Skip to content

Posts from the ‘WRITING: PUBLISHING’ Category

Launch Checklist

My husband challenged me to compile the complete kitchen sink marketing checklist for launches – including everything I’m not managing right now. What else would you put in here? What do you do? What is your timeline for a release? Read more

Space Opera is Dead! Well, Maybe Not.

Author photo of part of the column in question. From the March 30-31 Wall Street Journal.

According to the science fiction book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, space opera is dead. In his defense, he was reviewing a book from Tor and generally only reviews books from the Big 5 imprints, and Pyr. The book had been listed as “space opera,” leading him to muse on Niven and Heinlein, Frank Herbert and Jerry Pournelle and James Schmitz. Did anyone write about Moties and ray-guns and wild adventure on strange new worlds anymore? What about galaxy-spanning empires and questions of galactic import? If the review book was an example, well… The book was not bad, but it was not space opera. The reviewer finishes by saying that the Dorsai and Kzinti are long-lost and gone. We don’t have the willing suspension of disbelief and the “macho sub-genre.”

As I said, in his defense, he reads Big 5 imprints and a very few small presses. Read more

Mindset

The question came up in comments under the steps for opening a small business post: why do all this work? Why not just run it on the side like a hobby, commingling all your funds, skip the business licenses and all the other hurdles?

Why, in fact, are we encouraging you to do all that? What about all the folks who never got started along the way because of the hurdles of running a business, or who spent all their energy on opening the business, and never got any further – why are we discouraging them?

The key is: mindset. This is a collection of writers who do this for a living, not a collection of people who published a book once, and maybe will get around to that again.

Read more

One of these things is not like the other

After getting a few reviews of Scaling the Rim that graded it as a romance, not a science fiction book, I got curious. So, the past few months I’ve been reading several Romances, subcategory SF to try to figure out the difference between Science Fiction, subcategory romance and Romance, subcategory science fiction. At first glance, you’d think they’d be the same thing, but they’re very, very different – the reader cookies (what makes readers happy) aren’t even on the same page.

In the Romance genre, not only is the emphasis completely and totally on the couple’s relationship (duh, it’s romance), but the worlds have an extremely limited amount of worldbuilding, and a huge amount of handwavium, with far higher tolerance for psychic this or psionic that. (In that way, it reminds me a lot of the old scientifiction, speculative fiction, and pocket books of barely 40-50K words that were one step removed from collected issues of pulps – or were pulp stories fleshed out into books. Jack Vance had no problem with magic in his far-future dying earth!) Read more

Reality vs Perception

This isn’t the post I planned on writing this morning. But there are times when you have to throw plans out the window and adapt. This is one of those times and you can blame Sarah for lighting the fire. You see, she left me a message after I turned off the computer last night that started the wheels turning. Then I read the comments to Dave’s post and the idea took hold. So welcome to the latest installment of “Reality vs Perception” or “How We Still Deceive Ourselves About Publishing”. Read more

Guest Post on Anthologizing: JL Curtis

This is a follow-up to my earlier post on Relationships and Anthologies. I’d asked JL Curtis if he wouldn’t mind sharing how he handled taking on the task for this, and he broke it down in some detail. I’ll add that it was a pleasure to work with him, I was astonished at how well it did, given the niche market, but I was also not surprised given his existing fanbase. His work is good, and getting better, and I’m honored he included my Carpetbaggers story in this collection. 

Cedar asked for a few words on the anthology I did, so here we go… Read more

Relationships and Anthologies

I got involved in a conversation over on a friend’s social media this week. He’d referenced a memory, and commented that it had been 8 years since he’d been published in these anthologies, and he’d never seen any money from it. No upfront payments, no royalties, nothing. Now, it’s not that Jason Cordova is a bad writer. Far from it. And the man grinds at his work, he’s not lazing around waiting for something to hit big. But it rankled him that there had been big promises, brutally constrictive contracts and in the end… nothing. The conversation wandered from discussing, in veiled non-specifics, the publishing company that had burned him, to talking about how to find anthologies that actually care about the writers involved.

I was asked to write about how to find non-predatory small presses, and I’m happy to give my small insight into this, but I also reached out to a couple of people I know and trust who have been on the editing and publishing end of anthologies to ask them for their input. When I asked Jason about it, he encouraged me to highlight the warning flags. I have an odd position of having been in only three anthologies (that I’m aware of in this hour pre-coffee) and all of them were pleasant experiences. However, I was definitely in the ‘splash zone’ of the anthology fiasco Jason was caught up in, and have been shown some of the contracts and verbiage involved, so I have a strong idea of what should make you run. Read more