Tag Archives | publishing

The 14 people you need to help you decide if you should publish or not

There are three things that I love about this:

  1. they are tremendous and witty words of wisdom from Mark Twain.
  2. it is narrated by John Lithgow, who’s voice alone makes me laugh.
  3. the sleeping man scares me, and reminds me to be entertaining, as he should.

In Twain’s own words:

“But the man whom I most depend upon is the man who always goes to sleep. If he drops off within 15 minutes, I burn the book. If he keeps awake three quarters of an hour, I publish, and I publish with the greatest confidence, too. For the intent of my books is to entertain and by making this man comfortable on a sofa and timing him, I can tell, within a shade or two, what degrees of success I’m going to achieve.”

–Mark Twain

via Brain Pickings, and the New York Public Library’s Live from NYPL program.

J. K. Rowling — NOT the author of The Fridgularity

I’m not sure how these rumors get started, but just to be clear: the famous, best-selling author J. K. Rowling (best known for her Harry Potter books) is not the author of The Amadeus Net, Marvellous Hairy, or The Fridgularity. Mark A. Rayner is NOT her latest pen-name.

And now, a picture:

"use the force, harry" gandalf (with pic of patrick stewart)

If he’d added, “I’m a leaf on the wind,” we could have five.

Alltop doesn’t believe in rumors. Magic, yes, rumors, no. Other authors J. K. Rowling has written as, in case you’re wondering.

Why I still kill trees to proof manuscripts

my latest manuscript

I’m a big fan of printing when it comes to proofing you manuscript. I have a few reasons for this:


You get way more resolution on paper then you do with the average screen. I suppose if you’re looking at an e-ink reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.) or iPad, you have similar levels of resolution, but with the latter technology, you still have the problem of image refreshing. (This is what happens with a backlit screen — the image is recreated over and over as you look at it.) I actually like my Kindle for reading because it doesn’t have that refreshing issue, and it behaves like paper. In fact, it’s not a bad choice for some proofing activities, but the problem with it is you can’t write on it.


Unlike the Kindle, paper allows me to scratch my thoughts, proofing marks and rewritten sentences right on the manuscript. The downside is that I still have to go back to the electronic file to make the changes, but the upside is I can noodle and doodle as I please. Plus, red pen!


Unlike electronic files, paper allows us to move back and forth in physical space. It’s easy to lose track of how long something is when we’re typing words in electronic ether, but when you see it in loose leaf paper, it’s obvious. That gorgeous paragraph, about the sunset and how its light reflects off the blonde hair of the protagonist’s lover? Well, it’s two pages long and it has to go.

The Bearable Weightiness of Prose

For those of you who are not guaranteed of being published, this may be as good as it gets. I’ve written at least two novels for which this is true. (I can’t account for the future, so at some point it may be more than two.) There is just something so real about looking at that big stack of paper, filled with lines and lines of your words. You wrote that, motherfucker! Good for you!

Please sign up for my newsletter, The MonkeySphere, for a chance to win a Kindle ($139 Amazon gift card). It’s a great tool for drafts, but you should still have a paper copy nearby for edits. You can get more chances to win if you buy my other novels, The Amadeus Net or Marvellous Hairynh. Full details on the contest here.

A new pulp age?

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an award-winning mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy writer, has a fabulous series of articles on her website about the upheaval in the publishing industry, and this quote really jumped out at me:

In some ways, we have returned—almost instantly—to the days of the pulps. The faster the writer is, the better the writer is at storytelling (not at writing pretty sentences), the more the writer’s works will sell. The better the writer is at business, the more profit she will make from her own writing.

The transition that we’re going through, this paradigm shift, will be particularly tough on the classically trained writer, the one who has bought all the myths about writing slow, about the importance of each word, about how stupid artists are about business. Those writers will have to change the way they think about writing before they can even start learning the tools they need to survive in this business.

I should probably put this in some context. She is talking about the necessity of writers to control their own destiny, to not sell all their rights to the big publishing houses. This means that in a sense, she’s right — long-term success as a writer means that we’ll have to produce more.

But does that mean authors will have to sell at the 99-cent price, like million-seller John Locke? Even Amanda Hocking admits that not everyone will have that kind of success.

And do these changes necessarily mean a return to the pulp age?

You can find the full series here — it’s well worth your time if you’re interested in the publishing world. You should also check out her complete bibliography. It’s a little scary — I stopped counting at 30-odd novels, and I hadn’t even gotten farther back than the year 2000!