Category: Publishing


I’ve been seeing a lot of new authors worrying about the prospect of going indie, or self-publishing. (A terminology note: “indie” used to mean “not part of the Big Five conglomerates.” Now it’s rapidly becoming identical to being a self-pubber.) I keep telling authors who go for SF&F that they should be prepared to self-publish; and part of that preparation is to understand the cost of everything that a publisher would provide.  Continue reading

Pen nameThis is a topic that I’ve often intended to write about, and the other night a member of one of my Facebook writing groups was asking a question about it. I was going to reply in more detail, but realized I was writing that blog post I always intended to publish. So here goes!

There are many reasons to choose to use a pseudonym, but they all basically boil down to three categories: to hide your identity to one degree or another; to maintain some degree of separation between two or more of your works; or to give a better name because your own might get in the way. Continue reading

Whose Approval Matters to You?

Last night, I was speaking with an unpublished author who confided a very common fear: that self-publishing isn’t really publishing, because as a newcomer she wants that stamp of approval that comes with a publisher’s imprint.

Now, this author isn’t one of mine, and in fact isn’t even in my category, much less the SF&F genre. She’s a nonfiction author who has written a self-help/motivational book that, frankly, sounds interesting. (And I rarely say that about motivational books, since I find them to be . . . well, less than motivational. Literally the last good one I read was about eight years ago, and it was very atypical.) But this author’s fear is not only understandable, it’s very common.

It’s also part of a misconception. See, as a reader, you naturally look up to authors and their publishers (or, even if you don’t because they suck, you feel that they suck all the more because you’re not able to treat them with reverence). These are professionals. Their opinion has weight, and you would love to be their equal, or at least the rookie on the team. Their recognition is what proves you’ve succeeded.

Not true. Very, oh so very, not trueContinue reading

Hugo-Award-e1422355571917Things have been very busy on my end, as I deal with a few major projects at my other job and launch a new collaborative blog site (more on that later), and also prepare for my presentations at AwesomeCon.

I’m just dashing off a quick post here to cover a bit of Hugo news: the Hugo Awards Voter Packet is out. Continue reading

On an author’s recommendation, I signed up for BookBub, a service that sends daily emails about ebook deals from multiple sites based on my preferences. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say it’s worth it. Even if the name makes me think of Wolverine.

Actually, the idea of Wolverine sending me emails about books is pretty darn cool.

Actually, the idea of Wolverine sending me emails about books is pretty darn cool.

The service is free to consumers (content providers can pay to have stuff promoted). They do, obviously, collect your email address and taste preferences; but I haven’t noticed any evidence that they’ve sold my information to others (and their privacy terms state that while they share information, they do so anonymously and only in regards to BookBub’s own services as provided by any third parties). That suggests that they might be planning on an expansion later, but for now I can’t find a downside.

BookBub offers the following services: Continue reading

This weekend marks a particular event which pilgrims from all over the world have been waiting for. It’s a highly-anticipated event every year, and tomorrow evening, as darkness gathers, groups of the faithful shall come together, united by one desire.

I speak, of course, of the Hugo Awards nominee announcement. Easter’s the next day. Also, Easter involves less shouting, though admittedly it’s associated with at least one dead body.

The Hugo controversy is a hot topic every single year, and it’s only gotten louder in the last several cycles thanks to the campaign known as Sad Puppies. In case you missed my explanation from earlier this week, here’s a shiny and well-crafted link. That post details what the Hugo Awards are, why they matter, and how the controversy started. Or rather, the current controversy. As I said in that previous post, I was voting in the Hugos years ago, before I ever heard of this Larry Correia guy. Disputes happened a lot. That’s okay; I’d actually get worried if everyone was happy about the nominees.

The current dispute over the Hugo Awards boils down to this: books should be judged on their own merits, and good writing rather than ideology should win out. Any push for a book based on its politics, or the politics of its author, is to be treated with suspicion or even outright rejection.

The most interesting thing about this dispute is that both sides are saying the same thing. Continue reading

Coauthored Books

CO_Authoer-ImageA lot of fans have dreams. Meeting their favorite author. Getting sneak peeks at an anticipated book. Getting two favorite authors to team up — oh, yeah, that’s one that will get people excited.

But that brings up a can of worms that might not be obvious at first look. Who’s ultimately in charge? If there are disagreements, how do they get resolved? Whose name comes first on the cover? If it’s not a 50/50 royalty split, why? And how is that determined?

This is something that shows up a lot in academia, because whomever shows up first in the list of authors has pride of place (unless possibly, but still often the case when, it’s just determined by alphabetical order). In a multi-author academic paper, the first name is not always given to the one who did the most work, but rather the one who will get the most notice and bring the most credibility to the findings. The last person on the list might well have been the one who did the lion’s share, but the first name usually gets most of the credit.

Unfair? Well, there’s a reason for this arrangement.  Continue reading

Short fiction — anything less than 40,000 words, at which point it’s officially a novel — is often overlooked. After all, even the definition of the novel seems small today, since a 40,000-word novel is, at maximum, 200 pages long. (And that’s if you use really long words.) When’s the last time you read a modern adult novel that was 200 pages or less?

Let’s take a look at some of the myths of short fiction, and why you should ignore them. Continue reading

Update on Tuscany Press

A few things have happened since I posted my opinion on an essay published by Tuscany Press.

Tuscany has now added a hasty disclaimer to the end of Nico Gnoci’s essay, but you have to scroll all the way to the end to see it and they haven’t bothered to clean up the formatting mistakes. The editor-in-chief also told me in an email that it is opinion, and should not be confused with the stance of Tuscany Press.

They’ve also added a new essay giving a direct rebuttal. It’s by Declan Finn, and it’s a cleaned-up version of what he already posted. I recommend reading the original for full effect, though I admit the newer version’s title (“Set Catholic Sci-Fi Argument for Stun! – Captain Kirk Responds”) is 110% better than Declan’s original.  Continue reading

EDIT: Since posting this yesterday, several people have privately told me of more issues with Tuscany Press. Some of it has been anecdotal, but others have been verifiable; and it all adds up to an unpleasant picture. The editor-in-chief at Tuscany has told me that the essay I fisked in the following post is opinion and should not be construed as Tuscany’s stance, but he did not address the issue that it was approved by Tuscany despite being obviously wrong. I may do an update on this issue soon.

ANOTHER EDIT: I’ve posted an update on this situation here.

Tuscany Press has been my go-to publishing house to recommend to fellow Catholic authors. I’m associated with Chesterton Press, a smaller indie Catholic Press (my Novel Ninja business is separate and not exclusive to Catholic fiction), but Tuscany is a larger operation and can handle more submissions at a time. However, I’m no longer recommending them, due to a recent post on their subsidiary, CatholicFiction.Net, on why science fiction is evil.  Continue reading

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