So last time we were together, I told you that you weren’t going to make any money hand-selling books at conventions, that conventions were a money-losing proposition anyway, and that the only reason any of us ever go to conventions is on the off chance that lovely Canadians will bring us booze to our panels or we’ll get to show Nicholas Brendan where the men’s room is.
Both of those things have happened, only one to me, but I was there for both. The Canadians with alcohol was far less surreal than Xander not being able to find the loo. But I digress.
No, really, I digress. It’s what I do, like teachers teach, or painters paint or doctors…dock? Yeah, that off-the-wall Christopher Durang reference doesn’t work even for me (but if you’ve seen or read For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls there’s like a 5% chance you’ll remember the bit where Amanda is talking about the rooms in their house, but I’m probably exaggerating the 5%).
Yes, I am once again blogging before caffeine or Adderall have kicked in. So let’s ignore everything that has come before (unless you think it’s at all amusing, in which case go out and buy my Bubba the Monster Hunter Collected Editions immediately, because if you think I’m funny here, you should see what I can do when I’m on my meds) and move on to our topic of the day – HOW to sell books at conventions. Speaking of which, the Quincy Harker Year One collection will be available at Connooga and Mysticon and everywhere else I will be the rest of this year, so get your copy while it’s hot.
Anyway, hand-selling books.
It’s tough. It’s not easy engaging with a lot of people one right after the other, most of whom haven’t heard of you, and many of whom give not a single $&)! who you are. And if you are naturally an introvert, you’re going to have to work two or three times as hard as those of us who aren’t. Sorry, you picked this road.
Now, if you are painfully introverted, there are a few things you can do to lighten the burden, without really affecting your career much. If you’re still comfortable doing panels, but hate the personal interaction of trying to hawk books – don’t do it. You don’t have to. As I discussed last time, there’s not a ton of money in it, and there are only a couple reasons to do it. One is to offset some of the travel costs, and another is to create new fans. If you’re memorable enough on a panel, or the convention has a great bookseller, then you can probably find alternate ways to get your books in front of people. If you have a friend who has one new book out and can’t really break into the convention, “hiring” them to run your table in exchange for letting them sell their bon to your fans might be an option as well. Then you can interact with fans without the tiring hucksterism part of it.
And it is hucksterism. Make no mistake about that. I’m hawking books like P.T. Barnum when I’m at my table, and the best panels are when I lead the crowd from the panel room right over to my booth to buy me out of a title. I’ll call people over from the aisles and when they get within a few feet, say “Hi! Buy my shit.” It’s to the point where at some cons I’m known as the “Buy my Shit Guy.”
That might not be the way I’d prefer to be remembered across the Southeast, but if given a choice, I’ll always choose to be remembered over forgotten. So here are some mechanical tips to sell more books.
1) SHUT THE HELL UP – counter-intuitive, right? Well, I don’t mean be mute. I mean, stop giving a three-minute dissertation on the entire plot of your book. People are smart enough to read the back cover matter if you hook them, so hook them. Use your elevator pitch. When people ask me what my books are about, here’s what I tell them.
“A couple of comic book nerds get turned into vampires and exercise their Batman fetish by becoming private investigators. Along the way, they have to save the world, because it’s a fantasy novel, so somebody’s going to have to do it.” – The Black Knight Chronicles.
“This is what you get if Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Larry the Cable Guy had an alcoholic love child.” Bubba the Monster Hunter.
“You know that TV show Constantine? This is what you get if they were on HBO and didn’t have network censors.” Quincy Harker series.
These are short pitches, tailored to the books, and designed to move me from stranger to customer as quickly as possible. I can tell (usually) in ten seconds if someone is going to buy or not. It’s all in the eyes. If they’re engaged, if they’re “with you,” you’ve got a good shot. Then if they like you, it’s even better. Understand this forever, because it relates to books and stories with editors and publishers, too. People Buy Stuff From People They Like. I was 75% sure that I was going to sell The Black Knight Chronicles to Deb Dixon at Bell Bridge within two minutes of meeting her. Before she’d seen the books, I knew that I liked her, that she found me funny and charming, and that she ran her business with a very personal touch. In other words, I knew instinctively that we could do business together. Five years later, I still adore Deb and all the Bell Bridge folks, and they still like me enough to keep publishing me.
But way too often I see writers, especially new ones, tell too much of the story. Customers don’t want to know the story before they pick it up, they just want to know if it fits in one of two boxes – the “I like this stuff” box, or the “I don’t like this stuff” box. I give them a quick bite, than if their eyes light up a little bit, I hand them the book and let the back cover matter do the work. That takes some of the high pressure off, and gives them their out if they need to say “no.” If their eyes go blank on me, then I point to something else on the table and try to engage them in that.
2) Profile your customers – I know, profiling is wrong, right? Well, when we do it, it’s called “market research.” I profile ruthlessly when I’m determining what customers I spend my limited time and energy on. Here’s where I’m going to make some generalizations that will offend some of you, but these are things that go through my head when I’m trying to sell books, and how I approach different types of people or groups at a convention. Understand that any of these people may stop of their own accord and then they’re great targets. But these are general tips as to whether or not to work hard on drawing them in.
Two girls/women 16-34, walking together, wearing a lot of black? Check! This is my target demographic. They are at the con to have a good time, and they probably have money to spend. If they have husbands or boyfriends, they’re either not around to tell them what to buy, or to hurry them along, so I have the time to work my mojo. Women statistically buy more books than men, so they are always a high-value target. I typically start with either some bonding comment about the geek shirts they are wearing or a simple “What do you like to read?” Then we’re off to the races.
Four high school or college age girls who look like “the mean girls?” I don’t waste my oxygen. They might have some hapless boys in tow that would be good targets if they weren’t trying to seem cool for the girls. These girls are too cool to read. They might be dressed up in some kind of sexy cosplay, maybe not, but either way, they will pass by quickly, uninterested in books. If you get one to stop on her own, pitch as you would anyone else, but I don’t try to draw in people from these clusters.
The boyfriend/girlfriend – you know the pair, one of them is all over what you’re doing, and the other is there because they’ve been promised wild monkey sex later in exchange. Not a great target, but again, if she is interested, you can pitch. Judge the level of engagement by her eyes. If she’s interested in something, she’ll pick up a book. Then go full throttle. Note – if you’re a guy, make sure that you make eye contact and give the “guy nod” to the boyfriend first. Let him know not to get his hackles up by acknowledging his existence. If you start pitched the girlfriend hard without ever even looking at the guy, he may mistake your selling for flirting and get pissed. That’s not a good way to make a sale.
Parents with small children – I tend to give these a pass. It’s hard to make a sale to someone who is carrying a crying baby or wondering if their child needs to be changed. As always, if they stop on their own, go for it. but if they’re just wandering by, I assume they will have disposable income in 18 years and give them a polite nod.
Wannabe writers – You won’t be able to shake them. Be polite, but shove them out of the way when a real person comes to your table.
Aspiring writers – This is my redemption for being nasty in the last sentence. There’s a difference between someone who starts with “I’ve been writing this book for five years, and I just can’t get past the fourth chapter,” and someone who starts with “I’ve seen you at a couple of conventions on panels. I have this completed novella and was wondering if you could give me advice on what to do with it.” Aspiring writers are already writers, they just might not have had anything, or more than a couple of things, published. Wannabe writers spend a lot of time talking about what they’re going to someday write. I will happily spend time with aspiring writers helping them learn everything possible about the business. I understand that they may never buy a book, but they also understand to move to the side when money walks up to the table.
Single women over 40 – my favorite. These are typically readers, and they’re willing to take a flyer on almost anything once. At a convention setting, these are educated women with decent jobs, or at least enough budgeting skill to have money set aside to spend on books at the convention. They may be teachers, or librarians, or just have a lifelong love of books. You can tell them when you see them, and you know they have more books than furniture. They can smell BS a mile away, so keep it simple, and these will become repeat customers.
People wearing Clemson University or SEC Athletic logos – Bubba the Monster Hunter played football for Georgia, and the protagonists in The Black Knight Chronicles went to Clemson. This was not a coincidence. I have sold books based merely on those facts before. Gail Martin does a show in Charleston every year because she has a series set there. David Coe time travelled for research for the Thieftaker books, but that was more for fun. I don’t think he took any books back in time with him, which was probably a missed opportunity on his part. Imagine the value of a first edition of a book from before the author was born!
My head is a strange place and no one should go there alone.
Cosplayers – This is tough, because I love cosplayers, and costumes, and I love to look at the work that goes into them. But the best costumes aren’t conducive to carrying a lot of books, so I usually don’t pitch cosplayers. If they come back in civilian clothing, then all bets are off.
Other Writer Guests – This is tricky, and there’s a definite caste system to it. You have to know who’s on your level, and who’s not. The Guests of Honor probably didn’t bring books with them, so if you want to get something signed, you’ll probably have to get it at the bookseller, but don’t be shy about asking for an autograph at the bar. Other mid-level guests, you can sometimes swap books with, but don’t be offended or hurt if people say “no” to a book swap. As we discussed last week, the books aren’t free, and especially with trade paperback size, they aren’t cheap either. And don’t ever ask to swap a paperback or trade for a hardback, that just looks tacky. Swapping paperbacks is fine, and I’ll often do it, but personally I prefer to buy books from other people when I can.
I also have the “one print book only” rule in my house. If you’re my writer friend, and I have one of your print books, I’m unlikely to buy a print copy of the newest one. I’ll buy it in ebook, because that’s how I read, but I don’t need an entire shelf of signed Faith Hunter paperbacks, no matter how much I love Jane Yellowrock. I do have a couple of signed books on my shelf from pretty much all the MW crew, but after the first one, I buy digital. Sometimes I even buy digital copies of books I already own in print because I know I’ll read the digital faster. That’s what I did with Laura Anne Gilman’s Silver on the Road. She kindly gave me an ARC, then I bought the ebook. It’s really good, beautiful atmospheres and lush description. I feel like it’s like someone took Alex Bledsoe’s Tufa novels and moved them to the Wild West.
I mentioned that I digress, right? Well, since this blog post is now longer than some short story submissions I’ve received, I’m going to wrap up for this week. Next time we’ll talk about how to circumvent the “No,” and removing barriers to purchase with my new favorite trick – download cards!
Come see me, Faith, and David at Connooga February 19-21! Until then, go sell something!
Hello and Happy Friday!
Fairly recently, I was chatting with a few of my fellow freelance editors, and in that conversation we discovered that sometimes writers–especially new ones–aren’t familiar with things we expect them to know. Track changes is one of those things. With most (correct me about the big houses, if I’m wrong, people!) editors using track changes and comments as a way to handle changes and suggestions, it is vital for writers to understand the ins and outs of the program.
So, today I am going to go through the basics of using track changes in Word on a Mac. When I’m back in two weeks, I will do the same for PC. I am going to use the bit of text I just typed as a template to show you the ropes.
Note: You can click on the images to make them bigger!
First, all of the track changes options are hidden in the “Review” tab on the ribbon. Make sure the little switch is flipped on. (Side note: I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to flip that switch and had to start over on an edit!)
There are a couple types of changes. Additions, deletions, and comments are the basics. There are some different options for which markups to view. You can choose simple, all, none, original.
Continue reading Friday Fundamentals – Track Changes, Mac Edition
I know a man who once decided to submit his manuscript to a famous movie producer. He didn’t know the producer, nor did he have any actual contacts in Hollywood. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him…he packaged up his manuscript in a nice, clean envelope, addressed it to the producer’s office, wrote *Confidential and Personal* on the outside and sent it on its way. Since it said *Confidential and Personal*, the producer’s secretary passed it directly to the man. The producer read it, and while he did not choose to make his next blockbuster movie based on my friend’s manuscript, he was kind enough to offer valuable comments on ways to make the manuscript more saleable.
I was at a publisher’s party some years back, having a conversation with my editor. A self-published writer (at the time, self-pub was almost never done and certainly not with any great success) approached us and introduced herself, then proceeded to tell my editor about an agent she’d just fired. The agent was terrible, didn’t know the business, couldn’t sell a book to a man needing something to burn in his fireplace, blah blah blah. What the writer didn’t know was that the agent she was disparaging was a good friend of my editor.
I once attended a writing conference that featured a very famous NY agent. One of my writing group cohorts happened to be responsible for getting that agent to the conference and making sure he was cared for the whole weekend, so those of us in her group were able to have brief one-on-one conversations with that famous agent. Two of us that I know of were asked for partials, and one became a successful client of that agent.
I once met a women who had a meeting scheduled with an agent. The agent had asked for the first thirty pages of her novel prior to their meeting, but the woman was afraid that the agent intended to steal her work of staggering genius. So instead of sending the first thirty pages as requested, the woman instead sent in thirty random, nonconsecutive pages for the agent to read. And no synopsis. I have a feeling hilarity ensued.
I’ve told these stories before, and for good reason. For every absolute unbreakable rule, there will be someone who breaks it and wins. There will also be someone who breaks the rule egregiously and ends up ruining her shot. It’s hard to know when you should throw caution to the wind, and if you’re not used to trusting your instincts, I’d recommend sticking to those rules until you’re either a bigger name or more in touch with yourself. But now and then a moment comes along when breaking the rules is the only way to launch yourself into the stratosphere of success. I can’t tell you how to know the difference, because it’s not going to be the same for everyone. But I can talk about things I’ve seen, and so can all of you, and maybe together we can laugh about how crazy this industry sometimes is.
Have you had a situation fall into your lap that turned out to be a great opportunity? Have you made (or witnessed) a truly impressive mistake? And has there ever been a time that you thought you were shooting yourself in the foot, only to discover you’d done exactly the opposite? Let’s share!
AKA: “Where am I today?”
But…first of all, I’m going to SQUEE a few times here so…be prepared.
SQUEE #1…ROD BELCHER IS IN THE HOUSE! A huge warm welcome to one of the nicest men I know, who happens to be a fantastically talented writer (who did a blurb for my Wild West short), RS Belcher! He has joined Magical Words and will be sharing “Quick Tip Tuesdays” with all mighty, David B. Coe. Which puts Mr. Belcher before me each time…which is a bit daunting but I’m going to just sit here and pretend like I’m not a wee bit intimidated………… O_O
*stares at blank page*
Where was I, oh yes…Squeeeeeeeeees…..
SQEE #2…and this one is relevant to today’s post…I am getting published with an agent attached in an anthology based on the work of a New York Times Best Selling Author. She also happens to be a woman I adore, look up to, and love to pieces.
Faith Hunter, who’s new book Blood In Her Veins (short stories with Jane Yellowrock) came out yesterday, has another set of books called the Rogue Mage Series. And she has partnered up with Bella Rosa Books and Lore Seekers Press to bring a 2-book set of short stories about mages all over the world (including Thorn, her main protagonist in her books). See official press release in pic below.
Luckily, I have been asked to write one of these shorts!!!! SQUEE #3!!!!!!
So this brings me to today’s post, which was also a request by another woman I adore (my editor, who is also a writer). For you see, I’ve known about the Rogue Mage Anthology for awhile now…like, I knew about the idea in September and by October I was free-writing concepts. AAAAND that has to do with today’s post how?, you say?
Well…as you know, I’ve also been working on another “small” endeavor, The Curse of Billy the Kid (Historical Fantasy) since that exact same time. So the question posed to me was, “How do you work multiple projects at the same time?” Which I interpret to, “Where am I today?” Am I hangin’ with the boys of the Wild West, wearin’ cowboy boots, vests, high-waisted pants, and ridin’ horses while shootin’ guns at my enemy? OR…am I an India-born, mage girl, in the year 2117 on a pirate ship in Malaysia trying to save my best friend from the clutches of an evil Watcher while saving the world from the Darkness, one girl at a time?
Very. Different. Concepts…Yes?
And here’s the kicker…they have the same deadline.
Yeah, baby! (you have to hear that as if said by Austin Powers for that to make sense)
So yeah, my final draft is due to the publisher by April 1st. My deadline to have the first draft (what I call the Historical Draft) of the BTK book done by April 1st. Oh, and guess when I fly off to New Mexico again! You got it, April 1st. Woooo!
Which begs the question: How is that going to bloody happen with my day job and my dog and my gym time and my need for sleep (which, at my age, is NOT overrated)?
Answer: Organization and Compartmentalization
I don’t work them both at the same time. I don’t write Mettilwynd (yes, that is the current working title of the mage story) on the same day I write The Curse of Billy the Kid (let’s shorten that to TCBTK, because most shorten ‘Billy the Kid’ to BTK). In fact, I’ve been swapping per month. October I free-wrote Mettilwynd. In November (NaNoWriMo Month) I wrote TCBTK only. But at the top of December I signed my contract for the mage anthology and though I planned to work on TCBTK through the holidays, my mage protagonist was WAY too loud now that she had the official “It is on!” flag waved in her face (and you know pirates and flags……just sayin’).
So out of the blue, I jumped to Mettilwynd and I finished it just as we stepped into the new year. Did I go back and edit? Nope! Did I read it? NOPE! I saved it in multiple places and stepped away, heading back into the head of BTK and jumpin’ on horse vs. a ship.
Avery Clark and Gerry Lehane in “Coronado”
The reason is you need to step away to be objective. I’m a wordy girl…we all know that. I’m a novelist, not a short story person, so my first draft of Mettilwynd is just over 12,000 words. It’s supposed to be no more than 8,000. That’s 4,000 words I have to cut. I need to kill my darlings in a BIG way and there is no way I can do that if I just finished it. I need to go fall in love with Billy Bonney and Dick Brewer (not that I fell out of love, but you know what I mean, I have to go feel connected to something other than Katara and her ship for a bit). If I am too tied to Katara and her story, I can’t cut the way I need to.
I learned this from Dennis Lehane on Thanksgiving in 2005 (I was the Stage Manager for his first play, Coronado, which was here in NYC and opened on Dec. 3rd. Because of that…the cast, crew, Dennis, and his girlfriend at the time spent the holiday together since we were in tech the day before and after). I’m going to paraphrase what he said to me that day as we stood on the porch of the building having a cigarette (I quit a year later, fyi) I told him I was working on a book (which, btw, is what ended up two books: Windfire & Living Dead Girl) and that I got stuck around the middle and had written the end and now was going back. He said he did that all the time and I felt so much better. But then he said,
“When you finish, it is a real accomplishment. Do something nice yourself to celebrate. Then put the book in the drawer and forget about it for a few months. Then go back and edit it. When you’ve done a full edit, put it back in the drawer and forget about it for another few months. Then go back again. You need time and distance to be objective.”
Think of it like time away from a significant other who broke up with you. Perspective on that relationship improves with the time spent apart to the point where seeing them doesn’t hurt the same, and eventually you don’t hurt at all (hopefully). Space and time to create that perspective is VERY important, both with lost love and with writing. Also, if you fall for someone new, that helps you separate from the lost love even more.
So that’s what I do all the time. I put one project down and I pick up another. For me it’s not just about time, it’s about focus and being too in love with the work/words to cut them. Space is needed, but when I don’t have months to set something aside, I add in working on something else to help create that distance. I fall in love with a new project and new characters. That way, when I set it down to go back to the other, I’m not as tied to every little thing in the other work. I can kill my darlings easier, faster, and I see things clearer by going away and living in another world. Plus, it’s nice to go back to writing kick ass women in my usual genre for a bit. It helps me go back fresh to the Wild West.
As of Monday I will go back to Mettilwynd. I was going to go back to her on the 1st of February, but I’m not at a good stopping point for TCBTK and it will nag at me too loudly, making it hard to focus. So I have until Sunday night to get that cleaned up. Then it goes in the metaphorical drawer until I finish the next draft of Mettilwynd. Then that will be set aside for a week or two, where I’ll head back to 1878 New Mexico. When that time is up, I’ll head back to pirates and mages and magic, oh my! That is, until it is done (aiming for March 20th). Then I again will set it aside for one week.
On the 27th and 28th I do a reading/cleaning to catch small (or large) errors I didn’t see before and send it off to the publisher on the 29th. On the 30th I’ll dive back into TCBTK and then fly off to New Mexico on April 1st to walk the ground once again where my heroes tread…and get in the headspace to begin filling in the gaps of my story. For the historical draft is exactly what it sounds like. It holds mostly the historical things in order, I then go back and fill in the visual and human aspects around them all.
Will this concept of mine work for everyone? Nope! But I’ve found it works for me and a lot of other folks, so if you are having trouble balancing multiple projects, sit down and make a plan. Organize and compartmentalize the work. Treat it like a job (because it is one, never forget that) and find a schedule that works for you. This will have a really lovely side effect too. It’ll help you use your writing time more wisely and effectively. So it’s a win-win! Ya can’t say no to that!
That’s it for me this time around…until next time, write hard, bathe in imagination, and organize/compartmentalize your projects to not only give yourself the distance you need from them, but to use your writing time more effectively.
Originally from Michigan, Tamsin L. Silver is the creator/writer of two YA Urban Fantasy Series, Windfire and The Sabrina Grayson Novels, as well as the Web Series, Skye of the Damned. She graduated from Winthrop University with a BA in Theatre/Secondary Education and a minor in Creative Writing/Shakespeare. She has taught both middle school and high school theatre and run two successful theater companies, one of which in the place she currently lives: New York City. You can learn more about her and find links to all her things at www.tamsinsilver.com
I want to thank my good friend, David Coe, for such a warm welcome to Magical Words and for the privilege of joining all of you for every other Quick Tip Tuesday. I met David several years ago at DragonCon shortly after my first novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, had been published. David is very kind and he has always been exceedingly generous with his time in answering all of my “newbie” questions.
Even with three published novels, a fourth one being released in March, stories in four anthologies, and three new books under contract for this year, I still learn something new about this business every day, I still feel like “a newbie.”
In terms of the experience I bring to the table, I was a freelance writer and editor for 11 years and wrote for a number of local, state, national and international publications, including Starlog Magazine. In 2006, I was the Grand prize winner of the Star Trek Strange New Worlds contest and had my short story published in the ninth edition of that anthology. I sold Six-Gun Tarot without an agent to Tor Books after pitching the idea to one of their editors at a convention.
I’ve spoken on writing and the process of getting published at numerous conferences and conventions and I’d like to add to all of that a reminder that I discover something I didn’t know about writing and the business of writing every single day. So, please take my advice and musings with a big grain of salt. Your mileage may vary.
With all of that out of the way, I am going to start out with a quick tip, one which I think all the other tools of the discipline of writing can build upon. Can you shovel snow?
We got hit here in Virginia with what many of the locals are calling a “snowpocalypse” a few weeks back. Here in the balmy south, we got hit with about a foot and a half of snow. Once the snow stopped, long after the grocery stores were laid bare of bread, milk, and toilet paper, I decided to shovel us a path out to the main road, which had been plowed clear.
Now, it wasn’t a huge distance to cover, but I had only a trench shovel to use, and I am pushing fifty these days. The fella who used to run two miles a day, lift weights, and was a boxer, well, I haven’t seen him much in the last few years, or pounds. So off I went to blaze a trail to freedom for our car.
I huffed, I puffed, I nearly blew myself down. I stopped a few times to catch my breath, and as the sun dipped and sky got darker, I considered calling it a day and picking up again tomorrow. Inside was warmth and snacks and eight billion cable channels. That was when I realized what I was going to write about in this first post. I kept at the snow, shoveling it a foot at a time, visualizing the path meeting the open road. I shoveled and I shoveled, and I shoveled, and in the end, the path was clear and our car was free. I looked upon my work and it was mighty, indeed!
The most important tip about writing is to never, ever, ever give up on it. A hundred rejection letters, three jobs to pay the bills, doing the laundry, getting the kids to bed, and a million, billion other reasons to stop, to quit shoveling. None of them can stop you. A professional writer must be as stubborn, as determined, as undaunted as a distance runner, as a prize fighter. You must take all the reasons to stop and shake them off and keep going, keep visualizing what you are creating, see the road ahead, and reach it.
That, in my opinion, and in my experience, is the most valuable talent a professional writer can have, the power to keep going when everything in you and around you is screaming to stop. Keep shoveling.
Often times, if it’s a first draft, you may be shoveling something smellier than snow, but that’s a tip for another day.
Thanks for taking the time to read me, and if you have any questions you’d like me to address in Quick Tip Tuesday, please feel free to send them along to me at email@example.com I’ll be happy to do my best to answer you. It’s nice to meet you.
R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter.
Rod has been a private investigator, a DJ, a comic book store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s done Masters work in Forensic Science at The George Washington University and worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for the Virginia General Assembly.
The Grand Prize winner of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Anthology contest, Rod’s short story “Orphans” was published in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 9 published by Simon and Schuster in 2006. It was his first professional fiction sale.
Rod’s first novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, was published by Tor Books in 2013. The sequel, The Shotgun Arcana, was published in 2014 and the third book in the Golgotha series—The Queen of Swords is currently in production. His novel, Nightwise, was released in August 2015, and his latest book, The Brotherhood of the Wheel will be published by Tor in March of 2016. Sequels to both books are forthcoming.
He lives in Roanoke Virginia with his children, Jonathan and Emily.
Contact Rod at:
Facebook: Author RS Belcher
Last month, I talked a bit about the changes present and coming to the publishing industry: the way that mass market paperbacks (the small paperbacks) are slipping away; the way that publishing houses are moving to Trade (the large paperbacks), Hard cover, and E-books; the way that bookstores are going to buy and stock fewer books altogether. A LOT less books; the way that the decreasing amount of shelf space for new books in stores will change the publishing marketplace. Worse – the way that, with fewer large pubs, there will be fewer numbers of writers published. Worst — the way that those fewer numbers of books in houses and on bookshelves means fewer editorial staff kept on hand, fewer PR staff, and all this means more adjustments for unpublished and midlist writers.
These changes have already resulted in a huge transformation in the way readers shop for books, and the way writers will be paid for books. It is also changing the effect of small presses on the readership of the US. And it is driving many more writers to self-publishing. I talked about all that.
Now I want to say that all these changes are placing opportunity in our hands. Yes. Our hands. The hands of the writer. I am not complaining about anything. I am simply seeing what is heading down the highway toward us, and taking a good long look at the publishing realities of the present and near future.
Change is always difficult. Change is another word for stress, even if the stress is good stress. It is enough to make us depressed. It can be enough to make us want to stop writing, or, it will drive us to look for innovative and smart ways to market ourselves and our work.
I have talked to David B Coe and John Hartness about the changing world of publishing and books, and the way that the evolving marketplace is both a help and a hindrance to writers. Being honest here. I have maybe ten more years of good writing in me. I will want to retire at some point and sit on my laurels and maybe take a pottery class or something. And maybe edit books. And only write a book every now and then. In ten years the marketplace may be quite different, and for the younger writers among us, that means keeping abreast of the changes and keeping one foot in several open doors.
Let me address the emotionally charged part of the issue of change. For those who feel the desire to quit, I say this. If writers quit, if we give in to despair, the US literacy rate will bottom out so fast it will feel like a bomb exploding on the Interstate. Pieces everywhere and nothing left but destruction and emptiness. More movies with dreadful dialogue. More TV that sucks. More action flicks with lots of stunts but no story. Fewer and fewer well-edited books… Just more and more of us putting out unedited edging-toward-crapola stories with no idea how to get readership. More and more of us turning to teaching and editing and falling out of the writing marketplace altogether.
We owe it to the future of the country to keep creating good work, to find ways of getting edited (and not by our mothers or English teachers, but edited by *real*developmental editors). We owe it to our readers, whether they be few or many. And we owe it to ourselves to keep writing. To keep finding ways to b published.
Somehow, we have to keep an industry of writing alive. How do we do that? Because really, folks, it’s up to us. It affects all of us. The future is hanging there, in front of us like a rotten apple. Or like a gem waiting for polishing.
In my opinion, all these changes mean three things.
- Creating, developing, and supporting small presses.
- Hiring real editors for our self-pubbed books.
- Finding new ways to cross pollinate the readership.
Next time, I’ll talk about the small press.
PS — Obligatory mention that BLOOD IN HER VEINS is out tomorrow.
Faith’s bio and social media:
BIO — Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE, RPG.
Don’t forget SHADOW RITES, book 10 in the Jane Yellowrock series, out in April 2016. Pre-order now!
BLOOD IN HER VEINS – the (19) collected short stories and novellas of the Jane Yellowrock World. Out in Feb. 2016.
I’m very happy to announce that I will be joined on Quick-Tip Tuesdays by award-winning, critically acclaimed author Rod Belcher.
Rod is not only a good friend, he’s also a great guy and a phenomenal writer who has made guest appearances here before. Author of The Six-Gun Tarot, The Shotgun Arcana, Nightwise, and his latest, The Brotherhood of the Wheel, Rod has a lot to offer to the MW community. He’ll be starting this Tuesday, and then he and I will be alternating week to week.
I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!