Podcast: Download (Duration: 43:18 — 34.7MB)
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | More
If you want a long-term writing career, then it's a good idea to listen to people who have walked the path before you … and who are still adapting to the changes in publishing. So, I'm super excited to bring you this interview with Kevin J Anderson today!
In the introduction, I mention our PulsePounders thriller bundle, available now and including books from Kevin, Jonathan Maberry and me 🙂 amongst other awesome thriller authors. Click here to check out the books.
Also, make sure you check out the Indie Author Fringe this coming week, a free online conference from the Alliance of Independent Authors, looking at aspects of the indie author business. It includes a session with me and CJ Lyons on when's the right time to go full-time, plus exclusivity decisions, productivity tips, taking your books to the international market, contract clauses, tax questions and much more. Click here to check out the line-up and mark your calendar for 22 October, 2016.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Kevin J Anderson is the multi-award-winning and internationally bestselling author of over 140 books, selling 23 million copies in thirty languages. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as his own sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, steampunk, and horror books. He runs WordFire Press with his wife and fellow author, Rebecca Moesta, has edited numerous anthologies, and has written comics, games and song lyrics.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- On whether Kevin suffers from self-doubt.
- Making a living as a writer, and the ‘popcorn theory' of writing success.
- How to know when to stop putting effort into books that aren't selling.
- Kevin's use of dictation for his writing.
- How publishing has changed and Kevin's predictions for the future.
- Story bundles; what they are, how they work, how they benefit both readers and the authors involved.
You can find Kevin at www.wordfire.com and on twitter @thekja. You can find our PulsePounders thriller bundle here, for a limited time.
Transcription of Interview with Kevin J. Anderson
Joanna: Hello everyone. I'm Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com and today, I'm here with Kevin J. Anderson. Hello, Kevin.
Kevin: Hello, Joanna and hello everybody. I'm sitting in my office in Colorado where I would normally be writing, but I'm talking to you instead.
Joanna: Fantastic. So just in case, people don't know who you are, I'll just do a little introduction.
Kevin is the multi-award-winning and internationally-bestselling author of over 140 books, selling 23 million copies in 30 languages. He's written numerous novels in the “Star Wars,” “X-Files,” and “Dune Universes,” as well as his own sci-fi, fantasy thriller, “Steampunk and the Horror Books.”
He runs WordFire Press with his wife and fellow author Rebecca Moesta. Has edited numerous anthologies and also written comics, games, and song lyrics.
Kevin, that's just incredible and I wanted to immediately reverse on this and ask about self-doubt. Because people listening are gonna like, “Oh, my goodness, Kevin's just done everything.”
Do you still feel self-doubt and do you suffer from some of these things that people think are just for beginning writers?
Kevin: Well, don't be silly. Of course, I don't. I'm too busy to suffer from self-doubt. I would suppose a surgeon suffers from doubt every once in a while or a teacher, but this is what I do. I have these stories in my head. I have all the characters I've… Like you're right, I've written 140 books and who knows how many short stories. I've always got the books in my head and I know how to write them. This is what I do. I may be like a soccer player or something, I know what I'm doing and I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing.
My entire life is focused on what story do I tell next and what characters do I do next? I have either notes for the next four or five books that I've got planned and I've got things in my head for different series. I'm plotting a new fantasy series right now so part of my brain is working on cultures and history and the grand storyline.
Because I like “Game of Thrones,” huge things rather than just one little person story as he goes to the coffee shop, the end. I have much, much bigger stories than that. So they're very intricate plotting exercises and to me, that's just the most enjoyable thing. I love doing it so I don't sit around huddled in the corner going, “Oh, no, which verb should I use next?”
Joanna: No, that's fantastic. And actually, I've been reading a lot of your blog posts and you said that your goal when you got published was, “My goal was not just to be a published author but a successful author so I could make my living at it.”
Apart from your obvious work ethic, what separates those who make a very good living at writing from those authors who just scrape by or have to do something else to pay the way?
Kevin: Well, I want to be clear. It wasn't me saying that I want to make a lot of money as a writer because that's a pretty foolish thing to say. Almost nobody ever does that.
What I wanted was to be successful enough so that that's what I could do for my job. Many, many authors work at part-time job. They work in a restaurant, or they have a clerk's job somewhere, or they work in a bank. And then they go home and they get to write for one or two hours in the evening.
I wanted to write all the time and the only way you can write all the time is if you can pay your bills. Now, the other option would be to marry a fabulously wealthy spouse and that didn't turn out quite the same. My wife is also a successful writer but I didn't check that she was fabulously rich before we got married.
We had to make our own way and a lot of it involved like being very prolific, writing a lot. The days of mulling around and writing one book and hoping that it's a smash success and selling a million copies, that almost never happens. And so, I was able to write and my books sold fairly well.
Then I got asked to write some “Star Wars” book and my exposure greatly increased and I became a bestselling author which led to other book offers. It became a process of writing as much as I could, and only picking the projects that I really enjoyed. But also being able to pay my bills with it, which to me was the great goal was so that I could be a writer as a career rather than maybe I published a book once or twice.
Joanna: I've I heard you mention your “popcorn theory” of writing. How does that tie into what you're talking about?
Kevin: I have given this talk in many, many writers' conferences. I call it the “popcorn theory”. Because I have written so many different things and tried so many different things and you send out proposals and you send out ideas. To me, it's a much longer story than I would normally be telling.
But if you're making popcorn, like the old-fashioned way, in a pan over a burner in the stove. You put a lot of popcorn kernels in and you heat it up. But you never know at any one time which popcorn kernel is going to pop or which direction it's going to fly.
You can't just take one popcorn kernel and bank on it. You can't say, “This is the only thing I'm gonna do and I hope it's going to pop.” You try a lot of different things and you put a lot of popcorn kernels in the pan and you add a lot of heat. And sooner or later, something is going to start popping.
But I could never tell if it's gonna be my Zombie Private Detective Series, or my big Space Opera Series, or my epic fantasy, or even my writing instruction books or something. You never know.
An author that I met many years ago was extremely successful. His name was R.L. Stine. He was very successful by writing his self-help book called “What Color is Your Parachute?”
Joanna: Ah, no. He didn't write that.
Kevin: R.L Stine and he became very popular with it. And then he tried something different which was the horror books for little kids and he called them “Goosebumps.” And, of course, they took off all over the place. But he got his start by writing “What Color is Your Parachute?” So you would never predict that from that author because he tried different things and luckily for him, he had a lot of popcorn pop on those.
Joanna: Wow, I didn't know that. I've seen R.L. Stine, Bob Stine “ThrillerFest” and I thought he must have always been a kid's author. But that's amazing because a lot of people would have read that book as well the “Parachute.” That's amazing.
You've written your own series and like you said, they kind of make quite a big story series. You've also written in other universes, other, you know, “Dune,” and “Star Wars,” and all that. And you talk about this “popcorn theory,” too.
So many authors struggle with how many books or how much time should they spend on one series if they feel like it's going nowhere? Some people are saying, “You need three books in a series before readers take notice.”
If people are planning these massive series, how long do you think people should put the energy into one of them before trying something new if it's not popped?
Kevin: Well, they're not going to like this answer but I would suggest you try everything anyway. That you write your series that you like but then at the same time, write a completely different book because that might take off. Or a different book as you're nurturing and cultivating your series.
Because if you have an Egyptian mummy, homicide investigator or something like that and you love the series and you're writing one book and then the next book. And if you write five books and then nobody ends up reading them then you've wasted all that time.
But if you're writing those books because you enjoy them, while you are also writing “What Color is Your Parachute?” And you're trying something else, there may be another popcorn kernel that pops.
I started my own series of “Dan Shamble, Zombie PI.” several years ago. I loved it. This was completely different. I'm well known as writing giant epic, usually science fiction but also fantasy. And when I wrote this one, I turned it into my agent and sent around to publishers. Now, remember, the credits that you mentioned. I've got 23 million books in print.
And a whole bunch of my regular publishers turned it down because they said, “Well Kevin Anderson doesn't write humorous horror. He writes giant science friction.” And I said, “But here's this book that I wrote.” We ended up selling it to a different publisher and we sold three books and I wrote all three books so that they could bring them out very, very swiftly.
Then I contacted some of my other friends who wrote series like that, Jim Butcher, and Kelly Armstrong, and Patricia Briggs, and Sherrilyn Kenyon. And every one of them told me that it took at least six books before their series took off. My publisher published the first two those Dan Shamble books and said, “It's not taking off so we're just gonna finish this up.” So then WordFire, my own publishing house, has then released it. We're gonna do another one. I'm actually making more more money now from my own publishing efforts than what they did.
But, you know, publishing has changed so dramatically. It used to be a publisher would invest in Jim Butcher and they would stick with his series for six books until it suddenly skyrocketed. But now apparently, they will stick with you for one book. If it doesn't skyrocket, then they're moving to something else. I think everybody is scrambling. We always used to know how publishing worked and now, we don't know anything anymore.
Joanna: I want to come back on the publishing but before we move on that, I want to ask you about your writing process. Because you said they're about writing multiple books at the same time which many authors struggle with. And also, I read that you dictate and that you walk a lot.
Can you talk about your own writing process and whether you still walk while still dictating?
Kevin: My hair is still a little sweaty right this minute because I wrote a chapter before this interview. I was walking around the bike path in the streets around my house and I was watching my wristwatch. I was walking very quickly because I knew I had to be back here in 10 minutes, and I was getting to a very dramatic part and trying to wrap it all up.
I feel like I'm a storyteller. I know my novel. I have it all outlined. I have all the hundred chapters or so blocked out with, maybe three or four sentences of, “This is what happens in this chapter, and this is where it begins, and this is where it ends.”
I live in Colorado so I'm in the mountains. It's very beautiful scenery and I'll go out walking with my digital recorder and just tell the story in my head.
Now, all writers, they think of a sentence and then they type it. Well, I think of the sentence then I speak it. If you actually consider it, I'm going through far few fewer steps than somebody who types it because I can just think it and talk. Rather than mentally deconstruct the sentences into words, and then break those words down into letters, and then type those letters on a keyboard so that it comes up on the screen. That's like seven extra steps to type your stuff.
So, I get to go out walking. And the other advantages to is that I can be on a trail somewhere or a smooth bike path and just be away from the telephone. And away from the computer, and away from the nagging, little Facebook icon that wants me to check my Facebook status, and Twitter, or whatever. I'm just synced entirely into the story that I'm writing and I usually walk along the trail until I've dictated one chapter. Then I turn around and I have just enough time to dictate another chapter on the way back home.
I have a typist. I email the audio files to a typist who transcribes. Sometimes, I will transcribe it myself if I'm in a real hurry. But I'd rather spend the hour, instead of transcribing it, dictating another couple of chapters so that I can move forward.
Joanna: This year, because of you, I've actually been trying dictation, although using Dragon. Ad I'm finding that sort of turning the brain into speaking quite difficult.
Did you used to type and then move into dictation? Do you have any tips for people struggling with that?
Kevin: I used to type but I would get so frustrated. Because I would think of things faster than I could type them and I wanted a way to preserve it better. And also, I was just getting distracted all the time, with so many people around the house, and the doorbell ringing, and the phone. I wanted to just concentrate on my stories.
But the big advice that I would give for you and for other writers to get started with it, is don't try to write that way. The best way to start is to do notes or brainstorming that way.
And as a perfect example, say you're making up a character who's a schoolteacher on Mars, and her name is Joanna. You just go with your recorder and just go for a walk. It's almost like free association. And Joanna came to Mars for this reason, and her husband does this on Mars and she's a teacher because she had a miscarriage and couldn't have her own children but she still loves children and she wanted to make a difference.
Her father disowned her because he didn't want her to leave earth because he'll never see her again. Because the father turns out that, say he's got a degenerative muscular disease and she won't be there to take care of him. Look, I'm just making all this up right now but you can make all this up while you're walking and preserve it in the recorder.
It's not like it has to be perfect sentences because nobody needs to see this other than you. But it's helping your imagination think of things and recording it. So that you don't have to remember it an hour later when you're trying to think, “Now why did her father hate her for going away?”
I can go for a walk and all these ideas will come. So then I would finish maybe her character background, and then I would switch to her father's background and how does he think of her and start describing that.
These aren't writing chapters. This is just building up the characters that will be in my head. And it's the act of walking and just dictating it, I find very liberating. I don't have to write down notes because that's distracting to me.
There's a process, the physical process of if I'm walking through a forest or if I'm just plain walking, just the exercise behind it helps my creative juices to flow. I've read studies where that happens. That if you're just sitting there in your chair staring at your computer, you have far fewer like creative lightning bolts going on than if you are out and around.
I'm in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and I'm seeing beautiful trees, and waterfalls, and wild flowers, and everything that, that certainly helps add sensory input as well.
Joanna: Yeah, that's amazing. Okay so coming back on publishing because, of course, you've been in publishing a long time now and you've done it in all kind of different ways.
How has publishing changed, do you think? Has it just dramatically changed in the last five years or do you think it's been changing for a longer period?
Kevin: I think the huge difference was probably in the past five years or so. My first novel was published in 1988 and I published short stories before that. I had spent my whole life growing up and reading about publishing in “Publishers Weekly,” and understanding how publishing and book selling works because that's what I wanted to do for my career. I wanted to be a writer and I understood how it all worked.
But it was really about five years ago when… Now, you could look at it two ways. You can either look at it as total and complete Armageddon in the industry. Or you can look at it as an industrial revolution because a lot of things hugely changed.
We went from riding horses to having automobiles. I mean it's entirely different the way we did things in book selling, in publishing, in distribution, and in the author's role for Simon & Schuster, as I did for many years.
I was the author who wrote a book. But then there was this gigantic army of people who would do the production, and proofreading, and graphic design, and publicity, and editing, and distribution, I mean all of this stuff. And the author was quite separated from many of those steps, which I will say out of the side of my mouth, was very nice. Because then I could go and write my next book.
But a lot of entertainment and technology has similarly changed. If you look at movies, what if you are the person who banked your entire fortune, your entire career on opening a line of videotape rental stores? I don't know how many of those thought that videotapes would vanish in the course of, like, six months.
When DVDs came out, poof, they all went away and then DVDs were replaced by Blu-rays and we all had to go and get a new different player. And now, even DVD rentals and stuff, we're all doing streaming. And who knows what's next?
Or music was ahead of publishing as far as, like, eBooks and everything. That there were the giant record companies and you had to be signed by a record company to get your album made or your CD made. And then people realized that they could do their own CDs and release them. Because it's not that expensive to produce your own CD and then you would sell them. And then certain bands would do Kickstarters to fund their own CDs, which is unheard of. Because the record label always paid for the production of everything. Well here, they're doing it themselves. It's more of a democratic homegrown, they can do it all.
Again, to keep going with the analogy of the bands, what happens is bands would then play around in bars and nightclubs and they would get paid for that. They perform and then at the end of it, they would sign autographs and they would sell their CDs. If you are having a CD that you produced that costs you $2. And you're selling it for $15, you're pocketing a lot of profit. If the big record company makes that CD, you, the artist, might make 30 cents or something like that.
It's a dramatic difference but again, on the other side, it's a hell a lot more work. Instead of it just being a songwriter sitting at home, you've got to be a touring band. You gotta go to nightclubs, you gotta book your acts, you gotta perform in front of people. You have to then do the autographing. You gotta lug your equipment around to the next gig and you got to do it again.
And that's how we, authors, have been transitioning because, you know, the major bookstores chains, Borders, which was in U.S. and the UK and around the world, they went out of business. We just have a major one in the U.S. called Hastings, which was a bookstore and media CDs and DVDs. They just went out of business, which was another big blow.
And, of course, we have Amazon who's distributing things. But Amazon treats indie authors just as any other publisher. They'll put up a book that I published myself right next to a book that Bantam publishes. And the reader who's gonna buy a Kevin Anderson book doesn't notice the difference, if I've done my cover design right. So it's advantageous a little bit for me because I've worked in the industry for so long, I know how to do it.
It's a disadvantage to a lot of the newer writers, who frankly, don't know what they're doing. They don't know anything about typesetting, or cover design, or how books are supposed to look, and things. So, you know, I can, sort of, spot an amateur book from a mile away.
But there's also a lot of difference steps involved in it. I'm sure you've got hardware stores or home decorating stores where they will tell poor, gullible, young couples that they don't need to hire a professional. That they can remodel their kitchen all by themselves with a few tools at home. Well, it's a lot harder than that. You need to know what you're doing and that is what the indie publishing is.
Now, there have been some people that have been fabulously successful in it. There have been other people who put up a book and five people buy it. In fact, that's the more likely story because that's, I think, the average eBook that goes up sells something like 5 to 10 copies.
There's a lot of promotion and publicity involved. And authors have to find innovative ways to sell their books or to draw attention to their books. Authors have banded together to form, sort of, co-ops, or marketing collectives, and united front. So that they can pool their resources and maybe hire a publicist together or something.
I wish I could tell everybody the answer. Well, may be I won't because I'd keep it for myself. But nobody quite knows what works or what doesn't. What worked for one person today isn't gonna work for a different person tomorrow. It's a constantly moving target which, again, I'm finding exhausting. Because I have published 100 books and had, you know, dozens and dozens of bestsellers in the old model. And suddenly, I have to learn an entirely different sport, if I'm going to keep playing in the game.
Joanna: It's interesting listening to you. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch are other long-term, traditionally-published authors who have embraced the indie way. There's those types of authors, and like yourself, and then there's these other traditionally-published authors who literally want nothing to do with indie.
You're a sci-fi author as well and you mentioned the industrial revolution and maybe we're seeing AI coming on board.
What do you see happening in the next 5 to 10 years? Do you see that those authors who just reject this model are gonna disappear? Or will big publishing change. Or will small presses like your own take over? What do you think?
Kevin: I think my WordFire Press is gonna take over the whole world and we'll have billions of dollars.
I do think that the bigger, traditional publishers are frantically trying to review their own model, and stay afloat, and figure out how to revive.
Now, I want to emphasize though, I'm still writing for a traditional publisher. I had two books out, this week alone, from Tor Books, two hardcover books, my last “Dune” novel and my last “Seven Suns” novel both came out on the same day in hardcover from a traditional publisher. I've got another book I'm writing for them and I will be doing a proposal. I want to do the popcorn theory, have my popcorn kernels all over the place.
It would be wonderful if people would buy countless copies of our WordFire Press books because we're supporting our authors and keeping them going. But you never know and you can't really count on only one possible solution.
It has changed so much in the past five years I'm not sure I can say what's going to happen because my numbers are probably from five years or six years ago. The most popular reading device was the Sony eReader. Well nobody reads on Sony eReaders anymore. I don't know what happened. I don't know what was wrong with them or whatever.
For my own, I have a Kindle but I spend more of my time reading on a Kobo. There are people that read on their iPads, people that read on their iPhones. To me, the device, it's just a way to deliver the words.
I don't really care whether it's a print book or an electronic book if I'm trying to just read the story. Now I'm old fashioned, I like to have a very nice, hardcover book or a leather-bound book. That's the enjoyable reading experience for me.
You know, to print a hardcover book, and then to ship it to a bookstore and try to sell it as opposed to uploading an electronic file and have people buy it with no warehousing costs or production cost. For me, that's a lot more viable way of doing things.
I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm trying to watch and stay one step ahead. But I do know that there's a giant asteroid coming our way. And I would rather be a mammal than a dinosaur and I would like to survive.
Joanna: Fantastic. One of the things that WordFire Press is doing is doing story bundles. And I'm going to be in one, which I'm very excited about, with you, “Pulse Pounders,” the thriller bundle.
What is the idea behind the story bundle? Why is it a good idea for authors and for readers? Because many people are quite skeptical of that kind of model.
Kevin: Well, this is one of those things I mentioned about innovative ways that new writers have to figure out and indie publishers. How do we get attention for our books? How do we get readers for our books? And one of the ways that I'm working with is story bundle.
There's another company I've worked with called Humble Bundle. How do I describe? A bunch of authors get together, sort of like a collective club. It's 10 to 15 books that we just put together in a grab bag. That “Here is 15 books that are all on the same subject.”
In the one that we have coming up, it's a thriller bundle, so everything here is a thriller. Now some of them are, you know, traditional suspense thrillers. Other of them are more like fast-paced action books and some are edgy, horror books. But it's all under the umbrella of thrillers.
There's 15 thriller books and they're all eBooks, all eBook format, and there's a minimum price. I think it's $5, but you pay what you want. Do you feel that this is worth 15 bucks or 20 bucks or 100? I mean it depends on what you feel like. You name your own price above a certain minimum. You pay it and immediately you get downloaded all 15 of these books.
A portion of that money goes to direct to charity and our chosen charity is the Challenger Learning Center for Space Education. I'm on the board of that. It was founded by the woman whose husband was commander of the Challenger Mission. So it's to promote science and education among kids. That's probably more appropriator for some of the science fiction bundles we're doing. But it's my charity so we put it in there.
And all of the authors promote. Everybody pushes the bundle of the book. So you, of course, Joanna, are doing this interview and you'll be doing some other things. And it only runs for three weeks. And everybody promotes and you get as many people as possible to download the bundle.
The great thing is it's almost like you're going to a buffet, it's an all you can eat. You get downloaded these, I don't remember if it's exactly 15 books in our bundle. It's something like that. And you get the whole batch of books and read half of them if you want.
And the other interesting thing. We've got some big-name authors in it and some newer authors in it. If you are a fan of Jonathan Maberry who is one of our authors in the bundle, he'll bring his fans to buy the bundle to get his book. But then they might read Joanna Penn's book or they might read Colum Sanson-Regan's book who is one of our authors in the book, and I'm sure nobody's heard of him.
Donald J. Bingle, he's another one of our authors. You probably never heard of him. But you maybe have heard of Kevin J. Anderson, I've got a book in there or Dean Wesley Smith or Matt Buchman. We try to mix the bigger authors and the newer authors so it's a grab bag. It's a nice sample.
I've got one that's running right now, which will be over by the time you upload this one, but it's an epic fantasy bundle. That's it's got something by me, and by Brandon Sanderson, or by Tracy Hickman, and also by a lot of newer authors. And it's just a wonderful way to fill up your reading device with more books than you can possibly read. And then the next bundle comes out. But it's a limited time. It only runs for three weeks and then it's gone.
And then all of the money is, like, within days divided up among the titles in the book. So if you're an indie author, you'll get paid for your book. We have one bundle that sold, like, 4,000 copies within 3 weeks. That is enough copies that if it were tracked, that's enough copies of anyone of those titles to show up on the New York Times bestseller list. That's a lot of copies going out there. It doesn't mean everybody reads every title in it, but how do you guarantee everybody reads every book that gets bought either?
I guess the nice thing about it is that this is a way for a group of authors to work together, to pool their efforts, to combine their fan bases but also to give something cool to the readers. Because as a reader, if you're going to spend $15 and get 12 new novels that you haven't read, that's a bargain.
And these aren't, like, ridiculous, how do I say this, amateur books that somebody just uploaded without being edited. These are, again, Jonathan Maberry and Mike Barron, and Dean Wesley Smith, and Kevin Anderson, and Joanna Penn. These are authors that have established themselves and produced some pretty good stuff.
The way to find it is storybundle.com. And they run one or two at a time. They're often comics bundles or gaming bundles. I work with them to put WordFire Press books and then, of course, I bring in other guest authors like yourself.
Joanna: I've done a direct link at TheCreativePenn.com/bundle. That will be there for a limited time. Now, I've got my “Gates of Hell” in there, which is a supernatural thriller.
Tell people about the book that you got in there as well so they know which is yours to look out for.
Kevin: I've got one that I co-authored with Doug Beason. It's called “Virtual Destruction.” And Doug and I met when we were both working at a top-secret, government research lab in the U.S. It's a nuclear weapons design lab and that's where we were. That's where I worked as a tech writer and he as a colonel in the Air Force nuclear physicist.
We wrote a novel basically about a murder inside the high-tech government research lab, which has deals with all sorts of security guards and clearances. The FBI investigator can't even investigate the murder scene because he doesn't have clearance to go in there. And so we tried to really develop as much real details about a government research lab as possible. And that's the first book in a series featuring the same FBI investigator.
I've got Jonathan Maberry's first “V-Wars” book. It's a series of horror, kind of vampire virus, and people fighting against it. That's a great one. Dean Wesley Smith has something called “An Easy Shot,” Matt Buchman has “Two Chef.” The reason it's called “The Pulse Pounders Thriller Bundle” is I edited an anthology called “Pulse Pounders” which is all thriller stories of all different types. That anthology is in there. So you get like 15 thrillers stories in there as well and some serial killer books and good adventure, action books. It's a great bunch of novels for you to read for a bargain price. And you can download them all on whichever eReading device you have.
Joanna: Yes, fantastic. Okay. So that was a brilliant interview.
Where can people find all of your other books and everything else about you online?
Kevin: Okay. Well, my Twitter handle is the word “the” and then my initials KJA. So I'm @thekja. I've got a couple of Facebook pages so if you look up Kevin J. Anderson, you'll find one of them and our publishing house is WordFire Press. So you can find wordfirepress.com and all of our books. So we got well over 200 books published and 90-some authors. So we hope that you'll check it out and again, help support the indie authors and the Challenger Center Charity. We'll raise some money and get you some good books to read.
Joanna: Thanks so much for your time, Kevin. That was great.
Kevin: Great. Thanks, Joanna.
Joshua Smith says
Kevin gave a fresh take on the notion of putting your eggs in multiple baskets, of course with his unique popcorn simile. I’ve heard a rule spreading among indies that goes something like: publish fast, don’t write a series unless the first book “sticks”, and don’t be overly concerned with craft. Kevin’s take seems to be: write whatever your heart desires but hedge your bets with multiple WIPs in the pipeline. I see wisdom in Kevin’s approach.
I’m hearing more and more about dictation. I’ve tried it now and again myself but the workflow never gelled for me. The increased productivity on the front end seemed to be eaten away by time spent reformatting on the back end (speaking of talk to text software). Of course formatting wouldn’t matter so much if, as Kevin suggested, dictation was used for outlining notes. And apparently Kevin employs a typist for his manuscripts, which may not be practical for some. Any insight into productivity and workflow with dictation would be appreciated.
Joanna Penn says
I’m still honing my dictation process, but for transcription, I can recommend http://www.speechpad.com
Joshua Smith says
Thanks for the recommendation. Stories come from an oral tradition and I believe the input mode affects the output. If I figure out anything to smooth out the wrinkles I’ll pass it along.
Joanna Penn says
This interview with Kevin goes into more depth on dictation: http://nanowrimoeverymonth.com/2016/06/03/questions-103-dictation-with-kevin-j-anderson/
Just want to mention that the Goosebumps author did not write What Color is Your Parachute? That stopped me in my tracks while I was walking, and I confirmed when I was again home.
Dixie Darr says
Richard Belles wrote What Color is Your Parachute?
Dixie Darr says
Hi Joanna. I want to know how do you participate in a story bundle? Whom do you contact? And are there any criteria for selection? 🙂
Mars Dorian (@MarsDorian) says
Thanks for the interview, I’m a fan of Kevin J. Anderson, ever since my teens where he published various grrreat Star Wars novels. I’m now into the Dune book series, which spans almost 30 books.
I wish he talked more about his writing process and routines, like his daily word count etc. Maybe in a future version:)
Bill Cokas says
Two things stood out for me in yet another excellent interview from Joanna. One is that creativity can be boosted by activity–I do notice I come up with more and better ideas while exercising, but with no good way to “write them down.” Two, instead of straight dictation, Kevin suggests a more “stream of consciousness” approach, which frees you up from thinking you have to dictate the actual novel as it will read, but just let the ideas flow and decide which ones survive later. Now I just need to find a place where it’s acceptable to talk to yourself.
Kevin is so good! I just read Slan Hunter a couple years ago (after reading Slan as a kid), and Shadow of the Xel’Naga before that.
Hello and Happy New Year. Is there any help for using the SONY Digital Voice Recorder.