onyxhawke: (Braaaaaains)
( Mar. 7th, 2009 12:06 am)
Not that I've been around much lately, but expect me not to be reading anyone's LJ for a few days until the current round of "X is a racist. Y is a bigot. Z is a fathead just stirring shit up is over." There are two reasons for this:
1) Drama is a nice thing to major in during college, but not one of those things I'm interested in.
2) I doubt anyone on either any side of the debate mindless emotional maelstrom of nonsense wants me to speak the truth at them, or will appreciate it when they hear it.
I'm not sure I'll ever figure out the publishing industry. Leaving aside some of the arcane intricacies of how things are paid for, and the interesting paths a book may take from writer to publisher to book stores, there are all sorts of weird things going on. The latest and at least to me most perplexing are the recent decisions by two name game creators to start and discontinue their non gaming publications. Wizards of the Coast started their imprint, and not long later it went poof. Games Workshop started their imprint a bit longer ago, and has had some really entertaining series and works, and yet they've decided that despite being a money earner, It just isn't something they wish to continue. So, Solaris is up for sale.

Because of the "credit crunch" that has precipitated the whole economic slowdown around the world, If someone wants to buy them they will probably have to pay in cash or have an enormous amount of brownie points stored up with some bank. Given the number of publishers who have official, or unofficial buying freezes, this probably makes for a very short list. Either way, this likely means either a major change, or extinction of a brand that is entertaining, and well run.

Given the well documented layoffs, and reorganizations of major publishers, i can't see anyone who has an SF/F imprint taking on Solaris and doing the right thing by making it mostly or completely autonomous. It's just not enough a part of human nature for someone to make a purchase that large and then leave it alone. Either favors will be called in, or some bean counter will wish for a more profitable editorial team (read less expensive) or they will decide to move the imprint to the US or Germany, or Russia or wherever and lose people that way. On a small team that already lost a key person to Angry Robot recently, those one or two people lost could have a huge impact on the product.

Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and someone will buy them and take a hands off approach, or Games Workshop will decide that as good as the goose might taste the eggs are a nicer thing to have overall. Either way I wish the Solaris team, and their authors good luck wherever the land.

This video reminded me of some of the stories I've seen that have rather sharply juxtaposed elements, some working well, some working horribly most working for only a very small slice of the market. I suspect this video falls into one of the latter to categories.

Thanks Mel

Really, its true. One of the things many, many writers don't grok about the business is that no agent, editor, or publisher that is not going to have you as the primary source of cash for a book is looking for a reason to publish your book. One more time. I am not,  neither are Night Shade, Baen, Tor, Ace, Harper Collins, Pyr or any other publisher worth a damn does not want a reason to get your book published. Every single agent, editor, and bean counter is looking for a reason not to publish your book. One of the things everyone is looking for is someone who will not be a nightmare to work with. By this I mean that everyone wants to work with the clue enabled. Yes this is an unfairly high standard since most of us don't hold elected officials to this same standard. None of us mind if you are a little or even a lot ah, blessed by unique thought patterns and mental constructs. We just don't want to see them anywhere except in your book. So please for the love of booze and good books, keep your crazy at home and don't send it out with our manuscript. Doing your cover letter in the fictional language of your world is not helpful, even if you provide a dictionary for easy translation. A query letter that is all done up with email stationary that moves and sparkle with with lavender font over a lilac background is a bit unappealing as well. And yes, obvious as it seems as a way to give your prospective agent or editor a leg up on getting to know your world if your query letter is done in character it will probably earn a brisk dismissal.

Talk of sex, stereotypes, and worse truth below.

Feel free to explain this one to me. I'm dying to hear it.

* Anyone who knows the original quote and quoted person please let me know.

A lot of agents and editors rail on and on about people who can't seem to follow submissions guidelines. There is good reason for this, but that's not what this is post is about.

I just want to thank the people who have in the past and will in the future follow the submission guidelines. Often I download six, seven or more submissions or more and take them with me if I expect to wait for a while. I can be sitting in an airport, a doctors office, or getting my taxes done. When after going through several bad submissions be it here at my desk  or sitting on a train, I'll get to someone who got it right. Opening a file and realizing i don't have to worry about how to contact this person because their file isn't book.doc and they have heaven forbid put their contact info in the file is an unalloyed joy. It's also about the only one an agent or editor should be able to count on every time they hold their nose and go spelunking.

So to those of you who get it right, thank you.


It occurred to me the other night while talking to someone moving into the industry that there were a few less obvious things about the industry that someone one should pass along. Given that I don't know anyone with parents that cruel, I decided to do it myself.

Things thou should know:

1) From your lips (or keyboard) to everyone's ears:

You may have been under the impression that only prayer moved that fast. You're wrong. The publishing industry gossip-net works with a speed that shames any high school gaggle of incrowders and their hangers on. Anything you say can and will be turned in half a million different directions and spun with an ease rivaled only by the spin masters in D.C. in a million more.

2) Funny, they didn't look important

That's right, they didn't. Where ever you are in professional circles, or the internet there are probably at least three people with some sort of stroke there who you don't know, don't recognize and as a rule don't want to offend. That doesn't change the fact that they are important. Most of the people I know in this industry remind me of college professors, accountants and librarians, several of them are or were in fact just those things. Of the handful with vast amounts of presence, you'll almost never see them in one place, it just works that way.

3) Fans are crazy

Yes, I love them. But ask around the con circuit, ask about Tazer Con and Sprinkler Con, or The Boskone From Hell and for some of the other war stories. Better still, go read the things Mercedes Lackey went through regarding a stalker, its right there on her website in all its many colored glory. That aside, the fans are the reason you get paid to lie to people. Fans (and pros) have long, long memories and will repeat what they experience of you for quite some time.

4) Patience isn't a virtue, it’s a necessity.

In some businesses things run about willy-nilly with events happening at a nearly glacial pace, this one isn't nearly so fast. So patience isn't a virtue, it’s a lifeline to what sanity can be claimed for anyone who makes up entire worlds to keep the little voices in their head distracted and then falls far enough under the sway of their hubris to believe other people will want to read their inventions.

5) Oh no they didn't!

Well, yes they did and no they didn't. They obviously don't have the wit to appreciate the quality of your pearls, and the probably did say or do something about if that makes no sense to you. Take note Sherlock, you're now in their shoes.

6) The Bigger they are titled

The less you can figure out from the title. Take royalties for instance, really, it won't take much room. The more grand the name of something in the industry, the less sense it may make. Is that Executive Production Assistant Editor the one doing the work and the one with the stroke or are they the glorified coffee toter, who knows, see numbers one and two.

7) Musical Chairs is a way of life

When you were seven musical chairs was a game you played at birthday parties, and any other time your parents wanted to wear you down in a controllable fashion, you probably aren't seven any more. Do you remember that editor you met who worked at publisher #2 six months ago? Well by now, they may be an agent, an editor at another house, a full time writer, or they might have gone on to do something at loosely connected to the degree they spent years laboring to get. But don't worry, they could be back.

8) The SMOF's rule the (fan) world

Secret Masters Of Fantasy is not (usually) an insult, it too is a way of life, there's even a convention for them. These are the people who either do have as much stroke as a peeved editor or think they do, you probably can't tell which group they are in. Assume they do have the stroke to damage your career. Just because you meet them running a con in San Diego, doesn't mean they aren't engaged so someone who runs cons in Philly, see numbers one, two and seven.

9) There are no new spins

If you have produced something publishable, you probably haven't created something original, or innovative, or heaven help us all never been done before!. You've hopefully managed a way of executing a story it that is entertaining, and well done. That's it, deal with it. As soon as you say of those things or there equivalents you lose credibility faster than a toddler with crumbs on their lips who claims not to have eaten the missing cookie.

onyxhawke: (Default)
( Feb. 2nd, 2008 02:27 am)
Last piece before bed:

Bad Writer! No Agent!

My website clearly states I do not do query letters.

onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jan. 21st, 2008 10:52 am)
Holy Hell. Someone explain to me how i fell asleep around four and woke up at quarter past seven and can manage to type in that nearly competent way i generally manage. Please, really. I'm not a morning person, i don't play one on tv and i didn't even have more than a cup of coffee yesterday?
Now onto near relevance:
I've become convinced that Fen are not made for four day cons. By midday yesterday everyone (over 18) was dragging. Even some of the twelve to eighteen crowd were moving at less than full speed. The only party i know of was a semi quiet affair where there were a few people from Pi-Con, a guy from some con in the mid Atlantic traded bad jokes and con creep stories.

I ran into the moderator of my Appeal of Evil panel and she, I, the fabulous Sara Harvey and about half a dozen others were seen talking for about an hour outside the con suite from two thirty to three thirty while Sara and i ostensibly looked for Michael Whitehouse. Tim Lieder and I managed to talk several times, and I nearly had a conversation with Jeff Mach as he was wandering about around two O'clock.

Overall its been a fun con, but I'm way to tired for anything erudite...
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Dec. 1st, 2007 11:07 pm)
Interesting article on the brain, autism, and Asperger's.

How the grey and white wrinkly lump works.

Trippy brains.

What do you mean brain dead?

Brain repair!

Male brain, female brain, your brain my brain, wow brain (pdf), [Bad username or unknown identity: defending the brain, no brain.]
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Nov. 3rd, 2007 10:38 am)
I ran into J.V. Jones, who i hadn't know was coming, and must have publisher her first novel at twelve. Sean Wallace of Prime Books and I exchanged quips about slush and rejection letters we wished we could write, I hope no listening took either of us too seriously.

Alan Dean Foster was quietly conversing with someone who's name i didn't catch when we got on the elevator. He doesn't look like your typical fan/author or editor.

Tempest accosted me and insisted i buy and read a book by a lovely lady at the con, i accomplished the first and am working on the second.

Jay Lake is dressed in his usual subtle hues and reserved finery.

Oh yes, and my body dislikes being this far from the ocean, the air here is way to dry.

The mass autograph session last night was chaos incarnate. While nearly everything else here has been well organized, one or two people reported that it would have been a might easier on those not signing if things were alphabetized. As it was, David Hartwell was sitting next to Lois Bujold, George R. R. Martin was sitting next to David Anthony Durham, J.V. Jones and David Coe were rubbing elbows, and David Duncan was sharing air with Sarah Hoyt, Dan Hoyt and Kate Paulk.

More news when (and if) i wake up.
Among the half a trillion things that bemuse me about writing, is the "chapter quote". To me, it seems like entirely more work than is needed. To me, a non writer, the extra work spent putting them together could be better spent working on the text. Also there is the fact that for consistencies sake, once you have them, you'll probably be expected to continue them. Given the penchant publishers, and to some extent the public have for never ending series this could be ten to twelve books. If you have a slim twenty chapters per book, multiplied by twelve books, that is a whole lot of time.

Then too, there is the problem of doing it right. I have almost the same grievances with chapter quotes as i do with prologues. Either A) they are not done right, either spoiling the entire book and or chapter, or B) they are totally opaque and just distract the reader and make them think the are missing something that just isn't there.

This hopeless ramble was spurred by nothing in particular...
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Oct. 18th, 2007 01:05 pm)
Since i haven't seen my own brain anytime since the Gipper was a Presidential hopeful (at least) i rely on the brains of other people to say things intelligently.

In this case the fantastic Sarah Hoyt is making a couple points more than a few need to consider.
Part one: http://sarahahoyt.livejournal.com/10844.html
Part two: Http://sarahahoyt.livejournal.com/11566.html?view=68654#t68654
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Oct. 9th, 2007 04:21 pm)
Reading slush has done it. I'm convinced that about forty five percent of the people who submit stuff to me have taken what they consider the best linguistic affections of Dickens, mixed in double handful of the Prose Edda, and thickened with equal parts Tolkien and Homer to arrive at 'their own' literary style. I suspect it has something to do with the way writing and literature are taught, not just here in the USA, but around the world, at least in part. The other part is the lack of value seen in reading, even by some people who write.

The unfortunate problem with writing in those styles, or a combination of them is that language isn't used in the way it was when those were written. Hell, Locke, Bronte, the writings of many of the founding fathers and even The Immortal Bard are difficult to read because just in the last two hundred or so years the English language has shifted enough that it takes even people who read frequently a good deal of effort to wade through the styles of those of the past. And when you get to things like Kant, Homer, or the Edda which have been translated from another language you've added an additional dimension to the problem.

I seriously wonder if any of these folks have read any science fiction, fantasy or other fiction written in the past decade.
I shall post three links.

These links are not safe for work.

I repeat NSFW!

The first is a link to something every  writer, editor, and agent should be required to read yearly.
The second is a review and critical analysis of a history on American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.
The third is a video that is just plain funny.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I enjoy studing human nature. I also greatly enjoy discussing it.  The title article will probably kick off a touch of an arguement. 

It should be noted that people who are not arguing with logic and facts but with venom and emotion will have their comments deleted.

Teasers here, whole article here.

 1) Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them)

Long before TV—in 15th- and 16th- century Italy, and possibly two millennia ago—women were dying their hair blond. A recent study shows that in Iran, where exposure to Western media and culture is limited, women are actually more concerned with their body image, and want to lose more weight, than their American counterparts. It is difficult to ascribe the preferences and desires of women in 15th-century Italy and 21st-century Iran to socialization by media.

2) Humans are naturally polygamous

The history of western civilization aside, humans are naturally polygamous. Polyandry (a marriage of one woman to many men) is very rare, but polygyny (the marriage of one man to many women) is widely practiced in human societies, even though Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage. We know that humans have been polygynous throughout most of history because men are taller than women.

3) Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy

When there is resource inequality among men—the case in every human society—most women benefit from polygyny: women can share a wealthy man. Under monogamy, they are stuck with marrying a poorer man.

4) Most suicide bombers are Muslim

According to the Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, a comprehensive history of this troubling yet topical phenomenon, while suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Muslim. Why is this? Why is Islam the only religion that motivates its followers to commit suicide missions?

5) Having sons reduces the likelihood of divorce

Sociologists and demographers have discovered that couples who have at least one son face significantly less risk of divorce than couples who have only daughters. Why is this?

6) Beautiful people have more daughters

It is commonly believed that whether parents conceive a boy or a girl is up to random chance. Close, but not quite; it is largely up to chance. The normal sex ratio at birth is 105 boys for every 100 girls. But the sex ratio varies slightly in different circumstances and for different families. There are factors that subtly influence the sex of an offspring.

7) What Bill Gates and Paul McCartney have in common with criminals

For nearly a quarter of a century, criminologists have known about the "age-crime curve." In every society at all historical times, the tendency to commit crimes and other risk-taking behavior rapidly increases in early adolescence, peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood, rapidly decreases throughout the 20s and 30s, and levels off in middle age.

8) The midlife crisis is a myth—sort of

Many believe that men go through a midlife crisis when they are in middle age. Not quite. Many middle-aged men do go through midlife crises, but it's not because they are middle-aged. It's because their wives are. From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man's midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife's imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women. Accordingly, a 50-year-old man married to a 25-year-old woman would not go through a midlife crisis, while a 25-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman would, just like a more typical 50-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman. It's not his midlife that matters; it's hers. When he buys a shiny-red sports car, he's not trying to regain his youth; he's trying to attract young women to replace his menopausal wife by trumpeting his flash and cash.

9) It's natural for politicians to risk everything for an affair (but only if they're male)

On the morning of January 21, 1998, as Americans woke up to the stunning allegation that President Bill Clinton had had an affair with a 24-year-old White House intern, Darwinian historian Laura L. Betzig thought, "I told you so." Betzig points out that while powerful men throughout Western history have married monogamously (only one legal wife at a time), they have always mated polygynously (they had lovers, concubines, and female slaves). With their wives, they produced legitimate heirs; with the others, they produced bastards. Genes make no distinction between the two categories of children.

10) Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist

An unfortunate consequence of the ever-growing number of women joining the labor force and working side by side with men is the increasing number of sexual harassment cases. Why must sexual harassment be a necessary consequence of the sexual integration of the workplace?


onyxhawke: (Default)
( Sep. 14th, 2007 03:56 pm)
... get this bad, someone please kill me.


via more than one person in the flist.
onyxhawke: (Default)


( Sep. 3rd, 2007 01:21 pm)
I'm always amazed when someone takes my words to mean something completely different than what they actually say. It is good to know though that people out there know what I mean by the words I write better than I do.


onyxhawke: (Default)


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