Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

My good buddy and editor Joshua Essoe has succeeded in pulling me out of guest blog hibernation. The result is this incredibly strange post I wrote over at The Fictorians for those considering going indie. It features some good resources, and even a little advice (warning: the advice comes from me).

I need to add a lot of new bloggers’ reviews of The Black God’s War to my ‘book’ page above, but here’s one I have to share today. This one felt like a soul kiss. Thank you, Nina Post! It’s all good. We’re both married.

p.s. the email notifications haven’t been working on my blog recently. If you got an email about this one, there are three recent posts you may have missed, including a post about where the heck I’ve been for the last five months. EDIT: Those darn notifications still aren’t working. Hmph.

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Reddit is pretty cool. It’s a massive online community with countless  forums devoted to different topics.

I’m hosting an AMA (“ask me anything”) in the r/Fantasy forum as an independent author who debuted my first novel this year. Here’s the link to the thread, and you’re invited to participate or just read along if you’re curious about my book or indie publishing. You can also win a trade paperback copy of my book.

So far, I’m the only indie author who has hosted an official AMA in this huge r/fantasy forum. It’s incredible to see my name on the list of AMAs with Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss above, and Robin Hobb and Brandon Sanderson below. One of these names is not like the others. Thanks for your support, r/fantasy!

p.s. 2012 is gonna kick ass. Thanks to Monique Martin for the graphic.


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I knew I had to record a little bit of history when I saw this in my World Fantasy Convention 2011 program:

Founders of Steampunk - Saturday, 1:00 pm

Steampunk was first defined in a letter over 20 years ago. The writer of that letter, and two of the authors whose work helped define the subgenre, talk about their inspirations and look at where steampunk literature has gone.

John Berlyne (M), James Blaylock, K. W. Jeter, Tim Powers

The panel was fascinating, and a lot of fun too. K.W. Jeter (the man who coined the term ‘steampunk’) was hilarious. You can find his novels at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When I talked to him, he was especially enthusiastic about his new Kim Oh books.

If you like the video, please share it with someone else who might enjoy it.

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Welllll, not quite. But the Indie Book Podcast did (in an audio review), and they filled in nicely. Spoiler: Two thumbs up. They talked about The Black God’s War for about 7 minutes, and I really loved hearing their thoughts (I especially loved that Jane liked Narayani, Aayu, and Duilio–three of my characters that don’t usually get as much love as the others). I also found their criticisms right on the mark and helpful.

IndieBookPodcast.com is a book review podcast that focuses on indie/self-published books and news about indie publishing. Next week, their episode will also feature a brief interview with me.

Thanks very much, Jane!

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Remember back in February when Apple rejected Sony’s ebook app? I haven’t heard much about this recently. And after googling and reading for a few hours, I haven’t found any significant recent news.

Apple is still blocking Sony’s app. Sony has since threatened to pull their music from iTunes (that would include Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Bob Dylan, among others) and Sony appears to be moving toward options that will allow them to do that. Some have speculated that Sony’s app was rejected because they tried to offer their own in-app purchasing method (i.e. one that did not give Apple a cut and may have had other security issues), but I can’t confirm that as a fact, and from all I can find this seems to be false. I found one of the first blogs that first brought up this theory, and I think that blog post misunderstood the other two blogs that it linked to to back up this claim. For example, read the “Update” part of this blog (Sony’s rejected app sounds just like other ebook apps). And Apple’s own statements sound different:

“We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.”

Apple isn’t talking about Sony offering their own in-app purchasing method. Apple is talking about wanting Sony to offer a way for people to buy Sony ebooks through the Sony ebook app, which would give Apple a 30% cut of those sales. Also known as $$$.

If this policy were applied to, say, Amazon, this could potentially make it impossible to access your kindle books through Apple apps, if Amazon doesn’t change its apps to allow for in-app purchases. Which, of course, Amazon wouldn’t want to do because that would mean paying Apple 30% on those sales and Apple already pays independent authors 70% in many, if not most, cases. The same could be said for Barnes and Noble/Nook, Kobo, etc., with slightly different royalty figures. But Apple hasn’t forced this issue yet, and they might not ever force the issue on any other company besides Sony.

Unless I’m missing something, Apple is preventing Sony from being able to do something that Apple continues to allow Amazon and B&N (and other companies) to do. That is, sell ebooks through an app for iPads and iPhones by taking customers to a web browser to make those purchases (without also having an in-app purchase option). Apple says it is going to start to enforce its written policy, thereby forcing apps to also offer the option to purchase ebooks through the actual apps, where Apple takes 30% of those transactions. But it hasn’t forced Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Kobo to do that yet.

iConfused.

For now, it looks like Apple has fired only on Sony, leaving Amazon and B&N to wonder if they’re going to be shot at next. But before you worry too much, I think there’s a good chance that Apple won’t fire the same cannons on Amazon and B&N, because that fight would get really ugly and it could also get Apple into some serious antitrust issues.

Let’s hope Apple doesn’t push the issue any further, because could mean more restricted access to ebooks for Apple customers and lower royalties for authors.

By the way, if you know anything else about what’s going on with this issue, please feel free to mention it in the comments. I feel like I have a decent grasp on what’s going on now, but it hasn’t been easy to sort out all the facts from the fiction. Speaking of which, I need to go write some fiction.

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If you want to succeed, hang out with unsuccessful people. Er, am I remembering that right?

If you want to get somewhere, don’t ask for directions. Wait, that’s not how it goes.

If you want to master something, don’t learn from the mistakes of the masters. Hm. That just sounds wrong.

Because I don’t subscribe to the above philosophies, I’ve attended two of the Superstars Writing Seminars. I went there to hang out with some bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors to soak up their best advice about the business of writing. These events last three full days, and they’re chock full of great information.

I could never do justice to everything there is to learn from these seminars in one blog post, but here’s one thing I learned.

Successful writers don’t just write, they write their ____ off.

Brandon Sanderson writes a few books a year, making time to squeeze Wheel of Time tomes into his schedule. Kevin J. Anderson dictates his stories into a digital recorder while hiking the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He also rents hotel rooms to get away from everyone (p.s. if my wife is reading this, I love you, Honey!) and write his ____ off. Eric Flint writes in binges that last for weeks and during those times, he is dead to the outside world.

Kevin J. Anderson says something obvious, but powerful: The top professionals in any respected field (medicine, law, you name it) WORK real, disciplined, long hours at their jobs, and then enjoy the fruits of their labor. When you have a ‘real job,’ you keep a schedule and you punch that clock. Serious writers shouldn’t expect to do any less. Kevin recently talked to the Writing Excuses guys about this very thing.

David Farland (Dave Wolverton) is also a Superstars’ presenter. In addition to hanging out with Dave at two Superstars seminars, I also attended his “Writer’s Death Camp” last November. What I’ve learned from Dave is hard to summarize in a flashy bullet point. I’ve learned from him so many fine points on the craft and business of writing, little things that can make all the difference. If you subscribe to his free Daily Kick emails, you’ll see what I mean.

A funny thing happened in one of Dave’s Daily Kick emails last week. Out of the blue, he said some exceedingly kind things about me and my work in his Daily Kick about “The Dangers of Self-Publishing.” Yep, this was a nice surprise. Now the following quote lives at the top of my ebook’s Amazon page:

“Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow … maybe his project will turn him into the next Amanda Hocking. Personally, I really enjoyed Moses’s work.”
–David Farland, NYT Bestselling author of The Runelords

Though this came as a surprise to me, this quote would’ve never happened had I not made a decision to hang out with some successful authors, to appreciate what they had to share with me (p.s. thanks, Dave), and to just be myself around them.

Here’s another cool thing I lucked into. At the end of the first Superstars seminar, I was hanging around the nearly empty conference room when I saw Brandon Sanderson reading the first few pages of someone’s manuscript. So I walked over to listen to the advice Brandon had for (someone who is now my friend) Joshua Essoe. Brandon asked if I had something he could read.

Uh. Yeah?

So he did. He gave me some great feedback on my first chapter, told me the story was strong enough that he’d continue reading if he was an editor, and then helped me with a technical issue I was struggling with at the time. I can’t tell you how how helpful his comments were.

Then at the second Superstars seminar, I got to sit and have dinner with Brandon and a handful of other seminar attendees. I got to pick his brain about which editors might be a good or a bad fit for me at different publishing houses, and again I learned a lot (thanks again, Brandon).

I also interviewed Brandon, Howard, and Dan from Writing Excuses at the recent conference, as well as Sherrilyn Kenyon (that interview will be up any day now at Adventures In SciFi Publishing), and I got to film a couple episodes of Writing Excuses (thanks, guys) that featured Mary Robinette Kowal and David Farland.

If there’s a takeaway from my ramblings, maybe it’s to spend time with writers you emulate, whether it’s at workshops, seminars, conferences, blogs, or even on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t do it with the mindset of getting anything from them, other than an education. Be yourself, be positive and grateful, and something–hopefully whatever you need most–will definitely rub off on you.

Oh yeah. And if you want to be a writer, write your ____ off.

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If you don’t subscribe to David Farland’s Daily Kick, a free email service that shares outstanding advice about the business and craft of writing, what are you waiting for? (look for the sign-up box on the right, through that link.)

Here’s today’s installment. I decided to mention it because, well, you’ll see. He mentioned me. This will give you an example of a wonderful free service Dave offers. I may write a blog post later this week to add to some of the points Dave made.

Everything below the following line is from David Farland’s Daily Kick, 2/14/11 (and not written by me):

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David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—The Dangers of Self-Publishing

Friday I wrote about Amanda Hocking’s tremendous rise to becoming a bestseller through self-publishing her e-books. I’ve heard from a lot of fans lately who want to give that a try, and by all means, if you think that you’ve got the chops, give it a try.

But let me warn you of the danger first. Unfortunately, you are not your own best critic. Nor is your spouse or your mother or your neighbor your best critic. As a result, when you think that you’re ready to publish, in most cases you’re not.

Time and time again, I find writers who are almost delusional. They’re like the singers that tried out in Hollywood last week on American Idol. They were by far the worst that the country had seen. For some reason, Hollywood attracts delusional people.

Because writers aren’t their own best critics, we often hear stories like the one told by Raymond Feist recently. He got a knock on his door, and when he answered, the fellow at the door said, “I’ll be you’ve never talked to a real author before!” Ray, who has sold millions and millions of books, just laughed and said, “Buddy, I think you’ve got the wrong house.” But the fellow persisted and showed Ray his two self-published novels. They were printed to a high quality, which showed that the fellow had some taste, and so Raymond bought them and the fellow went off to schlep his works door-to-door. Raymond then read the first few pages of one and said that it was one of the worst novels that he’d ever seen.

I’ve done that same experience on more than one occasion, picked up a self-published novel only to see a dozen horrible mistakes—everything from typos to misspellings and just genuinely terrible prose—all within two pages.

So I’m worried that in the rush of self-published authors this year, we’re going to see a lot of people embarrass themselves. More importantly, you might actually hurt your career.

Let’s say that you put up a book that isn’t quite ready, and it gets twenty reviews on line, and most of them pan your book. How easy do you think it will be to sell your next book, or the one after that? Those negative reviews will never go away, and they’ll dog you. Indeed, they’ll destroy the name that you’re trying to create for yourself.

So don’t rush to publish in e-book format.

Please be aware that I’m not saying “Don’t publish.” I’m just urging you to be careful.

Last year I won the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year with a book that I self-published. When I won the award, Howard Tayler, the self-published author of the famous Schlock Mercenary cartoons, said, “You know, Dave, you’ve just done a world of damage. You self-published for all of the wrong reasons: your mother begged you to do it. You didn’t want to take your regular publisher’s advice. Then to top it off, you sold all of your stock, got great reviews, and won a major award. I keep telling people not to self-publish, even though I’m making my own living at it, and now you come along and just reinforce the wrong message.”

Howard is right of course. Both of us were publishing to small market shares, where self-publishing made a little more sense, and we both succeeded, just as Amanda Hocking is succeeding, and some of you are succeeding.

One of my friends and past students, Moses Siregar, I just found out, is at the top of Amazon’s sales charts with his epic fantasy THE BLACK GOD’S WAR. Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow. But Moses also knows the risks. I recently heard some other New York Times bestselling writers tell him, “Moses, don’t self-publish!” They pointed out the risks. I then told him, “You know, Moses, I hate to say this, but I think you’ll do it. You’re savvy enough to know what you need to do in order to self-publish well, and I think that you should go ahead.” Now, four weeks later, he’s doing great. So go check out his book at:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Gods-War-Introducing-ebook/dp/B003Z0D2HK

It will only cost a dollar, and if Moses gets the velocity he needs, maybe his project will turn him into the next Amanda Hocking. Personally, I really enjoyed Moses’s work.

Oh, and don’t self-publish! For every one who succeeds, there will be hundreds who will destroy a potential career. Recognize that when you self-publish, you might just be gambling with your career.

Announcing:

Ken Scholes will be speaking to us next on the Farland’s Author’s Advisory Confernce Calls and you are invited to attend at no charge, as always. Mark your calendar, the date is Thursday, February 24th, 9:00 p.m. EST.

Ken is the author of LAMENTATION, and the topic will be “Self-Awareness: an author’s first best tool.”

To get on the call, dial 1-218-862-7200. When the line picks up, dial the calling code, which is 245657. The call is free, long distance charges apply.

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David Farland

David Farland

I attended David Farland’s “Writers’ Death Camp” last month and enjoyed a rip-roarin’ conversation with him about:

  • Dave’s Midas Touch
  • Stephanie Meyer
  • Working with Blizzard on Starcraft
  • The Superstars Writing Seminar
  • Publishing Trends
  • Changes in the Market
  • Ebooks
  • Self-Publishing
  • The good commercial potential for Young Adult
  • Writers with million-dollar houses in Rumania that they don’t know about.

Wanna hear it? Here it go.
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Interview with Guy Gavriel Kay, author of Under HeavenAt the World Fantasy Convention 2010, I interviewed Guy Gavriel Kay for the Adventures In SciFi Publishing podcast, a site featuring over 100 interviews with some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, plus news and book reviews (I am also the News Manager there).

The interview lasted about 45 minutes, covering a wide range of topics from Tolkien to handling criticism to his latest novel Under Heaven to writing with themes in mind (and many more …).

Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay should especially enjoy it, as well as anyone interested in learning from one of the literary giants in the field of Fantasy literature.

To hear the interview on the podcast, click here: Guy Gavriel Kay Interview.

Thanks very much for the interview, Guy!
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There’s a wealth of free video footage from the first Superstars Writing Seminar available on YouTube. Some of the topics on that YouTube channel include publishing myths, agents, self-promotion, increasing writing productivity, economics for writers, novel contracts, collaboration, self-publishing, networking, and many more (including Dan Wells on story structure).

I attended the actual seminar in March of this year, had a great time meeting other writers (aspiring and pro), and found the material enlightening. More than anything for me, it was a priceless chance to look inside the minds of a handful of best-selling authors and to try to absorb as much as possible by osmosis. I also got to ask more questions than I should’ve been allowed to ask!

There will be another Superstars Writing Seminar January 13th-15th, 2011 in Salt Lake City, UT. The presenters are Kevin J Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Farland, Eric Flint, and Rebecca Moesta. I found all of these speakers to be very friendly and helpful at the first event (all of them were at the first event, except for Sherrilyn Kenyon). I even video-interviewed a few of them while I was there (Sanderson, Farland/Wolverton, and Flint)

At the event, I also filmed some attendees who talked about their opinion of the seminar. One of them was Marc Scott Zicree, a multi-talented Hugo and Nebula award nominee. Here’s Marc talking about the Superstars seminar (the YouTube channel that the testimonial is on also has three others, including one from the awesome Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl):

I’m going to attend the next event as well, because anything worth hearing once is worth hearing twice (thick skulls and all that). I hope to see you there! By the way, if you can’t make it, they also sell the complete audio and video recordings from the first seminar.
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