ideatrash

Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Double-Barrelled Jessie Shimmer (The First Stretch Goal For the Kickstarter For Lucy A. Snyder's Next Book)

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[Note:  This is adapted from the fourth backer update when it was pointed out to me that some people who read this blog might not have backed the project yet...]

http://bit.ly/kickdevils
 
I'm soooooooooooooooo thrilled that Devils' Field - the new Jessie Shimmer story from Lucy Snyder - reached its funding goal over the weekend... because that means I'll get to read more of Jessie's story!

Which kind of gets to the point - you and I are in this for the stories. For the art and joy of them.

But there's a strange thing about publishing - it is art... but it's also a business.

At some levels, this is pretty straightforward. We have to be paid for what we write (or edit, or draw). We have mortgages and bills, just like you. The art and stories are important, and the money pays the bills. It works out pretty well.

But when it gets to the higher levels, where publishers are owned by huge multinational conglomerates, the decisions change. It's ONLY about money. The stories and characters you love are now just a commodity - just a widget to be sold.

That makes for some strange decisions.

An author might be asked to turn one big book into two or more to meet page lengths. Or a publisher not asking for more books in a successful series because it's not making ENOUGH money.

And that leaves readers unsatisfied. The characters are left hanging, their fate unresolved.

But now that won't happen to Jessie Shimmer.

And that's some of the awesomeness of doing publishing like this.  Now that Lucy knows she can write the story (and still pay the bills), she can focus on writing instead of the risk of selling.

And that's also why the first stretch goal is to give her a bigger budget so she has the room to write the story the way it needs to be written.

We've set the next target at $5500.  Except for fees, all that money goes to Lucy (and the editor) so that we can budget nearly twice as much book for everyone who backs the project.


http://bit.ly/kickdevils


So let people know that Jessie's story isn't over... and with your help, will continue for quite some time.  Point them at http://bit.ly/kickdevils today!



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Dj Grandpa's Crib: The Poison Pen (featuring Lucy A. Snyder and Steven Saus)

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Lucy Snyder and I sat down and spoke with DJ Grandpa in an exclusive interview about the Jessie Shimmer series, writing, and how we all like seeing strong women, kick-ass women, and the difference between the two.

You can listen to the interview on the website, download it directly, or even subscribe in iTunes.  Oh yeah, and it's embedded below:



DJG gets his first tarot reading from Adriane Ruzak of Roll the Dice Fantasy RPG, and then beats some serious bad guy behind with Devils' Field author, Lucy A. Snyder & Alliteration Ink publisher, Steven Saus.
The bit with Lucy and I starts at 14 minutes and 9 seconds;  but take a few minutes to listen to Roll the Dice: Fantasy RPG themed Tarot Deck as well.

We're awfully darn close to reaching our initial goal, so help us out by sharing this interview and the new Jessie Shimmer book on Facebook, G+, and Twitter!

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Press Releases, Cover Reveals, Antioch Writer's Workshop, And More

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...and I think that marks one of the most awkward blog post titles yet.


Anyway, it's been a couple of busy weeks for me.  First, I had a blast at Millennicon.   Hearing the kids from the flash fiction contest read their work, getting to see old pals and make new ones... well, it was pretty kick ass.


One of these days I'll remember to take enough pictures.  Then it was @WritingCyn's birthday, then revealing the covers for the next two releases from Alliteration Ink (one of which is an ALL-BACKER reward for Devils' Field):


Speaking of Devils' Field, Lucy and I did an interview with DJ Grandpa - which should be going live in the next day or so - which was a lot of fun.

And then it was off to the Antioch Writer's Workshop Spring Seminar (which was great, let me tell you) - this Storify by Cathy Day actually gives only a hint of the awesome talent in the room:


Plus organizing some Agents to help get some of this stuff actually done and fixed, and trying to figure out a problem with releases for next month.

And then to top it all off, a pretty productive meeting with the rest of the convention committee for Context today and sending out the next batch of press releases for Devils' Field.

In other words:  Whew.


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My Two Realizations About Fan Fiction (Along With Some Of My Own)

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The panel's title was Fan Fiction vs. "Real" Writing", and it was at 10am on Sunday. Who would have expected it to be so well attended - and so fascinating?

First, mad props to the others on the panel - Cedar Sanderson, Stephen Leigh, Jim C. Hines, and Michelle (I'm sorry - I didn't catch your last name!). They put up with my clumsy attempts at moderation and didn't tease me too badly when I lost track of what I was saying.

But man, there were two ideas that I hadn't considered before, that really just kind of fit.

First: Fanfiction is real writing - but it's not commercial writing. 

That distinction between commercial and noncommercial writing is really the important division - and it's along that fault line that pretty much every disagreement between the two has occurred.  If we all realize that's where the distinction lies and the different obligations each type of writing has, maybe that'll help make everything work out.

Second: There is such a thing as fan-fiction that's rejected from the fanfic community because it's not fanfic enough.



So in the spirit of those realizations (and also because I threatened Jim with doing it), here is some of the earliest writing I've done - which just happens to be fanfic.  (And yes, I apparently started out wanting to write fanfic of Judy Blume's Fudge books first.)




All the important bits - Tauntauns, explosions, and me saving the universe. GENIUS.

I still don't know why George Lucas didn't call me to help write the prequels.

Mr. Abrams, you know what to do.

#sfwapro

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Resources for Digital Publishing And You

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One of the things I like to (and am reasonably qualified to) talk about at conventions is digital publishing.   I've worn a lot of hats, and so have some experience talking to and about the many different roles and models these things take.

And I'm experienced enough to get frustrated when people talk about formatting their eBook and solely talk about how ePub isn't Kindle.





However, I forgot to bring my handouts for my talk today (that will start just after this post goes live) at Millennicon.

So (without a lot of context, as I'm kind of rushing at the moment), these are some of the resources I point people at when they're trying to decide what to do.

Five paths to publication
    http://bit.ly/162wATJ
Note:  There is an updated version of this infographic that adds (largely) non-paying "community" publishing.  However, my target audience is authors with a professional (e.g. getting paid) mindset, and the changes are not as useful for my audience.

Digital Publishing G+ group
    bit.ly/11MhP7g

The Book Designer – Joel Friedlander

    thebookdesigner.com

Writer Beware

    writerbeware.org

Laura Resnick's writer resources
    bit.ly/lresnick_resources



Lousy Book Covers

    lousybookcovers.com/

Sell your eBook yourself
    bit.ly/Iz2vlZ

Big Contract Post

    bit.ly/big_contract_post


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My Schedule This Weekend: Millennicon 28!

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http://www.millennicon.org/
While I'll be around the hotel pretty much all weekend, these are some panels that I know I will be on.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday               8 PM                Taft                   Harrassment Policies: What does it mean for fandom?

Saturday           5 PM                Reagan             Ethics and Kickstarters
                        7 PM                Hotel Lobby       Autographs

Sunday             10 AM               McKinley           Fan Fiction and “Real” Writing
                        12 Noon            Reagan             Digital Publishing and You

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What I've Learned About Crowdfunding: Work With The Attention Span of the Internet

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So I've now successfully run three crowdfunding campaigns, and there's one thing that was really striking across them... and it had to do with video plays for each project.

These are for Streets of Shadows, What Fates Impose, and Steampunk World, in that order.



Yeah, hopefully you weren't distracted by the colored columns or the big bold numbers - because they aren't the important parts.


Underneath the big black number is perhaps the more important value - the number of plays completed.  These videos have very different lengths.  Here's a quick chart of the relevant values:

Time in SecondsPercent Completed Plays
6233.72
19818.43
3286.78

While it's a small dataset (three points), plotting it kind of looks like this:

Even with three datapoints, I think the relationship is pretty straightforward.  Short, sweet, and to the point.

If you've run a crowdfunding campaign, please leave the values for your length-of-video and % completed plays in the comments so we can get more robust data for everyone!

(PS - this is the tool I used to make the graph: http://www.alcula.com/calculators/statistics/correlation-coefficient/)

#sfwapro

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Change, Punching Down, Future Behavior, and the Burden of Proof For Behavior

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I trust the change brought about by an organization or company that deals with having to grow and change in public.  Growth and change that happens in private is usually just for public-relations reasons.

People talking about "tone" or "politeness" are often complaining about you maintaining your own boundaries.

If you built your life or career on punching down (good explanation here), don't be surprised when the groups you've been punching start punching back.



Scalzi's Law (#I've lost track): The failure state of clever is asshole.
Correlary:  The Above Law is sometimes retroactive.
Therefore:  Apologize when someone calls you out for your past bullshit instead of being a defensive asshole.

Simple example of the above:  When I first rolled out my respect policy, I had an author e-mail me.  They'd said some pretty juvenile and sexist things - publicly - half a decade prior.  They'd apologized since, but offered to withdraw from a publication because of their past behavior.

...and I told them to not worry about it.  Because that was clearly not where they were now.  Their actions - and words - in the years since then demonstrated otherwise.  The fact that they offered a good apology demonstrated otherwise.

Hell, I've said some really, really stupid things online.  (You can probably still find them if you search hard enough.)  And they're things I've apologized for.

But if someone points to them and expresses concern about my future behavior based on my past actions?

Then that burden of proof is on me.

And that's exactly the way it should be.

#sfwapro

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Streets of Shadows is open for submissions (Pro Rate)

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You think you’re safe. What a joke.
You don’t think about the places you pass every day. The side streets. The alleys. Under bridges. The shadows.  All you’d have to do is take a step to the side.  Then you’d know.

From editors of Dark Faith, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, comes Streets of Shadows, a collection of stories at the intersection of urban fantasy and crime. These tales of the dark and magical side of the urban landscape will be published by Alliteration Ink in late summer 2014.

Currently attached authors include Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kevin J. Anderson, Tim Lebbon, Seanan McGuire, Brandon Massey, Tom Piccirilli, and Lucy A. Snyder.

We’re looking for stories with depth that push the boundaries of their genres.  Stories that make you think, that comment on the human condition and the social order. Stories that are rich in their language use. Stories that entertain and thrill.  Stories between 2000 and 4000 words for which we’ll pay 6 cents per word.

Submissions will be accepted from 3/3/2014 until 4/3/2014.  Unsolicited stories received outside this time frame will be deleted unread.

Please include a cover letter with your submission and only one story at a time.  No reprints.  Simultaneous submissions will be accepted as long as you tell us up front (and immediately withdraw the story if you sell somewhere else).

All submissions must be emailed as an RTF file to Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon at StreetsOfShadows@gmail.com.

Submitters:  Familiarize yourself with Alliteration Ink’s crowdfunding policy before submittinghttp://alliterationink.com/policies.html#crowdfunding

Good luck!

#sfwapro

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Antioch Writers' Workshop Spring One-Day Seminar: Paths to Publishing (includes me)

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I'm pleased to officially announce that I'm one of the faculty for the Antioch Writer's Workshop Spring Seminar:  "Paths to Publishing".
So you've written a story, an essay, a novel, a book-length work of creative nonfiction... and now you'd love to get it into the hands of readers. Now what? Do you... pursue an agent? Submit to magazines or publishers? Self-publish or indie-publish? What about contracts? Writing queries? And synopses? And book proposals? When and how do you self-promote... on a web site, Facebook page, twitter... WHEW! You've got questions about the business end of creative writing and publishing. WE HAVE ANSWERS. By the end of the day, you'll be armed with a robust set of knowledge, tips, tools, resources, all of which will help you decide YOUR next steps in the publishing aspect of your writing career!

 You can check out the entire faculty list and register at:

http://www.antiochwritersworkshop.com/?q=node/202

The seminar is 22 March, with registration due by 18 March, so don't delay!

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