Friday, 28 November 2008

Resources for Writers: How Publishing Really Works

Want to know what happens in the publishing industry? Check out Jane Smith's informative and very objective blog How Publishing Really Works. Not enough books and courses cover the technical aspects of what really happens behind the scenes once your ms has disappeared into the mailbox but this site has a wealth of information, written by someone who's been a researcher, editor and writer so can speak with some authority on the subject - and does so objectively and with a healthy degree of reality checking.
Some of the most recent recent posts have delved into the complexities of self-publishing (as a result of the recent YWO offer) and include analysis of how pricing of self-published novels works, an insight into how Waterstones deal with self-published and POD books as well as touching on marketing and promotion.
It doesn't always make for pleasant reading - but, then again, if you're talking about the realities of publishing then that's hardly a surprise.
If you've got the champagne on ice while waiting for the advance that you know your ms deserves to drop through the letterbox you could do a lot worse than read this blog and have your eyes opened. At least then when the form rejection arrives, you'll know why you got it.
Well worth checking out - and the links are good too!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Fantasy - now there's a thing

I just noticed that on my most recent "What I'm reading" list there were two fantasy novels. Not strange in itself but I'd given up on fantasy about 20 years ago, finding that - with very few exceptions - most of what was out there was derivative and predictable. I know I'm probably generalising to some (a large) extent but after devouring tome after tome in my teens and early twenties I suddenly became very dissatisfied with what I was reading and moved on to other things.
Over the years since, I'd dip into the genre occasionally but, with the notable exception of Stephen Donaldson, never got more than my toes wet...until recently.

On the recommendation of a friend whose opinion I respect, I began to read Steven Erikson and became totally immersed in his uncompromising, huge-in-scope-but-not-forgetting-the-characters Malazan Book of the Fallen series. His refusal to pander to the reader and explain everything as he went along but preferring to drop the him in the middle of the story and letting him swim for himself made a refreshing change. The stories are richly textured, well written and I have at least six more massive volumes to go. Yippeee!
The other fantasy novel I've just finished is the Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert Redick. I was intrigued by the book's setting - a gigantic ship - more than anything else and when I spotted a copy in my local library, I picked it up more in hope than expectation. Despite some predictable elements, the setting and pace of the novel kept me engaged all the way through to the (inevitable) "continued in Part 2" bit.
Maybe all is not yet lost in the fantasy world.

Trailers. Woot!

Geekness abounds. Not only do we get a new Watchmen trailer - with some effective use of Philip Glass music but the trailer for the new Star Trek movie is online too. As a Trek fan since the original series (first seen in glorious in black and white on RTE) I was unconvinced by the " how they all met" concept of the new movie; I just didn't think it'd work. Attaching JJ Abrams to the project made me think it might just work after all and now the trailer gives more grounds for optimism - and isn't Heroes Zachary Quinto scarily like Leonard Nimoy (who I believe will make a cameo in the movie).

Roll on 2009.