Jul 3, 2020 • 44M

Episode 218 The #Indie-TraditionalTradeoff

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

This episode springs from a question asked in the #AmWriting Facebook group (if you’re not in it, you should be): Sarina has talked about her decision to be independently published, but we’ve never heard from Jess and KJ about why they go the traditional route.

We discuss the three things you should think about when making the Indie/Traditional call, why you need to think hard about airport bookstores and finding the print ratio—and the good and bad reasons for making this choice.


Sarina: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

KJ: The Exit Strategy by Lainey Cameron

Jess: The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor

(listen to the #AmWriting episode with Sarah here)

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KJ Dell'Antonia 0:00

Writers, it's KJ. The #AmWriting podcast is excited to tell you about our new sponsor, Dabble Writing software. We invited Dabble to join the #AmWriting team because we are in love with the plotting tools and intuitive interface. And I want to tell you something else I love about it, what they call the focus fade. I barely even noticed when it first started to happen, but any details that are open in the sidebars of your Dabble document fade away automatically as you write, leaving you with nothing but a beautiful clear space to work in until you need them and send your cursor in that direction, then they're back in a flash. It makes for a great distraction-free writing environment. Find out more and do a free trial at dabblewriter.com. Is it recording?

Jess Lahey 0:47

Now it's recording.

KJ Dell'Antonia 0:50

This is the part where I stare blankly at the microphone trying to remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

Jess Lahey 0:54

Alright, let's start over.

KJ Dell'Antonia 0:55

Awkward pause. I'm gonna rustle some papers. Okay, now one, two, three.

Hey, I'm KJ Dell'Antonia. And this is #AmWriting. #AmWriting is the podcast about writing all the things, fiction, nonfiction, books, essays, pitches, proposals long form, short form. In short, this is the podcast about sitting down and getting your work done.

Jess Lahey 1:25

Hi, I'm Jess Lahey, and I am the author of The Gift of Failure and the upcoming The Addiction Inoculation, which will be out in April of 2021. And you can find my work in lots of places, including the Atlantic, The New York Times, and Washington Post.

Sarina Bowen 1:39

And I'm Sarina Bowen, the author of 35 romance novels. You can always find my work at sarinabowen.com or wherever e-books are sold.

KJ Dell'Antonia 1:52

I am KJ Dell'Antonia. I'm the author of the novel, The Chicken Sisters, which you heard it here first is now not coming out until December at the earliest. But that's okay. Really, totally fine, whatever. I'm also the author of How to Be a Happier Parent, the former editor of the New York Times' Motherlode blog, still sometimes a contributor there. And I'm just wrapping up a revision of a draft of my next (hopefully) novel. So that's what I'm doing. And I should say that I am not recording where I normally record because, you know, I lost the the officemate battle of of the the work at home universe.

Jess Lahey 2:45

I know we have a topic today, but before we get to the topic, I just wanted to say, KJ mentioned that she just finished a draft. And it has struck me that I knew from the beginning from a long time ago that your deadline for that first draft of the next book was June 1. And it has been a crazy, crazy time. This was a self-imposed deadline. No one made you do this by this by this June 1 thing, and yet you hit it and I just I don't know if I'd had a chance to tell you this before but I was just so impressed that given everything that's going on and the fact that it was a self-imposed deadline, that you made it

KJ Dell'Antonia 3:52

Well thank you. It probably should be said that it was not the first deadline. I was looking back at my bullet journal and noticing that in April, it had draft to Karen (that's my agent) as a goal. So it took at least an extra month beyond what I was hoping. But, I did get it done. I did get a draft to her. She's made some comments, which were extremely helpful. And I have done the hardest part of the revisions and I expect to have the revisions back to her this weekend. And then we shall see if it's time to try to sell it or time for me to just take another pass.

Jess Lahey 4:37

It's exciting. It is super exciting.

KJ Dell'Antonia 4:39

It is. I'm feeling really good about it. But you know, ask me tomorrow.

Jess Lahey 4:43

Who wants to announce our topic today?

KJ Dell'Antonia 5:02

We have an actual topic. This is how people know we're not a scripted podcast, we could be because we could have like this really smooth flow could be like, and Jess will say, and I can tell podcasts that are like that. And it isn't that I don't love them. It's that I'm too lazy, I think.

Jess Lahey 5:19

They're very time intensive and I have to say from the beginning we knew what we wanted out of a podcast. This is what we wanted. So welcome to our world.

KJ Dell'Antonia 5:29

Well, somebody asked on the Facebook group, I think and if you're not in our Facebook group, you totally should be. Someone said, 'We've heard Sarina discuss her decision to go indie, but we've never heard Jess and KJ, talk about their decision to go traditional.' And also, Sarina has been traditionally published in the past as well. So, we thought we'd just talked about that.

Jess Lahey 6:00

There are very specific reasons, but it also challenges sort of the status quo, which, you know, get five years ago even, when Sarina started this, you know why you would choose to go traditional isn't a question anyone asked just because there wasn't the landscape that there is now. And we wouldn't have had our amazing role model of Sarina Bowen to look at at the time. But I mean, you're so good at it. The nice thing about having you as a friend is I don't ever say she makes it look easy, you do make it look easy, but I know how much work you put into this. And it's a mind boggling amount of work to do self publishing well, and to do it the way you do it. So that's part of the equation for me, but I love the fact that we can even ask this question now of, you know, why do you go traditional versus self publishing because a couple of years ago it would have been a really clear cut decision.

Sarina Bowen 7:02

That's true. I mean, I knew people in 2014, 2013, who were turning down traditional contracts for self publishing. But that was a super rare thing to do. And those people, you know, had extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary insight that, you know, most of us didn't have. And if you go back 10 years, the traditional route was always the right choice. And now the landscape has changed so much that it is sometimes the right choice. But now there's a more interesting decision matrix associated with with who goes traditional and who does not.

Jess Lahey 7:51

Well, and I remember, about 10 years ago, there was some story of a woman who had a I can't remember what her name is now, but she had, I think, a fantasy series that she had self published. And the big success story was that she was able to get a three book deal with traditional publishing so she no longer had to slum it over in self publishing. And that was seen as a huge success story. But that's not the case these days. I mean, there are a lot (especially in fantasy or romance) that would look at that and say, 'Well, why would I go over to traditional publishing if I have the platform, and she was very successful, which was the reason she got the deal in traditional publishing.

Sarina Bowen 8:33

I do remember that story. And honestly, the reason that it was such a big story is because the numbers attached to it, I believe she had a seven figure deal on that book.

Jess Lahey 8:47

Yeah. Well, I brought up the fantasy and romance thing. And Sarina, could you address why I brought those two categories up?

Sarina Bowen 8:55

Absolutely. So I have identified sort of three major ways of thinking about an author's approach to self versus traditional. And I feel like the one that you're referencing has to do with gatekeeper's audiences. So romance and fantasy readers tend to select their books right on their phones from the Amazon store or from the Apple books app. And they're not really using gatekeepers for book recommendations. Maybe they're even using Goodreads for this or some sort of crowd-sourced decision making process about how to pick their next genre fiction read. And so it's those places where readers have stopped looking at who the publisher of a book is, where independently published books have been so successful. So one of the first questions you're going to ask yourself when you think about this question is, am I in a gatekeeper genre or niche. So if school librarians would be primary in spreading the word about your book, then you know maybe self-publishing is not for you. If you are in an area of publishing where trade reviews are going to really matter, then traditional publishing is the way to go if you want that starred review from Publishers Weekly because you have an informed decision about how that is going to help your book get seen then yes. So also, if you want to be in a big box store, if your book really is perfect for the end cap at Target, and you know you fit right there. Well, the only way to get into that big box store on the end cap at Target is to be published by a pretty big publisher. So that's a tricky bargain, as it turns out, because I had a traditionally published book with Penguin more than 10 years ago. And it did not get picked up by Target. They told me it was seen as too East Coast. So, I missed the end cap at Target based on the topic in a way that I couldn't really have foreseen. But you have to be fairly far along in your decision making before you'll learn if if that was gonna work out for you. So you know that's difficult. But and the last bit of this is award dominated sectors. Like if you write poetry, or short stories are your mode of expression, then awards and shiny stickers on covers are going to matter to who and how many people see your book. And so that's another gatekeeper audience.

Jess Lahey 12:13

Well, and then there's this in between space too, that's really interesting. Like, I still write in education. And there's an in between space of these sort of independent publishers within education. So there's sort of traditional publishing and then there are these like smaller independent publishing, which are kind of self-pub, but not really. Or started out as self-pub and then they became something bigger. And then there's self-pub, self-pub, which is what you have been doing. And I think that that's a really good point that understanding who your audience is going to be, who your intended audience is, really will help you determine if self-pub or traditional pub is the right place for you. And for me, I was writing a book that was really meant for a sort of general audience, it was nonfiction. To do nonfiction in the self-pub world is really hard. I haven't seen a ton of examples that have done really well. And I get sent a lot of self-published books in the education.

KJ Dell'Antonia 13:16

I think it's extremely platform dependent.

Jess Lahey 13:20

Yeah, that's true.

KJ Dell'Antonia 13:21

So if you are Marie Forleo, you've got this massive audience. And I would say that if you had been wanting to self publish your second book, you would have approached the first book.... You would have had to really intensify your email address gathering and your speaking to that audience directly. Like you could probably have set yourself up better to do that. But you would have needed to think about it like from the minute that your book took off, which of course it totally did. You will have needed to be going okay, I mean, how am I gonna collect these people? How am I gonna put them into a pie that is my pie and not the publisher's pie.

Sarina Bowen 14:06

You know, there's one kind of nonfiction that actually does really well with self-pub, but it's probably invisible to you. And that is highly prescriptive books.

Jess Lahey 14:22

I thought you were gonna say highly prescriptive business books because I was gonna say, those I have seen and that have been very, very successful self-pub.

KJ Dell'Antonia 14:33

I was gonna guess that, because if it's like How to Raise Sheep on a New Zealand Sheepholder's Farm When You Are Actually from Norway, you know ten people might buy it, but you're gonna find those ten people.

Sarina Bowen 14:49

Yeah, and I'm sure there's people just raking in the money on highly prescriptive nonfiction that is very trend based. But as a writer, that's not really interesting to me. But let's just say you were a CrossFit guy, like at the moment when CrossFit got really big, and all you wanted to do was write about this niche, new little method for working out to like minded individuals, that could have been an amazing self-pub project just based on finding those people in a place where a traditional publisher might have looked at you and said, cross what?

Jess Lahey 15:36

Yeah, but then you need people in that field, in that industry, in that hobby, interest, whatever, talking about your book a lot and recommending it to other people within that.

Sarina Bowen 15:49

Because I think if it's a very prescriptive thing that people are searching for on Google, then you don't, but if you wanted to write a book about the guy who started CrossFit, then that's different.

Jess Lahey 16:07

That's a good point.

Sarina Bowen 16:08

Yeah. So one way to look at this decision is to think about an airport bookstore. And everything in an airport bookstore is in a print-centric market, basically. And a lot of people haven't stared quite as hard at airport bookstores as I have, but there's very specific stuff in there.

Jess Lahey 16:31

Oh, I stare really hard. And I've wondered a lot about that rack that sits at the edge of the store halfway out in the terminal aisle, that's very prescriptive, either books about faith or books about business. Like I've never heard of any of these books. And they're like, over a quarter of a million copies sold. I've always wondered about those.

Sarina Bowen 16:55

They're prescriptive about your mind, but not about like how to rebuild your car. You know what I mean? Like they're practical in like a meta sense, like the big expansive thoughts you want to think about when you're sitting on that plane. And sometimes the decision of who should publish your book is complicated by the author not allowing herself to be honest about whether her book would fit on that shelf. And that's where all the difficulty comes from.

Jess Lahey 17:36

Well, the airport bookstore is frustrating to me simply because when you look at what's for sale in many of the smaller ones, it's really only the books that are on bestseller lists in the top, you know, 10 positions.

Sarina Bowen 17:48

Yeah, and there's no genre fiction in an airport bookstore, even though people read genre fiction on planes and the reason for that is that you have to think about like how print-centric is your market. So, if you are writing in a very print-centric niche, then traditional publishing will always be a better deal for you but there are different reasons to be print-centric. Like if your desired reader is 12 years old. That's a very print-centric reader in any genre. If you're writing a cookbook, or a workbook, or something where it's actually useful to have this thing on the counter in front of you, again, print-centric. Older readers, like mysteries with older characters in a demographic that has been slower to adopt e-books, also print-centric. And sometimes the only way to find this information is to ask an author who writes in a genre like yours - what is your print ratio. And I'm always surprised that authors don't know their print ratio. Like, the Penguin Random House portal makes this very easy to see. If you log in and look at your numbers. I can tell you that Rookie Move in its first year of publication was 84% e-books and 16% print. And when I saw those numbers, I said, Oh, geez, I should have self-published these books. Because the math just works out that way. But if I had been writing in market women's fiction for Penguin, instead, it might have said 55% print, 45% e-book, and then that would have been a totally different decision matrix.

KJ Dell'Antonia 19:41

I want to talk for a minute about a couple of author reasons for doing both, for example, Gretchen Rubin, obviously, a hugely popular traditionally author of books about how people find happiness. She self-published a book that was basically all of her emails (I could get I could be getting what it is wrong, but essentially everything she had emailed to her subscriber list every year because people kept asking her for it. And very few of us have that kind of audience, but I thought that was sort of an interesting one. And then there's another author and I'm looking for her name. So she's a romance writer, and she's British, and her romances are traditionally published, but her books about riding horses, which fall into that sort of sporty, prescriptive category that Sarina was talking about, are self published. So I think that's interesting. Yeah, I mean, they're really fun, but you know, I've read them for a very specific reason, which is that I have an interest, it's exactly what you're talking about. If you're passionate about training your horse in a non-aggressive way, then you're tend towards wanting to read everything you can by people who have already done that, and you don't care how it was published.

Sarina Bowen 21:27

Well, if you think about, if I were to write a book about horse training, and I could say to myself, you know, that's not an airport bookstore book.

KJ Dell'Antonia 21:44

Tanya Kindersley and her horse books are in KU, you but I don't think her romances are. Yeah, that's not a book for an airport bookstore because that's just not what you're thinking about when you're getting on a plane.

Sarina Bowen 22:00

So I also, I tried to make a list of good reasons to go traditional and bad reasons to go traditional and good reasons to go independent and bad reasons. And of course, the way this works is that the bad reasons are much more fun. Okay, so let's start with bad reasons to self publish your book. Bad Reason number one - I'm tired of querying agents, and I'm feeling very impatient.

KJ Dell'Antonia 22:34

Oh, yeah, that's a very bad reason.

Jess Lahey 22:39

Well, the impatient one is a big one, like, Oh, this would go so much faster if I could just push it out there now, I wouldn't have to wait for a year and a half or whatever to get my book out. That's a biggie.

Sarina Bowen 22:49

It's true. And we are all impatient. I mean, I'm just as impatient as the next guy. So that's, that's a bad reason. Another bad reason is I haven't been honest with myself about the quality of this piece or its market readiness. And when people look down on self published books, they're really looking at that.

Jess Lahey 23:12

Like I said, I get sent a lot of them and they just needed an editor. They just needed to go through another editing process. They needed a better spell check. You know, that kind of thing. And then that's what leads people to say, oh, self published books stink. I'm not going to read them. And that's simply because there are a lot out there from people who were impatient just pushed them out early.

Sarina Bowen 23:37

And even the people that say I'm never reading a self published book have probably read one and didn't know it? Because if it's done right, you know it you don't even notice.

KJ Dell'Antonia 23:49

Yeah, if I find myself going, Oh, who published this? That's a bad sign. I never ask that about something that's really good.

Sarina Bowen 23:59

Sure. Well, my last bad reason to independently publish was I have unreasonable expectations about the discoverability of my book. So, sometimes people just want to write that book that's half horse training, half memoir. And the reason they haven't found a place for it with a traditional publisher is that they keep getting rejections that sounds like this. 'Well, this is fascinating. We're not sure how to sell it.' It's so tempting to write your story and then say, oh, anyone would read this. Anyone could enjoy it. But the truth is, that same person is super picky about their own reading, right? And so it's it's so hard to really be tough on yourself and say, 'Well, actually, not everyone is going to want to read this.' And it belongs to a highly specific audience. And so if you end up with a beautiful book that you're proud of, but it's really hard to define that audience, well then your next trick is you have to get busy defining it, whether that helps your traditional publisher or your eventual self publishing.

Jess Lahey 25:22

And sometimes that can happen by looking at other books (if you can find them) other books that are out there that have sold within that audience, because occasionally what will happen is in a proposal, like in both of my proposals, I've put competing titles in there and my agent Laurie has come back and said, yeah, we need to explain why you included this book because it only sold 800 copies. And so if you're trying to say that there's room in this market, because, look, there's this other book, but it did really poorly. You need to differentiate your book and explain why more people would want to buy it than that book.

Sarina Bowen 26:04

So bad reasons to go traditional. Are you ready? Oh, okay, well, bad reason number one. My agent will be upset with me if I don't accept this deal. Bad reason number two, I'm afraid to ask my publisher or my agent to break out the math for is this a good deal for me. Bad Reason number three, there's a stigma attached to self publishing.

Jess Lahey 26:54

But don't you also think you have to say there's a stigma attached to self publishing in this category.

Sarina Bowen 27:03

I actually have the asterisk and I was about to say that, unless you're trying to reach an audience that is sensitive to that stigma. Bad reason number four, this deal stinks but they'll pay me more next time. And that one's tricky, of course. Because if you're offered no advance, which happens a lot lately, then your publisher has no skin in the game. And that's a really tough decision.

Jess Lahey 27:34

Yeah, not good for when it comes to marketing, because there's no impetus to invest in the marketing and publicity for that book.

Sarina Bowen 27:43

Yep. And the last bad reason to go traditional is I need a publisher's validation. Who doesn't want to be wanted?

Jess Lahey 27:55

Well, and it's tough because, you know, when writers get together and talk, they ask who each other's publisher is and you know, it's still a loaded conversation.

KJ Dell'Antonia 28:05

In our genres they do. In Sarina's genre I think they probably don't. You're probably already kind of vaguely aware, right.

Sarina Bowen 28:14

Yeah, but in romance, where it's we're like the canary in the coal mine market for independent publishing. And when I meet an author who has a long string of traditionally published titles, what I think about that author is, she must be awesome at writing. Because if you're not, you're going to be dropped on your head by your publisher pretty fast, right? But when I meet somebody who is very successful at self publishing, I think she must be a great writer, and she definitely knows a lot about the market because self publishing your work forces you to learn a ton about what readers want and how they make decisions. Whereas in traditional publishing, it might suit your life better to be published by someone who isn't you, but you will not learn as much. You just simply can't. Because a lot of those decisions are made out of your viewpoint.

Jess Lahey 29:16

Yeah, and it's a lot of work to do all that stuff and to learn all that stuff. I mean, it's a lot of work. I guess the other thing you have to think about along those lines is you have to do a lot of work that does take away from your writing time. And if you hate it, I mean, that's the other thing. You really like the business stuff and you like analyzing markets and you like figuring those things out. I don't know that I want to do any of that. And so that's another part of the decision, too. Is is what do you like doing about this and what do you hate doing about this and is it going to drive you crazy and make you sad to have to do that work? You know, the background stuff, the marketing, and the business, and all of that stuff.

Sarina Bowen 30:04

Definitely. And with regard to romance, because we've already established that that's a perfectly good market to independently publish in. After I started doing it myself, I flipped quickly to well, everyone should do this, because I saw the ways in which that it allowed me to cut the line and build a readership faster than traditionally published romance authors were able to do because their publisher held on to all the information, like who's reading the book, and what's their email address. So I was able to more quickly build a readership that really belong to me. But then as the the work of self publishing ate my life in an increasingly aggressive way, I softened on my stance of you know, what might work for me might really not work for someone else. If I had a day job at the Pentagon, like one of my colleagues does, then self publishing would just be like having a third job. Everybody has to make her own decision.

Jess Lahey 31:13

Yeah, like I love the PR and marketing stuff, but some of the things that you do and are so good at and love because that's the money stuff and the numbers, you love that stuff. And it's just not my not my bag.

KJ Dell'Antonia 31:30

I definitely did not think about self publishing the novel that I sold exactly because I didn't really, I always intended to go out with it. Because my position was just so good for going out as a traditionally published author and getting a decent advance. But what I sort of always had in the back of my mind was if this career as a traditionally public hopefully book a year, author of women's fiction doesn't work out the way that I want it to, I have your model of doing it. But what you do is different and I know that. Like I would have to be able to write books more quickly and develop the audience. If I wanted to do it like that, I would do it like that. I don't know if that makes any sense. I mean, because, because I love what you do. But I didn't think it was quite what I wanted to do right now. And I don't know that I could either. Your success is pretty astonishing.

Sarina Bowen 33:04

I know what you mean. And the word astonishing comes to me sometimes too, when I do consider the luck involved, and timing, and all kinds of things like that.

Jess Lahey 33:16

Well, the word astonishing comes into it for me, mostly because from when I first started looking at whether I was going to get traditionally published, I could put my arms around that, I knew what that looked like. And we call it traditional publishing because it's traditional, but until Sarina started doing it, I had no idea what that looked like. It wasn't something I could even envision because I didn't know what was involved and when you can't envision something, it seems completely overwhelming. But now that I've been watching Sarina do this, it is something I can get my arms around and it's much more of an option to me mentally if there isn't all of this sort of mystery out there about what's involved. So I think very few writers have someone to look to that have done this and can break it down for you and show you exactly what it is and exactly how it works. And I think that's part of why people tend to think about traditional publishing first is simply because it's traditional, and you can look and there are a million books out there on how to do it. But I have to assume there are a lot of self-pub books about how to do self publishing. And if you start googling them, you will find them and they are very niche books, as you said about giving very practical advice about how to do a very specific thing.

KJ Dell'Antonia 34:41

You know, there are books that if I wrote them, I would totally sell. If I wrote that natural horse training memoir, or a dog training memoir, or something like that, I would totally self publish that. I'd be doing it for a different reason and a different audience.

Jess Lahey 35:09

Well, and the other thing is, it has to do with knowing who the people in the landscape are again, too. Like, one of the things that Sarina had to do is figure out who's who in the romance publishing world. And now you know who's who in the natural horsemanship world and knowing those who those people are and who to reach out to and who to advertise to and do your PR with. That's another big hurdle that makes it more comprehensible to you that you would do the self-pub thing.

Alright. Sarina, you were the one who had the wonderful list, have we hit everything that you wanted to talk about?

Sarina Bowen 36:02

We have pretty much and I would just like to leave it with this idea. And that's that every author who's contemplating publishing at all, should really do their level best to define their own audience. So that could be something like the audience for this book is nursing students, or ComicCon attendees, or fans of James Patterson, just the more granular and precise you can be about defining the audience for your work, the easier it is to convince a publisher to take you on or to just figure out how you're going to sell the darn thing if you publish it yourself.

Jess Lahey 36:46

And we've talked about this in book proposal writing, too, that saying, oh, everyone will want to read this book is like the first big mistake. So yeah, that granular look is important for traditional publishing, too. So you're gonna have to think about that no matter what.

Sarina Bowen 37:00

That's right, some of these decisions and self honesty exercises are going to be undertaken no matter what decision you make.

Jess Lahey 37:11

I love that you called it self honesty decision. That was really good. I like that because that's what it is, you know, that's absolutely what it is getting real about who's gonna read your book.

KJ Dell'Antonia 37:23

Fellow writers, before we get into what we've been reading, let me flag for you the big message of this episode. If you're going to indie pub, you better be honest with yourself about what you've written. If you've got some doubts about your ability to do that, and who doesn't, a book coach might be the answer, both to help you assess what you've done, the strengths and the weaknesses, and to figure out what else if anything you might want to do before grabbing one of those self publishing how-to books we talked about and getting out into the market. Author Accelerator book coaches know their stuff when it comes to both traditional and indie publishing to find one that's right for you head to authoraccelerator.com.

Jess Lahey 38:07

Speaking about reading books, let's do that part. Let's talk about what we've been reading because oh my gosh, I've been reading such good stuff.

Sarina Bowen 38:15

I've got one. I am reading Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, who is a man. And he is always hilarious and I recommend him wholeheartedly.

Jess Lahey 38:31

Ooh, that sounds like fun. What do you got KJ?

KJ Dell'Antonia 38:33

I also have a fun one. I have just finished The Exit Strategy by Lainey Cameron. It is a super fast moving story of two really go-getter women in Silicon Valley, which always fascinates me in and of itself, who discover that they are both - one is married to and the other is engaged to the same really, really rotten con artist. So it's got overtones. I mean, it's not like he's having an affair, it's like full on con artist stuff. So they're sort of race to get away from him and out from under him and they have to work together on something, it's just super fast, and entertaining, and kind of a juicy read, and I really enjoyed it. So that's The Exit Strategy from Lainey Cameron, and it just came out last week I think.

Jess Lahey 39:32

But speaking of listening to things because that's how I've been doing just about everything lately because I've been outside a lot. I have been listening to Sara Stewart Taylor's The Mountains Wild and it just came out this week, the week we're recording, and actually we'll link to it in the show notes, but we did interview Sara Stewart Taylor early on in the process, we interviewed her about mystery writing, because that's what she does. And she's really good at it. And she has a whole bunch of books that I have read of hers. But this Mountains Wild book is really special. And the reason I want to talk about the audio version is that when you do an audio book and you need to find a narrator that can do other languages, lots of accents, I'm assuming it's a really tough get and the woman who narrates Sara's book is fantastic. She gets the Gaelic, she does the Dublin accent, the Northern Ireland accent, the Long Island accent, and she does male, and female and there's no moment where I'm saying, Oh, this isn't a full cast of characters, this is one person pretending to be lots of people and it's really, really good. Sarah's writing is beautiful. And the audio narration is spectacular. And so congratulations, Sara Stuart Taylor on the release of your book. This is what's fun about this podcast, I think is having this long view like, you know, we interview them early on when they first got their book deal, and then come back to them when the book is actually out. So anyway, I'm proud of Sara. It's really good. Alright. I think that's it for this week.

KJ Dell'Antonia 41:28

I think that's it for this week. I want to remind everyone to sign up for our weekly email with the shownotes because that is also how you will get all the book recommendations with their links, as well as links to our fantastic sponsors, and links to our Facebook group and links to everything that we talk about. Plus, it's your little announcement that there's a fat new episode waiting for you in your podcast player. And if you want to go one step further, you can support the podcast financially. And as a result, get weekly mini episodes or writer top fives that are super good and super fun. And those mini episodes also drop right into your podcast player once you support the podcast, which is a fun little trick that our friends at Substack have figured out.

Jess Lahey 42:22

In fact, I'm recording one today. I love recording those little mini episodes. They're really fun. And if you want to, actually, we mentioned that today's topic came straight out of our #AmWriting Facebook group and we keep really tight reins on. There's no mean stuff and people are nice and supportive and it's moderated and it's just a bunch of writers supporting each other and it's a really fun place to hang out. And if you ask any questions there who knows it may be a topic on a future show.

KJ Dell'Antonia 42:54

This is true and you can find all of those links at amwriting podcast.com.

Jess Lahey 43:01

All right, everyone. This is it, until next week, keep your butt in the chair and your head in the game. This episode of #AmWriting with Jess and KJ was produced by Andrew Parilla. Our music, aptly titled unemployed Monday was written and performed by Max Cohen. Andrew and Max were paid for their services because everyone, even creatives should be paid.