Author Topic: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity  (Read 4186 times)  

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Today's SPF podcast has a long and detailed interview with Amanda Lee who hardly needs any introduction here.


The interview goes into some detail about how she is able to publish some 20 books a year by writing about 9 thousand and more words a day.


This link is to the podcast and the transcript
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    Offline Vinny OHare

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #1 on: October 26, 2019, 09:43:46 am »
    What a great podcast! Amanda sure does produce some great numbers.

    Online Paranormal Kitty

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #2 on: October 26, 2019, 09:59:16 am »
    I read a couple of books by someone who publishes at that speed just to see what they were like. They were polished and well written, but IMO super bland. Nothing new or unique, no interesting plot twists, dialogue like a bad sitcom. I think someone who is capable of that level of productivity, which is impressive at any rate, might be better served dialing the speed back a bit and putting a little more effort into the concept, plot, characters and dialogue. Personally I find 3-4 incredible, can't-put-it-down books a year much more impressive than a dozen or more forgettable ones.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #3 on: October 26, 2019, 10:02:12 am »
    I read a couple of books by someone who publishes at that speed just to see what they were like. They were polished and well written, but IMO super bland. Nothing new or unique, no interesting plot twists, dialogue like a bad sitcom. I think someone who is capable of that level of productivity, which is impressive at any rate, might be better served dialing the speed back a bit and putting a little more effort into the concept, plot, characters and dialogue. Personally I find 3-4 incredible, can't-put-it-down books a year much more impressive than a dozen or more forgettable ones.
    How do you know I don't put effort into dialogue and memorable stories?

    Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #4 on: October 26, 2019, 11:46:13 am »
    How do you know I don't put effort into dialogue and memorable stories?

    No need to be defensive. Just because the podcast mentions doesn't mean I was talking about you. I purposely didn't say what books they were, and it's just my opinion as a reader. A lot of people are super-impressed by massive numbers, but numbers alone aren't the whole story. An author of a book I read as a teen took years to come out with a sequel to it and I was psyched to read it because the first one was so good that I still remembered it all that time later. Just pointing out that it might be better to strive for a couple of great books a year over trying to pump out twenty plus if they're boring, not specifically addressing you. I'm not going to argue with an author over what I think of their books. It's my opinion.

    ETA: Basically to sum it up, my point is that someone who is that extremely productive could step up the quality a lot by dialing back just a bit and still be quite prolific. That's all.
    « Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 12:08:24 pm by Paranormal Kitty »

    Offline ET

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    Amanda Lee and dictation
    « Reply #5 on: October 26, 2019, 11:52:01 am »
    Amanda: One thing I didn't hear in the interview was how you're coming along with dictation. I know you've experimented with it in the past, but are you still using it?

    Thanks for being so generous about sharing your methods, btw. I always find your interviews informative!

    Offline Luke Everhart

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #6 on: October 26, 2019, 12:11:30 pm »
    On the fast vs memorable discussion, they are most definitely NOT mutually exclusive. I think Amanda Lee's books are a kick! And they are definitely memorable. Great Aunt Tillie from the Wicked Witches of the Midwest series is one of my all-time fav characters generally, not just in her books.
    (Not the basis for enjoyment (though enjoyable) but a funny takeaway: I also learned a LOT of new euphemisms for a... ahem... certain activity from Luke (a coincidentally named character) in the Mystic Caravan Mysteries series; which, incidentally, is about a traveling, monster-hunting carnival populated by paranormals, an obviously great premise.)

    I'd been waiting for Self Publishing Formula to post her interview for some time as James gave us a brief heads-up on it coming weeks ago. It's very much worth watching.

    There are, however, certainly examples of books being produced as "minimally viable products" (the author's own description) [...] that fit Paranormal Kitty's description very well and are 2am Taco Bell style fiction.



    Edited at brackets. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 09:44:37 pm by Becca Mills »
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Amanda Lee and dictation
    « Reply #7 on: October 26, 2019, 12:16:06 pm »
    Amanda: One thing I didn't hear in the interview was how you're coming along with dictation. I know you've experimented with it in the past, but are you still using it?

    Thanks for being so generous about sharing your methods, btw. I always find your interviews informative!
    No. I gave up on dictation. It actually slows me down.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline ThirdWish

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #8 on: October 26, 2019, 12:16:25 pm »
    Thanks for everything you offered in the podcast, Amanda. Over the years, you've been more open than many and straightforward about your process. It's very much appreciated.

    Offline nail file

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #9 on: October 26, 2019, 12:27:20 pm »
    Oh, the fast writing doesn't translate to good books argument. Again.

    Good thing that people like different types of books and authors.

    Offline Luke Everhart

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #10 on: October 26, 2019, 12:36:58 pm »
    On the fast vs memorable discussion, they are most definitely NOT mutually exclusive. I think Amanda Lee's books are a kick! And they are definitely memorable. Great Aunt Tillie from the Wicked Witches of the Midwest series is one of my all-time fav characters generally, not just in her books.
    (Not the basis for enjoyment (though enjoyable) but a funny takeaway: I also learned a LOT of new euphemisms for a... ahem... certain activity from Luke (a coincidentally named character) in the Mystic Caravan Mysteries series; which, incidentally, is about a traveling, monster-hunting carnival populated by paranormals, an obviously great premise.)

    I'd been waiting for Self Publishing Formula to post her interview for some time as James gave us a brief heads-up on it coming weeks ago. It's very much worth watching.

    There are, however, certainly examples of books being produced as "minimally viable products" (the author's own description) [...] that fit Paranormal Kitty's description very well and are 2am Taco Bell style fiction.



    Edited at brackets. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

    About Aunt Tillie, I recently discovered there was apparently an old comedy movie from the 80s called "Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie". I doubt it's as funny as Hemlock Cove's Aunt Tillie but I might check it out if I see it on streaming and I am a tad curious if it had anything to do with inspiring a name?
    « Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 09:45:15 pm by Becca Mills »
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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #11 on: October 26, 2019, 12:38:08 pm »
    Oh, the fast writing doesn't translate to good books argument. Again.

    Quality vs. quantity is always a balance. You'll always be trading more of one for less of the other. No one can afford to spend 20 years on one book, but rushing it too fast isn't good either. I didn't say the books I read weren't well-written. I just felt like they were a little generic, didn't hold my attention and could have been taken to the next level if a little more time had been invested given the author's talent. I'm sure there are also hits and misses in their catalogue as with any author who has a large catalogue, and maybe I just picked up a couple of misses. Then there are a lot of people who attempt to write that fast and utterly suck (and sometimes don't care), like the one Luke Everhart mentioned.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #12 on: October 26, 2019, 12:57:49 pm »
    Quality vs. quantity is always a balance. You'll always be trading more of one for less of the other. No one can afford to spend 20 years on one book, but rushing it too fast isn't good either. I didn't say the books I read weren't well-written. I just felt like they were a little generic, didn't hold my attention and could have been taken to the next level if a little more time had been invested given the author's talent. I'm sure there are also hits and misses in their catalogue as with any author who has a large catalogue, and maybe I just picked up a couple of misses. Then there are a lot of people who attempt to write that fast and utterly suck (and sometimes don't care), like the one Luke Everhart mentioned.
    I think believing you have to trade one for the other is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those who believe they're limited will most certainly limit themselves. It's also ironic that they try to tell others what they're capable of. Personally, I don't believe I have limits.

    Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #13 on: October 26, 2019, 01:31:01 pm »
    I think believing you have to trade one for the other is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those who believe they're limited will most certainly limit themselves. It's also ironic that they try to tell others what they're capable of. Personally, I don't believe I have limits.

    Believe what you want, but everything in life is a trade-off and each individual must make their own decisions. You'll always be choosing more of one thing and less of another in any endeavor. A few people such as yourself do have a rare talent to write a good book extremely quickly with self-editing, but most people don't, and even if you do have that rare talent there is always room for improvement. Spending more time on a work and/or hiring a professional editor will always make it a little better, but it's up to the creator to decide if that bit of improvement is worth the extra time or if they would rather put out more quantity of a product that's good enough. There's not a right or wrong answer, and the point at which the rewards of spending more time start to diminish and not be worth it is different for everyone. If you're making good money with what you're doing and your fans like your books, obviously that's the right choice for you and you don't need to change if you don't wish to. But there are a lot of people out there churning and burning who should really reassess their choices.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #14 on: October 26, 2019, 01:42:36 pm »
    Believe what you want, but everything in life is a trade-off and each individual must make their own decisions. You'll always be choosing more of one thing and less of another in any endeavor. A few people such as yourself do have a rare talent to write a good book extremely quickly with self-editing, but most people don't, and even if you do have that rare talent there is always room for improvement. Spending more time on a work and/or hiring a professional editor will always make it a little better, but it's up to the creator to decide if that bit of improvement is worth the extra time or if they would rather put out more quantity of a product that's good enough. There's not a right or wrong answer, and the point at which the rewards of spending more time start to diminish and not be worth it is different for everyone. If you're making good money with what you're doing and your fans like your books, obviously that's the right choice for you and you don't need to change if you don't wish to. But there are a lot of people out there churning and burning who should really reassess their choices.
    Putting your limitations on others should probably be reassessed, too. Also, I have editors. I never said I didn't. In fact, I have four of them on payroll. As for money, I'm fairly happy. I don't see wanting to change.

    Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #15 on: October 26, 2019, 01:50:29 pm »
    Putting your limitations on others should probably be reassessed, too. Also, I have editors. I never said I didn't. In fact, I have four of them on payroll. As for money, I'm fairly happy. I don't see wanting to change.

    I don't know why you keep acting offended when I was never talking about you in the first place. All I was saying is that there are a lot of books out there from people who write too quickly and they suck. I didn't say you did or that you need to change. Quite obviously, you're doing great. But you do need to realize your talent is pretty rare and most people can't write that quickly, which is perfectly okay. Everyone has a point at which speed will start to make their quality suffer, but some people can just write much faster without getting to that point than others. The trick is knowing what works for yourself. It's not a "limitation" it's just being human.
    « Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 01:52:19 pm by Paranormal Kitty »

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #16 on: October 26, 2019, 01:54:45 pm »
    A great pod cast! I am awed by Amanda's output, and amazed that she can continue to deliver entertaining and unique stories at that pace - and kudos to her (to you, since you're probably reading, Amanda :D ) on working so hard and achieving so much. In a great sea of authors, the vast majority of whom struggle slowly and laboriously to produce one badly written, badly formatted, unreadable piece of pap with an awful cover (and then whinge everywhere about no sales and one review because it's a 1*), it is inspiring to see someone with the self-discipline to make a great career out of writing. I know there are other successful authors here, and I dips me lid to all of you. Writing a single good book is not easy, so if you have the self-discipline, talent, skills, and tenacity to reach a good income through your writing, that is inspiring to other talented authors who are aiming to reach the sun.

    Unfortunately, it's also inspiring to the millions of talentless writers who are convinced that if they write a book, they will be rich - easy. They have no concept of the effort, knowledge, and talent behind successful books.

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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #17 on: October 26, 2019, 01:55:30 pm »
    I don't know why you keep acting offended when I was never talking about you in the first place. All I was saying is that there are a lot of books out there from people who write too quickly and they suck. I didn't say you did or that you need to change. Quite obviously, you're doing great. But you do need to realize your talent is pretty rare and most people can't write that quickly, which is perfectly okay. Everyone has a point at which speed will start to make their quality suffer, but some people can just write much faster without getting to that point than others. The trick is knowing what works for yourself. It's not a "limitation" it's just being human.
    Except you're telling others what they're capable of. If you limited the comments to yourself, that would be one thing. You don't, though. You tell everybody what they're capable of. And I'm not offended. [...]



    Edited at the brackets. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 09:49:42 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #18 on: October 26, 2019, 01:59:13 pm »
    Except you're telling others what they're capable of. If you limited the comments to yourself, that would be one thing. You don't, though. You tell everybody what they're capable of. And I'm not offended. [...]



    Edited at the brackets. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

    I am not telling others what they are capable of. Why do you even think that? I just said that I read a couple of books from an author who writes over a dozen a year and I thought they could have been better if said author put a little more time into it. It wasn't you. I'm not sure if they're on KBoards, but I'm not about to mention names because last time I gave an opinion of a book on here the author came out of the woodwork after being silent for two years just to argue with me about it. I don't even write in my native language, so I'm not sure what comparing anyone to myself would accomplish? You're the one taking something personally that had absolutely nothing to do with you. In fact did I not compliment you by saying you have a rare talent and your books are good? Good grief, can one say anything on this board anymore without starting a fight? My god. You're literally complaining at me when I said nothing but good things about you.
    « Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 09:51:26 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline BellaJames

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #19 on: October 26, 2019, 02:42:11 pm »
    Oh, the fast writing doesn't translate to good books argument. Again.

    Good thing that people like different types of books and authors.

    This.

    Some authors are just good at writing an engaging story fast. Some write pretty clean manuscripts that need very little editing. They have an editor and cover artist ready, or even a set of ready made covers. So they can produce a good book every month or two.

    Some of these authors have so many ideas, they need to get these ideas down. Sometimes their loyal readers are begging them to release a new book asap. It works for them.

    Some authors want more time to plan, write and edit their work. They might need to research certain things that take a little more time. They have their own goal to publish a couple books a year, it works with their lifestyle and financial goals. 

    Just cause one author you read wrote their books fast and it was disappointing, it does not mean every author who writes fast is on that same level. Maybe writing slower or trying to only release one or two books a year would hurt their creative flow.


     I have listened to romance author Jasinda Wilder's interviews numerous times and they were writing a few books a month and building a loyal fanbase. They needed the money to practically save their home and support their family.


    Basically people have different goals, dreams, lifestyles and abilities. 


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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #20 on: October 26, 2019, 02:47:35 pm »
    I don't know why you keep acting offended when I was never talking about you in the first place.

    Maybe because you chose to voice your opinion of fast writers in a thread that was very specific to Amanda and then coyly chose not to name the author you think was so bad at writing fast?

    Personally, I think every writer is different. Some people could take an entire lifetime and never write a good book. Some can write an amazing book in an incredibly short period of time. Most fall somewhere between. Not all authors are the same and no amount of saying they are will change that fact. I'd say from how well Amanda has done with her books, she's found what works just fine for her and her readers. (Not that she in any way needs me to defend her, I just hate this crap about there is "one true way" in all of its many guises.)

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    Offline GT59

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #21 on: October 26, 2019, 03:20:11 pm »
    I think believing you have to trade one for the other is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those who believe they're limited will most certainly limit themselves. It's also ironic that they try to tell others what they're capable of. Personally, I don't believe I have limits.

    I'm going to print this out and post it on my wall.  I need to meet Amanda someday and buy her a drink.  Her advice has helped me more than she'll ever know.  The information in her posts over the years is one of the reasons I've been able to become a full-time author. 

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #22 on: October 26, 2019, 03:46:00 pm »
    Maybe because you chose to voice your opinion of fast writers in a thread that was very specific to Amanda and then coyly chose not to name the author you think was so bad at writing fast?

    I thought it was pretty obvious I was talking about the general subject of productivity, but whatever. If I were talking about Amanda on a thread about Amanda I would have said "I read a couple of her books" not "I read a couple of books by an author". And I didn't even say this person was bad, just that they could have been better and I think they rushed their work out too fast. They were obviously talented, but faltered in a lot of places that could have been smoothed out with more time/editing. And also that no one is perfect and that everyone can improve, but it's up to each creator to ask himself when his work is good enough for him and when the diminishing returns on continuing to improve are no longer worth it. Like Harry Potter, for example, could have been improved in many areas, but the question is did it need to be? I didn't think any of these things should be so [expletive]ing controversial but obviously we've got to walk on eggshells around here nowadays. I swear this is the only place you can compliment someone and then they have a sniping fit at you. My whole damn point was that not everyone can do what she does.
    « Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 03:56:31 pm by Paranormal Kitty »

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #23 on: October 26, 2019, 03:53:29 pm »
    Maybe because you chose to voice your opinion of fast writers in a thread that was very specific to Amanda and then coyly chose not to name the author you think was so bad at writing fast?

    My impression, too.

    On a broader scale, the final arbiter (for me) on whether a publisher/author* is doing it right is sales and revenue. If Author A makes $100 a year and Author B makes $99.99 a year, and they have differing opinions, Author B's opinion doesn't matter (to me).




    * an author for whom profit is a priority

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    Re: Self Publishing Forum podcast - Amanda Lee & Extreme Productivity
    « Reply #24 on: October 26, 2019, 03:56:57 pm »
    Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

    Everyone has seen the Olympics right? Humans at the peak of their sport, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. These people have thousands to tens of thousands of hours of work behind them.

    No one sits on their sofa watching the fastest or strongest people in the world and says "you know what, I think it's better if they went slower. More thoughtful. I'd prefer to watch a few slower better races than this".

    Amanda is right - you can do amazing things. For myself, my writing speed has increased incredibly over the years. I switched to dictation and have had astonishing results. Wrote a book in five days, made a giant pile of money. Has excellent reviews, is funny and detailed and full of plot twists and turns while fitting into a long series. It's a wonderful book.

    I've also slaved over a book writing by hand over a long period of time and it's not as good, doesn't make money.

    There is no connection between speed and attention to detail, quality, care, love of the story. None whatsoever.

    If you were put into a job where you had to produce clean copy under tight deadlines or get fired then guess what, you'd probably be able to do it. People do it all the time. You can learn to produce almost perfect copy first draft. You can learn to speed up your writing. You can learn to use tools like dictation.

    Saying that people can't or it's better slower or there is some lack of care there is like watching the Olympics and wishing it wasn't showing humans at their peak.

    I loved the podcast, I love her work ethic. She's producing well-written books with intricate storylines and making a giant pile of money at the same time. She is someone to be studied to learn from.

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