The Topical Ointment For Your Writing Pains
Category Archives: Baen Books
That turnaround time has to be some sort of record.
Murder World has a new title and a home. Severed Press (those who brought you Kaiju Apocalypse by myself and Eric S. Brown) bought it Wednesday morning (less than 12 hours after we finished it), and we decided to go with a different title. It’s now Murder World: Kaiju Dawn.
Why did we do this, you ask? Well, two reasons. The first is marketing. With Murder World, quite a few people asked me if I had written a Marvel novel. I had no idea that the name was shared by anything until someone pointed me in the right direction. So… slide in the secondary title of Kaiju Dawn and suddenly it’s an easy genre to guess (is giant stomping creatures of death a genre yet? It should be). Secondly, this leaves us open to write the sequel, Murder World: Kaiju Darkness.
I’m an evil man, what can I say?
Then today I got the contract in the mail for Wraithkin. This has been a long time coming (six years, two months since I began this novel) and it’s a very nice feeling to have this book out there. The publisher, Naked Reader Press, is one I specifically chose for this book. I like their writers and their editors, and that means quite a bit to me in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if you can’t stand what a publisher puts out there for the world to read, then why in the heck would you want them to publish your book?
So two books sold in the week, Kaiju Apocalypse is still hanging around in the Top 100 on Amazon (go awesome people!) and there is, more than likely, another Murder World book on the way. This has been a rather good week.
So it’s late Sunday afternoon at Soldier’s Retreat and I’m coming down off of the high that was the awesomeness of Mysticon 2013. Finally got to meet Col. Tom Kratman in person, which was a hoot, because that man can tell a story. Had to keep it relatively PG-13, however, due to the underage midgets in the room.
Okay, so on to the convention after action review.
Left Lexington on Thursday since I wanted to be relatively fresh at the con for the following day, so I made a beeline for Casa Boyd. Got there, I think I had a salad and promptly crashed. Hey, cut me some slack. I’d just driven 6 hours and I’m not used to seeing that much daylight.
Friday I rolled in to Mysticon around 3 or so. I didn’t have a room (I stayed with friends in town) but that wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I do best — party crash. Unfortunately, I found out later why I couldn’t seem to find any sort of room party whatsoever.
Anyways, the con has tripled in size since the first year of existence, and with the concom working their tails off to keep up with the sudden influx of attendees. With the Author Guest of Honor being Orson Scott Card and the Media GOH Peter Davison, you could say that there were a lot of people.
So there I was, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, when suddenly someone told me that the dealer’s room was open. Since the con hadn’t really started yet, I was a bit surprised. But I sauntered in anyway and saw that, despite a lot of vending booths, there wasn’t a lot of things I could see myself wanting. However, I did score a comic book from Travis Surber (author/artist of Hainted Holler), as well as a Dr. WHOrse. Seriously. It’s freaking awesome.
I did run into Mark Morgan, who is a villain in Corruptor. He gave me permission to use his name, and so I made him an awesome villain. He’s a nice guy though, even if I portrayed him as a money hungry, greedy little cyber terrorist.
My first panel came up and I had almost as many attendees as panelists. I was prepared for this, however, since I’ve noticed that my panel attendance grows throughout the weekend as more and more people discover that I’m actually a little funny at time. But I discovered quickly on this panel (Genre Mashups) that a select few people were more eager to sell their book than talk about the topic at hand. Again, I’m used to this, so I quickly decided to make the audience laugh at me (note: not with me, but at me. I sacrificed myself for the greater good), and this killed the self-promo bid and got the panel back on track.
After the panel ended (thankfully, nobody was killed during the making of the panel) we headed up to the con suite. There we saw the ultimate in cake design: The TARDIS, in cake form, complete with a working light and sound effects.
Sufficiently impressed, I headed back down to my next panel, Law Breakers or Makers, where we would proceed to talk about how all of us follow our own universe’s rules and a pox upon the household that breaks their own rules. Oddly enough, Stephen King came up once or thrice. No idea why **coughNeedfulThingscoughcough**.
Afterwards I went back to my friend Peggey’s house and crashed there. Was exhausted, but a fun and successful Day One.
Day Two began with me oversleeping. Yeah, still not entirely used to be awake in the daylight, but needs must and all that. I soldiered on and, after a quick bite to eat, headed back to Mysticon. I was hoping to find some room parties to go to that night, and hang out with some very cool people after my last panel (the infamous Iron Author) was completed. I found Tom Kratman, Andrew Fox (author of Fat White Vampire Blues) and Clay White (with his son, what’shisface) just by hanging out at the con suite. I figured my odds were good at meeting Orson Scott Card there (didn’t even see him all weekend… our panels never coincided), but alas the odds were not in my favor.
Note to self: do not live in District 12. I’d be screwed.
Went to the Baen Traveling Road Show and scored a free book (John Ringo’s Tiger by the Tail) and finally met Laura Haywood-Cory in person. Ran into Leon and KatieKat while I was in there, and dinner plans went astray when I went to the hotel restaraunt and they went elsewhere. That was okay, except for the fact that my dinner came five minutes after left and I had to get it delivered to my next panel, which I was almost late for.
My next panel, Kill ’em!, was a lot of fun and I got to share how I killed one character not once, but twice in the same book series. This was met with some skepticism until I explained the way to properly nuke a grave from orbit. After that, everyone was on board (as well as feeling sorry for me, since previously mentioned character is based on someone) and the audience was really into it. Tony Ruggiero (author of the Immortal Servitude series) did a great job at balancing my relative insanity, and we all agreed: no character is sacred.
George R. R. Martin would have loved that panel.
Afterwards I scarfed down my dinner and met Peggey, David and Ellie as they were preparing for the Masquerade. Ellie was a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who, and a very good one at that. She won a prize (along with the mini-Dr Who and the mini TARDIS — all kids who were under 10 and dressed up like Doctor Who) and I took a few pictures of them.
Afterwards it was time for… IRON AUTHOR!
This is something I had never done before and was eager to try it. However, as soon as the words “Disney Stunt Cock” were thrown out there, I knew I was doomed.
…so skipping over specific details…
Thought about going to the Bella Morte concert after the last panel but by then I was exhausted. So I staggered back to Peg’s and fell into bed, remembering to set my alarm since I had a book signing at 10 the next morning.
Made it to the book signing on Sunday with about 3 minutes to spare. This was my singular complaint about the weekend — why in the world do you schedule the younger authors to do signings at oMG in the morning after a Saturday night? Sold my last copy of Lawyers in Hell and talked to the amazing Amanda Carruba about potential book covers later on down the road. Ran into Brandy and Derek Spraker (they who run Libertycon) and had breakfast with them, which was nice because they are absolutely awesome people. Ran into a few more familiar faces (sorry if I can never remember your names. Really!) and then called it a day after making one last journey through the Dealer’s Room.
I have to say, even with the massive amount of people in the con, it was a fun time to be had. I was able to duck away from the larger groups with some ease and find some quiet time to myself, which is important if I want to keep my sanity. I also was able to meet some new people, sign a book that someone had purchased at a con in Texas and came all the way to Mysticon just for me, and reconnect.
Definite good time. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves!
An update, of sorts.
Amazon has gone ahead and put M.C.A. Hogarth’s Spots the Space Marine back up in their ebook section. Judging from what I’ve heard, this is a pretty good book that others should pick up to help support the author. Plus, she donates a percentage of book sales to the Wounded Warrior project, which is pretty cool in itself. I’m broke, which is why I haven’t bought a copy yet. However, as soon as I have funds, I’ll be buying it and eventually reviewing it over at SBR.
However, I have not been able to confirm that Games Workshop has (or will) back down from their trademark claim. Spurious it may be (and it is, it really is), somebody in their legal department believed that it was a viable claim, meaning that unless an some sort of injunction or ruling spelling out the exact terminology of what a “trademark” may cover for GW, I doubt that they’re backing off. What’s probably going to happen is they’ll wait a few months, until the internet forgets, then hit someone else over another term.
One potential course of action that Hogarth could take would be to claim protection under the First Amendment, since Amazon is a US company and she is in the US. The trademark fair use law (under US copyright law) actually allows for this, despite what GW claims. While not as easy to work within like the copyright fair use law is, it still allows some wiggle room, since she is not using the Space Marine as GW uses it. Otherwise Lucas (and now Disney) would have shut down Darths & Droids years ago. GW may think they’re the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but they’re nothing but an ant if the mouse stepped into the fight. And if the mouse is leaving Darths & Droids alone, well…
That’s one thing authors need to remember. Despite what fancy legal departments wish for you to think (on behalf of their clients, of course. No self-respecting law firm wants to screw over anybody… wow, I typed that with a straight face even), you have just as many rights (if not more) as corporations.
Somebody asked me via email if I was worried about burning my bridge with Black Library. A little bit, sure. Everybody is worried about burning bridges in their lives. But I can’t stand by and watch while an author gets trampled into the ground by an overbearing company armed with lawyers. If that means I cannot write for the Black Library, then so be it.
I’ll just work harder to get published by Baen. Toni knows how to treat her authors.
noun: Law. property that results from original creative thought, as patents, copyright material, and trademarks.
For those of you who haven’t heard, M.C.A. Hogarth has run afoul of the behemoth gaming giant Games Workshop over her use of the term “Space Marine” for her novel, Spots the Space Marine. Games Workshop has demanded that Amazon pull down the ebook copy of Hogarth’s book due to their claim of intellectual property rights violation. Amazon, following their odd pattern of listening to big publishers while simultaneously claiming to help the little guys (which confuses me to no end), left the print version of the book up while removing the ebook from sales. Hogarth, who cannot afford the the cost of a lawyer, has taken to the internet for help.
I hope the internet responds. Here’s my effort to help, and I encourage others to do the same.
Games Workshop is wrong here, people, plain and simple. They are claiming that because they used the term “Space Marine” in an ebook last year, they can claim intellectual property ownership over the term “Space Marine” for all books. Their high-priced lawyers say they are correct. Their high-priced lawyers obviously haven’t read any E.E. “Doc” Smith or Robert A. Heinlein. You know, guys who were writing and publishing books in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s talking about Space Marines?
A tiny bit of research shows that Ace Books has been offering the Kindle version of Starship Troopers for a few years now. Obviously, the Heinlein estate would have a better claim to the IP rights of “Space Marine”, no? Or, for that matter, wouldn’t John Ringo and Travis. S. Taylor be able to have litigation for Games Workshop pilfering their term of “Space Marine” from their ebook of Vorpal Blade, which actually coins the Space Marine anthem in 2007? Because Baen Books offered eARCs (electronic Advance Reader Copies) to their readers, that would mean that Games Workshop is behind in the times and owes Baen Books a ton of money, right?
That slippery slope of IP law is a dangerous one when one doesn’t do their homework…
Look, I’m a fan of Games Workshop. I play multiple armies of their tabletop strategy games (Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000) and have generally been supportive of their product. Hey, I even plotted out a trilogy a few months back because I really wanted to write about Bretonians for their publishing arm. I was at the opening of the local GW store back in December! But now… now I’m not so sure I want to be as supportive of them any longer.
I know I’m not going to be buying their product until they stop harassing Hogarth, that’s for certain. I’m going to be encouraging friends to buy stuff from Privateer Press instead (who, coincidentally, have some gorgeous gaming models of their own). I’m also going to stop buying the Horus Heresy books (which sucks, because I love those books) and encourage people to pick up a copy of Hogarth’s Spots the Space Marine.
We teach our kids to not be a bully. I think it’s time we also remind companies that bullying comes at a severe cost.
*If you would like to read Hogarth’s POV on this, please go here. Hopefully it hasn’t crashed yet.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of the book review gods (because my reviewing schedule is as steady as the men in Kim Kardashian’s life), I plan on reviewing Sygillis of Metatron (The League of Elders, Book 1) by Ben Garcia tomorrow over at Shiny Book Review. It’s a strange name, yeah, but it’s a pretty good book. It had some WTF? moments but overall was fun. I just started the sequel yesterday (sorry Ben, I’m a procrastinator) and the prologue had me giggling a bit. Only a bit. More than a bit and a man of my…. stature becomes decidedly frightening.
So I found out that I have stories in three separate books coming out in the next 90 days. This makes me giddy because that means a lot of people should be buying the books for their loved ones for Chrishannakwanzaa. Sha’Daa Pawns (Crouching Seal, Sleeping Dragon), What Scares the Boogeyman? (The Cold), and Dreams of Steam III (The Finder’s Keeper) should all be out soon-ish. I’m particularly excited about The Finder’s Keeper and Crouching Seal, Sleeping Dragon, primarily because those are writing styles I have never tried before. Okay, I might have tried them, but I never really succeeded at them until now.
Also, for those of you who are curious, my younger brother Nick made it home safely from his first deployment to A-stan. He was able to keep in semi-reliable contact throughout his deployment (the wonders of Facebook). Operation Baen Bulk sent his brigade some much-needed supplies, as well as free books (which he has torn through; voracious readers run in this little strange family). Baen Books remains one of my favorite publishers to this day (even if they haven’t published any books of mine) due to their constant and unwavering support of our troops.
Ack. First day off in a while and I’m farting around instead of working on Nightwalker. It’s… almost… done… just… a… little… more…
Seriously. Maybe 500 more words and then it’s time to edit it.
Then off to the main editor after alpha reader tears it a new one.
The Book Gods must be appeased!
I’m still battling… whatever this is (headcold on steroids is my best guess), but I have finally managed to start feeling a tad bit better. So that means I can get back to work, right?
I’m procrastinating right now on finishing A Promise Made, and though when I started the procrastination process I had a good reason, for the life of me I can’t seem to remember what that solid reason was. Oh sure, I can complain about not having the right mindset for the protagonist (I’m not crazy, after all), in the end it just boils down to me not really wanting to write this story at the moment. I should finish writing it; it’s a great story so far. But… I’m going to sound petulant here, but I don’ wanna…
I really, really want to work on Wraithkin. I can’t, I keep telling myself, because I have previous engagements.
It’s strange. I always thought I’d be horrible at writing short fiction. Actually, if you look at my early work in this category, I really was horrible. I didn’t grasp pacing, didn’t know quite how to start the short without bombarding the poor reader with back story. I went through boot camp (that’s what it felt like!!!) back in March and hey, look at that: I can write short fiction now. Well, I write decent short fiction. There’s always room for improvement, I believe.
Next subject of order…
It’s not as though Larry Correia needs the help, but his latest novel, Dead Six, is scheduled to be released next week. I enjoy Larry’s work immensely, but I’m posting a reminder to go out and buy this book because the book’s co-author, Mike Kupari, is currently deployed to Afghanistan disarming roadside bombs. Yep, that’s what the guy does for a living. Some writers did their “I was there” spiel in their bios (hint: I was in the safest place known to man when I was deployed… on board a US Navy vessel), but Mike Kupari is missing his debut release because he’s too busy preventing assholes from killing American soldiers. Seriously. He disarms IEDs.
So why wouldn’t you want to buy his book? It’s good, and best of all, it was written by a nice guy.
Can’t wait until next week? Well then, buy it here.
It’s release day!
No, not for me, but for the uber-cool Larry Correia. His latest release, Hard Magic: Book 1 of the Grimnoir Tales is now available through Amazon. Technically not coming out until next Tuesday, you can get a jump on the rest of the crowd by ordering it today.
My review is up at Amazon, and Walt Boyes reviewed it for Shiny Book Review awhile back. It’s a great novel, one I would totally have people book bomb if, you know, more than 20 people visited here a day.
If you have Webscriptions, the book is currently only $6 for the ebook. That’s a deal, though the trade paperback is still under $10 on Amazon. Both are great deals, though. Go buy them and, you know, take care of the (not-quite) starving artist.
Someone decided to write and sing the “Monster Hunter Ballad” for Larry Correia‘s novels, Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta. The performer is Gray Rinehart, one of Baen Books editors.
I was reading an email this morning from a friend about a mutual friend who has put all of their eggs in one basket, specifically placed all of his books with one single publisher. I thought my response was going to be an easy “Well, it works for John Ringo”, but then I really thought about the various dynamics involved when it comes to Ringo and just about everyone else out there. I realized that though it may work for authors who are “mid-list and up”, it’s not a good marketing plan for those of us who toil down in the lower tiers of publishing.
Most publisher these days work with a big-name distributor. If they don’t, then there’s no way their books are getting on the shelves. Places like Ingram, Simon & Schuster and Baker & Taylor all ensure that publishers books reach the reading masses. Unless you have a deal with one of them, you are destined for a vicious marketing campaign using word of mouth, social networking and any other available resource at your fingertips. This may include exploiting your friends and their loyalties.
But… what happens when a publisher loses a distributor? What happens to the author whose books suddenly disappear from the bookshelves of stores?
I’m generally against putting all your eggs in one basket. Yes, loyalty is usually rewarded, but it’s not like the publisher is putting all of their eggs into one basket (unless it’s those guys who publish Stephen King and use his earnings to pay off their new writers…). Publishers usually have a small army of writers in their stable. What’s stopping an author from doing the same?
Mostly fear, I believe. I mean, you get that one contract after dozens and dozens of submissions and… you don’t want to lose it. You want more contracts, and the publisher has already shown that they like your work. So you keep submitting, ignoring the rest of the world as you narrow your focus onto what you think the publisher is going to like.
Then one day, poof! Just like that, your publisher is gone or changed from within. Suddenly all those years of toiling for them are wasted because the new editor-in-chief isn’t a huge fan and wants you to resubmit. Unless you’ve been making them a lot of money, you’re starting all over again. And this time, other publishers who have been watching the markets already know if you’ve reached your full potential or not.
Now, if an author had gone and had multiple publishing houses publish his or her work, then one folding isn’t a huge deal. Oh, it’ll hurt, but it’s not like you had all of your eggs in one basket. You had the “risk” spread around, much like the stock market. You had a science fiction book with Baen, a fantasy series with Tor and a young adult series with Scholastic outside of the “failed” or changed publishing house. You’re set, in other words. You pick up your boots and march on.
And when you get the rights to your book back from the other publisher, you can talk to the current publishers about re-releasing your older books. It’s a smart way to ensure that when your publishing world burns, you have a nice fire hose and thousands of gallons of water to protect everything else you have.