A few days ago I received an email from PMI Publishing. You probably haven’t heard of them – they don’t publish books, or magazines or short stories. Apparently they’re a promotions agency. Nothing wrong with that – lots of folks employ promo people to help get the word out about their careers. But this particular email made me uncomfortable. Let me share the bulk of the email with you, so you can get where I’m coming from.
“We just signed an exclusive deal with the three monthly publications in Florida to provide book reviews. As part of our agreement we are required to review between 36 and 64 books over the course of the next 12 months, which will appear in print. There is no cost for the review.
Our goal is to provide a win-win scenario for both our client and for you, the [...]
Continue reading Get What You Don’t Pay For
A couple of weeks ago, Diana mentioned in a post the latest publishing kerfuffle, which pits Barnes & Noble against Simon & Schuster. (Feel free to check out Di’s post, as well as the other posts to which she links. I’ll wait.) The issues in this fight, as with so many other publishing industry conflicts, are murky at best. When corporate behemoths do battle, it’s hard to take sides because neither entity is terribly sympathetic. But you can always count on one thing: Whatever costs the giants incur as a result of their disagreement will be passed on a) to authors, and b) to consumers. Certainly that has been the case this time around.
I bring this up because lately I have been feeling deeply frustrated by this business and my precarious-as-always place in it. I’m a mid-lister. I’m not one of fantasy/science fiction’s big names. I’m too old to [...]
Continue reading A Writer’s Manifesto: The Doubts and Resolve of a Midlister
Or I could call this — The InfoDump of Morality
This will be my last infodump post, because I’ve said it all, or enough of it to stop. No one here needs every instance of possible infodump-ery listed and suggestions of ways to avoid it. We are writers. Give us an idea and we can twist it every which way all by ourselves. But I want to make one last (short) note on infodumps, and to me this is a biggie. Morality.
In each fantasy novel, in each fantasy world, we (the writers) incorporate the concept of morality. It may not be by intent, and, in fact, we may desire to avoid the idea of morality in our books entirely. But it always sneaks in.
Sometimes it is the morality of religion, and we keep a handy list of “Thou Shalts” or “Thou Shalt Nots” beside us while we write. Sometimes [...]
Continue reading The Infodump Scene Part Last — Morality
Let me start by wishing all of you a happy 2013 filled with challenges, successes, and new creative endeavors. I also want to comment on something Misty said last week — the whole “whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll do throughout the year” thing. I spent New Year’s Day dealing with a mild case of food poisoning, so I’m really hoping that Misty’s got that one wrong. Nothing personal, Darlin’; I just have other plans for 2013.
I usually use my first post of the year to write about goals for the coming months — things I want to accomplish, improve upon, etc. But it seems to me that my last several of these New Year’s posts have been pretty much the same. So let me just say for the record that I plan to work hard this year; that I plan to promote the second [...]
Continue reading Creative Intersections: Point of View and Worldbuilding
My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.
As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that all [...]
Continue reading Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)
I’ve been in Huntsville, Alabama this weekend, attending ConStellation as their Literary Guest of Honor. It’s been a good con. They’ve treated me well and worked me hard, which is just as it should be. But that didn’t leave me a whole lot of time for writing my post, and so for that reason I’m going to take a one week hiatus from my various post-series that I have ongoing on MW right now (Writing and Fear; Ideas)
But I did want to comment on something that happened this past week (and was brought to my attention by our own Mindy Klasky). Amazon.com has started ranking authors by sales numbers — or “popularity,” as they put it. Apparently it’s no longer enough for the folks at Amazon to drive us authors to distraction with the sales rankings of our individual books. Now they’ve decided to rank us, too, to make [...]
Continue reading Amazon, Popularity, and a List that We Really Don’t Need
Yeah, I can’t say that this is going to be the most extensive post of my Magical Words career. I’m still at Dragon*Con with Faith, Misty, A.J., Kalayna, Lucienne, John, James, and a host of other friends and fellow writers. It’s been a great con thus far, and I know that today will be a great end to the extended weekend. It’s also been pretty interesting, what with amazing costumes, fun panels, and some laugh-filled delicious meals.
I have learned this week that THIEFTAKER is not the easiest book to classify. On Saturday, I was on three panels in a row: One on Alternate History, the next on Urban Fantasy, and the last on Steampunk. Now, I think we can all agree that THIEFTAKER is not Steampunk. But it does have certain elements of the subgenre — the emphasis on altered history, the use of atmospheric setting, the role of magic. [...]
Continue reading Dragon*Con and Tricorn Punk