So you wanna be a full time writer, but your novel is still stuck on some faceless editors desk in NYC. You need to pay the bills, and you'd like to do it without continually asking "do you want fries with that?" as part of your schtick. You've heard other authors talk about making ends [...]
One of the best books I read in 2006 was Infoquake, by David Louis Edelman. I had a chance to interview him recently. He's a nice guy, and a smart guy, and one hell of a writer in my opinion. But as always happens, not everyone agrees with that last assertion. David has recently posted [...]
In the event that you don't have enough of your own solo writing projects underway: Penguin is launching its first wiki and in a project called A Million Penguins we've created a space where anyone can contribute to the writing of a novel and anyone can edit anyone else's writing. Over the next six weeks [...]
I'm reprinting this in its entirety from John Scalzi's blog. While we've got our own challenge with Captain Cancer here on the Dragon Page, it seems Joe isn't alone. From John's post: This is Sam, and he's a really cute kid. Sam has also been diagnosed with pontine glioma, a pernicious sort of brain cancer [...]
Some books I know I'm going to love within the first few pages. Other books I discard in a few paragraphs. And then there are the books where I can't put them down, yet I also can't decide at the end if I liked them or not. Tony Ballantyne's Recursion fits that latter category. One [...]
On October 14, 2004, The Dragon Page Cover to Cover was made available in an RSS 2.0 feed. In other words, our internet- and terrestrial-radio program became a podcast.
Yay! Two years. w00t!
Doug Kress, trivia guy for Slice of Scifi and podcaster in his own right, recently created these brief summaries of a few podiobooks he's been enjoying:
Now here's an interesting idea. I'm always intrigued at the speed at which some people respond to adversity. By now you are all familiar with the news of all liquids being banned in carry-on items. Here's how a couple of guys are responding to the new regulations:
It Came From Airport Security is an upcoming anthology of short stories, and we need your submissions!
Write a story of no more than 4,000 words in any genre on the subject of what happens when someone (or something) is exposed to the substances mixed in an airport security waste bin. License your story under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. (This blog and the resulting anthology will be licensed the same) ... and more guidelines on the site
The prizes aren't all that great, but it seems like a fun idea. If you are interested, follow the link above for full details. And if you submit, please let us know!
Mur Lafferty and Ben Phillips have teamed up with Escape Artists, Inc. (the folks behind Escape Pod, the science fiction podcast magazine) to create Pseudopod -- bringing you great original works of short horror fiction to your MP3 player of choice each and every week.
There's a site I've been meaning to write about for some time now. Meme Therapy has just migrated to a much better web host, so now is the time.
Oops. Cat's out of the bag. I'm talking about Meme Therapy. You tune into us to hear us chat with science fiction and fantasy authors primarily. (Well, unless you're tuning in to listen to our lovely wives chat with young adult authors, that is.) And while we occasionally bring you some news and information from the world of scifi literature, we're primarily an interview show.
So what's a boy/girl/cymek to do when he/she/it needs deeper information, not only about the authors of sci-fi books, but actually from said authors of speculative fiction? Check out Meme Therapy. Great text interviews with authors, excellent discussion questions passed around to the brightest names in science fiction today, and exceptional commentary from the staff. I love this site. You should check it every day, or subscribe to their RSS feed. Now.
BookMooch, the online community where you can exchange your used books for others, has moved from beta to full-release. Lots of features to help you get your list of books in the system quick and easy. I'd love it if one of you bibliophiles out there would give this a dry run and let us know what you think!
Craig Davidson, a novelist from Canada, has cooked up an interesting promotion for his novel, The Fighter. Quite simply, he wants to fight you. Seriously.
If you are a noodle-armed fancy lad, I will not fight you.
If you are a good man with a noble heart, I will fight you.
If you suffer some debilitating mania or dementia, I will not fight you.
If you are here to kick ass and chew bubblegum (and you're all out of bubblegum), I will fight you.
If you are missing one of more of the following limbs: arms/legs, I will not fight you.
If you are known by one of the following nicknames---"The Hammer," "The Mangler," "The Wizard"---then yes, by all means, I will fight you.
If you are over 80, have a heart condition or an irritable bowel, I am sorry but I cannot fight you.
If you have the courage of a lion and the guts of a burglar, I will fight you.
So, if you are interested in fighting or know someone who might make a good fight, email me and I will see if we can't arrange something. I'm dead serious. It will be a real boxing match, four rounds probably, staged at some suitable public venue. In Toronto, most likely. We shake hands afterwards, head out for a beer, and that's that. An experience to tell your grandkids about (I certainly will). No hard feelings, even if you knock the tar out of me. I'm good like that. You'd be doing me a favor, really. We'll get the whole match on video and post it on the website, too.
I'm serious as death about this. I think it would be a kick. Who else promotes their book like that? I love my publicist. He rocks hardcore. Let's help him do his job and find someone for me to fight, shall we?
Believe it or not, a staple of science fictions past, the SF magazine, is still alive and kicking. What was once the place most folks consumed their scifi is now often only a footnote. But rest assured, the SF magazine market is still around.
Ellen from the UK dropped me an email a few days back letting me know about two new ones worthy of checking out. Rather than try and paraphrase her words, I'm just gonna lay it out as she wrote it.
I just wanted to let you knowabout a couple of new sci-fi magazines (which are also after submissions). The first one is RayGun Revival, available fortnightly online and has just announced a podcast version (yay!). They say:
What are we doing? We're attempting nothing less than re-invigorating space opera itself. Think of all that classic literature, from Doc Smith to Edgar Rice Burroughs to James Blish, and then think of more recent stuff from Star Wars (EP IV - VI, especially), Orson Scott Card to Lois McMaster Bujold to Joss Whedon's Firefly, and you'll have an idea of what we're shooting for.
Which sounds pretty cool to me, but then I love space opera. *beam*
The second magazine is called Hub and isn't out in print until December (UK only), but
there's a website and a few sample pages. Those sample pages happen to feature my Very First Short Story Sale! *happy dance* So I thought I'd let you know about it anyway. *heh* Not that I'm shamelessly plugging it, of course. At all.
Thanks for the note, Ellen. We can always use new places looking for short SF submissions!
I received a press release a few days back on something new called The Legends of Mernac. It appears to be many things to many different people. From the release:
All of the High Fantasy fiction stories found in The Legends of Mernac are “linked” together creating a never-ending Fantasy saga. The Legends of Mernac’s foundation is a 10,000 year, mostly unwritten history. This basis provides both professional and amateur writers and artists the ability to fill-in those 10,000 years of history with legends (stories), and a means to immediately publish their works, while contributing to and being part of developing a mythical “world”. All High Fantasy enthusiasts can find a home in Mernac, from the avid reader, whose new favorite saga will literally never end, to writers, who ensure that the Legends go on and on, to the artists who beautifully and ingenuously illustrate the LEGENDS. And with more functions like music and/or soundtracks, RPG Gaming, animations, movie clips, and, eventually, full-feature movies, there’s always going to be something for everyone who loves High Fantasy fiction.
The site is currently in beta and is looking for volunteers. If you've got the time and the inclination, please do so. And keep us informed.
Got a book which you think everyone needs to read? Have you heard an audio book that simply must be heard by as many as possible? Maybe it's a video, a great game, a very cool picture or (and I'm not begging for votes) and episode of a podcast which begs to be spread to as many podcatchers as possoble?
Check out PopCurrent.com, a site where you and other regular folk get to pick what's popular. You may already be familiar with Digg.com, a sort of social ranking site where news stories and blog posts get listed and then voted on by the community at large for what's important right now. PopCurrent.com works very much like that, but is designed for media instead of posts and news items.
Me personally, I don't care so much about what the rest of the world thinks is cool. However, as a study in social behavior, I think it's a neat site. Check it out.
I shall start by saying I count Robert J. Sawyer as a friend. I've had the opportunity to meet him on more than one occasion, exchanging phone calls and emails which had nothing to do with the many interviews I've had with him on a professional level. I think he's a swell guy, a smart guy and is completely informed on a wide range of topics. But that doesn't mean he's not wrong in this case.
First, to the good advice. As you may know, Rob has his own imprint, Robert J. Sawyer Books, a division of Red Deer Press in my second favorite home-away-from home, Canada. As mentioned on his blog, he recently decided to reject a submission at least partly because the author was a bit too pushy (two status inquiries in three months) and, in my opinion, threatening with "publish me, for I have other offers on the table, hear me roar." The offers weren't really good, as it was the POD route. Rob's advice:
... repeatedly forcing an editor to focus his or her thoughts on your work by asking if a determination has been made yet may lead the editor to make decisions prematurely, and there's only one safe decision to be made that way. Since you want a decision now, here it is: I'm going to pass on your book.
Score one for Rob and a valuable life-lesson to the author. D'oh!
A bit further in the post/reply to the author is where I see things a bit differently than Rob. This author was also contemplating online serialization (I assume text, but it could have been audio) as a viable option. Rob suggested:
So, best of luck elsewhere. All that said, though, one writer to another, I think going the route of online serialization and POD are mistakes you will regret in the years to come. Online publishing and POD are a waste of time; you'll have fewer than a hundred readers, I'm willing to wager, in either format. But it's up to you.
I'm not going to talk much about POD, but I can say that if the book was good enough to keep Rob's attention for "a good hunk" of the book (as indicated in the post), then it was head and shoulders above most of the POD junk out there. So I'll take that wager.
Serialized online fiction, especially if that serialization takes advantage of RSS distribution, can and often does result in significantly more than one hundred readers. Well-written books (and well narrated, if in audio form) following the RSS paradigm, which delivers new chapters/episodes to subscribers when made available, will, for a significant portion of titles, result in one thousand or more readers/listeners to the work. I'm not making these numbers up, nor am I working from anecdotal evidence. I've seen it time and time again, on Podiobooks.com and other spots.
Rule of thumb for all those considering the serialized route: If you can get a publisher to buy the book from you at a decent rate, sell it. But if you are not in that position, serializing your work, in text or audio via an RSS feed, is an exceptional way to raise the awareness of your book and skills as a writer. For many "underpublished" authors, obscurity remains the number one obstacle to overcome.
(Stepping off the soap box.)