For reasons, I’m linking these pages here. If you want to read them, please be my guest! But I’m just going to set them here and go.
For reasons, I’m linking these pages here. If you want to read them, please be my guest! But I’m just going to set them here and go.
Okay, speaking of magazines, let’s be honest about something here: Sure, despite the rise of e-books, print novels will stick around for a very long time. But when it comes to short fiction, print is dead. It’s drawing its last gasps. People just aren’t buying magazines and digests and journals. Yeah, ASIMOV and SF & FANTASY are still around, but they’re published super-cheap and have an old, die-hard readership. REALMS of FANTASY, a slick and popular genre magazine, was saved two or three times before it finally gave up the ghost, and there just isn’t anything waiting in the sidelines.
Conversely, short fiction, especially genre fiction, is as popular as ever! This is where e-publishing has really found a niche. People are reading much more short fiction on devices and the Web, where it’s easy, and even more comfortable, to digest a single serving of fiction on an electronic device than in a cumbersome magazine. The weekly online SF e-magazine, STRANGE HORIZONS, has become quite popular over the last few years. They’re great! But even they have a limit of convenience and enjoyment — they’re still published as a go-and-visit Web page without any of the special features one gets from an e-book device.
Which bring me to APEX MAGAZINE. Sure, you can read them on the Web if you like. But what I love is the fact you can subscribe to them and get them on your e-reader, where you can make notes, add bookmarks, change settings, close and come back . . . all the great things that make reading e-books so convenient! (It’s available as a monthly download in EPUB (Nook and other readers), MOBI (Kindle), and PDF (the dreaded computer screen). But you can also get it as a pushed subscription through Amazon direct to your Kindle… and even if you don’t have an actual Kindle, I bet you have the Kindle reader on your phone and tablet!)
Anyway, each issue of APEX has short fiction — often from award-winning authors — poetry, non-fiction, and fascinating cover art.
So, they’re doing a subscription drive right now because they are a pro ‘zine (meaning: they actually pay their contributors! What an idea, artists getting pay for their work. You can support that, right?) and want to make sure they can continue to provide award-winning material from award-winning authors and writers. It’s like $18 for a year until November 15 (then the price goes back up to normal if you subscribe after that) or $2 an issue through Amazon. That is a great deal! But save $4 and get it by the year.
Here, again, is the link to their subscription drive; at least check it out and consider supporting great genre fiction!
A while back I blogged about my favorite fantasy artist’s health scare. He’s recently had heart surgery, as a good friend and collaborator of his, Emma Bull, also went through a procedure. Naturally, because they’re very hard working, talented writers in America who make their living with the sweat of their brow as artists–they get paid crap and health insurance is likely non-existent for them. (Our country’s insurance-care system is, besides horrific just on its own merit, absolutely cruel to anyone who strives to follow their artistic passions or actually be an entrepreneur certain political groups give lots of lip service supporting… but I digress….) Cory Doctorow, an amazing writer and activist, a favorite author of mine, and someone who has said will never again let his family live in the U.S. because of our insurance-care system, explains the issue in his Boing Boing article.
I’m sorry about the political ranting there, I try to avoid anything political on this site–but this issue, as I’ve discussed before, is greatly important to me: the near inability or anyone in America whose passion is artistic and creative in nature, to be able to devote themselves to their craft, is, in my mind, cruel and completely anti-civilized. Any advanced society should allow their creative citizens as much access to life and health as a wage-slave has, equally. All citizens of an enlightened society should have equal access to life and health.
But, I digress once again.
Forget the politics: If you care at all for helping hard-working writers afford their medical care, please consider donating! Thank you.
Side note: Another most excellent, favorite scifi author of mine, John Scalzi, noticed Brust’s humorous ode to Scalzi’s highly popular blog, “Whatever.” Then, Scalzi featured others setting Brust’s words to music! (I prefer the ukulele.)
First, a quick update on my books. I’m still waiting for Singularity Deferred to get accepted into the premium catalog, which will put the book into Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. Until then, I’m not really advertising in any significant way its existence on Smashwords and Amazon. Once I can officially say, “Available everywhere ebooks are sold,” I’m spamming the world! (Okay, not really. I kinda like not being hated. But I’ll be letting people know, easy like.)
However, without any advertising at all, it’s selling pretty well already, somehow! Eighteen copies in two weeks. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider no marketing, and most self-published people on Smashwords sell 0, that’s not bad! My ultimate goal is to be able to sell enough on this book and my short story collection, to be able to make a car payment a month. With the next book, up that to rent each month. I think it’s do-able.
Brust & artists
So, Steven Brust is one of my all-time favorite writers, let alone fantasy writers. I’ll explain in a later post how I first got introduced to his work, the Dragaera series, and how he took the time to reply to an email way back in ’96, and his opening the door for my exploring Marxian criticism. My novel I just spoke of, Singularity Deferred–while I don’t directly imitate his style, the voice of his hero, Vlad Taltos, who is usually the 1st-person narrator of the Dragaera books, it was a very heavy influence.
Anyway, so, he posted on his blog several days ago a recent health scare he suffered. A potentially very serious health scare! After Maurice Sendak’s recent passing, my thoughts have turned to the mortality of the people who inspire you, and I’m both depressed and, ironically, gladdened that they had the chance to affect my life. I do hope Brust continues to have a long and healthy life. …and not just because he must finish his Vlad books! *evil grin* But seriously: his flair, his hat and mustache, his music and Renaissance Fair panache, would be sorely missed — even by those of us who have never met him.
On a related note, this part of his post disturbs me greatly:
I’m told I could use an operation to insert something into my chest that will shock my heart if it goes into, uh, I don’t remember. Ventrical a-fib, maybe? But it’s supposed to keep me alive. I can no more afford the operation than I can pay the hospital bills I just incurred, BUT….
I met with a social worker, who seems confident she can get me heath care–enough to help with those bills[…]
The U.S. is the only modern nation in which people go without lifesaving healthcare because they can’t afford it. Now, I try not to get political on this blog (that’s what Facebook is for), except when critiquing a work, but this very directly affects artists, like us writers. If you live in the U.S., it’s almost impossible to be an artist unless you’re single, young and healthy, and can risk living without health insurance. (Technically, no one can risk being without health insurance, considering everything from a car wreak to cancer can happen to you no matter what your age.)
The only reason I can’t devote myself full-time to my writing, the reason it’s taken me years to write anything significant, and I can’t put more writing out in a timely manner, much less make my publishing imprint viable, is because I’m forced to treat all that as a hobby in my spare time as I have to work full-time for the health insurance to cover my family. Don’t get me wrong, I like my full-time day job OK–it could be worse. But I’m trapped and chained to a job that’s my second choice, unable to do what I love, because of our country’s for-profit insurance-based “healthcare” system.
I’ve seen blog after blog, post after post, article after article, of people in Canada and Europe, who are able to spend those crucial early years honing their craft by throwing themselves completely into it, unafraid of how they’re going to be able to afford a broken leg or a bout of pneumonia, knowing there’s no such thing as going bankrupt for having the audacity to want to be healthy and well.
Okay, again, sorry for the rant; I promise it’s a rare occasion. The subject just really, really bothers me. People whose occupation is to write our culture’s novels, paint our art, compose our music, shouldn’t be forced to choose among not doing those things, becoming financially ruined paying the bills for staying alive despite producing a career full of works, or choosing to not have medically necessary treatments. Nobody should be forced to die because they can’t afford life-saving treatment.
Xeni Jardin of, among other things, BoingBoing.net, has been posting healthcare relevant articles lately as she’s been dealing with her own cancer. One recent article has a collection of stories by people in the U.S. who have had family members who have died from disease because they couldn’t afford the treatments and chose not to tell their family about it until too late, so as to spare them the financial ruin and destitution of medical costs.
And, unlike every other modern nation, we’ve set ours up so that our artists and creators are unfairly more often than not the victims of this for-profit health care insurance system. It’s very depressing.
Well, the Kickstarter project to publish my novel, Singularity Deferred, is nearly over, but it’s far from successful. Despite the contribution of some very generous people, it doesn’t look like it’s going to reach the goal. The various places I planned on promoting the project hadn’t turned out quite the way I’d hoped. For example, just as I sent my promotional material to Dragon Page: Cover to Cover, they decided to stop putting out episodes.
However, I have one last hope: a favorite author of mine, John Scalzi, is actually allowing people to promote their Kickstarter in a special thread every Wednesday! I’ve set up an alarm to remind myself to post there promptly the next two weeks before the Kickstarter ends.
Some significant changes coming in my day job very shortly. We’ll see how that affects my writin’ n’ publishin’ work shortly.
And finally, in update news, my cold’s just about subdued enough to be a non-issue. I plan on recording chapter 6 tomorrow evening. Then, look for the official beginning of the novel draft exercise I mentioned last week.
Well, it has begun. My Kickstarter project to help fund the production, printing, and distribution of my novel, Singularity Deferred, has been approved and it’s live! In 29 days from this moment, we shall see if there’s enough interest in the novel to have allowed it to be brought to life! So clap as hard as you can or the fairy dies!
If you have somehow accidentally stumbled upon this post and have no idea what’s going on: check out the novel info here: http://www.tragic-sans.com/stories/singularity-deferred/.
If you’re totally up to speed, like what you see, and want to pledge some bucks, please visit the Kickstarter! But, even more importantly, if you wouldn’t mind spreading the word and giving other people the opportunity to take a look and see if it’s something they’d like to support–I’d really appreciate it!
Did I mention there’s some cool reward incentives? From autographed copies of the book, up to being able to name a ship or character in the novel!
Well, with bated breath, I begin a month of obsessive webpage reloading. 🙂
Funny, it’s never occurred to me to post more regularly, like my heroes John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, Patrick Rothfuss, and Charles Stross, so that I can just do regular posts and not silly, bloated “update” posts. Funny; I should really start considering that. 😛
But anyway, here’s a bloated “update” post:
I just updated this site to remove the option of buying individual short stories (silly idea in the first place) to link to where they can be bought for soopercheep on Smashwords in one collection. As of this writing, only $1.49 for all five stories. However, starting tomorrow (Sunday, March 4), you can take advantage of the Smashwords Ebook Week promotion and get 25% off ($1.12 if my maths is right–and if not, that explains my English degrees….).
Enough hawking. What else is going on? Well, as this wonderful, funny, and very very accurate post, “25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called Aspiring Writers,” so ardently proclaims: a writer writes! I’ve been… not writing as much lately, so much as, doing stuff around the subject of writing. That is, I’ve been editing my novel, and looking for publishers and agents. I’ve got a feeler out for one agent in particular that I would really like to work with and I’m eagerly awaiting his reply. But, if he, like So. Very. Many. agents and editors out there, aren’t taking on any more submissions — I’m pulling the trigger on self-publishing this novel with the help of Kickstarter.
The novel’s been heavily edited, it’s been workshopped, it’s ready to see the light of day. And I’ve been setting up the framework to get it done: pricing marketing materials, proofing services, Lulu versus CreateSpace, and recording the audiobook to put out as a free trial of the book itself. (A tactic heavily recommended by such self-made successful authors like Scott Sigler and JC Hutchins. (At least, I’m pretty sure they advocate it. I mean, they did it when they got started. It could have been another writing hero of mine, Michael A. Stackpole, who is, while also a NY Times bestselling author, a huge self-publishing advocate. And while he furiously reminds authors to never forget the self-marketing, I’m not sure he’d advocate giving something like an audiobook away for completely free. *shrug*)
Anyway, so I’m getting that all ready to go.
I’m also working on an “Inception” role-playing game rules set. It uses Savage Worlds as its basic rules, but then it incorporates a Jenga tower (as inspired by Chad’s “Lucid” RPG). My version is a lot more crunchy than “Lucid,” and I’ll be play testing it next week. When I’m done, of course I’ll put it out for free, considering all the copyrights I’d probably break otherwise.
I’m also working on a new story that’s been flitting around my mind for a while. It’s a tough little thing to write, though. I know how it must start, I know how it must end, and I know some stops in between, but getting the points to connect has been a challenge.
And I’m working on the outline for my next novel: a YA fantasy inspired by my daughter’s imaginings once as we hiked a trail. I’m sure people will want a sequel to the novel I’ve already finished (my test readers sure do!) But this one needs to be written first.
And, finally, I’m working on a “shard,” or adventure for the Fading Suns RPG. It’s essentially writing on spec: one writes a shard, and submits it for potential approval. If they like it, they may send something more my way. I so very much want to write for them, for this world! I fell in love with the Fading Suns setting and story when I discovered the “Emperor of the Fading Suns” computer game, circa 1996, and discovered it came from an RPG. Ever since, I’ve been semi-obsessed! I really want the shard to be my top priority; I desperately want to write for this system. Especially as their new edition comes out later this year! But, alas, I’ve all of the above to try to get put away.
And that’s my writing life right now. Hopefully I can start posting the cool and interesting things that come my way near daily. So, Until next time….
I’m of two minds on this article: On the one hand, copyright law is completely effed (thank you, Disney!) and should be scrapped and rewritten for the 21st century. Artists should be free to use others’ works to create new art, providing a. credit and attribution is given appropriately, and b. the original work is kept available for anyone to view/read/buy etc.
On the other hand, as it is, the Philip K. Dick estate has been very lenient in allowing others to play with his stories — very lenient (I’m looking at you, “Next” and “Paycheck.”) The estate is simply wanting to get what was previously agreed and promised to them, and they’re certainly in the right for that! In this case, the studio is simply looking for a loophole to avoid their obligations (as is their usual M.O.).
As a freakin huge fan of PKD, even with business ethics that put the estate in the right, aside, I want the estate to win. But I must still admit — I think the film was much better than the story, which suffers from PKD’s too-often emotionally sterile style.