Sci-fi-fantasy author and YouTube star Jenna Moreci doesn’t want to hear that you “don’t have time” to write your next novel.
Given that she became a full-time author while caring for her fiancé after he broke his spine, she may briefly sympathize with you about how hard your own writing process is… but she also jokingly refers to herself as “a cyborg” when it comes to emotions.
Because she knows, at the end of the day, that excuses don’t matter: you still need to sit down and do the work.
A former stockbroker and accountant, Moreci switched careers to follow her passion and become a fiction writer. Along the way, she also became one of the top writing advice vloggers, due to her YouTube channel‘s 1-2 punch of useful tips and deadpan honesty.
Although Moreci has been writing and vlogging for years — her first novel, Eve: The Awakening, debuted in 2015 — I hadn’t come across her channel yet when I was compiling last year’s list of the best YouTube channels for storytellers.
That’s here, by the way:
This year, Moreci released her second book, The Savior’s Champion. It’s part romance, part fantasy, and part suspense thriller, in which a group of 20 suitors attempt to survive a maze designed to kill them all. The winner (or lone survivor) will earn the right to marry The Savior, a young woman who rules their realm — except our presumed hero, Tobias, starts to develop feelings for someone else even as he’s fighting for his life.
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games but wished it had a little more sexual tension mixed with medieval bloodshed, this is your book. (It also reminds me of a twist on the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Deathtrap Dungeon.)
You can read the first three chapters of The Savior’s Champion — which is all you’ll need to get hooked — for free right here.
When things finally calmed down after Moreci’s biggest book launch yet, I asked her a few questions about how she manages to juggle all her novel writing, book promotions, and creating new videos for her YouTube channel every week.
Q&A with YouTube Vlogger and Author Jenna Moreci
What does your average workday look like? How do you find the time to write, vlog, market, and manage your real-world and reader relationships?
There’s no such thing as an average workday in my world. Each day is different depending on what needs to get done. I have daily to do lists, weekly lists, and quarterly goals. I’m hyper-organized about scheduling my time efficiently so I can manage everything as seamlessly as possible.
I usually begin each day with coffee and a quick check of all my social media platforms. Then I get into whatever tasks need to be done: writing, editing, marketing, what have you. I do most of my work in bed, which makes the process comfortable and as stress-free as possible. But I think one of the most interesting aspects of my career is the fact that it changes on a daily basis.
How did you break the story for The Savior’s Champion? Did you have a specific scene or story point in mind (beginning, end), or did you start with a concept or character and then brainstorm scene possibilities?
I got the idea for The Savior’s Champion while listening to a song. Whenever I’d hear that song, I’d imagine a bunch of men navigating a long, dark tunnel filled with deadly traps and trials, all in the pursuit of this gorgeous, redheaded woman, who was manipulating their struggles the entire time.
I decided to take this idea a step further and turn it into a series. I began with the general concept, created my two leads—Tobias and Leila—and the climax unfolded naturally from that. From that point forward, I filled in the blanks.
How long did the first draft of The Savior’s Champion take you to write, and how much of that draft changed on its way to final publication?
Since I edit as I go, I have no legitimate first drafts. All I can really say is that it took me three years to produce the finished product. The story itself never changed—that’s one of the benefits of a thorough, meticulous outline.
As a self-publisher, how many rounds of revision did you go through before you decided The Savior’s Champion was “done?” What’s your criteria for finding that finishing point (and not just rewriting in endless pursuit of perfection)?
Ah, the beauty of a professional editor: it’s their job to tell you when the novel is done. Not having to make that decision on your own removes a pretty hefty burden from your shoulders.
I’m on your mailing list and I subscribe to your vlog, so I saw your multi-stage pre-sale buildup for the launch of The Savior’s Champion. How did you develop your awareness and pre-sale strategy? Did you A/B test along the way to see what tactics or messages worked better than others?
My background in business and extensive marketing knowledge helped a lot when launching The Savior’s Champion. Additionally, this wasn’t my first rodeo, as I am a multi-published author, so I already knew which tactics worked and which ones didn’t from personal experience. Ultimately, the key is to create a detailed, rigorous marketing plan that plays to your strengths and assets, and stick to it.
I know your viewers and Patreon fans suggest a lot of your vlog topics. What kinds of topics do you find yourself most drawn to discussing?
It depends on what I’m in the mood for, what I’m qualified to discuss, and what my subscribers would genuinely gravitate toward. A lot of people will suggest topics that are so niche and specific, it would only appeal to a handful of people, if any. Other times they’ll ask me to cover topics or genres I have no experience with, like short stories or memoirs. I’m an author, not an encyclopedia.
How long does it take you to film, edit, and publish a typical vlog entry?
Depending on how many videos I’m filming at a time, two to three days: one day to script, three to five hours to prep and film, and then a day to edit.
If someone wanted to start a YouTube channel as a way to help others in their field, what would you suggest they do (or not do) as they first start vlogging?
People are always tempted to start things off with an “About Me” video. Don’t do that. You’re brand new. No one knows who you are, and thus, they don’t care.
Start by delivering useful, helpful content. Once your audience begins to grow, then you can introduce them to your personal life, because by that point, they’ll actually be interested in getting to know you.
Jenna Moreci’s Skillshare Class
Want to learn Jenna’s step-by-step process for launching a YouTube channel for authors?
Check out her 30-minute Skillshare class on Digital Marketing for Writers.
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