You know, I wish we didn’t need to have this conversation, but yeah, we do.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with reviews, and let’s be frank—not everyone will like what you do. Reviews, good or bad, are part of the territory. Reviews are a rite of passage for authors, the objective points-of-view that sit down with the final product and say, “Holy crapbuckets, this is the best book I’ve ever read!” or “Many trees died to make this book. Avenge them.” Whenever a new work hits the shelves, virtual or literal, I am always on edge. You have been working closely with editors and peer readers who all invest a part of themselves in your title because they believe in what you do; and if you are fortunate, these voices because they believe in you are going to be blunt, honest, and sometimes cruel to be kind. “My job as an editor is not to change a book,” I heard Ellen Datlow say on a podcast. “My job is to take a good story and make it great.”Continue reading →
I’ve never considered myself a nostalgia kind of guy (says the writer of steampunk). If I do look back, it’s only to see how far I’ve come. I try not to look back in anger, or in ennui, but I look back more in consideration and contemplation. I’ve caught myself looking back at MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana lately, that first book from over a decade ago. Maybe I’m doing that as it’s come up in conversations online. Funny how it tends to do that.
MOREVI has got a following, I know, especially in the podcasting circles. I had an old friend from JMU tell me how much they enjoyed Rafe Rafton, and that makes me smile…
…especially when I think about all the mistakes I made back in that book.
It’s hard for me to re-read or even listen to MOREVI. I still am very proud of the story, don’t get me wrong. It’s an epic pirate adventure with heroes, villains, intrigue, romance, sex, explosions, swordfighting, more explosions…
See, what’s happening within the Star Wars fandom—in the wake of other “real fan” movements—is nothing new. It’s just more public. “Real” fans who draw lines in the sand, piss all over a movie poster or toy collection (mint-in-box, of course), and claim to be the Keepers of the Sanctity of Insert-Your-Favorite-Science-Fiction-Sacred-Cow-Here, thanks to social media and the Internet, are making their voices heard; and are exhorting to extreme measures to protect their Precious.
To understand just how dangerous a mentality this is, you can take a look at my own experiences. Experiences where I was on both the receiving and the giving end of this kind of “real” fandom.
Let me take you back to the 1990’s. I’m thinking the summer of 1996. Yeah, that sounds about right… Continue reading →
Chuck is the author behind Star Wars: Aftermath, the first (of three) books bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Since its release, both Jedi and Sith alike are losing their midichlorian-laced shit over this book.
The common threads amongst haters are:
Chuck wrote the story in 3rd person present tense. Very different from previous Extended Universe books.
In Aftermath, we meet a character that is gay.
This is Star Wars done in the style of Wendig. If you have not read some of his other works like Blackbirds or Zeroes, this is a very different approach.
There is an unexpected crossover between new Star Wars character Norra Wexley and Marvel favorites, Rocket Raccoon & Groot.
Over the decades, we fans have weathered some serious missteps. And no, I’m not talking about:
The feeble attempts to have Han Solo appear to shoot in self-defense
We’ve talked about those (and continue to talk about them) at length. What I’m talking about is the kind of writing or direction that should have made fans call them out to the center of the octagon, but I’ve rarely seen happen. If you really want to be pissed off about something in the Star Wars universe, have you considered… Continue reading →
I was on the other side of the world when it happened. Day Four in New Zealand and Wellington is turning on the charm as she usually does…
You might be led to believe my random posting of photos and video meant I was taking it one day at a time in Aotearoa, not a care in the world to be seen nor any fucks remaining to give. Trust me, the stress of 2014 was now and truly in the rear view, my new day job reinforcing my ability to do what I do and perhaps push the boat out and try adding new skills under my belt. A daring thing to do when you are south of 45 years, but that is what life is all about, isn’t it? Discovery and learning new things. Then off to New Zealand to kick off the 2015 convention year. Enjoy the ride, as I like to say…
Instead, I read the article, proving that, yes, it is better to comment after you’ve read a blogpost instead of reading only the headline. The best part about Delilah’s blog is that, after meeting her, you can hear her in your head when you read her blog. So now I hear Delilah S. Dawson in my head…
Well, it’s not really a petition as a petition is defined as “a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause.” This it is more of an open letter to Amazon saying “You are a winner, bro! Keep that up!” with an appeal to independent authors everywhere to sign this, acknowledging why Amazon is so star-spangled awesome.
“It is fitting that Independence Day is upon us. Amazon has done more to liberate readers and writers than any other entity since Johannes Gutenberg refined the movable type printing press. With the advent of e-books and the ability to ship paper books to your doorstep in record time and at affordable prices, Amazon is growing overall readership while liberating the voices of countless writers, adding to the diversity of literature. A large percentage of the e-books sold on Amazon are from independent authors. You have validated our decision to write and to publish. Don’t let the wealthiest of writers convince you to turn away.
We urge you to support the company that supports readers and authors. Amazon didn’t ask us to write this letter, or sign it. Amazon isn’t aware that we’re doing this. Because in the end, this isn’t about Amazon. It’s about you, the reader, and the changes you’ve helped bring about with your reading decisions. You are changing the world of books, and you are changing our lives as a result.”
“Many of us supported Amazon from when it was a struggling start-up. Our books started Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years have contributed so much, free of charge, to the company by way of cooperation, joint promotions, reviews and blogs. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends. Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage. (We’re not alone in our plea: the opinion pages of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which rarely agree on anything, have roundly condemned Amazon’s corporate behavior.)”
Depending on who you talk to, stepping into the publishing industry today is something akin to tap dancing in a mine field. There are the seasoned veterans who are struggling along with some publishers against changing technologies and market demands. Meanwhile, the independently published continue to rattle their sabers and proclaim without question “Our way is the only way!” in an militant fashion frighteningly similar to the traditionally published authors of less than a decade ago.
As for myself, I have seen this “Us Vs. Them” nonsense back when “Social Media” was referred to as “New Media” and the ambitious creators behind this bold, cutting edge content were aiming to topple Old Media. I remember these days well as Apple had just opened the door to podcasters and it looked like these mavericks of media were going to fulfill their self-proclaimed prophecy as the featured podcasts were all people I knew, all shows either on my iPod or in my listening cue.
Within a year, the Featured Podcasts on iTunes were HBO, Discovery Channel, ESPN, and Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and those mavericks were either working for Old Media or contracting with them.
I look at what is happening now in publishing and think “Good Lord, here we go again.” Continue reading →
Today — February 6th — was dubbed by Chuck Wendig (or I like to call him, TMB or That Magnificent Bastard) as International Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day. He has put out a call for creatives of all types to head to their blogs, their podcasts, and their various social media networks to share their thoughts about piracy. This, as inspired by that TMB, is my own entry. If you join in, give Chuck a shout.
Step in your wayback machines to 2005. A short eternity in Interweb years, but barely eight years ago a young whelp of an author launched a rather daunting project: a podcast novel. Following in the footsteps of people like John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, and others, I stepped up with my epic fantasy MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana to give it away as a podcast. Throughout the journey I was an advocate for this new model of promotion and marketing. Interviews with me at that time were reminiscent of a Red Hot Chili Peppers diddy…