#322 – Successes and Strengths in Self-publishing with Jasinda and Jack Wilder

In this episode, we spoke to the writing team of Jasinda and Jack Wilder (who we had the chance to meet at NINC 2022), wife and husband and parents to six kids, who write their own books as well work collaboratively.

In this episode, we spoke to the writing team of Jasinda and Jack Wilder (who we had the chance to meet at NINC 2022), wife and husband and parents to six kids, who write their own books as well work collaboratively. Between the two of them, they have written dozens of books, many of them best-sellers, across a multitude of genres and sub-genres. Be sure to check out their latest releases, Dirty Beasts: Chance, the latest instalment in the Dirty Beasts series, Music & Lyric, a new adult contemporary romance, and Blood Heir, a vampire romance.

We heard about how they balance parenthood with working as indie authors, how they utilize their newsletter to reach readers, how they use their pen name for multiple genres, and get into how the indie publishing industry has changed over the course of their ongoing career. Jasinda and Jack had lots of compelling stories from their many years in the industry and great information to offer; we highly recommend this episode if you are interested in the ins and outs of indie publishing and hearing more about how the industry has evolved from the perspective of two successful co-authors!

In this episode:

  • We hear about how Jasinda and Jack got into writing and indie publishing in particular after working in theatre and education
  • Jasinda and Jack talk about balancing getting their publishing career started alongside have five children (at the time), and how they continue to balance parenting six kids and their full-time writing work today
  • They talk about how they write consistently and effectively, and how working together on writing helps them get through difficult periods of writer’s block or lack of ideas – and how having a community of writers is helpful as well
  • We ask them what their cowriting process looks like, and how it has developed over their years of publishing together
  • We hear more about how the industry has changed over the years from Jasinda and Jack’s perspective, and how the early days of the indie publishing industry felt like the “wild west”
  • Jasinda and Jack talk about their release schedule, and how they market their works and appeal to (and appease) their fans – including setting boundaries
  • We hear about finding their ideal readers, and what kind of readers want to read a Wilder book
  • We ask about their writing strengths, and how these strengths differ between Jack and Jasinda as well as help them work together
  • They tell us about their history of using pen names, and how that panned out across their many books in several different genres
  • We hear about Jasinda and Jack (and their whole family’s) reading habits, and how their reading habits influence their work as writers and how they keep up with trends in indie publishing
  • They give us lots of great advice about their author newsletter, what works for them vs. what doesn’t, and how to experiment with your newsletter formatting
  • And much more!

Useful Links

Jasinda Wilder’s website

Jasinda Wilder on Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook

Jasinda’s books on Kobo

Jack’s books on Kobo

Blood Heir

Dirty Beasts: Chance

Music & Lyric

Mentioned in this episode:

Hugh Howey

Bella Andre

Liliana Hart

New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author, Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU.

You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Jack Wilder—aka Mr. Wilder—is one half of the The Wilders. You might know his wife, Jasinda Wilder, as the author of such bestselling books such as Falling Into You, Falling Into Us, Stripped, Wounded, and Alpha, among many others. The Missionary is Jack’s first solo work, followed by Captured, written in collaboration with Jasinda.

Jack, Jasinda, and their six children live on a farm in northern Michigan.

Episode Transcript

Transcription by www.speechpad.com

Rachel: Hey, writers, you’re listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast” where we bring you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We’re your hosts. I’m Rachel, the promotions specialist at Kobo Writing Life.

Laura: And I’m Laura, Kobo Writing Life’s author engagement manager.

Rachel: On today’s episode of the podcast, we have the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with best-selling author couple, Jack and Jasinda Wilder.

Laura: After meeting Jasinda and Jack at NINC, we just knew we had to bring them on the podcast to talk about their publishing journey. We had a really touching conversation with them about balancing parenthood with being an indie author, and we also talked about how they use their newsletter to reach their readers. As well, they use one pen name for multiple subgenres, so it was really interesting to talk about how they balance that with building author brand. And we also talked about how the indie publishing industry has really evolved throughout their career.

Rachel: It was such a fun conversation, and Laura and I felt like we could talk to them for another hour or two. And so we really hope you enjoy and learn as much about indie publishing from them as we did.

Rachel: All right, we are joined today by writing duo Jack and Jasinda Wilder. Guys, thank you so much for joining us.

Jack and Jasinda: Thanks for having us.

Jack: We’re excited to be here.

Rachel: Can you kick things off by just telling our listeners a little bit about yourselves?

Jasinda: That’s a lot. Okay, so we are mostly indie published authors. About 100 books at this point. We started having a background in writing. He went to school for writing, and I worked in theater. And I was often doing monologues and plays for my students at a children’s theater. And in 2012, we had just given birth… or I’d given birth. You were…

Jack: I was going to say I was a participant.

Jasinda: Right, we just had our fifth child, and he got very sick. Two weeks after he was born, he was hospitalized for an extended period of time and things got really tight financially because I was the only one working at the time. He was in school full-time to be a teacher, and we were in trouble because we at that point had to be with him almost 24/7, one of us in the hospital.

So, our neighbor actually was making us meals, and she knew that we were in a financial bind. And she said, “Have you ever thought of publishing?” because she knew we wrote stories and had short stories and he had won a couple contests for flash fiction. She said, “You should publish them. That’s a thing.” And I was like, “No, I don’t think I want to do that.”

I mean, honestly, there were so many reasons why we said no because we thought we couldn’t technically do it. We didn’t think we could. We didn’t know how easy it was at the time. And just the thought of that was like, who does that? I had an uncle once that self-published a book, and I mean it was kind of embarrassing for him. So, I was like, “Do we really want to do this?”

So, a couple more months went by. Things got worse. We were about 30 days from losing our house and someone else mentioned it to us. I Googled and looked up a couple different blogs about self-publishing. I was like, “What do we have to lose? It’s like this or Tupperware, or we’re homeless with our five kids.

So, we decided to get one of the stories that we had started finished, because we didn’t have any money. We traded somebody editing for a cover, another indie author, and put it out there. And we didn’t make a whole lot of money right off the bat, but I think it was because of what we were publishing. It was just like whatever we had, we just threw up there. We put up a book of poetry. We had short story. Like, just not a whole lot of…

Jack: Just a hodgepodge of nonsense.

Jasinda: Yeah, but we ended up being in this little writer group with a bunch of really amazing authors—Bella Andre, Hugh Howey, Liliana Hart—and they gave us a lot of good advice. And we sat in our basement for two months and wrote, I think, 18 titles. They were mostly shorter. We had a couple novels, mostly novella. By I want to say fall, August, September, we totally had gotten out of all of our financial issues. We had got back to being able to pay for our house. We almost had enough to buy a car, because we didn’t have a car big enough for all of our kids at the time, too. That’s another little sidenote of how not to do parenting. So, we were just really surprised with how well it was going.

And then that spring, I was able to quit my job. He graduated, and we just started writing full-time at that point. I mean, I know people don’t like when you say luck, but I think there was a little bit of an aspect of luck involved in it because we just happened to be at all the right places at all the right times with the right story. So, it definitely was a miracle for us to be able to do that. But also just the timing of what was happening in indie publishing in that moment created this perfect environment for our art to be able to flourish and be sustainable for our family and actually make money with our art because that’s something that artists don’t ever imagine, right? So, yeah, it was just a lot of difficult and amazing things happening at the same time.

Jack: And I think most people, maybe even all people who have achieved a certain level of success will tell you there is always an element of luck involved. And what we’ve said in other places in other ways is that that luck happens, but you have to be willing and able to capitalize when the opportunity arises. Otherwise, it’s just another missed opportunity.

Jasinda: Right, but I don’t think we would’ve gone the path we did had we not had that desperate situation where we really needed to have a drastic life change. So, that was, I think, what really kind of catapulted the whole thing for us.
Rachel: That is like an incredible story as to how you entered the world of indie publishing, and I’m just blown away by 18 books in two months with five kids including a newborn. How did you manage that?

Jasinda: We have pictures of… So, we had a brand new baby and then we also had a 13-month-old.

Jack: Irish twins.

Jasinda: Irish twins. So, we have pictures of the baby in between our legs while we’re typing. And actually, one of the books that took off first was “Big Girls Do It Better.” And I wrote that with one finger on an iPad while I was nursing. Every night while I was nursing when he was going to bed, I was typing it with one finger. So, I mean, we just did whatever we had to do to write, and I think that’s why we are so prolific and why we write so fast to this day is because when you only have an hour and a half while the babies are asleep, you’ll get it done. You don’t have a choice. You just got to get the words out. So, I think that also kind of put us in a unique situation where it pushed us really hard to write whenever we could, however we could.

Jack: It taught us that if you really want to put the pedal to the metal, then you don’t have time for, “Okay, I’ve got to light my special inspirational candle, and here’s my inspirational tea, and let’s wait for the muse to…” Like, I’m making light of it, but you just have to get in there. And sometimes the first few hundred words are going to be crap, but eventually, you will find the zone and this story will come back to you and you might have to delete some stuff because you were just warming up. But you just have to get down and start putting words on paper.

Jasinda: Yeah, and I think too the fact that we write together, we are blessed in a way to do that because if he ever is stuck or I’m stuck, we have each other to bounce ideas off of. And often, if we both are having a bad writing day, we’ll just take a minute and get together, because usually we don’t write in the same space because I have really bad ADHD and I need things totally quiet, and he needs music and distraction. So, we don’t work well in the same room, but we will get together and have a snack and say, “Okay, like where’s this story going? Where are we stuck? What can we do?” And just do an idea-shooting session. So, I think having each other to bounce ideas off of.

And that’s why I think the writing community in general…it’s such a solitary thing, but we need to find ways to connect because the creativity of the group kind of sparks things. So, I think that’s really important to have other writers that you can shoot things off of for sure.

Laura: You mentioned you’re co-writing. How does that work, writing together? Do you kind of each write part of the book? Is it always the same for each book or what does that look like?

Jasinda: It’s always different, and we have often said like…it’s so bizarre even trying to explain it. I don’t know if you noticed, but we often finish each other’s sentences and we have some kind of weird thing where we don’t know if one of us puts things in the other head or it’s extracted. It’s like a Bella-Edward type thing. We’re not sure how it works, but we always often have similar ideas or we can… It’s just weird.

So, every project is different. I do more of the plotting of all of the books. I think just from my theater background, that’s more where my talent lies. He has more of a traditional educated writing background, and so he’s really the poetry in setting the scene. I’m more of the major points. So, often it’s very going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. People say, “Well, do you write the female voice and he writes the male?” That’s almost never the case.

So it’s different every time. It’s very messy. I don’t think we could do what we do with anyone else. So, it’s a very unique relationship that we have, and sometimes we want to kill each other because we’ve had several situations where I want a book to go a certain way and he wants a book to go in a different way. And usually he wins but…

Jack: Well, sometimes it’s more like, “Well, it just sort of went that way. It just kind of happened. Oops.”

Jasinda: And I’m like, “But that’s not the way we planned it was supposed to go, sir.” So, we uniquely talk through and work out. And we both have to kind of give in a little bit with our different ideas because we have had books where… “Beta,” I had a very, very big issue with how that story went. I didn’t like it. And so we went to the editor, editor sided with him, and I’m like, “Okay, we go with it.” But I think, in any kind of really long partnership or work experience that you have in a group, you have to be able to concede and you have to be able to find unique ways to work it out.

So, I think we’ve been successful because we always don’t let that bleed into our marriage. We try to keep work separate, but it’s tricky sometimes because we do go out on date night and still argue about work stuff and characters that don’t really exist.

Jack: It’s also like an organic process in that where… It’s never the same way twice, and we’re always looking back and discussing usually on date night like, “This worked and that didn’t work. And what can we do to make the process better and more streamlined and smoother and eliminate or at least minimize the squabbles over how to plot and how closely to the plot do you follow?”

Jasinda: Right, because I am more of a type A personality, and I want things to go how we decided and how I thought I was going to go. And if he goes rogue, which happens, because I’m a pantser, he goes rogue. And then I’m like, “What happened? This is not the story we said it was going to be,” but, I mean, the character always surprise you too. So, we like to keep that also in our minds. You never know what the character’s going to do sometimes until they do it.

Rachel: And just speaking of the work-life, family life balance, you’ve already mentioned that you had your fifth kid when you were starting, but you guys have six kids. How do you balance everything?

Jasinda: I don’t think you can balance everything. I think that’s the thing I’ve learned. I think some things are always going to just fall to the side. And for me, I just think whatever doesn’t get done or doesn’t get taken care of wasn’t supposed to. And it took me a long time to get there because when we first took off, we were not expecting what happened in any way, shape, or form. We were just trying to keep the heat on and the electric on and buy a car big enough to fit everybody. And I think when it first happened, we were like, “Holy crap, we have to latch onto this and work,” because you don’t know how long this is going to last and we have to go. And there were definitely parenting things we neglected because we were like, “We have to hold on and ride this as long as we can.”

And I always apologize to our older kids because I’m like, “Man, we were like half there,” because it’s so consuming when you have readers emailing you 24/7 and people saying, “When’s the next book coming out?” And so I would say for probably four or five years traveling constantly… I mean, we were doing every signing we got invited to. There were some months we were gone three weekends out of the month. And it got to a point, I want to say, right, like 2017, 2018, where we said we can’t keep doing this. There are certain things that were missing that are never going to happen again. And so that’s when we really kind of had to readjust our priorities. And I know for a fact that made a difference in our income. It made a difference in us getting invited to things. And I know it kind of hurt some people that we kind of pulled back, but those things are a priority. And we love our readers. We love connecting through our stories with our readers, but our kids are only going to win…

We had a little kindergartner that won the school’s running fundraiser. Yeah, fundraiser, and we missed it. And, I mean, I didn’t even think this kid knew how to run. I mean, he was just like a little turkey and toddler at the time. And I was like, “How did he win?” And my mom is sending me a picture of him with his trophy, and we totally missed it. And I was just like, “Those things are not going to happen again.” And so I think balance, especially for mothers, there’s like this whole guilt thing. I don’t think he gets the guilt as much as I do, but I just wanted people to enjoy the time also. And so prioritizing for us, what is the most important things? It’s hard because you want to be everywhere and everything to everyone, but we cannot be. There’s no way that everything can always be balanced. There’s times when the mothering has to come to the top, and there’s other times where I am professional. You know, like at an event meeting with other readers and writers, and that’s a different time. So, it took a long time for me to learn that.

And I think if there’s anything that I can impress to other authors is that don’t lose sight of the important reason why you do what you do. You know that you can’t lose sight of what the actual core meaning of your life is. And for us, absolutely our art and our craft is up there, but our family and our health has to be above that, or we can’t be the type of writers we want to be or people that we want to be.

Jack: And I think that is probably the concept of prioritizing and keeping a running list of your priorities in front of you at all times. What are the most important things on a daily basis that have to get done. Bills have to get paid, kids have to get fed, and work has to get done. And you have to make sure you’re at your kids’ events. And so you have to be able to look at all the things on your plate and say, “You know what? Today, the laundry is just going to keep piling up.”

Jasinda: Yeah, flip your underwear the other way and it’s fine, you know? And that’s the honest to God truth. I mean, when we were coming back from events and our kids were messing up our names because they couldn’t remember we were mom and dad, that was a big hello red flag. We have to reprioritize and reassess. And every parent’s work…I mean, all parents work at this point, right? I mean, most parents… So, you really have to constantly be evaluating that and taking a look and see, “Okay, well, what is really leading my life? Are the habits that I’m forming actually creating what I want to create?” So, it was definitely one of the hardest aspects I think of this entire journey for us.

Jack: Well, it wasn’t what didn’t I think also helped us very much during those years that we were crazy and traveling was that the industry was also very much like the Wild West. It was. You know, everything was different than it is now. You know, the algorithms and who was trending and the signings were like concerts, rock.

Jasinda: Oh, my gosh.

Jack: And crazy and hours’ long lines and cover models and things happen in hotel rooms that you don’t want to know about.

Jasinda: That we cannot talk about Mr. Wilder.

Jack: That didn’t involve us, but it was an insane time, and it was hard not to feel like you were part of something really cool. And for two people who had always been on the outskirts in some ways in one way or another, it was really amazing to be included in this, like a revolutionary sort of thing.

Rachel: Yeah, I look forward to the Netflix mini-series on the behind the scenes “Wild West of Indie Publishing.” But I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to re-shift your priorities, because like you mentioned earlier, Jack, when you have that opportunity, you have an opportunity, you should grasp it. You should take it and not just rely on luck, but then having to re-shift to not just keep riding that wave must have been really tough.

Jasinda: It was agonizing nights trying to decide if we were doing the right thing. And still to this day, I’m like we do it right. There’s decisions we made that things could have went different ways that things… We said no to a reality TV show. We said no to… I mean, so many different things that we were presented with and we were like, “You know what? With all the positive that could come from this, there’s more negative that I think could potentially come from this.” And so we had to really evaluate everything and pray about everything because we had seen a lot of our friends that were in this industry at that time like their marriages split up. They had a lot of crisis, and we definitely wanted to hold onto all the things that were most dear to us. So, I do think that you always have that what if or could this have been different or did we make this right decision, but we have to just keep going forward and hoping that we’re going to get to where we’re supposed to be. And I do think that both of us would say we do not regret the steps we took back because the things that we went through with our kids I think could have went a much different way had we not been there in the way that we were.

Jack: If we hadn’t shifted when we did, I think it would’ve come to a place where there might have been some sort of irreparable harm to our kids in terms of abandonment issues. And them looking back when they’re older and going, mom and dad were over. We didn’t want to be those parents whose work felt more important to us than our kids did or to our kids. We didn’t want them to think that our work was more important to us than they were.

Jasinda: Yeah, and I think it’s unique to artists also, maybe more than other occupations, because you can’t really shut it off. I mean, we have characters talking to us in our sleep 24/7 all the time. We have stories, especially… I’m telling you it’s like five different plot lines going through my head at all times, so it’s really hard to shut that off. And with social media and because we became so close with our readers, I mean, I would wake up and have 700 messages between my emails and my DMs. And it was like, I wake up overwhelmed like, “How do I separate this and how do I make sure everyone is happy and not feeling like they’re being ignored?” And so that’s hard as an artist because you never can officially like shut down. You can’t leave your office and just put that work away. I think it’s constantly…it’s part of you. So, I do think it’s unique to artists to have to kind of figure out a way to prioritize almost on a daily basis.

Jack: I think too that this industry in particular, as an indie, the danger is that it can grow so quickly out of any sense of proportion and suddenly you’re like one or two people trying to run an industry that really needs a company that really is like a staff, and you have 8,000 messages, and you’re managing all these different things, and you’re trying to run an entire publishing company by yourself as well as trying to be a human being, right? And it can get unwieldy and impossible. And I think the trick is finding some sense of scale where you’re successful and you can make a living at it, but it doesn’t consume your every waking moment, right?

Laura: Did this kind of shift in priorities affect your release schedule at all? Because I know that as indies, there’s kind of that pressure to release really rapidly, especially when you have 700 messages from people asking when the next book is coming.

Jasinda: You know, that’s the funny part. The writing is the easy part for us. The writing is the part we love. That comes almost like breathing for us. So, it didn’t really hurt that, because when the kids are at school, that’s what we did. So, that wasn’t really the issue.

I think it was more to do with like, how do you make a proper boundary with social media? How can I say to an audience and make them understand that when my kids get home from school, I cannot be on social media? I have to be connected with them. The phones have to go away. The laptops, the iPads have to go away. And that was really hard because honestly, that’s when people are online talking about books. They’re home from work, and now they’re picking up their book.

And so I realized like that’s the hot time to be on there interacting. But like that hot time is also the time that my kids need me to make them dinner and sit down with them and look in their eyes and spend time. So, that figuring out like, what might I potentially lose, but what else is there to gain? And I do think that our schedule maybe slowed down a little bit. I mean, there was a period of time where we were just… Yeah. I mean, we did not even have a social life at all outside of…

Jack: We were putting out a full-length novel of at least 70,000 every 30 days.

Jasinda: So, I mean, I think it has definitely come back a little bit. I mean, we have often said we dream of a time when we will just put out four books a year. That just sounds like a magic dream for us, but also we get bored. We’re talking about the different subgenres that we write, and honestly that is literally just because of my AD HD that is. I mean, I get bored of the same thing over and over, and our agent had said to us in the very beginning, you need to keep writing “Falling Into You” over and over and over and over again. And we tried, and it was a mess, and I just couldn’t do it. “That was the story. It came out and now I need to write vampires, or now I need to write a mystery or now…” Because I just can’t do that over and over. I have to do something different.

So, for me, that has been something that I’ve had to figure out with how my mind works and how we can make that work. And I know that’s also potentially harmed us in terms of confusing our readers because they’re like, “Okay, you were writing suspense and now all of a sudden you’re writing,” or we’ve kind of just done that.

But I think there is a reader out there similar to the way I write and I read. We’re very eclectic in the things that we consume in terms of like art and concerts. And just that’s how we are TV you books and checking out, right? So I think that there is a reader out there that’s like that and so finding those readers. That’s the tricky part. That’s willing to go on whatever adventure you go on no matter what the setting. I just want to read a Wilder book because I know it’s going to be a good one. So, that I think has been a little bit more of the challenge, not so much the speed.

Jack: Yeah, and I think also some of the advice that we got very early on was that your most powerful piece of marketing is always going to be your next release, and we have held onto that because nothing really is going to sell your back list like the next book. So, we’ve tried to stay focused more of our efforts on continuing to produce quality books. And if that means we’re not on social media as much and we’re not doing as much of the ads and all this stuff…

Jasinda: I’m going to be totally honest. I hate the business aspect, right? He’s talking about the fact that him and I are running this small publishing company. That’s really what we’re doing with the amount of books that we release. But then also there’s jobs that would normally be in a small publishing house that we don’t do. Now we don’t know how to do, we don’t like to do, we don’t math. This is the hardest part that people don’t talk about.

Publishing is like… A creative mind is a very right-brain mind. And then you also want us to be like, PhDs and marketing wizards on top of that, and I’m sitting here like I barely got through geometry, so that’s probably not going to happen, right? But we just want to be able to tell the stories that are inside of us. So, it’s hard because you have to also figure out like, what am I not good at and what am I never going to be good at? I can sit here for weeks and months. Study different marketing techniques and I will still sit there. And just sit there and be like, “I hate this,” and I don’t want to do something that I hate. I don’t want to live a life that I hate. So, I’m just like, “You know what? I think I’ll just go back and write another book.” So, whether it’s good advice or not, it’s what we’ve done, because that’s what we know how to do. We know how to write a story. We don’t know how to like…

Jack: Other people might be better at it and they might have a different kind of success, publishing less frequently and spending a little bit more time on marketing and selling that book more than that book.

Jasinda: And Facebook ads or whatever. That’s just not what we want to do. That is the hardest part for us is like all the other stuff that we just right over and that’s because we are 100% like. And if you take like the Enneagram, we’re like the truest sure form of the artist like the romantic artist. That is what we are, and you can’t change it about yourself. So, that’s the other thing.
When I see people at conventions and writing things, and the writers are gathered and you have this group of writers that just look so depressed because they feel like they’re failing, I’m like, “You’re not failing. This is just not you.” You have to kind of let that go, that aspect of it go too, because you can end up feeling like you just suck as a person but really you’re trying to do something that you’re not skilled at. Go and try to do a brain surgery. Probably going to fail at that too, right? It’s just don’t try to do a brain surgery. Well, we’ll try it on you later. But that’s how I feel about it.

So, I do also feel that the industry has kind of made that a little bit difficult for these really artistic, creative minds, because that’s just not how we’re built, unfortunately. Either of us. No, I’m looking for a brother husband who’s really good at Facebook ads also. That’s the next TLC reality show.

Rachel: Okay, that’s a Craigslist ahead if I’ve ever heard one. And you guys mentioned earlier, when you’re writing like Jasinda, you’re the plotter, Jack, you’re the pantser, so you’re playing to your strengths. Do you also play to your strengths when writing in different subgenres? Are one of you better at writing suspense versus paranormal, etc.?

Jasinda: Absolutely. Mm-hmm. He is so detailed. It makes me angry sometimes. When he was writing “The Missionary,” he was on Google Maps on the streets of the Philippines, pretending he was the character running down the streets and studying the guns. And I’m like, “What is wrong with you? You are insane.” And I would never do that. And then he picked up the gun and ran left, you know? And he’s like wanting to know the exact street he’s turning on and what’s the restaurant on a corner. You know, he’s very detailed, so I always know like if there’s details that need to be filled in, he’s going to do that for me. He knows that my mind is a little bit more… How can I say this nicely? He is often in the clouds. I’m a little bit more reality-based.

Jack: I’m the most quintessential, stereotypical, absent-minded professor who would get so lost in what I’m doing and writing that I’ll run outside without pants on.

Jasinda: And that is on Instagram. The thing is this. He also always jumps the shark like from… I forget it’s a meme. Like from Happy or something, but he will just take the story to a level that I’m like, “How did this happen? This is not based in reality.” So, we constantly kind of check each other. So, absolutely. I think that’s why I said our relationship is so unique because of our relationship. We’ve been friends since we were kids. We’ve met when we were 18. So, we just have this knowledge of each other’s minds that I don’t know that you can get with just another random person.

Jack: But I mean like another way that we kind of divide things to a certain degree… It’s not divide, it’s just she’s a lot better at the dialogue because of her background in theater. And so she will often like reread the dialogue, and we’ll tweak it to sound more realistic because there’s a difference in the way we actually speak. And what comes across well on the page, it’s got to be a merge because the way you might want to write something is not the way it’s going to sound good on the page. So, it has to sound realistic on the page but still be readable.

Jasinda: And that was an issue we had with… A lot of times we write stories that include music and so I’m a music major so I have more music background. Well, I have the music background. So, he wallows like something, some animal.
Jack: So, we put a cat in the middle of a trash can and stuck a firecracker in there and that can be … .

Jasinda: That’s his musical ability. So, when we wrote a lot of music for “Falling Into You” and “Music and Lyric,” the way you would write a song on a page is boring because you have more repetition. So, we were trying to figure out like, “Well, how can we make this more interesting? It’s not going to really be a song, but it’ll be really beautiful and be more poetic this way.” So, I think that that has been a quality just with our different unique backgrounds that have been really helpful.

Jack: My background is more, I call it, the pros, I guess, in that my background is literature, and fantasy, and science fiction, so the detail that she’s talking about, a lot of that comes from having read Louis L’Amour who is famous for…if he writes about a specific place, he’s been in that place and he wrote that scene having walked in that actual place, and science fiction and fantasy where all the details truly matter. And trying, you know, sometimes will put more detail than is necessary in a romance and we just got to tone that back a little bit.

Jasinda: No, no. No, no. Mm-mm.

Jack: Big red marker.

Jasinda: Big red marker.

Laura: You mentioned all the different subgenres you write under, but they’re all under the Jasinda Wilder name. Did you ever kind of experiment with different pen names before?

Jasinda: Yeah, we did, and that did not go well. We actually still have one book out now that has that pen name, a Jade London name that we used for a little while. And it made no difference. And honestly, the other thing we’ve experimented with is putting Jack’s name with mine, having his name by himself, and honestly, anytime we’ve messed with the name and it didn’t come out as Jasinda Wilder, readers did not respond as well. We didn’t have as many sales. We didn’t get as much interaction. The weird thing is if I post social media about him, I get twice as many views.

Jack: It is my name in the comments.

Jasinda: And they’re like, “Forget it. We’re out.” So, we’ve had to kind of learn that too. They want to see him, but we’re not interested in his name being there. So, it is kind of weird. We don’t really understand it, especially because like for our agent, she said usually women really like men writing a romance like the Nicholas Sparks type thing, but it just hasn’t played out that way in our experience. So, we just kind of stuck to the Jasinda Wilder on all things.

Jack: Yeah, and I think that like a lot of the times it might be the idea of a man writing romance, but then there’s a whole subreddit called Men Writing Women, and it’s not complimentary.

Jasinda: It’s not pretty.

Jack: Let’s just say that. So, I think it’s just a matter of they like to know that it’s coming from Jasinda Wilder, and they know that that’s us working together, but they just respond best if that’s the name. And so we don’t separate by subgenre. and everything is just Jasinda Wilder. And I honestly don’t really care as long as the books are being received well.

Jasinda: I often said to him like, “Does it bother you that you never hit a list like your name wasn’t ever…?” I mean, he was on the title for…was it “Wounded”?

Jack: “Wounded.”

Jasinda: “Wounded” that hit “The New York Times.” But for some reason, it only put my name. His name wasn’t included. So, I’ve asked him if it’s bothered him and he doesn’t care. So, I mean, if it’s just what the readers are most comfortable with and prefer, we’re fine with keeping that.

Jack: Responding to the story, more than…

Jasinda: Us.

Jack: …the name or the picture or the writer, when you’re reading, you don’t think about the author. You don’t think about that Instagram. If they are, then I think to a certain degree I feel like we’re not doing our job right.

Jasinda: I think that our writers think about you dancing… I actually do think…

Jack: That’s your problem, and that’s your fault.

Jasinda: It’s hard to forget.

Jack: Well, it’s a dancing walrus.

Rachel: I just find it really interesting that you mentioned that jumping around subgenres could make it hard to kind of establish a cohesive brand, but people respond better to only one pen name. Was all of this figured out just through experimentation?
Jasinda: Absolutely.

Jack: A lot of failing.

Jasinda: I remember sweet, sweet Bella Andre sitting me down at a RT or RWA, one of those writer conventions, and she’s like, “You are making this so hard for yourself. You are messing this up.” And I was like, “I wish that I could figure out a way to make it easier,” but it’s just you have to fail to learn what’s going to work. And you also, I think, have to be true to yourself, because when we try to sit down and write the same thing and keep on brand, it sucked. We were miserable, bored, not excited about the stories we were writing, and it’s like we wish we could be different people sometimes but it’s not who we are. We have to be authentic to who we are.

So, I think that has just come from trial and error and a lot of struggle. A lot of struggle because we didn’t understand when we first put books out under his name, why didn’t they sell? Why didn’t we have the same reaction? It was amazing books that were just being ignored just because his name was on the title or it was a genre that our readers were not willing to go to with us. That’s a bummer, but I think you just have to kind of continue on, like I said, be true to yourself or you’re going to burn out and be unhappy. And we just didn’t want to be that. We want to continue to write as long as we can and be happy with what we’re doing.

Jack: And I think we have discovered along the way a few guidelines that have helped us. If we are passionate about the story and the characters are people that feel real to us and that we believe in the story and the characters, then we can write a good story. And the readers will respond to it. But we also have to be pulling from a smaller number of buckets. There was a time that we just had six or seven different subgenres that we were doing and like, “Okay, well, what’s responding best?” And narrow it down. And so then we have the steamy romantic comedy like the “Badd Brothers,” and we have the emotional stuff like “Falling Into You” and “The Cabin.” And then we have the action stuff like “Alpha One Security” and that’s kind of these are the realms that we stay in.

Jasinda: Yeah, because I think if we keep writing the same even series back to back, we start getting dull. It kind of just dulls out a little bit. So, if we have a book in between, we just have a better spark of creativity even at the start because sometimes we notice like we would be sort of like slow at the start, and we were like, “Why are we slowing to the start?” “Well, it’s because we need our brains to take a break and do something different,” and then we come back to it and it’s better.

So, that all has been kind of just like, as we go, learning how we work best and also learning how our readers respond, because that way, if they read this steamy, romantic, funny comedy and then they want to have a little break and either read a different author or read one of the softer books or emotional books, because not everybody wants to cry, I mean, that’s just the truth. Not everybody wants to cry. So, when we give them kind of a little break, then that kind of also lets our audience have that break as well. So, I just think that is the way that we found we work best and hopefully that translates.

Rachel: So, you guys mentioned that your reading and watching and music preferences are very eclectic. Do you find you read a lot of romance, however, to kind of, I don’t know, stay on trend with what’s going on in the genre?

Jasinda: Okay, so this is so weird. No, in the beginning we read a ton of romance because we did want to know what was trending like in the very, very start. So, I think at one point, I read the entire top 100 list because I just was wanting to get all the info that I could of what people liked.

And then I did feel like that was influencing us a little bit too much and so we kind of stopped that. And honestly, I am a voracious non-fiction reader, and the reason why I think is because I always have plots going in my head and non-fiction. I don’t have to worry about that. So, I feel more comfortable usually reading non-fiction. And he really goes backward to his sci-fi nerdy…

Jack: Yeah, and we do still I guess like we monitor what’s trending and when we see a new trend pop up, we’ll read within that trend.

Jasinda: We try. I’ll be very honest.

Jack: We try. We don’t always succeed.

Jasinda: I just can’t go there. I feel like I’m a very traditional romance reader, and some of the alien stuff and reverse harem, it’s a little bit…

Jack: Stepbrother, stepsister stuff.

Jasinda: I just have like a warning that goes up in my head like, “Ran a little too weird here,” you know?

Jack: No judgment, but it was just not what we care to read and it’s not what we’re doing anything…
Jasinda: No, no, no.

Jack: We’re not probably going to write that. You’re probably never going to see a true reverse harem with one girl and five guys altogether. It’s probably not something we’re going to write.

Jasinda: My reality mind is like, “This is getting yucky. There’s not enough cleanliness here. Somebody’s going to get STD.” That’s where my mind goes. So, I just have to like…

Jack: Or at least a UTI.

Jasinda: There’s a yeast infection happening here. You might want to edit that out, I’m not sure. Up to you. But I just feel like we want to know what people are liking and reading. And definitely if there’s books that take off… And also we buy tons of books, too. My daughter is one of the most voracious romance readers you will ever meet. She reads all day long nonstop, and she has a little book club at school. It’s all romance too. So, she just reads everything. Right now she’s read everything L. Kennedy has put out. I mean, like both covers…

Jack: She’s about to jump through the internet and dive into L. Kennedy’s computer for more.

Jasinda: Yeah, she’s obsessed. So, we definitely want to know. I’ll talk to her like, “What do you like right now? What are you reading?” But for me, I need to give my mind that break I’ve realized. And so I am just like going to read all the nonfiction and also it helps me sleep. He hates it because I’m either watching a documentary or reading nonfiction. And he is like, “Can we please watch something with a plot?” And I’m like, “No,” because as I’m watching it, I’m replotting it and changing it and it drives me crazy.

Jack: Or knowing exactly what’s going to happen…

Jasinda: What’s going to happen.

Jack: …before it happens.

Jasinda: Right, I hate that. So, we do have that kind of issue because we both like very different things, but we always can find something like, obviously Yellowstone we’re obsessed with. It’s just such great writing, such great storytelling, visually gorgeous.

Jack: 1923 is one of the most incredible things that’s been on TV.

Jasinda: Obviously. We can find stuff that we both enjoy, but I watch way too many murder documentaries, super weird, and he’s wanting to watch like Star Trek the 47th season.

Jack: I have never in my life watched the first season of Star Trek. I may be many things, but I’m not a Trekkie.

Rachel: You’re missing out. Star Trek has some excellent content.

Jack: There’s too many different things, and I never could figure out where to get started. I did watch a couple of seasons of “Deep Space Nine” in my teenage years.

Jasinda: Anyway, it has to be in another planet. And for me, I’m so just like tied here and wanting to know who the killers are, where we’re living. That’s what I meant.

Jack: With all the Dateline that we’ve watched, you think we would put out a murder mystery at some point? I’m not sure why we’d have one.

Jasinda: That’s very normal. That’s just a break. It’s a typical 40s woman obsession, so it’s fine.

Jack: Which I know that’s a thing. It’s very much a thing. I don’t understand it, but it’s a thing.

Jasinda: I don’t understand it either, but it’s okay.

Laura: So taking it back to your writing for a sec. So, a lot of your books are wide. Can you tell us a little bit about your wide release strategy and why you choose to publish widely?

Jasinda: This is hard. This is a hard question because I will say that we definitely notice a difference in people’s reading behaviors during COVID, during the lockdowns. And we saw a big uptick with subscription, and we put more of our books into the Kobo subscription and experimented with KU because we definitely just saw people were reading more quickly. They were bored, and they were just consuming all they could.

So, we did see a big difference with that. The reason why we have always been wide is because we want to reach as many readers as possible, as unique and different, and all forms of people that like to read different ways. And I do think because we own one of the readers from every major e-retailer, they are different. The way you read on different devices, even the apps, are very different to me.

So, I know that that’s going to be a unique and different person that likes that different reading experience. So, we’ve always wanted to try to meet all those readers. And for me, I think that’s just because I’m a different person. And so I know sometimes it bothers me if I can’t find something somewhere or I’m looking for something and it’s only on this particular thing. So, we tried to just be as fair as we possibly could.

And I don’t think that we’ve had any real difference in the way that we promote wide. We have done, I want to say, two releases that were not wide, and I don’t think we did anything different really for that. I will say that our email newsletter is our one most important asset that we have. We lost in a glitch our Facebook page with over 100,000 followers on it two years ago, and that was devastating because we were just unable to reach our main pool. And so if we didn’t have our email newsletter, I honestly do not know…

Jasinda: …what we would’ve done because that is our number one way that we interact and reach with our readers. So, I will say to anyone starting off, definitely, definitely do not just rely on social media, especially because social media seems to be like one thing’s happened, another thing’s happened, another thing’s happened. I mean, we’re now in this TikTok world.

Jack: And build your newsletter because you own that.

Jasinda: Yeah, build your newsletter because that’s going to be steady and consistent. And we have tried different forms of marketing in the past and really the newsletter, nothing does anything better for us in our own newsletter. And those are totally organic readers that want to follow us. We are not paying for those people. They’re coming to us. So, they’re our number one source of marketing.

So, that’s what we really rely on. And I think as things change, that’s going to continue to probably be the number one source and writers are going to be able to connect through, because social media, man, it’s fickle. It’s really fickle. And it’s hard to jump. You wait till something’s hot.

Our kids were telling us about TikTok, like the minute it came out. We have teenagers and they’re like, “Mom, TikTok.” And we looked at it and we were like, “Are you kidding? This is ridiculous. Why would we be on here?” It’s just people doing choreographed dances. And so we started an account, but we didn’t do anything with it. And then all of a sudden, two years later, everybody’s exploded. This was a little stupid thing that our teenagers were dancing on. So bizarre. So, I think we’re just old people and not good enough dancers for a lot of the social media. That’s the honest to God truth.

Rachel: I wanted to ask you about your newsletter and how it plays into your marketing plan and do you think that, as a concept, newsletters have really changed throughout your publishing career or is it kind of like a mainstay marketing tool that authors can use?

Jasinda: So, I do subscribe to a couple different authors’ newsletters because we did at one point do kind of like a “they feature each other” kind of thing. So, I follow a couple other authors, and I have noticed that ours is very lame compared to other authors. And I do think, again, my personality, the being overstimulated part of myself, when there’s too much going on with something, I kind of freak out. So, if I open up someone’s newsletter and there’s gifts everywhere and glitter and things are exploding out of graphic, that’s too much for me.

So, ours is pretty plain. We’ve always kind of just had a release newsletter. We always add a little tidbit about what’s going on in our house, our farm. If we have a new baby animal born, I’ll put a little picture of them. But it’s pretty plain. I mean, I have the like clicks back to our website. And it’s nothing too fancy, but I know that our readers know to expect that and they like that. And that’s the best way that I know how to present us in a way that I think does actually show ourselves.

But I do know that a lot of readers like to have half a book in the email. That just is overwhelming to me. So, I do think that there’s space for everyone to how they like to be. There was a period of time when all these authors were doing these really colorful…they all had backgrounds and there was movement. Almost was like MySpace in my mind. I was looking, I’m like, “This is like we’re going back to MySpace. What’s happening?”

And I just like it really plain. We almost always have a white background. It almost always has the same header. It’s just clean because that’s the kind of email that I like to read. So, I know that that can be unique to different readers, but I think our readership just knows that’s what’s coming and what to expect. And I’ve also heard like, “Email your reader all the time,” and we only do usually once a month. And so for us, that’s because I know for a fact Jack hates people emailing him. He hates it. He literally hates it.

Jack: If you spam me like…

Jasinda: If you say subscribe for something…

Jack: If I’m subscribe for something, and I get three emails in a day, shoot, if I get three emails from the same thing a week, I want to …

Jasinda: He freaks out. He literally gets stabby. So, we just send out once a month because that’s what we would want.
Jack: When we have something important.

Jasinda: Yeah, something that’s really important that you really are wanting us to invest and taking time, because people are busy. People have so many different things that are trying to get their attention, right? So, I just think ours has always been the same. For other people, it probably works better to email their readership every three days, but for us, we just want people to know when something’s important and really highlight that important thing. And it’s worked well for us. I’m hoping that it’s also part of what’s created our trust I think with our dedicated readership, too, because we’re not spamming them. We’re not sending them weird stuff except Jack dancing.

Laura: I remember in your talk at NINC, you mentioned that you don’t segment your newsletter. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jasinda: Again, that’s just from experimenting and seeing that that did not make a difference. And so I think I will try anything once. And if it doesn’t make a difference, I will stop doing it because again, why waste your time? I’m sure if I played around with it, I get really excited when I see someone send an email like, “There’s people…” “in a writer who are like, oh, I segmented to like eight different segments and you know, I send this color to this person and this to this, this graphic to these, people, because they’re younger and they like TikTok. I mean, yes, you could spend so much time messing with that stuff, but then I think that could be time that we could be spent writing probably a whole other book while I’m messing with segmenting, which ends up getting me 10 more books, sales. Do you know what I mean? So if it really makes a difference, I will absolutely do it. Getting a book bomb will absolutely make a difference for our income.

So, that’s something I will take time on, and I will make sure that that’s lined up and that we right now we have a new series that we just started, three books in, and yes, we will absolutely do that, but some of this stuff, I just feel like it’s a waste of time and it takes us away from what we really want and should be doing. So, I have to constantly be like… I mean, it’s three days of figuring that out …

Jack: It goes back to what we were talking about before the priorities, we only have so much time within a day and if something doesn’t move the needle in an appreciable way, then it’s just not worth our time, so we’ll try something and maybe we’ll try a couple of times, because maybe the first time was a fluke. Maybe it just takes…

Jasinda: I would say three is the max. If I tried something three times and it does nothing, why? I hear people say this in talks. And I remember someone said to me like, some people can speak from an expert opinion because it worked for them, but it does not mean it’s going to work for you, right? And so a lot of times, especially like at conferences, the one we were at, you have five people talk and they’re all at the bestsellers like the hot commodity at that moment, and they’re only a year or two into it and you’re like, “That worked for you. But if you’re on the other side of that, your audience may be a totally different audience.”

I think we feel like romance readers are this small little group, and they’re not really crossing much. There’s so many readers. There are so many people out there with so many different likes and different things they want to experience in their reading time. It’s vast. It’s an endless scene. So, I think it’s our job to really try to connect with not only what our readership is but who we are, because I truly believe that most… Even from looking at the statistics of who read our books, they’re pretty much me.

They’re like women in their 40s, probably have some kids. They may or may not have cows, nerdy husbands, and they’re probably liking the same similar things, right? So, just statistically look at that, I’m like, “Okay, I have to kind of figure out if the readership is kind of similar to me.” And so I kind of want to meet them at that same place. So, I think if it works for you, amazing. But don’t be scared to try something that maybe might be the total opposite of what worked for somebody else.

Jack: And don’t be scared to cut that out if it doesn’t work.

Jasinda: Doesn’t work. Yeah, you got to be flexible in this industry, man. It changes overnight and what works one day may not work tomorrow.

Rachel: It’s actually something I wanted to ask you guys if there was one big industry shift that you’ve noticed throughout your career, because like you mentioned, you’ve been publishing for a while and have just a casual a hundred books under your belt.

Jasinda: The thing that has been the most interesting for me to see is the doors that were slammed shut for us starting to be opening. And I remember… “Falling Into You” at the time had sold over a million copies, and Amazon was trying to get print distribution into I think it was Costco or something at the time. And us being indie, it was a big no way. And this was while we were in the middle of negotiating a traditional publishing deal, but it was literally just because the printing of the paper, who was wanting to put the books where, and it was a no. It was a no-go. And this was after we had hit New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today. Totally blown the roof off sales, but it didn’t matter because we were indie authors.

And then I go into our… We couldn’t even get our books into our local bookstore. They were not even going to… I mean, we lived down the street and they were like, “We’re not putting your books in here.”

Jack: They laughed us out of the store.

Jasinda: Laughed us out the store. And we see these really innovative, amazing small presses and booksellers Getty Books and our local Books-A-Million has tons of small press books in there now, because the readers…

Jack: They’ve got a whole table of just BookTok and this…

Jasinda: And they’re coming from the same place they were 10 years ago, but it’s just been this momentum change where the readers demanded it. The readers were like, “We don’t care who printed this book. We just want it in our hands.” And so that drove the industry in a way that… I mean, less than 10 years ago, we were getting constantly slapped in the face for it.

So, that has been the most refreshing thing for me, because I never could understand, I never could understand why artists couldn’t directly connect to the reader, get our product to the reader. It happens in every other industry. Every other industry. You’ve had indie music for how many years? 20, 30 years? But we couldn’t get our books into the hands of readers. That has been the most refreshing. And I think it’s going to continue to evolve in that way. And we’ll have books printed… I mean, you may just be able to go to a little kiosk and put in a code and have a book spit out at you one day, but I think it’s really cool that the readers are what demanded that. The readers wanted it and they had to give it to them.

And I think for so long there was a group of us that were pushing so hard. I mean, we got heckled at the London Book Fair, literally heckled. We were put on a panel and there was about what 500 or 600 industry people from all over the world, and we were literally heckled off stage. We spoke at the New York City Book Fair and same thing. I mean, the dynamic of the industry and treating us as actual… They say that our readers were phantom readers or something at one of these things.

Jack: Fanfictions and smut peddlers.

Jasinda: Yeah, and just the way that it’s been slowly changing over time I think has been awesome to see. I want even more of that. I think the readers should be in charge of what they want out there

Jack: Seeing indies as legitimate publishing professionals and not just somebody with MS Paint in the millionth spot on the Amazon charts selling this little story that you typed out with a typewriter or a crayon. Like, we’re actual professionals. We know what we’re doing. We produce quality work. It’s just coming from a different place than a traditionally published book might be but doesn’t make it any less or a lesser thing. And it’s just taken time for the larger industry and the more mainstream consumers to understand that and they’re embracing it.

Jasinda: There’s been major trailblazers in that from the get go, pushing hard for it. And that’s what’s also so cool for me. I mean, romance readers and writers are predominantly women. This is a literal floodgate opening of small female-owned businesses. And it’s been amazing to watch that grow, just that we’ve been able to be part of it.

I mean, one of the first conventions we ever did was the RT and I sat with these women that were Harlequin authors for 30, 40 years that had never earned more than barely enough to pay their rent and pennies for New York Times bestsellers. And they were in tears as we were telling them about, “You can just put your book out there like just load it.” And it’s just been awesome to see how this industry that was really looked down on is now…there’s a shift, and it seemed to be more of a legitimate and important storytelling.

And I think that’s awesome. I think we women need that. Women are shamed. I mean, the amount of shame that I’ve experienced as a female romance author is staggering in the time and the day that it is. There should be no shame in wanting to read what we write. And that’s also changed. I see that changing. People used to be scared to show what they were reading, and now they’re kind of proud with their discreet or undiscreet covers, either/or, and that’s just cool to see.

My daughter is not ashamed of that and I was. I was in high school with my mom’s books that she got in a plain box that came to our house that she hid behind the other books. Now my daughter proudly is marching around high school with… And she says, “Mom, I know what kind of guy I want and what kind of guy I don’t want because I’ve read a hundred romance books, and I know they’re full of crap, and I know what they want.” I’m like, “Go, sister.”

She is completely and totally on that cutting edge of women that are way more sexually empowered than I ever was for sure, and I’m happy for them for that. There should not be shame in being a woman and enjoying sex and reading about it or writing about it. So, that’s also I think a huge benefit of this time, and indie authors did that. Indie authors really pushed that, because when you kind of push that because when you kind of push that fringe, it kind of changes where the needle ends up.

Jack: Trad pub authors couldn’t be allowed to… Not through any fault of their own, that was the industry they were working in. But as an indie author, there’s no one but you deciding what you put out there. And that’s dictated obviously by what people will buy. But we have been very blessed to be at the cutting edge of what’s being talked about and what’s changing the way people read and different ways of telling stories.

Jasinda: And even in terms of racially and the way that the climate is now… I just love to be able to see so many different diverse stories being told. We’ve had stories where we presented them to publishers and they’re like, “There’s no way that we can publish this,” and that was just because it was a biracial couple. I mean, it’s amazing how things are turning and just the voices that are being told, the stories that are being told, and that happened because of indie publishing. Absolutely, 100%.

And that’s what’s going to leave those more traditional publishers in the dust in a lot of ways because they’re just unwilling to touch it. And you have to be, I think, a little bit crazy and fearless to be indie publisher because it’s scary as heck. You’re putting a little piece of you out there, and there’s just a group of us that are just crazy enough to push that envelope a little bit and get those stories out there. So, I think that has been also a huge benefit of this change in the last 10 years.

Laura: So, with all of that said, what piece of advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in indie publishing now with all these new changes?

Jasinda: Wow. It’s going to be not am easy road, but I think it’s worth it. And I think the most important thing that I really am passionate about is taking care of yourself. You know, I see so many authors that are struggling with their health right now, their mental health because of isolation, especially the last several years, their physical health, because we do have such a sedentary job. And that’s a really huge thing that I want to encourage all authors out there to make sure you’re taking care of you. Because if you don’t, you can’t get those stories out the way that you want to because it’s so hard to be your best when you don’t feel good.
So, that’s one thing that I had to learn along the way is that you have to prioritize yourself. You have to be willing to take care of yourself. And I think moms and mom writers, it’s like impossibly hard because you have to be willing to say, “Mom needs this. For me to be a good mom, I have to do this.” And that’s so hard, just in general. But for women that are also doing that… And I know so many of the indie writers out there are also taking care of families and helping their husband with their jobs and doing all these million different things. So, just don’t forget about you. Make sure you take care of you and not just go get a pedicure once a month. Actually feed yourself nourishing meals. Go for a walk. Get some sunshine. Make that doctor’s appointment. Whatever it is, really honestly take care of you.

Jack: I think from a craft aspect, it would be write what moves you. Write the stories that you’re passionate about. Design characters that you understand, that are authentic to you, and just be brave about it because there’s always going to be naysayers and haters and negative comments and bad reviews. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not good at what you do. It doesn’t mean other people aren’t enjoying it. So, once you accept the fact that you’re not going to make everybody happy and just write what you enjoy writing and what you have fun writing, it won’t feel as much like work, honestly.

Jasinda: And my tidbit for that is actually Kobo proved to me that this was a serious thing because we have the most hateful reviews. I got death threats from our “Ever” trilogy because we kind of wanted to be outside the box and this was a story based on a story that we knew in real life. And so I thought, “Hey, since it has this real life aspect to it, I think the readers will be able to handle it.” And so we published it and everyone hated it. I mean, if you go on Goodreads, it’s like the worst like,
“This writer should die. It’s horrible. Burn all these books.”

And then we were at a conference and I remember Mark saying that one of their most finished trilogies was that trilogy because people wanted to see how it ended. And so I was like, “Hey, at least they felt something.” And not only that, they did not DNF it. They read it till the end.

Jack: They angrily binged it.

Jasinda: Yeah, they angrily finished it, right? So, I think that you have to just realize that you are going to get negative criticism. You are going to have people, but if this is what you are called to do, this is what you love to do and you’re passionate about it, do it. Sit in the chair, write it, and do it. Stop making excuses of why you shouldn’t or can’t. Just do it. Now is the time to do it.

Jack: Also, I would say as much as within your means, especially if you’re a new writer, outsource professionals for cover and at least proofread it. If you can find a good editor that you can afford, that understands you and your style, that’s important. We could talk for another hour about finding the right editor to help you with content, because that’s a very personal thing, and it has to be a relationship that works. But cover and proofreading, you can’t do that yourself and you can’t have your aunt that’s an English teacher do it. It has to be someone who is a professional proofreader that knows what they’re doing and does it well and is being paid to do it right.

Jasinda: That’s your packaging and that is going to stay with you. People will remember those things.

Jack: That’s how they take you seriously as a professional.

Jasinda: As much as you can. I mean, we know…

Jack: It’s expensive.

Jasinda: …because like I said from the beginning, we had to trade services, which I’m all for that like trade, and find writer communities and find… I mean, I know right now RW is kind of a mess, but try to find some kind of meeting group of people that can come together and help you if you’re in those beginning stages, because I think that is crucially important to find your little tribe and work in a group, especially because so much of this is done alone. So, that’s, I think, really important too.
Rachel: I think that is incredible advice, and I also think that I could sit and listen to you guys talk about indie publishing for another hour, but I know we’ve taken up so much of your time already. So, before we let you go and carry on with your day, can you let us know what’s coming next from you and where listeners can find you online?

Jasinda: Yeah, so we have something completely different coming next. We just put out the third book of our “Sin” series, which is a really fun Las Vegas bar with like alpha guys, gritty. So, if you like that, that’s what we just put out this last week. And then what we have coming next is we haven’t even unveiled it yet, but it’s just so unlike anything we’ve ever put out.
Jack: Which is saying something coming from us.

Jasinda: Yeah, but we’re so, so super excited about it. It’s something we’ve wanted to do forever.

Jack: It just took us 10 years to get the courage to start to write it.

Jasinda: To write it, yeah. A lot of courage. So, it’s coming and all I can say is if you’re like a Twilight fan or Anne Rice, it might be a little mix of that going on. So, yeah, something totally new and different and I can’t wait to show the cover because it’s stunningly beautiful. But, yeah, that’s coming. We don’t have a date yet for that. We’re hoping around February, but we don’t want to promise it. But that’s hopefully the plan. And you can always find us at jasindawilder.com or on all social medias if you want to see funny Jack dances, TikTok is where he’s at.

Jack: If you like the idea of a dancing walrus, then that’s what you will find there.

Jasinda: It’s a good time.

Rachel: This upcoming really sounds entirely in my lane, and we will include links to all of your socials, especially the dancing of Jack in our show notes.

Laura: It’s a must watch apparently. Thank you so much, guys. This is great. And like Rachel said, we could have kept talking to you for your hours. All your advice and everything has been so insightful. So, thank you so much for joining us.

Jasinda: Thanks for having us. It was a lot of fun.

Jack: Absolutely. We’re very happy to be here, and if you can call what we know wisdom, then happy to share.

Rachel: Thank you for listening to the Kobo Writing Life Podcast. If you are interested in picking up Jack and Jasinda’s books, following them on socials or seeing TikToks of Jack dancing, we will include links to all of the above in our show notes. If you are enjoying this podcast, please be sure to rate, review, subscribe, tell your friends. And if you’re looking for more tips on growing your self-publishing business, you can find us at kobowritinglife.com and be sure to follow us on all of our socials. We are @kobowritinglife on Facebook and Twitter and @kobo.writing.life on Instagram.

Laura: This episode was hosted by Laura Granger and Rachel Wharton with production by Terrence Abrahams. Editing is provided by Kelly Robotham. Our theme music is composed by Tear Jerker, and the thanks to Jasinda and Jack Wilder for being guests. If you’re ready to start your publishing journey, sign up today at kobo.com/writinglife. Until next time, happy writing.

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