Thursday, 26 April 2012

Being an aspiring author in 2012

These are interesting times in which to be an aspiring author.
  • The rise of the eBooks
  • Amazon's increasing power over the book trade
  • Apple's attempts to subvert publishing to their own ends
  • The American DOJ accusing Apple and the Big Six of collusion over agency pricing
  • TOR announcing that they will be dropping the DRM on their eBooks.
What is happening to the book trade? How is this all going to play out? In 5 years time, how will the dice have fallen?

And, nearest to my heart, what will this upheaval mean for writers?


Know your starting point

People who have established careers are going to have to move with the times, in a direction as yet to be fully determined.

People who are breaking through now have the most freedom and control over their careers that writers have ever had. They can do whatever they want. Self-publish eBooks. Fund print runs through Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or similar services. Go the traditional route. Make up their own innovative publication career utilising one or more of many other options available (subscription, giving works away for free, podcasting. Tweeting. Whatever.) These people are lucky.

But what about me? No matter how impatient I feel about it, I will not be good enough at novel writing to be publishable for some years yet. I know this, and grudgingly accept it. (And then I put my butt back in that chair and get back to work.) By the time I am a published author, what will the publishing world look like? What hoops will I have to jump through?


Get informed

Sans TARDIS, all I can do at this juncture is get educated about the book industry so that I can make educated guesses, and be ready to move when I can see where to go.

Some blogs I have been reading recently:
I've gained valuable information and insights into the changing publishing landscape from reading all of these blogs. I recommend taking a look at what they have to offer.


My hopes for the future

I hope that one day I will be publishing in a world that favours diversity of options. I hope that I will get books published by publishing houses in the legacy manner. I hope that I will also be self-publishing works, perhaps short series of novellas, to diversify my income stream. I also hope that I will be able to experiment with alternative publishing models and mixed media projects.

What are your thoughts on where the publishing industry is headed? Please leave your comments below.

Monday, 9 April 2012

First one out of the nest

I cannot believe that I forgot to blog about this:

The other month I entered a short story into a competition to win a slot in the Tales from the Archives podcast presented by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Tales from the Archives features stories by various writers set in the world of the 'Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences' novels. I won Honourable Mention in the competition and so my story 'The Wrong Camera' is going to be in the podcast! Click here to read the announcement of the competition winners.

This is my first publication, and I'm super excited! Like I said above, I can't believe I forgot to blog about this earlier.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Review of Ganymede by Cherie Priest

Ganymede (The Clockwork Century, #4)Ganymede by Cherie Priest

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoy the Clockwork Century books by Cherie Priest. I have read all except the novella Clementine. Ganymede is not my favourite so far (that would be Dreadnought) but it's still a very good book.

Book structure/writing:

The book is told in 3rd person limited, following two protagonists in alternating chapters. I often have trouble reading such books in a decent amount of time, because each time the viewpoint changes I put the book down. Ganymede was no exception. I started reading it last year, but I only finished it yesterday. This is a problem with me rather than with the book, but it did affect my experience of the book.

Speaking of the viewpoint, in the last few chapters when the two characters are in the same place, the viewpoint shifts from one character to the other between paragraphs. At first I thought this was a viewpoint error in the story, but as it happened again and again, I came to realise that Priest had done it on purpose. It was a strange viewpoint to read: 3rd person limited but where the reader is privy to two charaters' thoughts rather than just one. I'm still not sure about what I think of the effect.


Ganymede is an interesting story with plenty of action, humour, and tension. It also acknowledges a lot of societal issues that are often ignored in Steampunk, such as racial tensions and gender relations. The story doesn't attempt to 'solve' these issues; it simply agrees that the issues were present and relevant, and then moves on.

All in all, I found it to be an enjoyable read, and I only wish that the view point changes hadn't jolted me out of the story and that I'd been able to read it quicker.

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To all those who say the scientists are making stuff up

Here is a short cut from a 1996 documentary on the earthquake risk in Christchurch. As you can see, it wasn't that scientists were caught unawares by the damage we sustained in the earthquake swarm. Rather, they knew exactly what would happen and tried to tell people, but no one listened.

It's a testament to their knowledge and ability that this documentary was so accurate. Everything they described has happened.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Review of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised by just how addictive this book was, especially considering that it had a few things about it that I would normally classify as negatives. For example, I'm not usually a fan of present tense fiction, but the first person present POV of the book only took me a few chapters to get used to, and then after that I found the POV to be most appropriate for the story. What it lost in description, it gained in immediacy. Another negative was that I got the impression throughout the book that if I met the main character, Katniss, in real life, I would not like her. She is a cold and calculating character, and callous with other people's emotions. But again, this worked for the story because of the world that Katniss grew up in. It seemed natural that she would have developed in such a way.

All in all, I found the book most enjoyable, and I will be reading the next two books in the trilogy.

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