

After the End, Clare Mackintosh

#FaveIndieBookstore

Boulder Book Store, where they curate deeply and widely and display Sarina Bowen front and center.

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Episode 165 #Twitter#@*!Storm Sometimes, the internet turns against you. What to do, what not to do, how to ride it out and remember–the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the most numerous.

Over the course of our careers, both Jess and I have endured some PR storms. We share some of the gory details, but more importantly, advice from PR pros and from our experiences on how to handle it when you go a little bit viral in the worst way.

We heard from PR experts Ophir Lehavy and Carol Blymire. Ophir pointed us to a crisis control article, and Jess called out (in the good way) a couple of books that are useful when you’re at the eye of the storm: Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate, from Sue Scheff and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson.

#AmReading

KJ adored Ben Schott’s P. G. Wodehouse homage, Jeeves and the King of Clubs.

Jess is treasuring The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus, Ryan Jacobs and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King–which she found at the dump, possibly the most indie book source of them all.

#FaveIndieBookstore

Shout out to one in Jess’s new home town, Burlington, VT: The Phoenix

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Episode 164 #WhoIsThisHelping? Subscription Services like Kindle Unlimited and Audible do make books—some books—cheaper for readers, but what do they do for authors—and what are readers missing? (with Sarina Bowen)

A few highlights from this episode:

If you take something expensive—good content—and you pay people reasonably to create it, it’s tough to make this work. What we’re often seeing as consumers are loss leaders for big media. Amazon doesn’t have to make money from Kindle Unlimited.

One you might not have heard of: Scribd. So far, it’s reasonable for authors and for readers (although their “unlimited” may really mean “unlimited unless you’re a superuser, in which case maybe not”).

The takeaway for writers: limit yourself to Kindle Unlimited with great caution.

The takeaway for readers: Unlimited is still limited–to what’s there and available. Relying on suggestions and highlights from various services is probably limiting what you see, and maybe what you read.

#AmReading

Sarina is seeking “great books with ghosts in them.” Which reminds me (KJ) of one Sarina and I both enjoyed: The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan

Jess is listening to Nick Hornby’s Slam, and Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World from David Epstein. She added an appreciation for Stephen King’s Ur.

KJ is slowly reading Author In Progress and regretting some Kindle Unlimited downloads from an author she once enjoyed (Katie Fforde). She also read, appreciated and did not enact the advice from Newsletter Ninja!

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Want more Sarina Bowen? Go here.

Episode 163: #BookTourReality Mary Laura Philpott tells all. It’s glorious. It’s embarrassing. Nobody told you you’d be sitting on a barstool in front of a crowd in a short skirt.

Mary Laura Philpott is the author of I Miss You When I Blink, a book with the most awesome subtitle ever: Essays. That’s it. Here’s a little something she wrote on subtitles and why we love to hate them, from LitHub.

We’ve been following her book launch (check back to Episode 150, #NeverReady) and now, her triumphant tour. Or maybe not so much and certainly not all the time.

Links to some of the fantastic Indies who hosted Mary Laura:

Whistlestop Bookshop

Books Are Magic

M. Judson Bookseller

Word Bookstore in Brooklyn and New Jersey

Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, NC

The Snail on the Wall Huntsville, AL

Politics and Prose Washington, DC

Books and Books, Florida

#AmReading

City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

#FaveIndieBookstore

And finally, no interview with Mary Laura would be complete without a shoutout to her favorite Indie–and her beloved employer–Parnassus Books in Nashville.

Find out more about our guest, Mary Laura Philpott, here —and check out her latest book, I Miss You When I Blink, on IndieBound or at Libro.fm.

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Episode 161 #WritingAtMyNightmare with Shane Burcaw: You thought writing was hard? Try doing it with no muscles.

Shane Burcaw is the author of three books: Laughing at My Nightmare, the picture book Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability, and his new book, Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse. Shane and his girlfriend, Hannah Aylward, host the YouTube channel, Squirmy and Grubs, with nearly 400k subscribers. Their YouTube channel reads: “Once upon a time, a boy with no muscles fell madly in love with a beautiful girl who had plenty of muscles to spare. The townsfolk gasped with horror at the sight of their disgusting interabled relationship, but they didn’t care.”

Kirkus calls Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse, “An accessible, smart-assed, and unexpectedly tender exploration of life, love, and disability.”

We talked about the how of writing for Shane, (which included a shout out to the Remote Mouse App) but even more about the why–and why Jess’s students in particular (along with many many others) have loved Shane’s books since his first. Think “trademark acidic wit” which is also fully present here.


Shane’s nonprofit, Laughing at My Nightmare, funds adaptive technology for people with muscular dystrophy: https://www.laughingatmynightmare.com/

Squirmy and Grubs on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdomP1JqhnyBQGaBmfDl4KQ

Shane’s instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaneburcaw/?hl=en

Shane’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/shaner528?lang=en

Hannah’s instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hannahayl/?hl=en

#AmReading

This Is Not a Love Scene, S.C. Megale

A Season of Dragonflies, Sarah Creech

Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success, Shalini Shankar

#FaveIndieBookstore

Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, where they mix chickens and lizards in with books for kids and young adults.

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Episode 162: #HalfwaytoGoal? A mid-year goal check in. We all had plans for the year–how’s that working out for Jess and KJ?

In Episode 140, we set our 2019 goals. (Listen here). Now, at 2019’s halfway mark, it’s time to check in on those–and we’d love to hear how you’re doing on your goals in the #AmWriting Facebook group. Halfway here? More? En route? Revising the endgame? We get it all.

Jess, in particular, gets moving the goal posts–and in fact, the whole point of a check in is to consider doing just that. Goals aren’t there to help you fail, they’re there to help you move towards them–and if a goal is unreachable this year, it’s time to set a goal you can achieve that moves you in the right direction. For Jess, that’s a new, revised book deadline.

I’m reporting a big fat checkmark on one goal–finding a publisher for my novel (hello, Episode 147). The Chicken Sisters will be out in the summer of 2020, and the new goal I’m slotting in there is to finish my revisions on time.

One bonus to the mid-year review is realizing that while you probably haven’t checked something off yet, you really have been moving the dial. We did some math in January and realized that we’ve spent $10,000 producing #AmWriting between us (that was a bit of a shock). With one fantastic sponsor, we’re on our way to, if not getting paid for our time, at least not paying to podcast, but we’re still working on this one. We’ve asked, and you all have resoundingly said you’d like to sponsor us yourselves (no mattress ads for us!). We’re more than halfway to offering a way to do just that.

I love a good midyear goal review because revising goals and recommitting to them feels like a fresh start at the beginning of a season when I do like to slow down a bit–but not TOO much. I refined some personal goals, and made sure that my calendar allows for staying on track when it comes to the professional ones–but that I’m also not putting so much on my plate that I can’t enjoy the summer when it finally gets here.

And then–it will be time for another re-grouping in the fall.

#AmReading

Jess: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, Leslie Jamison

KJ: The Collected Schizophrenias, Esme Wang

#FaveIndieBookstore

The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, VT–a favorite of us both, a reliable source of favorites the minute you walk through the door and a fantastic host of events. And a reminder–when you just HAVE to order that book right now before you forget, it’s quite likely you can do that right on your fave Indie’s website and then pick it up in the store–where you’ll have the opportunity to buy more books.

We love our sponsor! If you’re not quite where you want to be on your writing goals for the year—or suspect that after this summer, you might be a wee bit behind—join us and our sponsor, Author Accelerator for the Find Your Book, Find Your Mojo retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine from September 12-15, 2019. Now is the perfect time to get this on the calendar so that the inevitable August slowdown will just be the lead-up to your big fall fresh start. 

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship, and The Secret Library, an interview podcast about real people who made time to write, often against the odds, because they believe that books matter. Find both on iTunes or on your podcast player of choice.

Episode 160 Dave Cullen #10MonthsfromStarttoDeadline The Parkland author on everything you ever wanted to know and pitching and writing a topical nonfiction book at top speed (and going broke doing it)

We talked to Dave Cullen, about writing Parkland: Birth of a Movement, in ten months while he was 3 years overdue on his current book.

“I’m just not gonna tell Gail,” he said of his editor when he took the first assignment from Vanity Fair–but there was something going on with the Parkland students that grabbed him, and he–with the help of his agent, Betsy Lerner–grabbed it.

“I just had to.”

He describes the process of writing the book, how the length, plan and due dates evolved–and how he almost went broke doing it.

#FaveIndieBookstore

Dave’s #FaveIndieBookstore is Books & Books in Miami Beach, FL. “It was the only store I specifically asked to visit on my tour.”

#AmReading

A Manual for Cleaning Women, Lucia Berlin 

Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Letham

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

159 #StoryGenius Lisa Cron on why backstory isn’t backstory. It IS the story.

To talk to Lisa Cron is–unless you’ve already read Story Genius or Wired for Story–to possibly flip everything you thought you knew about story–fiction, nonfiction, short, long, whatever–onto its head.

Story, she points out, isn’t plot. It isn’t what happens, and then what happens next, and then what happens next. It’s the why behind those happenings. It’s not, well, a spaceship just landed on the green in front of the library, and I’ll either a) rush towards it or b) head for my car.

It’s WHY I do those things. It’s not just what I do next, but what it is about me, now the main character in this rather stressful tale that may end with us all being the entrees on some giant interstellar menu, that makes me make the no doubt terrible choices that I make (good choices make bad books). And that’s my backstory. Which brings me to one of the many, many quick-write-that-down moments in this episode.

Backstory isn’t backstory. It IS the story. It informs every line of every page, every decision, every “because of this, then that,” right up until the end, when whatever screwed me up in the first place becomes something I can overcome in order to win the aliens over and persuade them that we’re not tasty after all (before I fry them with my laser gun and it’s alien nuggets for everyone, with a variety of dipping sauces).

Our guest, Lisa Cron, is the author of Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel* [*Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere] and Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. She also contributed to Author in Progress: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published.

#AmReading

Jess sings the praises of The Lewis Trilogy, Peter May

Lisa recommends Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

KJ is still finishing her favorite novel of this year so far, There’s a Word for That, Sloane Tanen.

#FaveIndieBookstore

Book Soup, Los Angeles

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template.

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.