Dragon on the carpet

A little parable for you: Once upon a time, some Bavarian beer fanciers set up a beer-fest in field outside their small town. Now, because nothing goes quite so well with good beer as good smoked and cured pork, soon there were people providing the same, and happy buxom lasses serving beer, eisbein, various pork sausages and ham. Then there was an oom-pah band. Everyone had a great time, and the festival grew, people came from far and wide, and stall-holders made money.

A carpet seller saw the success and set up a stall in the corner. Now he came from a Muslim country, and didn’t drink alcohol, or eat pork. But people felt a little sorry for him and he did some good business. And some of his carpets were rather nice. It would be intolerant to be nasty and some diversity was good, Ja. The next year there were three carpet sellers. And then the year after twenty…

Oddly, numbers visiting the town for the festival were down, and there was less money to go around. So they had a meeting. The carpet sellers complained about the pork sales, and the alcohol and the buxom lasses not covering up their flesh, and that the oom-pah had to be silent during prayers. And the beer and pork sellers and the ladies of plentiful cleavage, and the tuba-player in his lederhosen all said “But it’s a beerfest, this is how it should be…”

And the carpet-sellers drew themselves up, and shouted: “You intolerant brutes. Go away. This is our festival. You do not understand our traditions.”

So the beer-brewers said good-bye to their familiar grounds, and pork sellers tore down their ovens, and loaded them onto a dray and the tuba-player picked up his tuba, put his arm around the buxom beer-server, and left. They started a new festival in the field on the other side of town.

The carpet sellers all cheered. “No money wasted on beer and pork. All for us! And we don’t have to put up with those sinful women like uncovered meat, and that terrible noise.”

The Bavarians started a new festival in the field on the other side of town. Soon it was bigger and busier and noisier than old one, with lots of money made and lots and lots of happy people, having fun, enjoying the music, the pork, the good beer and the fine view of the buxom beer-servers.

What do you think happened to the carpet-sellers?

Do the beer customers care?



Well I didn’t win either category of Dragon Award I was in, and I’m still smiling. It was a victory anyway, for genre I love with popular work from across the socio-political range winning, and a range of shortlisted nominees that made choosing really hard. A big thank you to all of those of my readers and fans who voted for me anyway. It was great just to be there.

Someone sent me commiserations on Changeling’s Island (Baen) not winning the YA Novel Dragon Award. Heh. I think of it like this – If I was in chosen to be in a hundred meter foot race with Usain Bolt in the starting line-up, I’d be walking around with just as much of a silly grin on my ugly mug. I’d run my guts out (because that’s me), but I’d have no real expectation of winning. Just having got to be in the same damn race as such a runner would make me feel like a champion. There’s certainly no dishonor in losing that race, and that’s how I feel about losing to Sir Terry Pratchett. I’m just so pleased to have had the honor of being on the same short-list. I could hardly lose to a better man or be gladder to see him win, as that last token of respect to one of the greatest writers our field has ever seen. Someone comforted me with the fact that he would never be eligible again. Well hell… If Sir Terry could come back and write for us, I’d happily volunteer to not win for just as long as he could write for. Not, frankly, that my winning is terribly likely, ever. CHANGELING’S ISLAND was a notch up for me. I don’t know if I will get that high again. That’s kind of unimportant. I was shortlisted with Sir Terry Pratchett. That’s plenty for my ego. My only ‘advantage’ is I’m not dead, and winning would maybe give me a career and sales lift to push me to write more. You can buy, review or just plain read my books if you feel that’s a good thing. There’s a Labor Day Sale on MGC and that includes TOM (picture is a link).

I’m delighted Larry Correia beat me in Fantasy award too. Son of the Black Sword is a great read, and very deserving winner. Just being short-listed in that category with Correia AND Butcher was enough to make me big-headed. CHANGELING’S ISLAND is YA so it didn’t belong there, and as I thought the field was split enough, I voted Larry Correia, and asked fans to consider doing the same. And lo it won. I’m sure one of the carpet sellers will soon complain.

One of the interesting things about the Dragon awards is that it fits my ‘game theory’ of how to make an award work.

An award of itself is a worthless thing.

I could start the Monkey Award tomorrow, and award it to Fred Sellsalot.

If Fred is delighted, puts ‘Monkey Award Winner’ on all his book covers the award gains prestige, gets better know, and is worth winning. If Fred ignores it, it dies.

If I give the inaugural Monkey Award to Marie Three-book-Sales… whether she loves it, hates it or denies winning… makes no difference.

BUT if Marie wins the award the year after Fred, she catches his tail-wind. If Marie has a good book that just never caught the wider public eye, that can be very good for the Monkey Award and her. If it’s not much fun, but very PC (which is why it sold 3 copies) then, well, the Award dies.

The same is true of the an Award with multiple categories – with one further addendum. Spread the net far and wide – SOMEWITHER is a great book, but a hard read, aimed at a specific bright audience (I have to laugh at the carpet salesmen’s hatey-hate of John Wright. He’s awful, they now assure us… except a few years ago, before they realized he drank beer and ate pork… they said he was brilliant) On the other hand Correia is very accessible, and gets a different market segment. Pratchett, the same is true. Then you have Weber, Novik – each with a different fan base, some cross-over. Nick Cole and Brian Niemeier are less well known, perhaps BUT both are really good reads. It’s a fine balance of popular names and less known authors with good offerings. There are people from across the political spectrum, probably in a close approximation of actual demographics. It’s a win for everyone, and, as a rising tide floats all boats (regardless of who they belong to) will help writers and the industry as a whole. Even the carpet bazaar will get a few extra customers out of it.

I believe the geniuses at file 770 response has been to say it gives them a list of authors not to buy. Yes, well that’s rather like the carpet sellers threatening not to buy pork or beer. The difference was the pork and beer sellers and their customers did buy carpets.

I think by next year we can expect carpet stalls.

149 thoughts on “Dragon on the carpet

  1. I have to share the sentiment with you too; if I ever end up on the same nomination list as Larry Correia and Jim Butcher, I’d probably be jumping up and down screaming with joy. And that’d be enough for me.

    (but ahahahaha no, I”m a long long way off from being anywhere on the level of you masters of the art.)

  2. I just want to know if there were any pretzels at that beer fest. I like pretzels dammit. And graciously written. Plus I need YA books for my younger relatives. So I’ll let them vote next year. They’ll decide if you can beat Mr. Bolt.

      1. Dave:
        Your article struck just the right point and tone. Finally there’s something for us to enjoy without having to care about nonsense. The Hugos wasn’t like a contest. It was like being in a mental hospital. And “No Award” was their version of a lobotomy. No Award, that’s got to be the most depressing concept in literary history. What a disturbed way of addressing story telling. All the joy completely sucked out.

    1. Next year, John C. Wright will probably be on for at least one of this Moth and Cobweb YA series (which has one book out now, and should have at least two more before the end of the year).

      But the more good stuff there is, the better off everyone is!

  3. We don’t have carpet. We find that it collects dirt and is impossible to clean. We have tile. The carpet sellers can go fellate a cactus.

  4. Congratulations on making the short list. It’s far more than I will ever do.

    “…tells them which books not to buy…” That’s the year *after* the book went on sale. Was it that they won’t buy anything for fear it wins a Dragon, or it’s books they would not have bought anyhow?

    1. It may tell them what authors to put on their “Do Not Buy” list. Since those authors probably aren’t on their “Buy” list, they might not notice a difference.

      1. Naomi Novik (the Temeraire series) has been very popular, as has Neil Gaiman and of course Terry Pratchett. Watch as the exceptions to the “do not buy” list appear.

        1. I got tired of her series.

          However, I’m not one of those idiots who think “if I dislike it, nobody should like it”. 😉

          Of course, any writer who was able to create a series that long that people wanted to buy deserves recognition. 😀

          1. Did you give up roundabout Tongue of Serpents (the Australia book)? If so, just an FYI – it picks up really well afterwards, and especially the last two (which ideally should be read back-to-back), which lead to a quite satisfying resolution.

        2. I read Gaiman and Pratchett separately after reading Good Omens. With Pratchett it was The Color of Magic; with Gaiman it was American Gods. Found I preferred Pratchett much more than Gaiman. I’ve read, and bought, other books by Pratchett. I haven’t bought another by Gaiman. Most of the reasons are personal taste. So I can’t boycott Gaiman because I don’t find him worth reading.

          For what it’s worth, the Hugos had been a warning label for a long time, and seeing “Hugo award winner” on the cover would have me thinking “Uck. One of those,” and look for something else. It’s not a big deal for me not to buy future Hugo winners because American Gods was probably the last one I bought, and while it had it’s moments, some parts weren’t all that hot.

          For example, I read Pyramid Power before American Gods and found scene, with a “treed” protagonist, done much better in Pyramid Power. Pyramid Power didn’t win a Hugo, but I’m more likely to re-read it than American Gods.

        3. There are works on the list, and authors I am not a fan of. BUT… there is choice, and even the ones I won’t buy – Gaiman – have serious numbers of devoted readers. I didn’t bind to Novik, but she has real fans. That’s a good result for everyone.

          1. I had insomnia last night, NS started thinking about the authors I like. Turns out, there’s a few I never stopped reading once I discovered them. Dave Freer, John Ringo, and David Baldacci are the only three in that list. I’ve been reading all of then for at least 20 years. The important thing, for me, is their stories are always fresh and new, even when in multi book series.

            The interesting thing is there are authors I’ve read many times and then stopped. James Patterson, Clive Cusler, and several others. Turns out I stop when I can figure out the story before the book ends, or the story is essentially the same each time.

            The other interesting thing (to me anyway) is that I select fiction by author, and science and history by subject. Which is to say,for fiction, I don’t care if the book is YA, or any thing else. (I thought “Changelings Island” was great, as was “Tom”)

            I select new books via a email service that sends me a list of e-books every day that are less than $4.00 in the genre and subjects I specify. I’ll pick a book on the basis of the description, and if fiction, read the entire book (unless it’s really, really bad). If I like the author, I get another. When I’ve finished the second, I either put the author on the list of authors to read, or never buy another. For history and science, I stop when tedium sets in, or when the footnotes get to cumbersome.

            One last note, e-books are the only way to read. Well except for photography books.

            I’ve been retired nearly 11 years and am getting up there in age (76). So, I limit my reading to no more than 4-5 hours a day.

        1. Actually, no. HBO won an award for their TV series loosely based on Martin’s books. After all, we owe it to the winners to be accurate in our remarks, don’t we.

      2. Jasini I have been on their fecal list for a few years. You know how much difference it made? None. My sales have slowly climbed. They didn’t know or care I existed as a writer and didn’t buy my work, and then when they did, made sure others just like them didn’t buy my work. Yes i lost a few sales to innocents believing them. But then I gained a few because being bad-mouthed by such as these made some folk go and look.

        1. That’s pretty much how I wound up over here… persistent badmouthing gives me an uncontrollable urge to go see for myself. What with the …diametrically creative… character of some recent badmouthing, go-and-look has become a survival reflex.

        2. I don’t know how big it was, but it’s very probable being on their shit list won you some sales when one of those idiots decided to declare the Puppies were all part of GamerGate.

          I’ve heard several folks started reading new books again BECAUSE they found out that the stuff they liked was available– not like ebook will scare them off, after all.

          I kinda wonder if a similar thing may have happened with Baen, from the folks who never looked at the publisher mark before…..

      3. Same here I was not buying Hugo winners or Puppy Kicker authors before I had ever heard of Sad Puppies etal the only author I might have ended up buying and now never will is some guy named Marko Kloos. Writes Mil Sci Fi which I like but after he turned down the Hugo nomination last year so he would not be associated with racists, and bigots I decided he did not ever need my money,

    2. George – I had zero expectation of being there. I regard myself as a hack, moderately talented at best, writing to please his readers. You could have knocked me over with a feather, seeing my name there. I’m sure I squeaked in in last place – but I got there.

      Yes, their threats have no peril in them. Might do us some good, actually.

      1. Dave, your self assessment is remarkably similar to that of another hack scribbler you may have heard of. Guy by the name of Heinlein.

        1. You mean the bloke Jemisin hates and derides? Well, I’m in good company then. (No, I’m not up to that standard :-). It’s flattering, but I’m honest with myself. Needs more work.)

  5. Well I voted for you in the YA section like a good little minion (and for the ILOH in the fantasy one as commanded). But really the reason I did no wasn’t in fact because I’m good at taking instructions and following slates. No it was because to be honest I don’t think his book was that good. It’s the last ever and that’s tragic, but the reason it’s the last ever was the embuggeration of mental deterioration and that, IMHO, spilled over into the book which wasn’t up on his usual level. Still with luck all the publicity will help you get more sales for Changeling’s Island and inspire more people to become loyal fans of yours

    Having said that I am indeed happy that Sir Pterry won a Dragon, it means a great writer actually won an award in his field.

    1. Heh. You look good in yellow. Are you one of the one-eyed minions or two-eyed ones? Look, if I had won I would have felt faintly bad – I’d like fans to have every last chance to say to say to they loved Sir Pterry for his family’s sake, and his winning raises the Dragon profile further.

      And yes, let’s hope I get more sales from it. I always want those.

      1. Dave. I really liked Changling and would have voted but missed the deadline BUt I did buy the Earc since did not want to wait. It was very very good.

          1. Ahem. That would be Fair Go Dibbler
            I suspect that CMOT and his various counterparts have a non-compete clause with each other (and being Dibblers, promptly ignore it in search of unattainable profits)….

            1. A fair call. ‘Fair Go’ Dibbler it is. Snowcrash, seeing as you’re here – and we grant you’re not typical of vile 770 – would you mind answering a question? You’ve obviously read Novik – but how many of the other nominees had you actually read? Had you actually read any of my books?

              1. For the former question – ten of the nominated books. There were 7 more nominees where I had read their prior works, but not the nominated ones. I confess, you were in the latter category.

                1. Thank you for that answer. I had read 23 of them, with three other authors I’d read before and wasn’t going to read again. I wish I’d been able -as Brian did with his work – to make my CHANGELING’S ISLAND free, because I’d like people to judge as fairly as possible. I fell down badly in the military sf (not my personal favorite genre. 30 years later, Dave Drake – who I admire enormously – still gives me the cald grue.) and I had only read two of the horror offering because horror is not my favorite either (I read Niemeier simply because I had enjoyed his other work, and Declan because I knew it would be funny) although I have read Cherie Priest before. I do read very fast, though.

                  I wonder – reading the comments posted by some of your fellows over at file 770 – if this is not the basic problem. I’ve had comments about us which make about as sense as an emu on acid to anyone who had read books or knew anything about the people. I’m a sexist and a racist for example – Except I’ve never written a YA with a white male lead character – And I’ve never had a single person ever, complain about it. Ever. The lead character in the Dragon’s Ring books is female – and bluntly a strong bloody-minded woman. She is described as dark skinned and with wavy black hair. Sarah’s lead character is gay. Larry’s main heroes come in several shades of not white. I’ve yet to ever hear one complaint from our supposedly troglodytic fans about it. Yet when one of the dear little people in your favorite hangout starts to spout about ‘white supremacist, sexists, homophobes’ etc… not a soul says: “Hang on. That makes no sense. Their books… – and their fans love them…” or says that they’re terrible writers etc. no one says: ‘hang on – he’s got 20 books out, and as sold half a million copies – someone must like him.’ So: either they’re ignorant and have never read what they condemn, or they’re too afraid to speak up, or worse, happy to sit back and allow the narrative to continue.

                  1. This is one of the things that gets me when I read File 770. In the lead up to, and just after, Hugo voting in 2015, there seemed to be a very strong push to identify SP & RP candidates as “OBJECTIVELY BAD”. Not just a difference of taste or style, but of such poor writing quality that the only way someone could support them was if they were trying to support the writer as opposed to the work.

                    And as you point out Dave, it is the type of complaint that makes no sense at all if you have actually read them. There was a very strong vibe of “No, NO! Don’t read it, save yourself. It is as bad as the Star Wars Holiday Special!!” Enough so that I was seriously wondering how many of the people putting forward that view had actually read the works in question.

                    I really didn’t get it as it seems to be to be so counterproductive. Unless they believed that their comments would keep everybody who read them from reading the works in question. And to anybody who did read the works, I expect they would put a large grain of salt with any views from the same source in the future.

                    Just putting this out there.

                  2. Drake’s military stuff often is horror, really … or least partly horror. See especially Redliners.

      1. Must be some powerful subliminal advertising in the post. I’m coming down with a desire for a buxom beer-server.

  6. What makes me happiest about the Dragon Awards is that we once again have an award where you can go and look at nominees and winners and get a decent list of books that may just be worth trying out……which is what the SJWs destroyed about the Hugos and Nebulas.

    1. OMG, have they. Since the 1980’s! Hugo was the “do not read” list every friggin’ year. Last year they topped themselves, it was the “nothing to read” list.

      Looking down the list of winners, I noticed something. Except for JC Wright who I know is white, and L. Correia who I know is not, I have not a clue about the race/gender/whatever of the authors. I presume Sir Terry was white, but I don’t know.

      And I monumentally don’t care. Never did, probably never will.

      The weirdos at Vile 666 are gnashing and grinding on about racism and whatnot, and I did go have a look at it. Meh. It’s the same shit they always do, Glyer’s doing it from a damn hospital bed no less. He’d be better served to ditch the web site and work at losing 100 pounds, but even the breath of the Reaper goes unnoticed by some it seems.

      I do believe that the slime rubbed off on me a little, so I think I will not bother with them. They are not the Keepers of the Flame, their opinions on anything can be predicted by an adding machine. Insert Condition A, receive Response B, as if by clockwork.

      Hearty Well Done to Dave Freer on being nominated in not one but two categories. Way to run with the big dogs, Mr. Freer.

      1. Yes, Vile 666 is throwing a collective tantrum over the Dragons, while Tor.com so far has ignored the results. Curious, that lofty, lordly silence. You’d think that they would at least have acknowledged David Weber’s win, since Weber won for the “Safehold” series that Tor publishes.

        1. It’s interesting that one of the commenters at File 770 got that wrong, and thought it was part of another Weber series that Baen publishes.

          As for me…I consider not having to give Tor any more of my money to be one of the best things about spending $800 to get on Weber’s first reader list at LibertyCon this year.

            1. But it’s the Wrong Award, from WrongFans, having WrongFun. Can’t have that.

              . . . And as of this post, Tor.com STILL hasn’t said anything about the Dragons. It’s like they’re hiding under their beds, hoping it’ll all go away.


        2. Wes, Tor’s one Dragon win was for military SF with decidedly Christian overtones. By a white male author. Embarrassing as heck for them, perhaps.

          1. Worse, some of the Christian overtones are positive toward Christianity.

            Can’t have that. [Sarcasm]

      2. Once upon a time I read through the books that had the collected (short stories?) of the Hugo and Nebula winners. The earl{-ier,-iest} ones I had access to were great. Alright, I might not have liked every entry, and they might have been bewildering at times, but they weren’t dull. As things “progressed” that changed. Even the confusion became dull. And I wound up not reading much SF/F aside from Pratchett.

        Ah, but the world does turn and things change – sometimes even for the better. Alright, the next collection of Award Winning SF/F worth the time to read it will have a new title, when/if it happens, but… there is hope.

      3. The big dogs! You’re telling me. I felt like a newborn puppy – Old English Sheepdog, naturally – trying to keep up with things the size of Clydesdales 🙂 You know – I keep meaning to do this, but when you count their ‘minorities’ and ‘inclusion’ (they’re all m&m’s – different colors on the outside, the same flavor inside) and deal with the repetitions (they’ll say we have seven women nominated in different categories – but actually one women got nominated 5 times, and then two others, jointly) I suspect they’ve got nothing on us, anyway.

    1. “Min. Did you put the cat out?”
      “I had no idea it was on fire, Henry”
      Besides making me think of the Goon Show – is there some deep meaning in your meow? Or just a cat noise for cat noise sake?

        1. Well, could you please channel Sir Terry. I’d like another book, and you could tell him how I loved even being on the same shortlist as him.

  7. I replied somewhere that “I was nominated for the award but Terry Pratchett won” was in no way a bad thing.
    As for the carpet sellers, as long as they sell quality carpets, and don’t do their usual nonsense, they will be fine. therein resides the difference in life outlook. We will use what we like, no matter the producer (pretty much,, there are limits), whereas they will refuse to use things they NEED if they disagree in any way with the producer of the goods.
    Though I am sure they will resort to pushing 4th rate rugs that do not hold together and decry our refusing to buy into the shoddy product.

    1. 😀 I was walking before sunrise this AM and found a rather nice kitchen work mat/carpet in the middle of the road. Needed to be rinsed off but I now have a very nice padded carpet to stand on when I cook. Sort of a KU-book-fest kind of carpet.

        1. What I mutter while cooking tends to be in German and, ahem, earthy. Especially if I’ve looked away from the stove for no more than two seconds and the simmering milk turns itself into a milk-canoe all over the burner, stove-top, counter-top, floor . . . Or I lift the lid and discover that one or more of my boiled eggs had an invisible crack in the shell and I now have egg soup.

            1. Now all I have stuck in my head is a persian carpet flying around with a cat screeching and holding on as it’s dragged along for the ride. Thankfully no liquid intake atm.

          1. My wife has -twice- found that eggs, when boiled dry, will eventually explode.

            Being the taller of the couple, I’ve been the one who had to clean the ceiling and high cabinets…

            1. My wife discovered that the water in West Berlin had enough fuel in it to set the pan on fire when boiled dry. Yes, she did in fact burn water. I wish I had a picture of that melted, misshapen pan.

          2. You have read “Tom” right? Never know where that rug has been or what language it knows. Also very careful working with milk. And especially with CHEESE!!!

    2. Yes. But that is changing – as I know quite a lot of readers who’ve said ‘there is enough to read without paying XYZ who abuses my politics/religion/friends. Used to be I would read anything by anyone. Now Scalzi, Gaiman, Hines Gerrold… well, there is enough without them.

      1. I’ve only read a few short things by Scalzi. and really cannot see why he was supposed to be so good. Then I read his submission to Ringo’s Zombie collection and decided he is now intentionally writing as poorly as possible.

        1. It does, perhaps, say something that his best series was him intentionally trying to ape the greats and that when he deviated from that it all collapsed like a house of cards.

      2. You only think there’s enough to read because you’re spending part of your time writing!
        I’m willing to suspect a stopped clock – or SOME of the named authors – may be “close enough” occasionally. Although, I read blurbs and first pages much more carefully, and consider the monetary cost of risk more thoughtfully, with some works/authors.

  8. “John, carpet sales are not so good.”

    “Do not talk like an infidel – and I am Achmed.”

    “What is wrong with ‘John?’ Is our festival not diverse?”

    “It’s diverse as long as we pass. Remain steadfast. We are True Fans.”

    “We have sold only one carpet today, and a handful of throw rugs.We once sold more.”

    “We sold to infidels, who cannot appreciate our message. We sell to True Fans.”

    “But I am hungry. If we don’t sell carpets, we’ll have to take other jobs.”

    “We already have day jobs. Be strong. We are True Fans!”

    “Maybe we get a stall at the other place.”

    “With infidels? You would throw away all we have accomplished on young dogs?”

    “Young dogs bought our carpets.”

    “Shhh! Not so loud. You want to sell no carpets?”

    “They’re barely buying our carpets now!”

    “We. Will. Not. Get. A. Stall. There. We tighten our belts. We keep the message. We will prevail. We have the Rocket.”

    “I rather have the money.”


  9. Two things: first, yeah, losing to Pterry is no dishonor. Second, on the whole I was very happy with the results.
    Oh, yeah, and one third thing (shall I come in again?) thank you for saying that about Changeling Island. Not that I think it’s true (more later) but it makes me feel better. Other than horrible health what has been stopping my writing is the prevailing feeling that I’ll never write something like A Few Good Men again. That I hit a peak but will never get back. Why I know that’s stupid (barring my health not recovering, as thyroid affects the brain and PARTICULARLY verbal competency) is the following story.
    Kris and Dean in the very first evening of the very first Oregon Coast Professional Writers Workshop told us the following story:
    This is the tale of the bathroom of publishing. As you’re learning to write, picture a faucet running full tilt filling a large, shallow bathtub. About halfway up there’s a line (someone doesn’t clean bathtubs well) and it’s marked “publishable” above that there’s another line “Memorable” and another line “instant classic” you get the point, all the way to the very top which is labeled “Heinlein or Pratchett” (Yeah, I made that last level up. No one else ever said that. DEAL.)
    As you start out, you bet this little film of water on the bottom, but as you write more, and particularly if you write a lot, the water level approaches “publishable.”
    The closest it is to the line, the more you get splashes over the line, and little waves that reach over the line. At first there are few of these and that first splash might be the only thing above the line for a long time. BUT eventually, almost everything will hit above it, with the occasional one (waves, okay) below that line.
    I found this was absolutely true with short stories. My first publishable short story was the ONLY publishable thing I wrote for eight years (and I sold it 4 times before I sold anything else.) Then I started selling four short stories a year, and then pretty much everything I wrote.
    Novels too. Only my eighth novel was publishable (hello, Darkship Thieves) and it didn’t sell (a couple of agents wanted me to change it completely to send out) and after it I wrote three novels that did not sell/are not saleable (though they’re SALVAGEABLE and will be salvaged.) Then I got to a point I sold half the novels I wrote, and now I pretty much sell everything I manage to produce. (Yes, one of those was indie and there will be others, but when your indie almost doubles your traditional advance, I stand justified in saying it sold.)
    I suspect it’s the same for everyone of the levels and in fact have seen it with short stories AND with other writers.
    So, you’ll write another CI and I’ll write another AFGM. G-d granting us a long time without mental decline, we’ll both write a lot of those.
    But right now, I also understand the feeling of its being out of reach, and how frustrating it is as you work on the next novel and the next.

    1. Exactly. When I decided to pursue writing as a career, I decided I would treat it like a job (where have we heard that sentiment before?). I knew that if I put the time and effort into it, like I did with my career, I would improve at it with each book I wrote.
      And I have. I am started to challenge myself with some things as each new book comes along, and I see I’m bringing in more and more readers every week.
      The only way to fill the tub is to keep pouring water into it, in other words, you keep writing!

  10. I’m not too sure about this, but I don’t think anyone gets really excited about carpets, except those which are ancient and finely crafted and hung on a wall to be looked at. Which, incidentally, completely removes them from the realm of traditional carpet use, which is to cover the floor and be walked on.
    Except for those rarities, which are objects of art and not useful for the designed purpose, nobody thrills to the idea of carpets. In fact, to get a LOT of people in the carpet-selling area, you have to offer mass production and cut rate pricing. And to get someone into YOUR particular carpet store, you need BIG HONKEN SIGNS! And maybe balloons or clowns, as a very short term advertising stunt.
    And that seems to me to be the exact picture painted by the trad pub / puppy kicker alliance. The few big deal prominent items are hung on the wall to demonstrate artistic merit; and nobody reads them. The mass produced items are purchased at a discount, and nobody is wildly enthusiastic about them. Was anybody cosplaying Ancillary Anything at DragonCon?
    But, in the beer tent area….It’s not about the inclusion of the Andulasian Dog. It’s about BEER! and SAUSAGES! and NEW WINE and ZWEIBEL KUCHEN! And bopping from tent to tent, and singing! Nobody even wants to think about carpet, because that’s so BORING! Let’s try some of this beer over here! The consumers are happy, the producers are happy, and there is plenty to go around.
    And realistically, in a world of wall-to-wall carpeting, you only buy from he carpet sellers maybe twice, three times in your life, and grumble over the cost. Beer, on the other hand: it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

    1. The other characteristic of non-metaphorical carpet sellers, at least in this neck of the woods, is the perpetual “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” signs they feature.

      It seems that even with their wallhangars to show off, the only way they can bring in customers is to pretend they are soon to be gone.

      Of course they never actually go out of business, but that’s the sign that apparently works.

      Compare and contrast with the carpet you can buy at your local home improvement store – sure, they may not have the same pedigree, and you can’t signal how sophisticated you are by hanging one of them on the wall instead of rolling it out to walk on, but you can get actual use, and years of enjoyment, out of it.

      And when you dump your pulled pork sandwich on the rug while sitting down, you just clean up the mess and thank goodness it wasn’t your beer you spilled.

      1. Dr Mauser you’re a bad man :-). I wonder how many Jemisin and Leckie books they could save a lot on ink by leaving all the pages blank? Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter, they get paid.

      2. Oh, you are naughty. Let’s see what’s on display on my coffee table right now… hmm. None of the above. Apparently I have no fashion sense.

        (For the curious, what’s on display? several mags from my electric co-op, several more from the refinery down the road, and _Among the Bone Eaters_ — nonfiction about semi-domesticated hyenas in Ethiopia.)

  11. The carpet sellers did worse than just tell the beer sellers they weren’t welcome anymore. They gave them and their customers a double middle-finger salute, and then turned around and mooned them.
    (in best Ray Stevens accent. “Yeah, they showed us, alright”)

  12. Dave, you leave me no choice. . .

    Beer and brats on the grill it is!! (grin)

    And G’day, mate!

  13. Dave my friend, you have effed up big time with Changeling Island. You’re exactly like Usian Bolt. You broke the record, reset the bar. Showed your fans and the world what you’re capable of. From now on we shall all expect nothing less of you.
    So, thank you sir, may we please have another.

  14. You know what the reward is for doing the improbable, difficult kind of work, and doing it well? Congratulations, you get another such job, this one even *tougher.* That seems to be how life serves up its challenges.

    Changeling’s Island is good, full stop. But it is but one story among many that you will have. When I’m building a shed, I don’t just want to copy the last good one I did (it’d be a disservice to my customers), I want it to be the best one I can build for that specific person’s needs. Stories are like sheds that way. Write the next one the best that story needs. You may yet surprise yourself.

    Somehow I think you’re not the kind of person to quit trying his best regardless. *grin* Like Uncle Lar said, you’ve done screwed up. We know now what quality there is, lurking behind that monkey’s guise. Keep at it, and things will turn out, you wait and see.

    1. I posted this originally over at voxpopoli where the Dragon Award congrats were posted. But the of it sense remains useful on this thread, and I need to get off the tablet & back to work, so:

      I’ve been holding my breath (metaphorically speaking) since the award was announced. Because I had an hypothesis: despite the claims about the relative virtues of the Rabid Puppies versus the Campaigners to End Puppy-Related Sadness, both of them are hands-down more ethical, more just, and yes, with apologies to our host, more egalitarian then any of the Puppy Kickers.

      If you are looking for a moral victory, may I draw your attention to the dog that did not bark in the night.

      At every stage in the Dragon awards the SJWs claimed loudly and publicly that these were infested and dominated by the various “puppies.”

      And yet, SJW fan-favourites, including the egregious Ancillary Noun and other Puppy-Kicker choices like Ms Marvel, not only made the ballot, but also won.

      Where were the hordes of alt-Righters kicking up dust on social media demanding that these workkks be put down and shut out? Where was the international campaign of denunciation and slander against their creators and the fans that nominated them? Where was daily vitriol on our websites?

      All I ever saw from all y’all, was: “Books and media I like could be up for a Dragon Award. They are open to everyone. Go vote.”

      It is almost as if, when it came to these fandom awards, you folks: the ones they excoriate for supposedly being white supremacists, racists, and this-haters, and that-o-phobes were morally superior to them in every way.

      Ca ira.

      1. Well…we are morally superior to them, at least in all the ways I’ve been able to observe. We just don’t crow about it and loudly congratulate ourselves constantly.

        1. Having to act morally and show morality are two different things. The first is quiet and lifelong. The second merely takes vocalization

        2. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
          Appearing to do the “right thing” because it looks good to someone.

          Substance wins over signal.

          1. Also, morality is doing the right thing even when no one else is watching. Alright, there’s more to it than that, but still.

      2. Hrm. Even as an “almost as if” I’m not comfortable with that. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. We fail, constantly, to live up to the standards we know are right- even those who attack us have their moral standards.

        I may not agree with all of them, but I’m not about to say I’m morally superior to anyone. At least not without some much more extreme evidence. And maybe not even then. I may not like the things they say and the value judgements they make about friends of mine…

        But they’re still people. And people, generally speaking, try to be good. I’m okay with pointing to specific actions and saying “that is wrong.” The whole wooden arsehole thing? Wrong. Calling folks nazis and other naughty names, no matter how hilarious and ironic they may be (the whole “All white, all male, all Mormon” thing- yeah, ironic and hilarious), also poor examples of behavior. The whole euthanize the puppies thing, also not cool.

        But the moral worth of a man, or woman, is ultimately between him and his creator.

        1. Eh, you need to get better at figuring out “if/then” statements.

          In any subset of human activity you can find someone who is entirely mortally inferior to another person viz said behaviour.

          Res ipsa loquitor

        2. You are morally superior. A lot of us here are. Why?

          You aren’t a pedophile or a pedophile apologist or pedophile aider-and-abetter.
          You don’t further inequality by claiming that a wrong is okay if it is done to a certain group of people that don’t have the same political mindset as you do.
          You aren’t furthering racism by focusing only on race, but by looking at a person’s content of character.
          You don’t further sexism by focusing on the gender or sexual tastes of a person, but assess that person by what they do, and hold them as human, so you are aware that they have strengths and weaknesses, but also expect them to rise above the weaknesses if they are weaknesses of mindset or character, and not to abuse their strengths.

          1. Per a business readerboard seen recently: “Everybody’s got a right to be wrong; but some abuse the privilege.”

          2. You win at philosophy.

            I was just pointing out that when it came to the award business one group was the winner, winner, chicken dinner in every possible category. Including ethics.

            But yeah. Whot You Said, too.

  15. A very good simile. The question then is, how do we make sure the carpet sellers don’t take over the new beer festival, and the one after that, until we can’t find any more new fields to move to?

    1. They will try. Mostly they’re parasites, unable to build. I think there are two things. 1)just don’t let them run anything. or 2)Prepare to move on if the parasite load gets too heavy. The custom will follow.

  16. I think the most telling thing contrasting the two awards is that when the Hugo announcements come out, the Fans say “Wow, I have a lot of reading to do.” and when the Dragons were announced, most fans had already read them.

  17. It’s so nice to have read or to have on my to-read list so many of the nominated and several of the Dragon winners.
    Congratulations to the winners.
    Time to delete the bookmark for the Hugo Awards.

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