This week on Self Publishing Insiders, Kevin Tumlinson talks to Author E.S. Curry about his writing process, the Adirondacks, and going from the initial book concept to a full-fledged book.
E.S. Curry is an insatiable renaissance man that loves writing outside the data stream on a Royal typewriter while listening to classical music on vinyl, plays piano and guitar, races his sailing yacht Escapade, fencing, and imagines bedtime stories with his son Åsmund.
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E.S. Curry, Kevin Tumlinson
Kevin Tumlinson 00:01
Well hello there, you. Now, we’re sorry, we’re about three seconds late, so sorry about that, everybody. But we’re gonna make it up for you because this is gonna be a great show. I’ve already bonded with today’s guest. We have a lot in common, including our love for typewriters, which we are definitely going to talk about. But let’s welcome to the show, author E. S. Curry. How you doing? I didn’t ask you before the show how you want me to refer to you.
E.S. Curry 00:29
Oh, can just call me Scott.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:32
I didn’t know if you wanted to, sometimes authors don’t want that stuff revealed.
E.S. Curry 00:36
No, that’s okay. I wanted a pen name. E. S. Curry. And the E is for Edmond, which is my favorite character of all time from the Chronicles of Narnia.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:47
Oh, I thought you were gonna say Twilight.
E.S. Curry 00:52
No, no, no. I’m a huge CS Lewis fan. So yeah, that’s where that comes from.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:57
Is that one of your inspirations? CS Lewis?
E.S. Curry 01:00
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I love all of his works. In fact, his sci fi trilogy is amazing. A lot of people don’t know he has a sci fi trilogy. And it’s exceptional.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:11
No, all anyone ever seems to think of him as the Narnia books. Yeah. And I went to seminary. So I’m, of course, familiar with all his theological work. Which he did a great deal of theological writing. But, you know, that’s … It’s interesting when you get to know an author, and you start to discover all these little things that you may not have realized about them. So one of the things we’re going to talk about, I’m excited about it, and I think our viewership is also going to be kind of excited about it. The title of this episode is “From Concept to Book in a Week.” So I’m gonna just take it from the email you sent me that you did, in fact, write a book in a single week.
E.S. Curry 02:05
I did. Yeah. One week.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:07
Now, you were giving me a bunch of caveats before. You want to go through them?
E.S. Curry 02:09
Yeah. So yes, I did write The Flying Sabuki in one week. It’s a 20,000 word novella. However, I spent about four years learning how to write, training, taking Literary Cleveland classes, taking Masterclass.com, I’ve taken every single author on Masterclass.com. Not just watched them, taken notes, done the exercises, basically like a writer in training. And, you know, where the book came from, the wanting to become an author was, I was at a Fred Rogers early childhood conference. You know who Fred Rogers is? Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, right? So when I worked for Arnold Palmer, I was there on behalf of this foundation. And I gave a speech on having presence over being present as a father. And it was really well received. But after the conference, a woman came up to me, she was, you know, middle aged, maybe 50s, 60s. And she just walks up to me and says, I wish you were my dad. And I don’t even know how to respond to that, you know, other than saying thank you. And she said, you really need to write a book, I think your perspective is really unique. And I think it could help a lot of people. And so, you know, I kind of took that to heart, because how many people walk up to you and say, I wish you were my dad? And she’s not just successful, she works for one of the big three tech companies, super high up, really influential. And, you know, I walked away from that, and I said, you know what? I do a lot of ghost writing already, and things like that. But I’m gonna get in my own voice, because I’m so used to writing for other people. You know, I didn’t really know what my voice was. So I spent the next four years, I wrote a memoir that’s unpublished, dozens of essays, children’s short stories. And then we’re driving up, my son and I, to take a vacation in the Adirondacks. And he says to me, Baba, do you know what a flying sabuki is? And I said, no, please enlighten me. And so he starts telling me this, you gotta read the book to find out. That’s what he said at our first book signing to everyone that walked up, which was really funny. And, you know, as a parent, you have these moments, all parents say, like, I need to write this down. I really should write a book. And I resigned myself in that single moment to write a book during the time that we’re there. And it was so cool. Because we sat down at the table, we had brought a 1200-piece Lego set for him to do. And I sat on his side of the table, and he’s six, right? And I sat beside the table. I said, what we’re going to do this week is, I’m going to write a book. And you’re going to do this 1200-piece Lego set. And we’re gonna work together and encourage each other, we’re gonna take breaks. And he goes, why are you going to write the book? And I said, well, do you remember what you did yesterday? And he says, no. That’s why we’re going to write the book, because this is a very special time of us being here together. And he agreed and say, okay, I like this idea. So over the course of the week, he finished the 1200 piece LEGO pirate ship all by himself. And I finished the book. And there are points in time where he was like, I’m tired. I don’t know if I can do it. And I’m like, come on, buddy. You got this. And there was one point I was like, I don’t know if I can finish this book, man, this is so much work. And he’s like, you can do it, I believe in you. So it was like this mutual, you know, working together and, you know, taking hikes and no screens. You know, the book is about screen-free living, writing stories together. So we told all kinds of stories together. It was really just a beautiful time.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:03
And the book itself is about that connection between father and son. Right? So it is maybe essential that you used the book itself and the activities with your son as a bonding moment, that seems essential to me.
E.S. Curry 06:21
Exactly. Right. You know, it’s funny, he even says now, would you like to do Legos and writing time? He’s actually gotten conditioned. You know, like a lot of other parents or authors struggle with, how do I get writing in with my kid? Well, create something that you can do together separately, separately together, you know? So it’s worked out really well. And we wrote the sequel on our next spring break that we were just up there. The Adirondacks again, and I’m super excited about that. It’s called The Philosopher’s Ghost.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:55
So this is going to turn into kind of a little series for you then?
E.S. Curry 06:59
It is yeah, it is. I’m going to keep that same format, you know, just kind of that nice 20,000 words, you know, 100 pages or so. An hour to 90-minute read, you know? I think short form, there’s a market for short form these days. Not a lot of people have time to read.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:17
I think so too. In I think it appeals. So people ask me that question all the time. Is there a market for X? I think there’s a market for everything. But I think that the mistake is thinking that everything fits all markets, you know? I think there’s definitely a market for short form, but it’s a different audience than the market for, say, my novels that are 60,000-plus words, right? So, something to keep in mind. I just, that’s the tidbit of wisdom we’ll throw at the audience right now. So, okay. You wrote, you answered one of the questions before I could ask it. So thanks for doing my job for me. I was gonna ask you about the word length. And so let’s talk a little bit about the meat and bones of this. What’s the process of writing a 20,000-ish word story? You know, from let’s go soup to nuts with this. Take us from the process of writing, how many words per day did you aim for, that sort of thing? And, yeah, what did you do when you were done in terms of like, editing and stuff?
E.S. Curry 08:26
Oh, that’s really great. Yeah. Cuz it takes a team, you know, so publishing is, you know, I think it’s a misnomer. I mean, you gotta have an entire team behind you. A developmental editor, line editor, a proofer, cover designer, you need all the things right? But so to start with the process. It really, you know, I’m kind of, you know there’s a plotter and a pantser? I’m kind of a plotser. A little bit of a hybrid there. You know, I have an idea. And, you know, you see the typewriters here. So, I sketch everything on typewriters. So there’s something really amazing about a typewriter. And you know this, Kevin, because you can only go forward.
Kevin Tumlinson 09:12
Yeah, exactly. Yes. You don’t get all the fancy feet … Well, we’ll talk about typewriters in a second.
E.S. Curry 09:20
Exactly. But that’s where I start is, I do some sketches, kind of block out an outline of where I think it should go and end up, kind of the middle is up for grabs. But I never have a problem getting words onto the page. That’s never been an issue for me. It’s really, you know, editing. That’s what’s tough for me personally. So, you know, words a day. First day I did like 1500 words. Second day was like 2200, 2300. Third day, I got on fire. I did 3800 words that day. I mean, even my son was just like, whoa, you’re typing a lot. He wanted to know word count too. He’s like, how many words we got today, Baba? I was like, 3800, man. He’s like, let’s celebrate. So, yeah, really cool.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:16
You know what I like about that? There is a, there’s a sort of, I guess we’ll say it’s a misnomer that writing is this very private activity that you shut your door, right? And the kids are out there, whatever they’re doing, but you are working, you know? Daddy’s working right now. Mom’s working right now. And what you’ve done is opened that process up as not a collaborative activity, but a communal activity.
E.S. Curry 10:47
A communal activity. And it was collaborative, too. You know, because I asked him questions, you know, like how do you feel about things? And he and I are very Fred Rogers in our relationship, you know, we have a really tight bond, and doing things like this just increases that. So it was cool. It was really neat. Like, the only thing I used my phone for the whole week was to take pictures of us. And to maybe make notes, like I’d note something he did. And I just write it down so I could remember what that was. And that’s really all I use the phone for for the entire week.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:26
Yeah. That’s very cool. That’s very cool. And did you set aside time to do this? Like this was something you said, this week no work? Taking the week off, that was the plan?
E.S. Curry 11:41
Yep. So I’ve been going up to the Adirondack Mountains twice a year for 15 years, just to kind of reset, and just kind of recalibrate, some peace and quiet. I didn’t even get a cell signal where we’re staying. So I mean, that’s beautiful. There’s internet, but, you know, it makes it makes for a really nice way to just re-level, rebalance, you know, get your thoughts collected, think about what you want to do, who you want to be. The way I frame it in the book is, you know, what stories do I want Asman to tell his friends and his family about our time together? So I try and write that story, when we’re doing things together. And that’s the approach I take.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:29
Yeah, yeah. That’s good. We got a question pop up. You want to take a question real quick? This is from Lee Wallace on YouTube asks, “If you’re self-publishing, should you be concerned with traditional publishing word counts?”
E.S. Curry 12:43
I don’t think so. I think, you know, that’s the beauty of self-publishing, Lee, is you’re the publisher. You decide. You can go to market when you want, you can figure out what market you want to appeal to, who your own audiences, you know, how you want to write. There’s some really unique books out there that are just amazing. And like, a publisher wouldn’t have published them. But they’ve done really well.
Kevin Tumlinson 13:11
Yeah, that to me, the market has evolved in a very interesting way. Because, you know, the traditional world is very focused on the bestseller now, where there used to be what we called the mid-list. And those mid-list authors are now just mostly self-published authors. So my philosophy, by the way, is that self-publishing these days is more akin to the pulp fiction era. Because a lot of us are, you know, we crank them out, we’re dedicated to a word count, you know, we’re gonna make a living with this by God. So yeah, that’s my philosophy. We got another, not a question, but a comment from Tom. Tom Ray says, “Writing comes easy for me. It’s editing that takes me months.” What was your editing process like?
E.S. Curry 13:58
Tom, I couldn’t agree more, brother. That is exactly what happened. So I finished writing the book in a week. Then I’m like, what’s next? I called my buddy Michael LaRonn at Alliance of Independent Authors and I say, “I need an editor.” He goes, here you go. Call Beth Lynn. So she gives me a line edit back, just full of red. You know, I had tense problems because I was writing in the middle of the night all the time during that week, and it was future and past all at the same time. So she fixed a lot of that. But then I also had Wendy Lindstrom, a New York Times bestselling author I work with, she’s fantastic. And I was talking with her one day and I told her I’d written this book and she goes, I would love to read it. You know this, Kevin, how many people actually want to read it and do read it if you give it to them? She read it that day, and sent me back developmental notes in a day, and It was game changing. There were just some really nice thoughts she had and it made a much better book. And then it was summertime, and I race sailboats, so I was kind of racing sailboats, and you know …
Kevin Tumlinson 15:17
Listen to this guy. Yeah, I’m hanging out in the Adirondacks with my son writing this book, and I sail boats. What a life, what a life.
E.S. Curry 15:24
Good life, man.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:27
That I think is an appropriate time to bring in William’s question. Is it possible to write a book in a week while working full time? I have a comment on this too. But let’s hear your answer.
E.S. Curry 15:37
Absolutely. William, you can do it. You absolutely can do it. And if I wanted to do it, you know, I did it. Like, it’s totally possible. I took a Literary Cleveland class in January that was five stories in six weeks. And I had to write an entire story every week for six weeks. And we’re not talking, like, a little 1000-word essay, we’re talking a 5000-word story. Three to five thousand. So yeah, and I did that no problem. Not without lifting a finger. It’s really about putting your butt in the seat, you know, engaging. And this is why I like the typewriter. I don’t have social media screens, things like beep beep beep, you know, all over the place. I’m just typing.
Kevin Tumlinson 16:25
Just like your typewriter doesn’t alert you when something new pops up on Twitter. I, of course, okay, so I like to push myself to see how far I can go. And then reset and do something, you know, a little easier later. But you and I were discussing before the show, so I actually wrote an entire 60,000-word novel in one day. So it can be done. But I did it while I was basically on like Thanksgiving vacation in New York City on a snowy, drizzly, dreary day, supplied with coffee and booze and sandwiches all day long by the lovely staff at the hotel. And now, again, wrote the book in one day, edited the book over the next couple of months. So that’s the thing. So the answer to William’s question is, you can totally do this working full time. You took time off, Scott, you took a week off and did this. You don’t have to take time off. I could see writing a 20,000-word book, if you are dedicated to doing the word count each day. That’s, you know, you figure out the word count per day. And you could totally do that in a week while working full time during lunch breaks and before work and that sort of thing.
E.S. Curry 17:52
That’s how Michael LaRonn does it.
Kevin Tumlinson 17:54
That’s exactly how he does it.
E.S. Curry 17:55
Yeah, he talks about being in line at the grocery store. He’s working on his book while he’s just standing in line. All those moments that you can do that. And I will say too, like, if you write what you know, it makes it 10,000 times easier. So if you don’t have to do the research and figure things out, and a lot of times if I’m writing the stream of conscious, I’ll put in brackets “research.” Or I’ll write, you’re better than this, if I don’t have the vocab off the top of my mind and I want to describe something. Or I’ll write in brackets “ show don’t tell.” Like if I’m just telling and I know I’m telling, I’m very aware of it. And it just gives me, as I’m editing, go back, add some more color, add some detail and make it better.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:41
So when you’re not on the typewriter, once the typewriter bit’s done, do you have a word processor of choice?
E.S. Curry 18:53
So I write in Dabble Writer.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:56
I’m sorry, it dropped you. You write in what?
E.S. Curry 18:59
Kevin Tumlinson 19:02
Dabble Writer? That’s one I’m not familiar with.
E.S. Curry 19:03
Yeah, it’s nice. I like it. So being a typewriter guy, I hit two spaces all the time, because I grew up during that age, you know? So I can’t seem to break that habit. Dabble Writer doesn’t let you do that. It actually deletes it. And I use a QWERTY …
Kevin Tumlinson 19:22
I have that exact same keyboard.
E.S. Curry 19:26
It’s the QWERTY writer and it’s got this little return carriage arm. So I use that. So basically, I take the typewriter thing, scan it, you know, right back here. It goes into PDF. OCR, cut and paste, throw it in Dabble Writer, clean it up. And then Google Docs to the editor. Then I do all commenting through that. And then I use Vellum for formatting, I format in Vellum. And I’m a designer as well. So I designed the cover of the book. So I did all that myself.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:02
Yeah, I love it too.
E.S. Curry 20:03
Yeah, it’s gotten great reviews. It really turned out.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:06
Yeah. I can see now why Will Dages said he couldn’t wait to see the two of us talk today, We’ve apparently been leading vaguely parallel lives all this time.
E.S. Curry 20:18
That’s what he said. Yeah, so for everyone here, Will Dages is the head of Findaway Voices. And I’m marketing strategist for Findaway Voices.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:26
I guess we should have mentioned that, sorry Will. We didn’t promote your company as much as we should have. But yes, and Findaway of course is D2D’s audiobook partner and we’ve got a great relationship with you guys. I love Will. He may not be all that fond of me, but I love that guy.
E.S. Curry 20:50
And the audiobook version is coming out soon.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:58
Are you recording it?
E.S. Curry 21:00
No, I did not self-narrate it. I actually auditioned myself, which is what Will told me to do. He goes, just audition yourself and then audition some narrators. And you’ll find out. So I went, oh, you definitely want a pro.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:07
Yeah, I auditioned myself, too, and discovered that I was unreliable because I kept making excuses and not giving it the time it required. So I fired myself as the narrator. Here’s a loaded question. This is a fun one. “How long will it take to write a good story?” Thanks, Carla. Implying, I guess, that these are not good.
E.S. Curry 21:31
Well, Carla, I’ve got a load of five-star reviews. So it was a good story, yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:37
I’m sure she just means to make sure, she wants to make sure that we want to know that what we’re writing is quality. How do we do that?
E.S. Curry 21:45
How do you do that? You need a good dev editor. You really do. Don’t skip the dev editor, don’t go straight to a line editor or proofer. You want a developmental editor. So, and that costs money and takes time. So you know, that’s how you’re gonna ensure you have a good story. Because they are professionals that know what to look for, the right pacing, you know, all the things that you need to look for? You know, when you’re telling, not showing, all that good stuff, so yeah. Would you agree with that Kevin? A dev editor?
Kevin Tumlinson 22:21
Well, yes, I think that most authors do need a dev editor. I don’t use one. But, and maybe I should say, it’s always dangerous to make comments on this kind of thing. Because if you say I don’t use one, there’s always going to be that person who says, well, you should be. But you know, it’s not been part of my process over the years. I used to use developmental editors, but kind of fell out of practice with it.
E.S. Curry 22:51
Yeah. I think if you find somebody that you’ve got a nice kind of symbiotic relationship with, and they really understand your voice and tone, they’re gonna put some things that are going to make it better.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:02
I don’t use someone with the title “developmental editor,” but I have my trusted readers, the ones that I send my book to first, and they will let me know if something is amiss. So basically, I guess I’m saying, I have a whole bunch of developmental editors. So okay, I want to talk about typewriters now. You ready? Because we discovered right as we connected that he and I share, Scott and I share a love for vintage typewriters. How many do you have?
E.S. Curry 23:45
I have five.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:51
So you collect a specific brand and model?
E.S. Curry 23:50
I collect a very specific model. I collect Royal Quiet De Luxes made between 1954-55 and 58. I’m looking for a very specific model of typewriter. And I have cherry red, mint green, gray, and turquoise. So they’re very, very difficult to find. You can see back here I got two of them. And they’re just a load of fun to write on. I mean, my favorite thing, Kevin, is that it’s visceral. You are stamping your thoughts onto right, you’re swinging the arm over. And when you’re done with that page, you rip it out, put it next to you, load another in. There’s like this feeling of success that comes from seeing the pages stack up. And you’ve got your manuscript in your hands and you can write on it, and there’s just something so tactile about that versus taking my mouse wheel and going [makes noise].
Kevin Tumlinson 24:49
Yeah, you’re making you’re making me feel a little … You know, I loved writing on typewriters and did for years. In my early career it was all typewriters. I mean, even though I had computers. I remember getting a rejection letter from Marion Zimmer Bradley magazine because I had printed something out with the old style, you know tear the edges off the paper and all that, and a dot matrix printer, and after that rejection I vowed I would never I would type everything on my trusty typewriter, even if I did the first draft elsewhere. So I had a great love for that, but then when I became a copywriter, speed became the thing, you know?
E.S. Curry 25:35
I think of it as an experience thing, man. I mean, I’m on a screen all day. The last thing I want to do is get on the screen again at night or 5am in the morning, so really, it’s an experience. Especially late at night, you know, you got this nice hygge feeling with some candlelight and dim lights, a little scotch next to you. I mean, you set the whole tone and mood and you really, I mean, I think you feel like a writer too.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:59
There you are again with the parallels. I’ve got a nice bottle of Lagavulin back there that I think you would enjoy. I cheat sometimes, because you know, I missed that visceral feel, that tactile experience, and so I have my little portable like yours. I don’t have the QWERTY writer, I misspoke, but I have one that looks like a vintage typewriter. Very noisy, very tactile mechanical keyboard. And I have my iPad. I have the Hanx Writer app. So I am noisy as hell at Starbucks.
E.S. Curry 26:39
I’ll give you a fun typewriter story here. When I first got Hemingway, the green one right back here. I was so excited to get it, felt so good. I was just typing pages. You know, my assistant comes out of my office downtown. She’s like, what are you doing? I said, this is so great. Look at this typewriter, Jane, it’s amazing. She goes, you are so loud. She’s like, I’ve gotten four calls, like what is he doing? That’s okay, I’ll take my typewriter outside. So I take my typewriter to the Cleveland Public Library Park. And I scribbled on a piece of paper, will write you a love letter for a burrito. I put it in front of it. And I had this woman come up to me, she’s like, I’ll buy you a burrito if you write me a love letter. She goes, you got stamps? I’m like, I sure do. So I wrote her a love letter to her husband. And we stamped it. We went over across the street, had a burrito together. And it was like one of the funniest, coolest things I’ve ever done. It was just fun.
Kevin Tumlinson 27:39
That is great. I’m gonna have to do that. You know, so you can’t see this one, it’s in a cabinet off to my left, but I have an old Royal that has the, when I got it the only head that was on it was the cursive head. So I can actually write in cursive on that typewriter. So I should do that.
E.S. Curry 28:00
I love that. Yeah, I’m looking. I’m looking for a sans serif Royal, they’re hard to find. I mean, I’ve got contacts in the Philippines. Like, they’re hard to find. I am looking for a very specific model. And when it comes across, I’m gonna get it. They’re expensive too.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:21
It is not cheap. This is not a cheap hobby that you and I have engaged in. And we’re in good company. Tom Hanks is a big huge typewriter fan.
E.S. Curry 28:29
Oh, a huge typewriter fan. I think he’s got the world’s largest collection.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:33
I think so. And there was a whole documentary you can find on Netflix, and I can’t remember what it was called. It may have been called Typewriter.
E.S. Curry 28:40
It is. It’s a really good documentary. I highly recommend it, yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:47
All right, enough geeking out on typewriters. Oh, here we got a comment, one more typewriter. Dominic says, “I love it. The homage to the typewriter! This is awesome.” And as you know, we work in a very, this industry … It’s very, I don’t know, there’s certain aspects of being a writer that are iconic. The typewriter is always and forever associated with being a writer right? I still to this day have this vision of, you know, these guys, I love the pulp fiction guys, ya know, I’m obsessed with them. I want to be one of them. I don’t think I could survive. I could survive the whiskey, but not the cigars or cigarettes. But, you know, that is the image right?
E.S. Curry 29:35
It’s like Hemingway in Cuba. He used this very model. Same with Ian Fleming, when he wrote Casino Royale. You just have this image of, you can just hear it.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:45
You can smell the ribbon. The feel … I mean, yeah, that’s a love story. So we got, here’s another comment from Tom that says, “Something I’m using now, MS Word has a read aloud feature. Many nights I let it read my work to me to see if I like how it sounds. Anyone else trying it yet?” Reading your work aloud is actually a very good way to edit.
E.S. Curry 30:11
I do it all the time Tom. You have to read aloud. In fact, I have like a little just private writing group with a couple friends, and every Monday we get together, and we read aloud some pages, and they give feedback. And you get to hear yourself read it out loud. And you know, it’s really a very important aspect of the process. And it’s a lot of fun too. And you’ll find things, because the way you speak and write, they’re a little bit different. Which is why, you know, we always tell authors at Findaway Voices, you need to read your manuscript out loud. Because you’re going to find things you want to edit. Because, you know, a story told versus a story read, two very different things.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:57
Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. I was having this discussion with someone the other day, because I was being interviewed for something. You know, the question was, because there’s a debate over audiobooks, should they be considered reading? And I absolutely think they should. And the reason is that storytelling for us as a species started, we started with an oral tradition, right? Stories were told, they were told to us verbally. So we’re wired for that. I don’t know about most people, when I read, that’s what’s happening in my head is, I’m hearing a voice as I read telling me the story. I don’t know if that’s most people or not.
E.S. Curry 31:40
You know, that’s me, too. I mean, I’ve always viewed it as, it’s like an atavistic connection to our very humanity. Like, it’s so deep, you know, the power of hearing a story. Last night Asman was like, so instead of reading books tonight, instead of doing story world cards, let’s just tell stories. And that’s what he did. I’m like, sounds like a plan. So we do that quite often, we kind of alternate between reading books. We have story world cards, where we make up stories with them, and then we just tell them, you know, so it’s a ride.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:19
You need to be documenting this process and sharing it with the world. Where is your “bond with your child writing course”? That’s what you need to do.
E.S. Curry 32:28
You know, I’ve never thought about that. It’s a great idea.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:31
I will help you with this. I think is a worthy cause. And I think this will encourage more people to become writers.
E.S. Curry 32:38
It’s so important, because much of the achievement gap with children has to do with just hearing words. So like the book 30 million words by Dr. Dana Suskind talks about a child between zero and five needs to hear 30 million words to wire up their brain. So, I mean, that’s really what they need to do. They just need to hear complex vocabulary.
Kevin Tumlinson 33:03
I’m gonna have to find this book. Yeah. 30 million words. Who was the author?
E.S. Curry 33:08
Dr. Dana Suskind, she’s out of Chicago. So, you know, it’s pretty well known amongst teacher types and things like that. That’s why they say you need to read to your kid every night before bed. You know, even beyond that, I’ve always used extremely complex vocabulary around Asman. And he loves to pull it out. It’s so funny. He’s like, “Well, you know, I think the camp where we stay at, you know, it’s kind of omnipotent.” I mean, he’s six. And he says, I think the camp’s omnipotent.
Kevin Tumlinson 33:42
Why not? Why not? Make your case. You could probably argue that. That’s cool. That’s fine. You know, and I was that kid, by the way. Anytime I learned a new word, I tried it out as often as possible growing up, so. That’s a good way to be for sure. And you’ve got the sequel. You’re working on the sequel?
E.S. Curry 34:09
I’ve written the sequel.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:11
You’ve written the sequel?
E.S. Curry 34:11
Yeah. This last time we were up at the camp, this spring break, I wrote the first draft. And, you know, it’s one of those things as a writer, I think what’s really challenging is like, so what’s next? You did your first book, but what are you going to do next? You know, is it gonna be the same genre or whatever? You know, I’ve got a fiction series I’ve already started writing called The Corona Crown. It’s really cool, it’s coming along, but I really want to have the series like at least two or three books written before I release it, so I can do all the fancy pricing strategy things and all that stuff. But I wrote, you know, the sequel to The Flying Sabuki, it’s called The Philosopher’s Ghost: Camping with Ralph Waldo Emerson. So there’s a legend, back in the 1850s or so, Ralph Waldo Though Emerson, Lowell, Luiz, I guess he’s a physicist. Basically a group of guys from diverse backgrounds all went up to the ADKs, and they called it the Philosopher’s Camp of Follansbee Pond. So really prolific, you know, men of their time, and they would talk about, you know, the problems of the day, their views, they’d hunt and fish and camp and canoe. And a bunch of The Flying Sabuki was inspired by that. And so I said, why don’t I tap into that even more? And we got up there and the first night, we’re at the camp, I hear the typewriter going downstairs. I’m like, wait a minute. I go to see what’s going on. I go down there, there’s a note in it to us signed RWE. And I’m like, who’s RWE? RWE? Like, what’s going on? So I think about this. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote us a note on the typewriter. So we wrote him back. And so the whole course of the week, you know, all of our activities, we had a book signing in Lake Placid, which he congratulated us on, which was amazing. So, you know, so what I do is, I’m kind of looking at his transcendentalism philosophies and teaching my son about that. And, you know, learning at the same time, I’ve always been a big fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson personally. So it was a really nice, nice way for me to dig even deeper into that. And, you know, infuse a lot of that into this next book. And so it’s, you know, kind of part our experience there, part Ralph Waldo Emerson biography-ish. And, yeah, it turned out pretty cool.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:48
That’s a fun. I mean, that’s a great method, I think. And you see a lot, you’ve seen that before. I mean, other people have done that sort of thing. But that’s an interesting, you know, that’s an interesting take. And the process by which you wrote it makes it even more interesting. So that’s a fun. Yeah. I like that.
E.S. Curry 37:10
It’s a good read. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:13
Do you, so someone brought up traditional earlier in the comments. And, you know, do you ever think about like, should you have pitched these books to a traditional publisher or an agent or something?
E.S. Curry 37:28
You know, that’s funny you say that, but no. I’ve worked in media and marketing and advertising for 20 years. You know, I really have a deep understanding between trad and self. And the lines, they’re blurring. They’re blurring a lot. And, you know, I mean, I’m pretty confident I can do it better myself.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:55
Yeah. I mean, once you’ve kind of seen the behind the scenes of that world, and you know …
E.S. Curry 38:02
And I have, you know, from working in IMG, I had many celebrity clients. I know what that looks like. So, yeah, I would rather do it myself, I’d rather have editorial control. Like, I know for a fact, they would have cut a lot of the story that Asman and I put in there, the story that I told. They would have said, it needed to be cut. And I know it needs to be cut. I’m not cutting it.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:27
See, but that’s the thing, though. It’s like, you know it needs to be cut. That’s based on what? How do you know it needs to be cut?
E.S. Curry 38:34
So I know, like, a trad editor would want it to be shorter. And I know it should be shorter. But it’s a 20,000-word novel. Much of the experience was us telling stories together. We told like, I don’t know, 20 or 30 of them. They’re long, like we spent an hour telling a story with this game called Stories of the Three Coins. And I just put one of them in the book, just one that underscored how I teach him values through storytelling. And it needed, you know, it needed trimmed. It did. But …
Kevin Tumlinson 39:14
Did it? It’s yours. It would have needed to be trimmed for a traditional publisher for a variety of reasons. And one of those is, you know, they have to fit these books into a certain page count. And they have restrictions that come from the printer and that sort of thing. And in terms of the budget, and to make it economical, right? So, but that’s the thing. That’s why the self-publishing landscape is changing the game, as you said earlier. Well basically, I always follow Seth Godin. And his whole thing is, you know, the nature of a book has changed. What we think of as a book is different than what a book was 40 years ago, you know, and part of that is, with the advent of things like ebooks, anything goes. You can have any length, you can have practically anything. I mean, there are certain things you want to be aware of. But even now with print on demand, a lot of the restrictions that the traditional industry had placed on a work are no longer relevant. So yeah, it’s a matter of, we’re living in an interesting and empowered age, I think.
E.S. Curry 40:33
Yeah, and that makes for diversity in content, too.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:36
Yes, it does. It opens the door for storytelling you never would have seen otherwise. And it gives a voice to authors in terms of, you know, you can’t say the word diversity without going in this direction now. But, you know, it gives a group of authors who might not have had a voice a robust and powerful voice. It’s the most, it democratizes everything. I can get very passionate about this. So we’re gonna divert and go elsewhere. Because we’re getting close to having to wrap up, which is a little sad.
E.S. Curry 41:09
Wow, this has been so … wow, that went by fast.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:13
Yeah, it goes by very quickly, when you’re having a good time. Just want to make sure if you’re out there, we got a couple more minutes. If you have a question for our guest, or about writing fast or writing short stories, or anything else, pop it into the comments. And here’s one, hey, look, ask and you will receive. This is from Dominic on YouTube. “Any commentary about print on demand? I’m entering this space and I’m curious about using POD.” Now, it would be remiss as D2D’s Director of Marketing if I didn’t point out that Draft2Digital has its own print on demand service, D2D Print. And if I find the link in there, I’m not seeing the link right now. But if I can find it, I will pop it on screen. But what do you think?
E.S. Curry 42:02
Oh, absolutely. And I published this prior to D2D having print on demand. So I did a hybrid. Amazon does my POD on Amazon for my softcover. I do my hardcover through Ingram Spark. So we have, I’ve done both. So you want it to be available to broader bookstores to order on Ingram. I’m all about wide. I’m not exclusive. Because I feel like I wrote a book that I want anyone to be able to have access to. I don’t want all my eggs in one basket. So you know, I am proudly wide with my book. And I would have, on the release, maybe made a little more money, but completely negligible in the long run. So yeah, so I did both. And then with my audiobook, I’m using findawayvoices.com. And I’m using marketplace, which I found my narrator on there, free auditions, and found a great narrator, Craig Van Ness, out of the UK. And yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:16
Yeah, it’s a very different landscape than it was even just a few short years ago, with all these options. So I did find the link, by the way, it’s on screen now. And if you’re listening to this, in its podcast form, that link is draft2digital.com/printbeta. And that will allow you to sign up, because we’re still in beta right now, although it’s a fully functional, very robust print solution. We will be getting out of beta, I can’t tell you when, I have no idea when, but it’s soon. That’s what we’re told, it’s going to be soonish. So go check that out, draft2digital.com/printbeta. So let’s see. I think we got time for one more question. From Diaz on YouTube says, “This is a question about writing short stories. What is a good length to write those? Or does it depend on the story you’re writing about?”
E.S. Curry 44:13
I think the story demands the length. So you know, I mean, Hemingway, the famous six-word story, you know? You know, it’s really up to you. And I think it’s up to the writer. And that’s the beauty of self-publishing. I’ve written some really nice one-page stories. My first story that I had published was an essay about coming out of the pandemic. And it was really exciting, and that was like, I think like 1200 words. But yeah, it’s really up to you. Yeah, write to tell the story, exactly.
Kevin Tumlinson 44:53
Years ago, like I said, I like to challenge and push myself to see what my limits may be. And I put myself on a challenge to write a short story a day for 30 days. And some of those were in the 10,000 word range, and some were only maybe 500 words. And I counted it. If I felt like it was a complete story, I counted it. And you’d be amazed at what that does to the way you think. It makes it much easier to compress your ideas and become efficient about it. So here we are, we’re at the end. We’re gonna have to go wrap up. I think I see more questions coming in, unfortunately, but we’ll try to get to those in the comments. But I do want to make sure that people know that they can find you online at escurry.com.
E.S. Curry 45:46
Yes, and I’ve got something really cool coming out here, Kevin. If you sign up for my email list, I am sending out a book cipher. So you can find out the real meaning of The Flying Sabuki through a book cipher. Do you know what a book cipher is?
Kevin Tumlinson 46:02
Is this where you you’d go hunting for specific words on specific pages or something?
E.S. Curry 46:08
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yes.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:10
E.S. Curry 46:12
Asman and I came up with that the other day, he loves secret codes.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:15
Okay, so I’m gonna have to steal that idea, because I write thrillers, and so that makes perfect sense to have something like that.
E.S. Curry 46:23
Oh, for sure. Yeah, I love a book cipher.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:25
All right, well, then I’m gonna have to get on your mailing list and make sure that I play your game. Well, Scott, I’m very glad we had a chance to talk. Sounds like we need to get together more often. Possibly over scotch.
E.S. Curry 46:42
Absolutely. Yeah. We’ll do that. And we’ll do some more webinars here together, talking about self-publishing and all that good stuff. You’ll be seeing this dynamic duo a lot more, folks.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:59
So we need to set up a tip jar. All right, everybody. Well, thank you. Make sure you visit escurry.com. You want to learn as much as you can about Scott and his work. See the new book, get the cipher, all that. And we appreciate you being here. Make sure that you are bookmarking D2Dlive.com. So that you can you know, catch on to these whenever we have them, we’re trying to do them every week. We’ve had some gaps, but we’re doing pretty good. And you’ll get links to every upcoming broadcast as well as links back to past broadcasts. And make sure you’re following us on social media. You know, that’s where you’re going to find us very frequently sharing all this stuff and more. So at Draft2Digital on just about everything, just go type that in at any given website. Make sure to find us. Scott, thank you so much for being on the show. Everybody, appreciate it. We’ll see you all next time.
E.S. Curry 47:58
All right. Take care. Bye bye.