Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews 6 of the 7 writers who make up the core writers of the Uncollected Anthology project:  Phaedra Weldon, Leslie Clare Walker, Annie Reed, Leah Cutter, Dayle A. Dermatis and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. (Absent from the interview, but a core member is Michele Lang)

The Uncollected Anthology of Urban Fantasy, is an ongoing project where, every three months, the authors pick a theme and write a short story for that theme. But instead of bundling the stories together, they each sell their own stories. So you can buy any one of them, or all of them. No fuss, no muss. But the tales are packaged using templates that bring them together thematically, and the authors have found the anthology as helpful for new readers to discover these books.

In the interview, Mark and the writers discuss:

  • How they get together annually for a meeting and have planned the themes out until May 2018
  • How the idea was born out of the Fiction River anthology workshops that Kris runs with her husband Dean. Dayle looked around the room at the talented authors and knew there were enough who wrote urban fantasy to put something like this together
  • The process which includes deadlines for when the stories, the blurbs, the covers are all due each quarter
  • The cross-promotional aspect of marketing each “issue” or theme of this ongoing series that includes the website and links embedded within each author’s books
  • How, even though they are calling them “short stories” some of the stories go as long as 20,000 words or novella length
  • The way Allyson Longueira of WMG Publishing designed the cover template for the group for them to have a consistent brand, look and feel (such as the consistent color that each of the themes employ)
  • The inherent trust each writer has to have, above the existing contract which includes terms such as the fact that each author owns all the copyright on each of their respective stories
  • The common request from readers about how they might be able to get all the stories together
  • How every Feb the theme is urban fantasy romance
  • How Leah doesn’t enjoy writing romance and yet, facing the challenge of that theme wrote a story that she loves the most – “The Midnight Gardener
  • How the themes help the writers explore different concepts and stories they never knew they had in them
  • The brilliantly organic meeting that was the genesis of this collective, and the importance of community and an in person presence at writer events.
  • How Kris is sometimes known by the nickname “Tom Hanks” derived from the movie “Big” because of the storm of ideas that she has
  • Emails, yearly meeting and a closed yahoo group they use to communicate and share files
  • A discussion of some of the challenges that have faced the group
  • Some of the guest authors which include Dean Wesley Smith, Anthea Sharp, Rebecca Senese, Ron Cillins
  • May's “out of the woods” theme . . . .
  • The Fiction River workshops, how they originated based upon what used to be called the Dennis Little workshops at conventions
  • The Importance of being with other writers, the support they offer one another, the pep-talks, the understanding . . . .

After the interview, Mark talks about the importance of what can happen when writers come together to share, to communicate and to network.


Links of Interest

Uncollected Anthology Main Website

Uncollected Anthology Books at Kobo

Click here to subscribe to the Uncollected Anthology Newsletter

Direct download: EP_054_UncollectedAnthology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm PDT

Have you ever worked with a literary agent? What benefits can an agent offer to authors navigating their options: self-publish, sign a traditional deal, or take a hybrid approach? We delve into these questions and more in this interview, our first on the podcast focusing on literary agents. Amy Tannenbaum from the Jane Rotrosen Agency offers the agent's perspective, chatting with KWL Manager Christine Munroe about:

  • Amy's background as an editor at Simon & Schuster for many years. She had begun to acquire self-published authors, but they always asked her if they should work with an agent. When she replied yes, they always asked for a recommendation. Eventually, she decided that she wanted to fill that role.
  • As part of a bigger full-service literary agency, Amy is able to offer her clients support in pursuing opportunities in foreign, audio, and film and TV rights.
  • The majority of new clients she takes on are self-published authors looking for a traditional deal. That's how she started out building a client list as an agent, and she takes on most of her new authors through recommendations from her existing clients. That being said, the industry changes constantly so the picture may look different a year from now!
  • Does she approach working with authors different based on their publishing path? No - it's all about career management, and what the right option is for each book. "Most readers don't care about whether a book is self-published or traditionally published. They just want to read a great story."
  • A few years ago, publishers were hungrily acquiring self-published titles, and you could more easily sell a book based on sales track record. Now, publishers are more selective, and the emphasis has shifted back more to the quality of the voice and writing. Sales numbers and social media presence certainly help, but they're not enough.
  • That being said, if your ultimate goal is to be traditionally published and you're having difficulty getting the attention of an agent or publisher directly, then trying to build your own successful sales track through self-publishing will definitely help build your case to make it happen.
  • With every author looking to switch from indie to traditional, Amy extensively discusses the pros and cons of that decision. Authors won't be able to use their cover designer, choose their editor, set their prices, set a release schedule, etc. On the plus side, though, they're gaining a support team taking the business side (and the pre-publication costs) off their plate.
  • The major thing traditional publishers still offer is print distribution - this is the typical tipping point for indie authors wanting a publishing contract.
  • In the reverse direction, traditional authors often go indie when they have a book that their traditional publisher isn't interested in publishing.
  • Christine's experience working as an agent before self-publishing became a viable option for writers, when a publisher saying "no" was potentially the end of a writing career. We're in an exciting time now, when authors have many options.
  • When Amy is looking at a potential new client, she looks primarily at the writing. Then, she looks at social media - and not necessarily just reach, but engagement level with fans.
  • Most common error to avoid: submitting to an agent who doesn't represent the genre you write in.
  • Most successful way to get an agent: get a recommendation from one of their current clients. So make friends with other authors, engage with them, check the acknowledgements of similar books where authors will thank their agents.


Direct download: Full_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am PDT