Special–Serving Worlds Branding Roundtable

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John Mierau convened a roundtable of potty mouthed writers for a roundtable show on “branding.” Included is my nemesis, Jake Bible, and writer/designer Starla Huchton. This episode has lots of f-bombs and Garaaga knows what else.

Enjoy.

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Essay–The “Collection” Problem

Dear reader: I want you to take a chance on these 6 stories which are all less than novel length. Two are novelettes, the rest novellas. I hope you understand and give them a chance.

So here’s an interesting conundrum. I, like many authors, write short works. I don’t believe in writing door-stops. Perhaps it’s because I’m not that great at putting together mammoth plots or feel I need to drag out a story just for word count. Maybe it’s because I dislike reading them for the same reasons.

Either way, it presents a marketing problem. Garaaga’s Children, for instance, is a mammoth series spanning thousands of years of history. And yet, the current works in the series are only 110k words for 6 stories. What I attempted to do for the first installment was separate them into e-books that were isolated by time period. This meant “The Last Hunter” and “Keepers” were collected in a volume called LegendsLoversInterlopers, and Scrolls were all presented as stand-alone novellas. Ama has yet to even be published.

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Pimpage–Ginnie Dare

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to admit that Scott Roche is a friend of mine and therefore the opinions below might be somewhat jaded.

First off, I published an essay a month or two ago that riled up a lot of people. I was incensed regarding authors asking their fans to basically pony up an advance to write a book. I still see serious ethical problems with using crowd-funding sites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe for this purpose. If you haven’t done the work, why should you get paid? Especially if those same fans are then going to be expected to buy the book they already paid for?

I also said that these crowd-funding sites should be used to raise funds for editing, artwork, and layout. In other words, the story is done. The work has been done. All that’s left is to polish the product for sale.

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Posted in Pimpage

Essay–Slingers: When A Narrator Has A Face

I’ve been reading Matt Wallace’s “Slingers” serial. If you’re not already reading it, shame on you. I’ll be posting a review of it soon, but this essay isn’t really about pimpage. It’s about two things Wallace does well as a writer.

Books written in third person can turn out very dry. The narrator is typically a casual observer who has no real skin in the game and speaks as if they’re just reporting the news. Larry Heineman’s Paco’s Story is the first book I can really remember that had a unique narration approach. In that book, the narrator was the ghosts of Paco’s dead unit. They told the story with irony, occasional humor, and the occasional nod toward the reader. Some of the literature “purists” were incensed by this use of artistic license, but fuck ‘em–it worked.

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Essay–Piracy Is Not My Enemy

The word “pirate” used to conjure the image of rum-soaked, peg-legged men with hooks. They sailed over the seas, looted ships, and were generally a mischief laden sort.

In the entertainment industry, they’ve become the big bad boogey-creatures that steal money from the pockets of entertainers by illegally copying, stealing, and forging content. The RIAA, MPAA, and other organizations have spent nearly two decades fighting these dastardly brutes without success.

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Essay–The Street Manuscript

On Friday night, I sent the final draft of The Street to the evil and talented Scott Pond. Mr. Pond is my designer, my layout guy, and all around savior for all things artistic. Just getting the manuscript into his hands is a huge step toward getting the book published. And yet…it was terrifying to hit that send button.

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Essay–A Hater’s Perspective On Star Wars

When I was a kid, the Star Wars universe was a watershed moment. We were in Canada when it came out and there was some 60 Minutes special on the movie when it was released. All I remember is seeing the X-Wings and Tie-fighters going at it. Dad asked me if I wanted to see the film. I asked what it was and he said “Cowboys in space.”

I distinctly remember that because it was the phrase that sort of typified my understanding of science-fiction at that age. We went to see Star Wars that very night. Did I enjoy it? Hell yes. Did it warp and change my childhood forever? Pretty much.

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Essay–Cutting and Culling

Fiction writers create tales. These tales end up as drabbles, short-stories, novelettes, or novels. Some of them end up in the trash, some end up being published.

But there’s more than stories at work here. There are sentences, paragraphs, or maybe entire chapters that end up being written along the way that might never see the light of day. Scott Sigler recently posted that he threw away nearly 60k words on his latest GFL novel. 60k words! For me, that nearly an entire novel. Why the hell would he do such a thing?

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Essay–Tools of the Trade

I’m a software developer, architect, and…oh yeah, I’m a writer. I’ve been hacking on keyboards since I was 12 years old. This means I have 31 years under my belt as a “user.” It also means I’ve tried out just about any kind of word processor, spreadsheet, planning, or productivity program in existence, and many that have long since died.

Ever heard of AmiPro? Wordperfect? OS/2? These are applications and operating systems that have long since died. I used ‘em. I loved ‘em. I never took to Windows or Microsoft’s wares as a kid, college student, or adult. Mainly because after dealing with rock solid stability and easy productivity, their products required you to accept software crashes and lost data as a routine part of computing life. But I digress.

The world has changed a lot since I saw Douglas Adams speak at JavaONE back in 1999. One of my fave writers, Adams gave the final keynote for the convention that year. Once he was done poking fun at Microsoft Word for being a terrible tool for writing, he went off on a 20 minute rant about what software developers should be making for writers.

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Essay–It Costs WHAT?

I have no problem pricing ebooks. They should be cheap (but not TOO cheap), well-formatted, and they cost me nearly nothing to produce (outside of editing and cover art). If I were to sell a ton of them, I’d be making a mint. However, due to my terrible marketing abilities and less than sane decisions, I’m in the red on them.

The Street is going to be sold as a paperback, an ebook, and an audiobook. The cover art has already been paid for. The editing, layout, and etc? Not so much. Also, the books haven’t yet been printed, shipped, or gone through a proofing process. In other words, there’s still a LONG way to go before I can even guess what the book should cost.

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