Our guest this week is Lindsay Buroker, the author of the Death Before Dragons series. Lindsay joins co-host Paul Sating to talk writing, quick releases, and book cover gaffes in this episode of the Urban Fantasy Author Podcast.
This episode’s excerpt is from chapter one of Sinister Magic, book one of Lindsay’s “Death Before Dragons” series. You can pick up Sinister Magic at: https://geni.us/sinmagic
Lindsay is a full-time independent fantasy and science fiction author who loves travel, hiking, tennis, and vizslas. She’s written over sixty novels, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list, and has been twice nominated for a Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award.
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Transcript of This Week’s Author Interview:
Paul Sating (00:22):
Everyone Paul Sating here again, your co-host for urban fantasy author podcast. Great to be with you once more. I’m very excited about today’s guest Lindsay broker, and we’re going to get into her episode in a second. Don’t forget. At the end of the episode, we have the entirety of her first chapter in book one of her death before dragon series to make sure you stay tuned for that. After the outro music, Lindsay is a full-time independent fantasy and science fiction author who loves to travel, hike, play tennis, and vizslas, which I don’t even know what they are.
She’s written over 60 novels appeared on the USA today bestseller list and has been twice nominated for a good reads reader’s choice award. Now let’s get to the interview with Lindsay on cue. I was warning Lindsay off air that my Chihuahua was going to raise cane and she is, and now she’s getting my Husky all wound up. So if you hear the two dogs in the background, I totally apologize. I do try to be a professional from time to time, but dogs can throw a wrinkle into anything. So patrons welcome. And this is your video exclusive portion of an urban fantasy author podcast with not just urban fantasy, but fantasy and sci-fi author Lindsey broker, but I wanted to welcome you to the show and thanks for coming by.
Lindsay Buroker (01:49):
Awesome. Well thank you very much for having me.
Paul Sating (01:51):
I’ll definitely, it’s an absolute honor and pleasure. I’ve loved your stuff, and I love following your blogs and stuff for a long time. I actually met you in at 20 books two years ago now and an in in the elevator, but I’d been in Vegas for like a half an hour. I was tired. I didn’t recognize your face to your voice kind of thing. I just said hi to you real quick. And then it was like, I don’t know, two hours later I went, wait a second. You know, I had the light bulb moment, so it’s cool to actually get to formally formally meet you. So I wanted to start off with an easy kill question for you. A little bit of background about who you are and what it was about urban fantasy that kind of drew you to the genre where you actually wanted to dabble in it.
Lindsay Buroker (02:34):
Sure. so I have always been a reader. My mom got me reading and like age two or three, because I was annoying her so much that like you need a hobby kid. So I was always making up stories when I was growing up, but I wasn’t really good about finishing them. It took me, you know, getting into the adult world and going, gosh, I wish I could be an author for a living to get serious and join a workshop and start finishing things. And that took a little while it was slow process, but in 2010, I published my first novel. It was just kind of the beginning of the Kindle age, because I was actually thinking I’m going to have to look for an agent. And I didn’t think that would go well since I wasn’t really writing anything they were looking for.
Lindsay Buroker (03:13):
And then, you know, all of a sudden it kind of blew up. People were like posting on their blogs. Hey, I’m making money, self publishing. So I went that route and I’ve pretty much stayed indie. I do have a publisher for my audio books and I’ve signed a couple of foreign rights sayings, but it’s been great. About 2012, I was able to go full time. I started with sort of high fantasy. A lot of that in the beginning, tried steam punk. I did a couple of S you know, kind of space opera series. And I dabbled briefly in kind of contemporary fantasy, but I abandoned it after only two books. I need to go back and finish that series. But yeah, this last series I did in 2020, I’m just publishing the last one in a couple of weeks here. The ninth book in depth before dragons is actually kind of urban fantasy. It takes place in the Seattle area for the most part and brings dragons and elves and doors and all the fun D and D kind of characters that I grew up with and wanted to, you know, I was like, if I’m going to do contemporary fantasy, I got to bring my dragons and elves into it.
Paul Sating (04:14):
Oh, absolutely. And as somebody who lives near Seattle, it was it’s real. It’s a really cool series, especially. Well, I mean, we’ll get into the book in a second here, but I do ha since you’ve got it on the front of my mind, I was out walking the dogs or maybe running and I was listening to it. Cause I like to do audio book as much as possible. And you have, I’m not going to give anything away folks. You’ve got to go check it out yourself, but you have a a portion of this, of a scene where you mentioned a military base. That’s like 20 minutes down the road. And I thought, God, that’s as a former military guy, that’s really cool for someone to give some love to the local base. And it doesn’t happen that often for me,
Lindsay Buroker (04:52):
It was fun. And I grew up in Edmonds actually, and I was planning to go back cause I hadn’t lived there for about 10 years. My parents retired and moved out of the area. So now I have to visit them in Arizona instead of Edmonds. So I was going to go up there and like actually going downtown and see all the things and kind of get reminded of everything. And then COVID happened as I was, I was, I had like a Airbnb and everything. I was going to go to Emerald, Emerald city, me and Rose city comic con last year. And well, that blew up. So I’ve been like Google using Google maps and the internet, just kind of, a lot of this story ends up taking place in kind of the suburbs North of Seattle, because I’m more familiar with like Woodinville Edmonton’s bottles. So people that are like, why isn’t this in cooler parts of the town? I was like, wow, I don’t know. It was, it was wow. There is some in downtown and Capitol.
Paul Sating (05:40):
You did you put a good, I thought you did well, I did that with one of my my first book of my Zodiac series and I live an hour less than an hour. Well, depending on traffic, less than an hour from Seattle and I still had to Google map it. So I don’t fault you at all. You haven’t been up in this neighborhood for awhile. I had to check
Lindsay Buroker (05:58):
Out to make sure gasworks park and Lake union still looked pretty much the same as I remember.
Paul Sating (06:03):
It’s funny how quickly, especially when you’ve got a place like this, it changes so quickly. So what was it because I interviewed with McLendon a few weeks ago, like you, he started his journey more on the Epic side of the fantasy spectrum and came back to urban Fanny fantasy, which I find not funny, like funny ha ha but ironic for me because I was dabbling in thrillers and horrors and I like them. I enjoy them, but I didn’t want to write them. I wanted to do fantasy. So as I was thinking about my conversion into fantasy, I wanted to do Epic, but for me, Epic is like the stuff you see behind me, you know, it’s those 800 page tomes and I wanted to do Andy. So it didn’t make sense. So for you, what was it that, was it a business decision or was it a matter of the heart that kind of brought you into the urban fantasy area?
Lindsay Buroker (06:54):
I actually did not particularly want to do urban fantasy because it’s very competitive, especially as indie authors, there’s just a lot of authors writing good books. And I felt like it was a little easier in sort of the Epic fantasy slash teen punk area where I’ve done a lot of stuff and I, they always recommend, and I recommend it to people that you really stick with one genre to build up a fan base because it’s just easier than asking people to like, Hey, I did Epic fantasy. Now I’m doing face offer. Now I’m going to do contemporary fantasy. You’ll get some people that will follow you for everything. But it’s, it’s easier. A lot of people just want more of what they already know. They like, and they don’t want to venture into other things, but it was just a case of the character, Val kind of coming to me first.
Lindsay Buroker (07:38):
And I just imagined her with this relationship with her therapist, you know, texting back and forth and stuff. And I was like, this is not really gonna work. I mean, you can do telepathy and things like that, but I just really saw her in his modern setting and I saw the opening scene, but I think you’re going to share with your podcast listeners where her Jeep gun ends up getting thrown up in the tree by the dragon that ends up being a main character as like, well, she’s got a Jeep, it’s got to be a contemporary fantasy. So from there I did try to read, you know, I kind of read the book one and two have a lot of the popular authors just to make sure I wasn’t completely out of left field. Cause I also drawn as a reader more to like the galaxy far, far away, then things set on earth. So I was like, well, it’s not going to be exactly like their stuff. But I know I had a lot of readers already that were fans of Ilana Andrews. And I thought, well, it’s kind of in that vein. So hopefully I got it right.
Paul Sating (08:30):
Yeah. I thought it, I thought it worked well. And I loved the I liked the Jeep and the, you know, the callbacks to the Jeep from time to time. So let’s talk about that first book in the, in the series and it’s sinister magic and it’s from, it’s in the death before dragons series, which I’m going to have another question on later because you’ve done something as an so for those of you who are authors or aspiring authors, Lindsey’s done something really cool with death before dragon series. I’m going to ask her about in a second. But sinister magic. What, what is it? What can, what about Val? Who is she? What’s what, what is her conflict? Why does she exist? What does she after or what’s after her?
Lindsay Buroker (09:10):
I would, I think she would say she’s just kind of a normal, you know, geeky, maybe slightly geeky, half elf assassin. I mean, that’s a normal game that you have in a fantasy novel. She was in the military. I was actually in the army for four years, myself. So I kind of know a little bit, I mean, it’s kind of fuzzy now. It’s long enough in the past, but I know a little bit about that. And one of the side characters, Willard, the boss that she contracts for as a Colonel in the army. But yeah, she’s just her, her goal is like the series starts, she’s having some health issues. And so her doctor and therapist are like, okay, you need to learn how to relax. Maybe have a little less stressful life. Maybe don’t kill as many people, but that’s sort of the, one of the, you know, internal conflicts.
Lindsay Buroker (09:55):
And she’s also got a daughter and an ex-husband a teenage daughter that she wants to like she’s kept away from them because her business, you know, it was very dangerous. She gets assassins of targeting her as revenge stuff a lot. So she’s really tried to keep her family at arms length. But if that bothers her, you know, and it’s something as the series goes on, we get to see her kind of developing a relationship with them again. And I thought that, yeah, a lot of the urban fantasy, I did read focused on characters, heroines that are maybe like 22. And so I thought, well, I can’t write anybody young. You should’ve seen me on Google. What do teenagers say? Cause the teenage daughter has to be like saying, Oh, this is Gucci man. Like I had to try to get the slang that is actually being used out there.
Lindsay Buroker (10:43):
So I just, I couldn’t really write a hero in that age as I, well, I’m gonna write somebody that’s my age, but I’ll make her a half elf. So she’s a little, she has a longer lifespan, but no, it was just fun. And I I’ve had a lot of readers thank me for like a character. So a lot of my readers tend to be like 30 and up more so than teenagers. I don’t know if that’s just how it is on the internet these days, or those are the people with the disposable income that are buying books on Amazon maybe. But that seems to have be the folks that gravitate gravitate towards me. So I wanted to do a character. I felt I could write and a character that they would relate to. So I’ve gotten some good feedback or just, you know, thank you is like, Hey, we’re, we’re super excited to have a character that’s actually dealing with like having a teenage daughter.
Paul Sating (11:27):
Well, and it’s nice, you know, it’s all about that. Well, I shouldn’t say it’s all about relate-ability but relate-ability is a huge thing. And a lot of people, like you said, there’s a lot of youthful, main characters out there in the genre. So yeah, it is. I absolutely agree. So let’s talk about the series. And because I’m pretty proficient, I wrote a fifth book in my series in December in 18 days. Finished it from ward one to the end. And so far in 2021, I’ve got a trilogy I’m going to jump into, I finished the first two books first draft, obviously, and I’m almost done with the a third book. I’ll actually should knock on wood, finish it after our interview today. And so I get told quite often, I don’t know how you write so much and then I try to help people.
Paul Sating (12:14):
But then I look at people like you and I look at your Amazon page and it blows me away. So folks, if you don’t know, we’re talking about sinister magic is our first book in the death before dragons. It released February of 20. I’m doing this interview with Lindsay in February of 2021. And what did she tell you at the beginning? The last book in the series book nine is coming out. All right, Lindsay, how this, like as eloquent as I can be, how do you do nine books in a series? And I’m sure you wrote wrote ahead and whatnot, but whatever you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to know, you know, that work-life balance how you were able to do it. And keep that balance keeps things fresh because I hear that a lot from series writers, they start hating their characters. So how did you do that?
Lindsay Buroker (13:03):
So I have been full time for like the last eight years. So anybody that is trying to fit writing in between like having kids and working a full-time job, you know, they’re just going to roll their eyes and they’re like, well, that’s not realistic, but so I have the luxury at this point of having the whole day basically. I mean, I have to do admin stuff and you know, the marketing and getting covers and all that too. But so I do have several hours a day that I can write most days. So that’s part of it. And I’ve just gotten more efficient with more novels written. I always tell people, my first one took me about seven years to actually from conception to publishing it. I stopped, there were some breaks in there. Those were the world of Warcraft years, which may not be most did not have a lot of productivity going on.
Lindsay Buroker (13:48):
And then the second book took about a year. You know, I was putting these two workshops at the same time. So a lot more time on the editing. And it was just kind of gradually, you know, I got inspired by other people in the, in the author community that were podcasting and saying, yeah, I did my 6,000 words today before we recorded the podcast at one. And I was like, wow, I’m slacking off. I think at that point I was writing about 3000 words a day when I first went full time. That was my goal. And it was a thousand words a day before that. And I think a lot of it is to getting better at writing a first draft that doesn’t need as much editing. I started out as a pantser gradually became an outliner. And I just realized that when I outlined first, I’m a lot less likely to have to rewrite complete scenes or cut things and veer off in another direction.
Lindsay Buroker (14:35):
You know, the first book I wrote it, I, it took me a while to realize the ending was not there. I think I had to rewrite the last eight chapters of the book among other edits and changes. And that wasn’t even my first novel. I had written a couple before that that will never see the light of day. But so a lot of it is just having the time to do it. You know, I have been self-employed in one way or another, since 2003 or show. So I’ve learned, you just got to get stuff done. It’s almost better when you go full-time and you depend on it for a living because when it’s a hobby and you don’t know yet, if you’re going to like get a publisher or be able to make any money, it’s completely your passion for it. As a hobby, that’s driving you this, your motivation, maybe you think one day, okay, I could have fans, I can have a publisher that the point where it becomes your day job and you’re relying on that income, I think it’s actually a little easier to just knuckle down and do it.
Lindsay Buroker (15:30):
Not that there aren’t days where you’re like, Oh, Twitter is extremely fascinating today. I get all the things that are trending that I probably need to check out. Some days you just got to like turn off the wifi on the computer and not let yourself get distracted.
Paul Sating (15:44):
Yeah. And if, if folks don’t follow you on Twitter, they might, I don’t people who know me know, I don’t like Twitter. I, I pop in there. I try to be social. Right. I don’t use it as a sales vehicle. I use it as a, get to know Paul vehicle. And because I like a lot of your stuff, you all the algorithm always pushes your tweets, obviously in my little timeline. And I still look at that and I go, how does she do all of this when she’s this proficient on Twitter as well? It’s remarkable.
Lindsay Buroker (16:11):
But I only post like four or five things on there a day. I probably wouldn’t be on Twitter, except that I have a, my beta readers who have become friends in real life. And we’ve done lots of stuff together. We actually have a DM chat just going who’s the time. So half the time I’m on there, it’s just because I’m popping in and like, Hey, what are you guys doing? Or, you know, share something like, why are the characters doing this horrible thing? They’re, they’re not doing the right thing. So I, don’t not sure I’d be on Twitter otherwise, because it’s not a big seller of books for me, Facebook doing the author page on Facebook has been a lot more worthwhile as far as like I, you know, I use the affiliate links on Amazon to actually see how many books I sell from posting on the author page on Facebook.
Lindsay Buroker (16:53):
And it’s actually like my number two behind my newsletter above any of the paid stuff. Like even, I mean, BookBub would be an exception, but most of the sites don’t drive that many sales, but I’ve got a lot of people that will follow me there that aren’t, I mean, some are also on the newsletter, but the Facebook’s like where the breaking news happened. So it’s been, I have a love, hate relationship with Facebook. I barely use it on my personal account, but it’s been worthwhile as an author to have that and post and post four or five little things.
Paul Sating (17:25):
It’s one of those things with a big learning curve. But if you can start unlocking at least incrementally you can start seeing some pretty nice momentum. I haven’t unlocked all of it at all by any stretch of the imagination, but I swam against the tide with those other vehicles that you’re kind of talking about too. And I never gained anything. It all seems Facebook seems to have that magic algorithm.
Paul Sating (18:52):
So how did, okay, so I’m really curious. I don’t want to fixate on it for too long, but that is something that I hear quite often from folks is about that. And I don’t want to, Jade is saying someone is jaded, comes with a lot of connotations, but was there a point when you became jaded, how long did it take you to get from the, you know, that first draft of book one to when you signed off on book nine, and was there anything that you did mentally or, or structurally in your writing habit to keep that world fresh for you?
Lindsay Buroker (19:27):
I think I try to just, I gave myself a lot of potential villains. You know, I didn’t have like one, I think that’s one thing I, as a reader, when I’m reading a series and it’s like the same villain that they can’t kill that you’ve told me back again. And I’m like, I’m like, I love like Firefly when Malai kicks that guy into the jet engine at the end, I was like, Oh, I’m going to love this guy. He just got rid of it, you know, instead of having the same villain, keep coming back. So each story there’s sort of a thread she’s got to deal with the dragons versus AV and then his family. So that is a thread. There are some things that are continuing arcs that go throughout the series, but I definitely try to have kind of different plots and different stories in each one.
Lindsay Buroker (20:07):
And since she’s the main character, I, I guess everybody has a main character, but I’m, since I came up with her first, I really have built the plots around her and like what she’s trying to achieve in her job. Whereas sometimes like with Epic fantasy, what are my star kingdom series is very, I came up with the characters first, but it was very driven by the plot. So sometimes you get, you have to make the characters, you’re trying to like fit them into the plot. And it was just very organic. The stories just came along pretty easily plus, and here’s the real secret, right. Something more complicated first. And then when you go to, like, for me not to say urban fantasies simple, but because I chose first person, there could really only be one storyline they’re much simpler novels than like the space series.
Lindsay Buroker (20:56):
I was just talking about, had like seven POV characters by the end and multiple storylines going on at once. So that actually made deathly four dragons. So like, I’m this like delightful, you know, the books are only like 80,000 words. This stories are pretty simple. One few of you character. So they were kind of a reprieve for me cause I was also finishing up the other series at the same time. So I don’t know, like if you’re stuck on anything, like if any of your listeners are doing Epic fantasy, which we talked about, and it’s just a kind of feeling like a slog and I was like 200,000 words. And when is, when is it going to end sometimes doing something just real simple, you know, it can be almost a pleasure in itself, almost a reward. So I was like, especially at the end of the started kingdom series, I was writing one of those.
Lindsay Buroker (21:44):
Cause they ended up being about 150,000 words at the end with all the POV characters and then I’d go write three and the death before dragon series. And it would just be like, and then after that, I’d be ready to go back to something else. So that, that worked for me. It was good this last year with COVID that I was stuck at home anyway, it actually ended up being a pretty prolific year for me. Like I always write a lot, but it’s like, well, I can’t take any of my, I usually go to like 20 books and Vegas, you know, Nick and Florida, some of the writer’s conferences out there. So I usually have some trips and things to break up the year a little bit, but I was like, well, I’m just stuck at home. So I’m just going to work. And then when we’re free again, then I can take some vacations.
Paul Sating (22:27):
What is your like average, roughly word count day? Are you a seven day, a week hard structure person?
Lindsay Buroker (22:35):
I tend to write pretty quickly and quite a few words a day when I’m working on the rough draft and same thing when I’m editing and then take breaks in between the project. So I try to get them done as quickly as I can. I maybe like 6,000 to 10,000 words a day, pretty typical for a, you know, a new book or a book in the progress in progress. And that’s just my preference. I really, I find that if I take a couple of days off in the middle, I have to like get back into it after we read what I wrote the day before, you know, a few days before. Whereas if I can just write it as quickly as possible, it’s just sort of, I don’t know about flow state and all that, but it’s kind of like, that is like the movie will be playing in my mind and it’s just really easy.
Lindsay Buroker (23:19):
Well, not really easy, but easier to continue on versus like taking the weekends off or sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. Like I may have to go over edits on something else, take a break for that. Then my editor sent back, you know, and that’s, that’s fine. But my, my preferred thing is just kind of right. Start day one, knock out 10,000 words right away. I usually get harder towards the end. So I slowed down a little bit at the, but it’s kind of like Nana, Nana Ramo, they get ahead, you know, and then you slow down at the end maybe, but yeah. So I try to do it as quickly as possible. And I actually find often not always, but often there’s less editing needed on the ones that I wrote more quickly because they were just a came out more quickly. I often have to, what I do is think about the next two or three scenes, like the night before.
Lindsay Buroker (24:09):
So even though I’ve outlined, I, then there’s sort of like, you then have to plan each scene in more detail. My outlines are just kind of bare bones. And that helps me too. If I know exactly what happens in the scene that I’m about to write, it comes out a lot more quickly. I always recommend to people, you know, there’s that advice? Just write something, you know, like, no, go figure out what happens in the scene. First, take a walk, do a jog, you know, drive whatever you gotta do shower. I don’t know. Authors love to come up with ideas in the shower, figure it out and then sit down to write it.
Paul Sating (24:40):
And that may, and that makes sense that your, your outline or your structure sounds a lot like mine and I can totally, I the best thing I ever did, I was out we’ve got beaches here. Believe it or not folks in Washington state. And I was out, it never gets hot. They’re always like 71 degrees. But on a good day, I was reading a Hemingway book about a writing advice in one of Hemingway’s pieces of advice was to always stop at a, at a critical juncture. You know, somebody says something that’s been building up for a hundred pages or somebody punches somebody in the face and shocks at whatever that intense moment is, stop right there and walk away. It’s going to be hard to do, but it’s all about habit for me. Like you were talking about Lindsay, you know, writing quickly doing it every day, keeping that flow going.
Paul Sating (25:26):
And I found so for, if that on top of a Lindsay’s other advice, if that helps you at all might be something to work with as far as keeping the flow. And I agree with you as far as when it comes to just right. No, I agree. Having an idea know where you’re going in that scene. It’s so hard to look at a blank page, especially for newer writers. So one of the things I kind of want to delve into with you that might be a little 400 level for some folks. So folks, if you are just starting out your journey, just this could be a very entertaining question. Eh, we’ll see where Lindsay goes with us. For those of you who have published, especially those of you on the indie side, where you have that input into the processes and the presentation of your books.
Paul Sating (26:11):
Lindsay, one of the most interesting things that you’ve done recently with this series is when you, I don’t want to call it an addendum cause that’s not fair. But when you went and stretched out the depth before dragons and you added the secrets of the sword portion of that series, it still falls under death before dragons. And from a marketing slash branding standpoint, you did something that really shocked me. It really surprised me. And I’d love to pick your brain and have you share whatever insight you’re comfortable sharing. Because those covers, you can see that series. And then all of a sudden the secrets books come and it’s a marked shift and you still did it under death before dragons. And you know what you’re doing? So when somebody like you does that, you know, I do the little dog ears and I peek up and I wonder what went on with that. So how, however much you’re comfortable sharing. I’d love to know your thought process behind that.
Lindsay Buroker (27:09):
Well, this is actually no brilliance. This is actually going to be a warning to your listeners to make sure you have your cover art lined up like well in advance. That’s one of the challenges when you write quickly is I often will write quick, more quickly than like the cover art can be produced because those guys have lots of clients. So I actually, the custom illustrations that are used on the last three books, the secrets of the swords trilogy, which is essentially books, seven, eight, and nine in depth before dragons. And I, I wanted people to be able to find them, you know, cause they all on the same Amazon page and it’s the same characters. But the main reason for that was that I had commissioned that artwork before I actually started the series. So like October of 2019 from a great illustrator, her name is Louisa Pressler and she’s actually done some Ilana Andrews and some other really gorgeous artwork.
Lindsay Buroker (27:59):
She gets a model and use it. You know, I think that she takes pictures of the model and then makes it her own and gives it a fantasy setting. So she does people really well. I was super impressed, but I found out that’s kind of time intensive. And so she, you know, she got everything to me in time, but I didn’t realize that I was going to be writing the books as quickly as I did. And I kind of got to the point where I was like, Hmm, I’m going to be waiting on cover art. If I, if I use her plus I didn’t know if she’d want to do it. Like I originally wasn’t planning to do nine books. I thought five or six, I’m just trying out this urban fantasy thing. But I, as I wrote more and I enjoyed the characters, I was like, okay, I got to do these six.
Lindsay Buroker (28:36):
And maybe more beyond that, I knew I’d be waiting on the cover art. If I went that way in their beautiful covers too, I would have loved to use them for the first books. But so I contacted somebody else that I’d worked with before gene Mullica. He actually, he does really great covers too. He gets models at he’s over in New York. And so he has access to a lot of models and takes gives them costumes, fantasy costumes. So you get original people that aren’t on a ton of other comforters, like you get with stock photos and I’ve worked with him before. And I know because of his style, he takes a whole, he does this photo shoot and he gets a whole bunch of pictures and then he illustrates the background, but he can do that more quickly than like doing an entire painting of a person.
Lindsay Buroker (29:18):
Right. So I was like, Hey Jean, what’s your work schedule? Like, can you do some of these? And so that’s what he did. The first six. I was like, I still have these other amazing covers that I want to use as I am. Okay. I’m going to do three more. And they were definitely vow on the covers. I thought the artists did a great job really more authentic than the other ones because all those New York models like 22 and here’s Val health, half of them blood. So she does look young that is in the books. But just in the illustrations, I she’s a little older looking and I thought that was more authentic for her, but so that’s why I switched it. Wasn’t like, let me try some grand marketing plan. I wouldn’t really recommend that to people I’d recommend a consistency throughout a series and brand, but I had, you know, I was like, I’m going to use these.
Lindsay Buroker (30:07):
These are amazing. And I didn’t want to disappoint the artists by not using our artwork of course, either. So I, and I made it so in trilogy because I had finished, wrapped up the storyline around books six and I thought, well, the readers really want more. I have these amazing art, you know, this amazing art that I want to use. So I’m going to do another books, which is, they’re kind of the wedding books, you know, that’s that’s what kind of holds it together and also finding out more about the sword that she has throughout the series. But you only get teasers in the first six books about why is it the way it is so that those are the two things that were going to be the main plot drivers in the last three books. And so I did call them one, two and three to make it clear it’s kind of its own trilogy.
Lindsay Buroker (30:52):
And also if somebody was just browsing around and were like, Oh, this is book one. I can jump in here. That was sort of my plan. I’m not sure. I never really promoted that one individually. Like I don’t run any ads to it because that was the plan. But as I was writing it as I, I don’t think I can do this. I think they probably should have read the other books before jumping in here. But that was the thought process was possibly have a second place that people could come into the series. But like I said, if it wasn’t brilliant, it would recommend it. It was just a case of cover art and what I had.
Paul Sating (31:26):
That’s a good warning though. I mean that people can be surprised how long it takes you know, depending on who you go with and whatnot, but yeah, for those of you who are new or maybe you’ve dabbled in a trad before, and you’re checking out this indie thing and it’s not something you thought of seriously, seriously, if you find that person, you like, one of the questions you need to ask her to front is, you know, how long it’s going to take. I have to wait almost 10 or 11 months for mine because of the backlog too. So it’s something to definitely keep in mind at the end. Thank you, Lindsay. I was very curious about that. If you had some like very, you know, super secret advanced author tactic for that, and I was like, I’m going to copy this if this works. Sure.
Lindsay Buroker (32:12):
No, I don’t think so. My recommendation for people, if you do get to the point where you’re right quickly is probably just to stick with the stock photo stuff and the Photoshop manipulation, because usually those designers can do those pretty quickly. This was a bit like I’m kind of the point now we’re going to afford to spend more on cover art. And I want to, it’s a pride thing too. I was like, I want original models. I don’t want that. Same woman is on every third urban fantasy book or, you know, I have a, I have a fantasy kind of a fantasy mystery slash romance series I did. And the guy I picked, like, he’s great. He looks great for the part, but I was like, as soon on that romance novel, I’ve seen on that fantasy novel, it’s like, he’s all over the Kindle store and everybody’s covered.
Paul Sating (32:54):
Yeah, they do. There are a few of them that are very prevalent. Let’s just say it like that. That really are. So if you were to give somebody starting out or newer in their career, or just dabbling into this authorship, a piece of advice, what would Lindsay do? You know, what would 2021 Lindsey do to 2010 Lindsey? What would you do differently nowadays if you were back in that position?
Lindsay Buroker (33:23):
So I, I enjoy the stories I wrote, I’d write the same stories, but it didn’t know much about was marketing and selling books then. So I kind of had not very good covers for quite a while. This is like an ongoing theme with my author careers covers. So I don’t think I did myself any favors with the covers I had on the first series of my book. It was to be fair, harder to find cover designers back then it was really new industry authors actually needing their own cover designers, as opposed to just sending the manuscript off to a publisher. So I, and I learned along the way to that is actually, I thought I had these original stories. So I did kind of quirky blurbs for them to like highlight a little bit of humor, even though they were high fantasy. And those are usually I’m more serious blurbs and I’m not sure that helped anything either.
Lindsay Buroker (34:08):
I’ve since learned that you kind of actually like this, great. If you’ve got a quirky story and fun characters and it is a little different from the norm, but probably you should highlight the things that make it like the books that sell well, you know, go look through the top 100 in the Kindle store in your category and be like, okay, you know, checking, what are the covers look like? What are the blurbs like? And then, you know, you don’t have to make yours exactly the same, but it should probably fit. And then if it’s a little different inside, nobody’s going to care. As long as you have a good opening chapter and they enjoy themselves, they will have forgotten the cover and blur by the time they start reading. But so that’s kind of the big thing I learned is that people want more of the same, but just a little bit different.
Paul Sating (34:47):
Yes. Yes. That’s a great piece of advice. It’s the curse of the creative, isn’t it? That we want to be original and different. And we take that into the marketing side too. We have to have that unique cover and we have to have that unique, funny blurb. You’re absolutely right. Okay. So I don’t want to hold you because I know you have things going on, but I do want to ask you a couple more quick questions, maybe a little more fun type of question. Everybody who is a patron sees my bookshelf behind me. So secrets are revealed what Paul reads. What about Lindsey? What’s currently on your bookshelf? What are you reading or what are you waiting to get to, to read?
Lindsay Buroker (35:24):
I actually just picked up Brandon Sanderson has a Saifai series. And I didn’t know that, and I haven’t read his fantasy yet because they’re so long. And like I have way more patients as a kid than I do now. I’m kind of like, if I see something’s over 405 pages and like, all of those characters is going to take forever. So I think it’s called Skyward. I just started it. Yes, I think. Yeah. So I was excited and it’s only 400, 500 pages. So you can’t kill any chihuahuas with his, like, I’m cute. I love that. As soon as you said Chihuahua, do you have your company there? Yeah, that came early. Okay. No, that’s totally fine. Folks, we need to cut it off here, but Lindsay, where can folks find you if they want to check you out and check out your books? Lindsayburoker.com would be great or I’m on Amazon.