Non-Video Saturday: #Writer Inspiration or What’s your Poison?

Fun graphic from BegoJohnson. I think I’m Michael Pollan, with a hint of Joyce Maynard. ;) What’s your poison?

writers_inspiration


Guest Post: Gail Z. Martin – The Changing Business of #Publishing (#writing post)

Iron & Blood Martin CoverUnleaded: Fuel for Writers is pleased to host Gail Z. Martin as our Guest Blogger for Friday, July 24th, 2015. Gail wrote for us last year and you can check out her post on Writing an Epic Fantasy Series.  This time she’s talking about the nitty-gritty of publishing.  How it is, how it was, and how it may become.

Also as a quick note, her new book Iron & Blood just came out this month! It is a steampunk novel set in an alternative history Pittsburgh chock full of airships, supernatural creatures, amazing inventions, and lots of explosions.  What more could one ask for? Here’s the scoop (yes, I’m making you read an advertisement before getting to the article…but it sounds so cool!):

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the nightmares come to life will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.

 

The Changing Business of Publishing

ebooksTechnological change has destabilized the publishing industry, creating a structural upheaval that extends from top to bottom, from the way authors get paid to the means to produce and distribute their work. Not only does this mean that publishers must re-evaluate their role and value in the process of creating books and bringing them to market, but it also means that authors must begin to see themselves as part of the production process beyond the writing itself, to embrace an unprecedented level of entrepreneurship, and to navigate the changing relationship with publishers and the public.

Not too long ago, book publishers had a clear role. They selected books for publication, bankrolled the book production process, maintained relationships with the distribution channels of stores and libraries, and did a bit of promotion. Self-publishing before ebooks was difficult and expensive and without access to bookstores, was difficult for authors to do successfully, even ignoring the stigma attached to the process.

Four big things changed the status quo: the rise of ebooks and the decline of traditional bookstores, as well as the increased accessibility of professional-quality graphic design and publishing software plus the shift to print-on-demand technology.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe combination of good design software and the advent of ebooks meant that it was less expensive and much easier to produce a good-looking book without going through traditional publishing channels. The decline of physical bookstores and the rise of online booksellers gave ebooks a whole new audience, and print-on-demand meant that authors no longer had the financial barrier of purchasing an entire print-run of their book. Individual authors and small presses now had the ability to compete with traditional publishers in a way that hadn’t been possible since the Gutenberg Press.

So here we are, about a decade into this publishing revolution, and no one really knows how to maximize the new system. Big publishers were slow to adopt ebooks and print on demand, and ended up scrambling as profits fell. Small publishers and individuals scrambled to seize first-mover advantage with the technology, but didn’t find the golden egg. Big national chain bookstores have made poor decisions–many of which had nothing to do with books–and gone out of business or cut the number of stores. Independent bookstores, which had largely been driven out of business by the big chains, are starting a comeback. Library spending is struggling as local budgets are cut, in part as an aftereffect of the 2008 recession, and in part because of our current cultural shortsightedness about spending any money that benefits the average person.

And in the middle of the chaos is the individual author, trying to make valid career decisions. It’s no secret or surprise that even many well-known authors keep a day job, and that other established authors have been developing their own publishing capabilities and side businesses as publishers cut advances and shrink book deals. Just like the merger mania and downsizing in Corporate America taught every employee to think of himself as a temporarily hired freelancer or contractor, the shakeup in publishing has led to authors wondering how they can plan a future where they continue to publish and yet also can make a living doing so.

CrowdfundingPic2Increasingly, authors are adopting a hybrid career where they take contracts with traditional publishers, develop other projects through small presses and self-publish additional work. The rise of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding mechanisms to offset the risk of funding a publishing project and the advent of platforms like Patreon to pay authors to produce work have attempted to fill in some of the gaps left by big publishers, though imperfectly.

Authors today need to possess not only the skills to produce a good book, but also be savvy marketers, fearless entrepreneurs, and intrepid self-promoters. The days are long gone when an author’s job is done once the manuscript is turned in to the editor. Self-publishing can generate higher per-book pay, but it takes relentless effort for an individual author to achieve the kind of unit sales common in traditional publishing. Authors who have been in the game long enough to get rights reverted from out of print books now have the task of reformatting those books for ebook release. No one has found the magic formula.

Writing has always been considered to be an uncertain way to make a living, much like the arts and theater. I’d argue that in the long run, the net gain of ebooks, online bookselling and print on demand will work out for the best, although there’s a lot to be mourned in the lack of the stability that landing a contract with a big publisher used to provide. And until a more proven, stable business model emerges from the chaos writers and publishers are going to continue to muddle on, doing the best they can to make a living while creating the books they can’t live without.

kickstarterorderofthestick

Gail Z MartinGail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series; The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Check out more of her work (and blog) at AscendantKingdoms.com.

 

larry-n-martinLarry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.

 

 

 

Find them at www.JakeDesmet.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

 

 

 


From the New Yorker – Tom Gauld’s Keyboard Shortcuts for Novelists

Special thanks to Diana Peterfreund for pointing this fun Tom Gauld comic out!  You can look at the original and read some great articles at: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/keyboard-shortcuts-for-novelists .  And of course don’t forget to check out the link and Tom’s website!

Keyboard Shortcuts for Novelists


#Writing and #Worldbuilding Resources

WorldBuilding Moon, Cityscape and Book

World building is one of those parts of writing fiction that people either feel comes naturally to them or that they struggle incessantly with.  I can’t say I’ve met anyone who says, “Oh yeah, it’s just another part of writing.” One of the activities we are doing in our local writing group is having presentations and guided discussions as a way to share information and resources and learn together. I just led tonight’s talk on worldbuilding.  We talked about how we did it as individuals, what we struggled with, what we enjoyed and how our writing process was impacted (i.e. are you a plotter or pantser and how did that play in).

Just thought I would leave some of links that we used below:

Worldbuilding Information and Resources

 Collected for Cat Vacuuming Society Writing Group (7/9/15)

30 Days of Worldbuilding Exerciseshttp://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/days/
These are short, 15-minute exercises that can help you make crucial decisions about your world, and what you want your story to say about it.

Jump-Start your Imagination Creative Writing Exerciseshttp://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/2011/02/jump-start-your-imagination-creative-writing-exercises-for-worldbuilding/

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding http://io9.com/7-deadly-sins-of-worldbuilding-998817537
When worldbuilding fails, it can wreck your whole story, and leave your characters feeling pointless.

____________________________________

Chuck Wendig’s 25 Things You Should Know About Worldbuildinghttp://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/17/25-things-you-should-know-about-worldbuilding/
Worldbuilding is one of those topics that bakes my noodle every time my brain chooses to dwell on it. I have a whole bucket full of opinions, many of them in stark disagreement with one another. World-building covers everything and anything inside that world. Money, clothing, territorial boundaries, tribal customs, building materials, imports and exports, transportation, sex, food, the various types of monkeys people possess, whether the world does or does not contain Satanic “twerking” rites.

Patricia Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions on SFWAhttps://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/
The list of questions is meant to aid authors of fantasy fiction who are seeking to create believable imaginary settings for their stories. While many may be helpful, they will not all apply to every story. The idea is simply to provoke people into thinking about the ways their settings and backgrounds hang together.

Worldbuilding versus Storytelling (Or Does the Phantom Menace have Better Worldbuilding than Star Wars: A New Hope) – http://io9.com/does-the-phantom-menace-have-better-worldbuilding-than-1026016172
The original Star Wars doesn’t explain. You’re just thrown in the deep end with a space battle. In The Phantom Menace we have trade disputes and negotiations. Does the prequel then have better worldbuilding than A New Hope?

Hunter Liguore’s World Building Through Map Makinghttp://www.draftjournal.com/content/draft_exercise-liguore.pdf
Let’s say you’re writing a story about a family that lives on a farm in the late 1800s. (Think O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.) Your main character works in town, two miles from the farm. If you were to make a map, you would immediately mark these two locations. But what else is there? What surrounds the farm? What might your character encounter on that two mile journey? Some questions you might ask yourself.


Non-Video Saturday: The Creative Process – What’s yours?

Found this on Pinterest. This graph really does capture much of my process.  Though there probably needs to be a little 2% sliver that is “Playing with dogs” and I definitely would lose 1/2 of the “discouraged napping” to “checking social media over and over and over.”

Creative Process


Non-Video Saturday: Joseph Campbell – The Hero’s Journey

Yes, I’m on another infographic kick. This one is from The Writing Café and is Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey. His theory has pervaded storytelling and writing and folklore for years.

“The concept is that most stories throughout the world follow a simple narrative pattern. At its most basic, the theory states that:

  1. The Protagonist is called to adventure.

  2. The Protagonist must undergo trials or great hardship.

  3. The Protagonist masters the conflict and returns home.”

 

The Heros Journey

 

Sound familiar?  It’s the pattern for Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the Odyssey (because I need to include SOMETHING classical in there).

Of course, many stories do NOT meet that structure – Dune, Watchmen, Ulysses, and (even if it is a film, it is a GREAT example of where Campbell fails) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Why? Because one of the biggest critiques of the theory of the “monomyth” is that, if you examine it closely, Campbell’s theory follows a very Eurocentric, sexist (and usually now very cliché) view of what a story looks like.

So…find a better way to tell a story.

(surprise?) :)


  • Upcoming Deadlines:

    • No dates present
  • Twitter

    • New post: Non-Video Saturday: #Writer Inspiration or What’s your Poison? http://t.co/b06mJqA3fJ
      about 1 week ago
    • New post: Guest Post: Gail Z. Martin - The Changing Business of #Publishing (#writing post) http://t.co/rXMNvYsF1Y
      about 2 weeks ago
    • Balticon – A few quick pictures http://t.co/aWQJRPKlU5 http://t.co/kKkWjAmyaY
      about 2 months ago
    • Balticon here we come! http://t.co/2HA3QzZpnh
      about 2 months ago
    • African American Memorial Museum – Documentary Research http://t.co/4vVopjitpc http://t.co/kRrfC1GmHV
      about 2 months ago
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Writing Resource Books

  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Unleaded - Fuel for Writers. All rights reserved.
    iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress