When You Are Your Own Publisher

Originally posted on J W Manus:

quinnbook I get a lot of emails from people who are just starting out with self-publishing. For the most part I enjoy the conversations. Self-publishing isn’t all that difficult to do, but there is so much information available, so many options, it can be confusing as hell. I like to think I’ve set a few folks on a path that lessens the confusion and takes some of the mystery out of the process.

What I don’t enjoy are the emails that sound fueled by panic. I fear for the panicky folks–fear sets them up to be taken advantage of by overpriced “services” and vanity presses. These folks are easily led to believe that ebook conversion is too hard for less-than-technical geniuses and that distributing ebooks is worth an upfront fee and annual charges on top of retailer commissions. They are desperate for someone to take care of them–and taken they do…

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Science Fiction is…dead???

Back in February I saw the following tweet from @sciencefictionnew:  Ridley Scott: “Science Fiction is Dead” –Not a Match for Reality – The Daily Galaxy (blog) http://dlvr.it/4xjjBX

My knee-jerk reaction had me initially thinking that he was just miffed that Prometheus didn’t get the reception he thought it deserved.  Then I read the post and, as it turns out, the statement came from a speech in…2007.  Before I address his statement, I first want to state, for the record, that this brings up a problem with the internet.  Once something is out on the web, it lives forever.  Anyone can bring up a comment from the past, that may not be accurate anymore or was taken out of contect in the first place.  The tweet got me a little riled up, thinking Mr. Scott was making a broad generalization about science fiction, in general.  That bothered me and I loaded up both barrels, ready to fire back with a response.

Then I read the article.

He did, indeed, say science fiction, as a genre, is dead.  However, he was referring to movies.

He said there’s nothing original anymore.   Agreed.

Filmakers rely on special affects.  Agreed, again.

On so on and so forth.  It is very rare that a truly original story comes out of Hollywood on film.  Big budget blockbusters bombard the audience with lens flares, and Michael Bay style story telling through explosions, falling buildings, fire and brimstone.  We walk out of the theater with friends, and during the ride home and the invetible film review discussion, we say make statements like:  “That was badass!”  But when some asks us what the movie was about, generally we stumble through a synopsis saying it was about this guy that had to go get something to save everyone, but the best part was when the talking robots were kicking each other’s asses.

BUT…this does not mean that science fiction is dead.

The problem, in my opinion, with science fiction in movies is the limitations of movies as a story telling medium.  How many times have you heard someone say “the book was better”.  There’s a reason for that.  The book almost always IS better because of what we, as writers, have at our disposal.  Movies almost always HAVE to adhere to the three-act structure, and filmmakers have two hours, maybe three, to develop characters, their relationships, their back stories, their roles in the overall story, and the progression of the story itself, often having to distill 500+ pages of a novel down to less than a 100 page screenplay.  It’s hard.  To do it right, a story often requires more than one movie, but studio big wigs don’t often commit to multiple films unless its a guaranteed winner, a la Hunger Games, or a remake of some pop culture favorite.

So yes, Mr. Scott, has a point to a certain degree.  But its up to the movie industry to adapt.

Thanks for tuning in, kids.  I’ll try to be back soon.

They Just Don’t Get It…

Originally posted on J W Manus:

I tried to resist the fray, but sue me, I’m weak. So here goes.

gatekeeperHugh Howey and Anonymous X published their first report at authorearnings.com. I won’t go into the details (go read it for yourself), except to say I knew it would cause a shitstorm. To see one example, take a peek at the absurd rebuttal from Dear Author PG posted on The Passive Voice blog. All this comes on the heels of a sudden spate of self-publishing bashing by such luminaries as Steve Zacharius, Robert Gottlieb, Donald Maas and others. (Joe Konrath had a great run fisking their foolishness over on his blog. One example where he fisks Mike Shatzkin.)

As interesting as it all is, I’ve noticed a whole lot of “missing the point” going on.

It’s really not about the money.

Oh sure, money is a measure, an easy way to calculate one’s progress…

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Patterson/Cussler merger? Guess its not true.

Well, there are times when someone reads a fantastic headline and story and write their own post on the subject, only to discover that its not true.  For me, this is one of those times.  Last night I posted about an allegted merger between fiction titans, James Patterson and Clive Cussler.  After reading the comments on Lawrence Blocks post about it – and considering the fact that I still haven’t found any other source with this story – I can only conclude that its not true.  Was it a joke?  A satire on the industry, of sorts?  I don’t know.  I don’t read LBs blog enough to know when he may be joking.

So I jumped the gun, and I apologize for that, But this isn’t a retraction.  I stand by my opinions in that post.

For now, we’ll call it a hypothetical situation to consider.  IF such a merger happened, it would likely be for the reasons I suggested AND it would be a good thing as long as the newly merged properties didn’t start dicking with the readers with ridiculous pricing or making them jump through hoops to get their work.

In the future, I’ll try to be more careful.  Thanks for reading.



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