Author FAQ: On what I can realistically do for you

We’ve tackled writing, agenting, traditional publishing and self-publishing, and yet there are still a handful of frequently asked questions left, primarily surrounding the question of what I personally can do to help you, a potentially aspiring writer, in your career.

Yep, I’ve been asked all these questions, and it’s very flattering; by no means do I want to discourage anyone from asking me stuff. Hopefully, these answers will be a good place to start.

Ready? Of course you are.

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Author FAQ: On self-publishing

So far, these FAQs have been pretty straightforward, and have primarily dealt with the writing process, which is something every scribe can relate to, along with agents and traditional publishing. Today, we get into self-publishing.

This is a touchy subject for some, and I genuinely believe there’s a lot of sturm und drang here that’s unwarranted. (I’ve blogged about this before.) If you disagree with my take on self-publishing — which is by no means meant to be the end-all, be-all on the topic — feel free to comment here. But please do so respectfully. Let’s have a discussion without name calling and such. I know this the Internet, but I don’t feel I’m asking too much.

As always, this is my take, and your experience will vary, as will the experiences of other authors.

Ready? Let’s go:  Continue reading

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Author FAQ: On publishing (and my publisher)

So far, we’ve tackled frequently asked questions about writing and getting an agent. Today, I’m going to talk about publishing.

Now, granted, my experience with the publishing world has been both limited in scope and complex in nature. I’ve had two contracts total in my fiction career, so it’s a limited sample. And as I’ve said before, your experience likely will differ. In fact, I hope it goes a bit smoother. But that said, I can’t complain. My books are on shelves, and that’s an awesome feeling.

Again, as a reminder, other authors may have different opinions, which is great. Don’t just rely on me to inform your authorial and/or publishing escapades. Do your homework!

With that said, on to the next:  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 2

Here’s a little stat for you: the New England Patriots are at the bottom of the AFC East for the first time since the Big Bang. Tell me you predicted this, I dare you.

Meanwhile, Tony Romo and Alex Smith were giving out footballs to the opposing team as if they were kids on Halloween seeking candy. They looked bad. We’re talking Phantom Menace bad. Jar Jar could’ve been the offensive coordinator for either Dallas or Kansas City and there might not have been a difference.

On the brighter side, both Cleveland and Jacksonville look like gamers, despite the losses. That’s no guarantee they’ll suddenly win games, but it makes for better viewing than late-season episodes of The X-Files. And hey, I was exceptionally wrong about Minnesota being boring. I can own that.

In fact, I had an 8-8 week in predictions, so I was wrong about half the time. That’ll teach you to put any stock into my prognostications. But hey, why not – here’s some more:  Continue reading

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Author FAQ: On getting an agent

So yesterday I answered some questions about writing, my process, and what’s worked for me. Today, we’re going to talk about getting an agent, which is the source of no small amount of angst among many would-be authors.

As I said yesterday, my experiences will likely be very different from yours, and other authors may have different opinions here. This is my take on it.

Here we go:  Continue reading

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Author FAQ: On writing

Believe it or not, that “Contact” tab sees a decent amount of use, which pleases me greatly – I love hearing from folks about my work. Some of it is out-and-out fan mail, which will never ever get old. Some of it is about writing and publishing and requests for advice.

Between e-mail and some in-person questions I’ve received at readings and conventions, it’s readily apparent that there are folks out there very interested in my experiences writing novels and getting them published.

Now, my advice is probably worth that portion of your monthly electric bill used solely to power your computer, but since people have asked, I’ll do what I can. As with so many things in life, your experience can, and likely will, be different.

I’ll be doing a topic every other day for the next week or so. Note that the questions are tongue-in-cheek but also reflect things I’ve actually had folks ask me. With that said, here we go:  Continue reading


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Talking DragonCon with the Ratchet RetroCast

ratchetretrocastJust a quick post to point you to a great podcast in the Alternate History and Steampunk genres. I had the pleasure to briefly guest on the Ratchet RetroCast‘s roundup (say that ten times fast) of DragonCon on the last day of the convention. Plus, you get to hear a lot more about the Alt-History track and some of the great events, masquerades and parties that I, being a 42-year-old suburban dad, decided to opt out on.

The podcast is hosted by Doctor Q, founder of the Artifice Club and the director of the DragonCon Alt-History track, among many other things. (The man can spin some tunes, let me tell you.) And the RetroCast is co-hosted by Steampunk Boba Fett, which…well, I’m happy to live in a world where there is such a thing.

The podcast is, of course, available wherever fine podcasts are downloaded, whether that’s iTunes or Google Play or whatever obscure, steam-powered wireless set you happen to have cobbled together in the basement. If you want to keep up with what the cool kids are doing in steampunk, this is the podcast to listen to.

On the podcast, I mentioned a particular cosplayer whose Royal Navy captain’s uniform was utterly spot on. In fact, I took a picture of her and tweeted it:

Turns out this is Annette from Germany, and she’s a member of the German cosplay club Film Fan Force. She’s very active in costuming and has done panels at a wide variety of conventions. So if you see her, do give her a proper salute for me. And if you’re in Germany, check out the group!


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