Posts Tagged ‘indie’
Welcome back to a little thing I like to call the 5MinuteInterview! Today’s guest is Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS. He’s visited here before and he’s a lovely man that I’m happy to have here any time. He’s on a blog tour just now for his newest release, The Returning, sequel to The Worker Prince. He was also kind enough to host my post yesterday: Your Punctuation Personality Type.
1. You’re getting some pretty big names on #sffwrtcht these days. Do you ever get nervous about some of them?
If you were interviewing AC Crispin, Robert Silverberg, Robert J. Sawyer, Joe Haldeman, Stephen R. Donaldson and James Gunn, would you get nervous? OH YEAH! Silverberg, Crispin and Donaldson’s books have been on my shelves since I was a teenager. The others I discovered more recently. Especially because of the technology I deal with, the live interviews, like we did with Sawyer and Crispin, are especially nerve wracking, sure. But they have all been pretty kind and gracious and generous with me and with their time. And they seem to genuinely enjoy and be humbled by fans’ interest and mine. So, in the end, since I’ve done this for 19 months now and have it down to a science, as long as they feel I know what I’m doing and it’s organized and easy for them, they just have fun with it and so can I.
2. Since you were last on here, the anthology you were working on, Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6, has been published. What was that experience like?
Well, it was nerve wracking in the sense that I was editing one of my favorite authors and a guy who’s taken me under his wing, Mike Resnick, and he was trusting me with his story. On top of that, I was editing friends and they were trusting me, and some were still waiting on that elusive first sale, so to speak. So I really felt pressure to do right by everyone. In the end, people respected the role I played. They took my notes and discussed the ones they had questions about, accepting most of them. In fact, Mike Resnick and Brad Torgersen, who co-wrote the story with him, didn’t even hesitate. They agreed I was right and made the change. One unusual situation is that, because of timing, my being new, etc., I wound up having more time to really work with authors to craft their stories. I wound up with less submissions to sort through than expected and a really long lead time for the deadline, so we pushed back the date I had to turn in the anthology and I worked with several writers to really fine tune their stories. They seem appreciative of that and it was a good experience. Hearing reviewers later praise their work is very rewarding, too. I met and worked with some great writers on this thing, and it may not be perfect, but I’m certainly proud of it and planning to do more.
3. What was the biggest surprise you had when writing The Returning?
Other than my personal life falling apart? Honestly, if I can survive what I went through behind the scenes during this, which I’ve blogged enough about that I don’t need to bore you with it here (you yourself are well aware anyway since we’re friends,) then I can’t say much surprises me. The one thing I guess that did surprise me is that the first draft, when I went back to it after finishing and letting it sit for two and half months, wasn’t a total piece of crap. In fact, it was actually better than I ever expected. My beta readers had told me it was better than the first book, but it was written in such chaos, I didn’t want to believe that. After all, I polished The Worker Prince with nineteen drafts, some partial and focused on specific aspects but still. This was just first draft. When I went back through, the surprise twists surprised me. I had forgotten them. And it felt like the same series, characters, etc. Also, it was really MY story. The first one borrowed heavily from the biblical Moses story as the setup. This one came totally out of my head, although, as with The Worker Prince, I do put some pop culture nods in, including some obscure lines from Star Wars said as dialogue, etc. Those are rewards for readers in the know who like that and for me. So writing the first totally original tale in that universe and having it come out so well was a pleasant surprise, I’d say.
4. Had you planned all along to write the prequel story, Rivalry on a Sky Course, or was that something that came out of the creative process on its own?
Rivalry came about because of a briefly described incident told in flashback early in The Worker Prince about how Davi Rhii, the protagonist, and his buddies Yao and Farien, became rivals with their military academy classmate Bordox. I knew there was more to that story which could be told, and, honestly, I thought getting some shorts out there with these characters, in this universe, would help bring notice to the novels. Once I started writing it, it took off, and, in fact, I revised the flashback in The Worker Prince before publication because of changes I had to make to make “Rivalry” work.
5. Have you already started the third book, or do you need a break to refresh your muse?
I have been playing with an outline for about six months but I had some other obligations including Space Battles, the second half of my North Star short story serial, and a children’s book with deadlines first. And, yes, taking a break and doing something else really help get you focused and refreshed after spending so much time immersed in that world, so the break would have happened even without that, although maybe not this long. My plan is to start The Exodus as soon as my epic fantasy novel goes to betas which should be about the time this interview posts, in early July.
Thanks again, Bryan, for visiting, and best of luck with The Returning!
In Bryan’s second novel, The Returning, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancée, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured in anthologies and magazines. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.
The whole latest-writer-wearing-an-asshat-having-a-mental-breakdown-on-the-internet has been covered ad nauseum by better people than me, so I’m not going there. (Chuck Wendig’s was the first I found, and his posts are always worth the read.) But it’s had me pondering an important writerly-phiolsophical point:
Does it matter why they buy your book?
To quote Marc Aplin, @FantasyFaction: But personally, if I ever publish a book, I’d like people to buy it because they’ve heard good things about it or like the premise, not because they want to know the answer to the question on everyone’s mind last night: “Can this egotistical dick really write?”
That alone is a very good point, and you can’t argue that an entertaining, psychotic, uber-egotistical trainwreck will get you some publicity and sell some books, if nothing else, for the rubbernecking factor. But that’s not the point of this post.
See, the guy in question already had a number of sales before this meltdown. And as he points out every other sentence, he has 92k Twitter followers. Clearly more than a few people who haven’t been accosted by him personally have been convinced to follow him and buy his books.
Now, I’ve only read the first few paragraphs (that was enough) of a couple of the samples of his books, so I’m no expert on his writing or the quality (or lack) thereof. But others have weighed in on it, and as it gets more attention, still more are adding their opinions, so I think it’s safe to say he’s no Shakespeare.
In other words, I’m going to posit that his “success” (his claim, not mine) is driven by marketing rather than word of mouth based on the quality of his books, that people aren’t recommending this to their friends in droves, and that he’s not being discovered by someone with a wide audience to sell his books to.
Now I don’t think anyone can argue that, ultimately, no book is going to gain lasting traction if it isn’t good quality in more areas than not, and entertaining to a broad audience. There are only so many new customers for a genre novel you can convince to buy your book before you fade into obscurity. Can this be overcome by churning out countless sub-par books? Maybe. I don’t doubt there are mediocre to bad writers out there who are making a living off their books for now. Why not? People buy snuggies. Sometimes consumer behavior defies logic.
Does it matter WHY someone buys his book? Surely, if it were only about the money, an author wouldn’t get his panties in a twist about a one star review when others continue to buy the book. You can’t please every customer, right? So if a negative review doesn’t impact sales, assuming sales is the primary goal, then it’s of no matter.
Except authors of this ilk continue to act like it matters very much. One might be tempted to say that most if not all authors still view their work as more than a product, as something that reflects THEM and their worth. Thus they so passionately (and sometimes hysterically) defend the quality of their work; either publicly, as in this case, or, one would hope, in private to a few trusted friends and then back that up by striving to learn more and make the next one better.
Are there really authors for whom the bottom line is the same as for a car salesman or an accountant? It’s possible. I doubt it. So is the meaning of “I have 92k Twitter followers and (x)bazillion sales” really what it says on its face, or is it just a last straw argument masking the insecurity authors usually struggle with?
Personally, I’d rather sit over here watching books I’d published as “anonymous” get love from people I’ve never met and who have no idea who I am than to sell zillions of books based on everything BUT the quality of my novel.
Does it matter why the books sell?
It does to me.
Welcome again to my good friend, R.B. Wood, who is celebrating the re-release of his debut novel, The Prodigal’s Foole. As part of the re-launch, I’ve invited him to guest post here today.
I have a vague recollection of my mother’s soft voice reading to me when I was very young. The delight of receiving a picture book as a toddler. The fear, when heading off to first grade, when I asked my father what would happen if I couldn’t learn to read.
The triumph of reading my first book out loud to the first grade class just three months later.
We were all voracious readers in my house. Books always play a major part in growing up. From my obsession with The Hardy Boys to that penultimate moment when I read H. G. Wells War of the Worlds at age nine.
Today, with the re-launch of my first written work, The Prodigal’s Foole is available in stores again. Why I’m doing a re-launch is touched upon in my blog posting of a couple weeks ago. It was a long time coming, and more will follow. But my passion for good tales—from the fantastical to the everyday—burns as bright today as it did that wondrous day I picked up War of the Worlds.
I’ve just finally reached the maturity level to give back a little of what I’ve enjoyed by so many other authors over the years.
I know I’ll never be a Dickens, a Tolkien or an H. G. Wells. And I’m okay with that. As long as I can build a story that people will enjoy and take them to another place for a few hours, I’m happy.
And really, as a writer…what more could you ask for?
R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. He is working on the follow up to The Prodigal’s Foole, as well as a Science Fiction trilogy and a collaborative comic book project.
He is also host of The Word Count podcast. R.B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time. Feel free to contact him at:
The Word Count Podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-word-count/id392550989
The Prodigal’s Foole is available via Amazon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The premise of this one so intrigued me that I picked it up, even though I’ve been feeling a bit glutted with YA books lately. I’m glad I didn’t pass it up. YA heroines often leave me feeling empty, as if they’re a bit shallow (some of that just being the effect of youth rather than bad writing.) But Nolan did a great job of giving us a scarred and complex heroine paired with a similarly scarred and complex hero and making their struggles and developing relationship utterly realistic (for werewolves.)
I was drawn right in and couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended.
What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!
* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre
* You must directly address today’s prompt: Your main character encounters your world’s version of the goose that laid the golden egg.(Note: The prompt is above. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)
* Post your entry as a comment to this post.
I’ll close the contest at 12:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.
I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.
A Few Notes:
* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me. Sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.
* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.
* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.