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Things and Stuff

This week is particularly hectic. I’ve got a radio interview tomorrow morning and a podcast interview in the afternoon, an appointment at my son’s school Thursday, and some other miscellaneous stuff I’m currently forgetting.

I also have a new book coming out in exactly two weeks, with all of the pre-book preparation that entails.

So here’s some other stuff I wanted to mention online:

  • Joshua Palmatier just posted the book discussion for Unbound over on the unofficial DAW LiveJournal page.
  • Elitist Book Reviews named Unbound one of their top books for 2015, with Revisionary as one of the most anticipated for 2016.
  • The newest episode of the Once and Future Podcast has me chatting with Anton Strout about writing, depression, chicken-chasing, author envy, Fable, and of course, Revisionary. And also Werejaguar Day.
  • I’ve sold an article and a story reprint over the past week, both of which I’ll share more details about soon. Yay!
  • Finally, I’ll be doing a booksigning/reading/thing at Schuler Books in Okemos, MI on February 18 at 7 p.m. There’s a Facebook event for those who use such things.

I think that’s everything? And if not, tough, because I have to go help my son with his research paper. He’s writing about Johannes Gutenberg. Sadly, I don’t think he can use the Libriomancer books as sources…

ConFusion Schedule

I’ll be at ConFusion this weekend, along with a ridiculously long list of cool people. When I’m not doing panels, I suspect I’ll be spending all my free time meeting and catching up with folks. (With occasional introvert breaks where I retreat to my hotel room to recover for a few minutes.)

My official schedule looks like so:

Saturday, 1/22

  • 11 a.m. So grim. Much serious. Wow. (Moderating)
    • Humor and light-hearted adventures have a storied history in science fiction and fantasy. Yet it seems modern work is focused on the darker elements of story telling. Is genre too po-faced outside the work of certain specifically ‘comedy’ writers? Why do so many writers steer clear of overt fun?
  • Noon. Novel Gazing.
    • The Male Gaze is often discussed in relation to how women are objectified in fiction. Less common is the Female Gaze, which is often confused as a direct opposite to its Male counterpart. What are the Male and Female Gaze? How are they different? And how is the Female Gaze changing fiction for the better?
  • 3 p.m. The Princess Problem.
    • Are princesses actually the problem? Does shaming the idea of princesses and the femininity they represent push girls out of the narrow marketing confines of the pink aisles, or does it harm them in other ways? What about girls of color who so rarely see themselves represented as princesses, or cis boys who want to be Elsa, or trans girls who want to see themselves, too? How do we combat the confining box that is “princess culture” without shaming kids who enjoy princesses and the positive traits they’ve come to represent?
  • 4 p.m. Autographing Session.
  • 6 p.m. Cover Art: The Good, The Bad, and the WTF.
    • No genre places more emphasis on stunning cover art than science fiction and fantasy. It often goes right, but not always. With powerful visual projection, the panelists will observe a series of good, bad, and WTF covers from science fiction and fantasy, provide commentary, both in praise and… not.

Sunday, 1/23

  • 10 a.m. Fanwriting in the 21st Century
    • Before there were SF conventions, there were fanzines. Fanzines are still around (one of our panelists won a Hugo for hers) but now there are blogs and podcasts and fanfic too. Our panelists talk about what fanwriting is and why it’s as important as ever in the 21st century.

This is one of my favorite conventions. I can’t wait to see everyone there!

Sharing a New Story with my Son

Remember the book I was working on in November for NaNoWriMo? It was a middle grade fantasy novel — the first such book I’ve done. I rewrote it in December, and then started a final pass through to clean things up for my agent and beta readers.

Once I had the rewrite and had fixed most of the first draft problems, I also began reading the book to my son each night. We’d get through a chapter, occasionally two, before he went to bed. I lay there with manuscript in one hand and the pen in the other, making notes about word repetition and unclear sentences and bits that just didn’t work.

I loved it. Reading aloud meant I was catching a lot of things I might have otherwise missed. And my son was enjoying it. He laughed at most of the jokes, especially when a character’s iPad autocorrects “prophecy” to “privy.” He got mad at the villains. We’d finish up chapters and he would guess what was going to happen next, or yell at the protagonist, “Don’t do that, it’s a trap!” Toward the end, as everything came together for the big confrontation and climax, he was literally  bouncing at times.

I asked him afterward who his favorite characters were. He chose Gulk and Mac. Gulk is one of the goblins. (Note: this is not a continuation of the Jig the Goblin series…but these goblins have some similarities to Jig’s kinfolk.) I wasn’t too surprised there. I’m rather fond of my goblins too.

Mac is the protagonist’s 14-year-old brother. He’s autistic and nonverbal, and is one of three characters running around on this adventure and doing the whole “Save the World!” thing. I asked my son why he chose Mac as a favorite.

“Because he’s like me.”

I don’t know what will happen with this book, but I’m doubtful anything will top that experience. I’m sure my portrayal of Mac is flawed, but I wrote him well enough for my son to recognize him. Likewise, the book will certainly get edits to make it stronger, but it was strong enough to keep my son enthralled night after night. And he gets to be the first person to hear the story of Tamora and Mac Carter.

Some days, writing can be frustrating and discouraging. But thanks in part to experiences like this, I really, really love what I do.

Obligatory Awards Eligibility Post

I guess it’s that time again, eh? Here’s the stuff I wrote or was involved with in 2015 that’s eligible for various award-type nominations, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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Invisible 2Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F, with an introduction by Aliette de Bodard, is eligible for the Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category.

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Unbound and Fable: Blood of Heroes are both eligible for Best Novel nominations.

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In the Short Story category, my story “Girls in the Hood” came out last year in Chicks and Balances.

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And that’s it for me. If you only have the time or energy to consider one thing, I’d suggest Invisible 2. The contributors wrote some amazing and powerful essays, and I think the collection is both important and timely.

Whatever happens, if you’re eligible to nominate for various awards, I’d encourage you to do so.

IT’S BOOK DAY!!!

UnboundToday is the day Unbound comes out as a mass market paperback, with a concurrent price drop on the ebook edition.

This is book three in the Magic ex Libris series about a magic librarian, a kick-ass dryad, a flaming spider, Johannes Gutenberg, and so much more. I probably could have subtitled this one, “How Isaac got his groove back.”

I’ve gathered all sorts of handy links to the various formats, because I’m helpful that way…

If you’re on Twitter, DAW Books will be giving away all of this month’s releases to a follower who retweets their Happy Release Day announcement. In addition to my book, you’d also get books by Dave Bara and Mickey Zucker Reichert.

Best of all, reading (or re-reading) Unbound will get you up to speed and all ready for when the final book in the series, Revisionary, comes out next month :-)

Thus endeth today’s commercial message. Thanks for reading!

Chupacabra’s Stats

Writing numbers and business-type neepery ahead.

I announced the publication of a story in the Magic ex Libris universe called “Chupacabra’s Song” a week ago, and was curious to take a look at sales channels and such. The short story is available for $.99 at the following outlets:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

I haven’t done any channel-specific advertising or anything like that. After a week, the sales break down like so:

  • Amazon: 250
  • B&N: 19
  • Smashwords: 9
  • iBooks: 8
  • Kobo: 6
  • Google Play: 3

Here are the percentages, if you prefer to look at it that way:

Pie chart graph of sales for Chupacabra's Song

That’s a total of 295 sales in a week, which isn’t bad at all. Given the different royalty rates, which range from roughly 35% to 50%, I’m guesstimating the story has earned a little over $100 in royalties. Not bad for a reprint, especially considering there will probably be some additional sales trickling in over the coming months and years. I’ve more than earned back the money I invested to prepare and publish the story.

Has it covered the time I invested? That’s a harder question, and depends on how I assign an hourly worth to my time. I’m leaning toward no, because I spent a fair amount of time prepping things, getting the files uploaded to various sites, and so on. But I’m okay with that. I’m happy about getting the story out there for more readers, and as a proof-of-concept, it certainly shows there’s a bit of demand.

Remember, this story was a reprint, so some folks had already seen it. A longer, original piece will likely do significantly better.

My thanks once again to everyone who picked up a copy. Especially those of you who posted a review at Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere. Very much appreciated.

Tune in next week for even more charts and data, as I pull together the 2015 writing income report.