Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Business of Writing: "On The Books" Does Book Covers

This week's episode of "Geek Gab: On The Books", Dragon-Award winner Brian Niemeier talks with author Yakov Merkin on Yakov's new book, A Greater Duty, and how he got long-time Palladium Books artist John Zelezink to do the cover. In so doing, they talked about commissioning works for your own books, a valuable conversation for all of the independent authors out there looking to actually get paid for their work. Put this in your Watch Later queue; you'll want to revisit it when you're ready for this step.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Observation on the Business of Writing

First, I sent off my submission to Cirsova. Fingers crossed. Eyeing a few others that do short stories, so I'll see to sending them something in the near future.

Now, I've been following Nick Cole and Russel Newquist's blogging about the business side of writing, and Russel in particular has had quite a bit to say on marketing yourself and your wares as of it. His most recent post confirmed what I'd suspected for some time, that this is as much (if not more) art than science, and as such I've taken to thinking about how I'm going to go about this thing.

The "do a series" thing keeps showing itself as valid, so that's on the table. Not writing fucking obese tomes of filler is also on the table. I have one manuscript ready for revision into a series, and the new giant robot stories are meant to be a series also; the idea being to come up with stuff that's evergreen for me, and easily forkable should the audience attach itself to something or someone that I did not expect. I'm planning for the unexpected.

But the thing that keeps coming back to me is that novels need to return to the short lengths that they had before the Big 5 had its brains eaten by the first wave of SJWs and suddenly book lengths got fatter than George R.R. Martin. 40-60,000 words is more than enough to tell a complete novel-length story, as Michael Moorcock demonstrated back in his heyday, and as the primary means of book-selling is now digital (be the book itself in print or not), shelf space (the excuse for the fat fucking folios) is not at issue anymore. There's no good reason to not write a lean manuscript. So that's what I'm aiming for. Good enough for Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, so good enough for me.

Time to get on with the outlining.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Greatest Game Goes Universal

Homsar Delgana arrived at the Universal Headquarters for the Patrol, a building as old--yet plain and austere--in its style as his own gray uniform. The white marble made it seem like a ground-level cloud against Terra's blue skies on clear days. A young man, a Patrol cadet, greeted him as he exited the car.

"Good morning, sir." the young man said, saluting while in his full dress black-with-silver trim uniform, "The Grand Coordinator expects you."

"Good morning, cadet." Homsar said with a smile, "Take care. This thing's an antique."

"Yes, sir. Very good, sir." The cadet got in the car and drove into the parking garage underground. Homsar chuckled as he saw the cadet struggle a bit to control the old thing, but the youth got the hang of it fast. Homsar resolved to send a note of appreciation to his commander after this.

Homsar entered the building, saluting the Patrolman on sentry duty. "Homsar Delgana, Unattached. The Grand Coorindator expects me."

The young Patrolman stood ready with a blaster and wore a personal screen over his full dress uniform. He stood there a moment, and Homsar knew that the man had sent word telepathically, as per protocol. Homsar felt the remove presence of the man he came to see, and knew what the Patrolman would say next.

"You may pass, Homsar Delgana. Have a nice day." he said, and the Patrolman took his hand off his weapon to unbar the way.

Homsar passed through the ground floor lobby to where the lifts to various levels went. No doors or cars were part of this system for centuries now, as the lift shafts themselves were open. Homsar turned on his personal inertialess drive, reached inside for one of the handles and pulled himself in and up. Up and up and he went until he reached the top floor a couple of minutes later. He stood at the top doorway for a moment, and then switched off his drive- a habit of his space-faring profession, even when velocities are so low as in personal travel over short distances under controlled conditions.

Homsar threw his announcement ahead telepathically, so the secretary at the door just smiled at him as he entered the room. Homsar remembered to give that girl another date soon as he passed her, smiling at nodding at her, and then he entered his superior's office.

"Homsar Delgana, Unattached, reporting as requested." Homsar saluted and stood at attention.

His superior rose from his desk, itself just off-center of a room design that better resembled a Command Center than an administrative office. The man was white-haired, yet still in fighting shape, and wore the same plain and austere gray uniform.

"At ease, Lensman." the man said, "This conversation is under Seal."

Homsar relaxed into parade rest, and switched from speaking to thinking as a Sealed conversation required.

"I presume this is about my report, sir." Homsar said.

"My sisters and I took to your report with great interest. Complete, concise, comprehensive- and concerning."

"And my proposal?"

The room's screens turned into a series of detailed maps of the galaxies of Civilization. "Your review of the actions leading up to the fall of Boskone, and then the subsequent measures to mop-up the remnants, in like of the position that the Arisians found themselves in prompted Mentor to visit us for the first time in years."

"Openly so?"

"For us, and our immediate counsel, yes. You were away at the time, as were the others I've decided to invite to participate in this operation."

The Grand Coordinator pointed to the screens. "While we reviewed and discussed your report, the stellar cartography scout reports came in. The results for the five galaxies closest to Civilization are on the screens."

Homsar looked at the screens. While it was well-known that the Second Galaxy had uncanny similarities to the Milky Way, most dismissed it as anomalous. But what Homsar saw did not allow for random chance; each of the five galaxies before him were nothing more than variations of the Milky Way.

"Sir, this is not accidental." Homsar said, "Furthermore, this means that the conditions that produced Boskone and Civilization alike exist in each of these near-identical clones of our own galaxy."

"You're correct, Homsar. The scouts, those that survived, did find threats in each galaxy compatible to Boskone."

"Yet we are not expanding the Patrol to confront any of them."

"Not directly." the Grand Coordinator walked up to Homsar and clapped him on the shoulder, "But you're up for the job. I want you to become Galactic Coordinator for one of these five galaxies. Your primary task will be the Mentor to their civilized peoples, and in that way you will be responsible for expanding Civilization- and with it, the Patrol. What do you say?"

Homsar smiled. "Challenge accepted, sir! Just let me read the scouting reports, pick one, and I'll get to work."

"Good. When you and the other four are ready, the five of you will report to Arisia. You're going to need to be Second-Stage Stable to pull this off."

"When do the others get here?"

"They're waiting for you in the War Room."

* * * * *

"Welcome to P-Galaxy Headquarters, Coordinator." a young Patrol officer said to Homsar, "We're at the optimum range for telepathic communication with the other galaxies. Where do we start?"

Homsar looked at a picture of a pyramid-like building with the middle missing. "Here, Lieutenant. The core of our galaxy's corps has to have men like the ones reported at this laboratory. I also want a full investigation of this 'photon' power that they've got here, and see how it compares to something out of G-Galaxy."

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Dance Card To Date

Now that Cirvosa is open for submissions, this is what my dance card looks like for writing projects:

  • Anthology: Waiting for Jesse to get back to me.
  • Cirvosa: Time carved out this weekend to hammer one out.
  • Giant Robot: Still gathering ingredients; there's some world-building questions that need answering and I lack information required to do so, and those answers directly shape the plot's direction.
  • 10K Pots: I figured out how to write the damned thing. Answering that quest solved the structure problem for the book.

And that's not including the ongoing effort to learn the business side of writing, which why when I see posts like what Brian Niemeier put out today at his blog or what Russell Newquist the other day posted at his blog I pay attention and read it at least twice. Once I've got stuff to flog, I know that this will be necessary towards getting people to pay me for it.