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Next book

Posted November 16 into Writing by John Birmingham

I started blocking out the plot and character arcs for The Cruel Stars this week. I'd been tossing up whether to write WW3.1 first, but Cruel Stars is due in New York in April next year and with the holidays coming up my productivity will soon fall off a cliff. We're scheduled to spend some time in Sydney during January (I will try to set aside a day for a Burger catch up) and the getting kids back to school is usually a week's worth of faffing around too.

Long story short, I'm going to knock over this traditionally published title first, then swing into 3.1 in February. That should see it released in April/May.

Meantime, I have the Hooper fanfic project to release for Xmas. It'll go free to everyone in the bookclub, then probably sit at two bucks in the stores.

Come January I'll release all of the Stalin's Hammer books in one volume. Including Rome. I can't release my own copy of Rome, because the rights remain trapped with the legacy publsihers. . But I can rerelease it as part of an 'anthology'. I think it'll make a nice one, and I'll do a print on demand version too. Audible have made an offer on the audiobook rights.

I'm enjoying the rapid fire project switching of the last few months. Paris, Girl in Time and now Cruel Stars are all very different projects and I've found each to be a pleasant change from the other.

Not sure whether to put Cruel Stars through the beta process. It really does improve the story, but I'm mindful of not overloading everyone and, to be honest, it's the publisher's job anyway.

Happy to take counsel on that.

Also keen to here from the beta crew how they found Dropbox Paper. Some hated it. Some liked it. I had one or two scarifying moments when it seemed to delete the whole project.

27 Responses to ‘Next book’

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 16
DB Paper was ok but that was highly dependent on the platform. Desktop/laptop were fine, the iPhone was also ok but so tiny I was crosseyed afterwards, and the Android tablet failed to provide me with a cursor on many occasions which made editing simple things difficult.
With the tablet I had a select all moment where I was not entirely sure what to do next just in case I deleted everything. I know you keep the original safely tucked away somewhere but do you occasionally backup the beta copy?
I'm happy to use either Paper or Docs.

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WarDog mutters...

Posted November 16
I found the latency on DropBox, both via Desktop and Android tablet to be extremely frustrating. To the point that I almost didn't read through the final third.

I like the anthology delivery for Stalin's Hammer.

And I also find switching tasks every couple of months a much more relaxing way of working. I fond it gives me fresh perspectives on prior projects too.

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jl mumbles...

Posted November 16
What's the premise for "The Cruel Stars"? Sounds interesting.

Loved dropbox, I used it on my Mac and had no problems. Very intuitive and fun to work with. Considering using it myself for my next book, great way to get real-time feedback from your betas. I really enjoyed it.

Also, good concept releasing the novellas as an anthology, especially like the print-on-demand part. Electronic books are fine, but every now and then I do love a paperback.

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted November 16
Yeah, what the sleepless one said.

With no prior experience of the product, I worked out how to use DB Paper relatively easily but its performance was highly dependent on the platform. Safari on iOS on iPad was unusable due to app latency times; Firefox or Chrome on a Windows 7 laptop was nearly as bad; the only decent response I could get was on Chrome on a Win 10 desktop. And I was using the same network infrastructure for all of these - VDSL2 broadband router hardwired to the two Win machines and wifi to the iPad.

Anyway, I was happy to be part of the process, and would do so again.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted November 16
Yeah, it does seem very dependent on platform, with mobile devices being the worst.

AuntyLou asserts...

Posted November 20
Yep Android tablet was hard work. One thing that no one else seems to mention is that Google Docs allowed a much smoother experience for glancing through comments. I like seeing the thought processes of others...even if it is only to kick myself for missing typos.

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Don Bagert has opinions thus...

Posted November 16
It's hard to complain about 3.1 being delayed when you're saying it should be finished by six months from now, and also be available to everyone at the same time! I remember that one book that was delayed so long in the U.S. (maybe Final Impact?)

An anthology of 3 novellas that just happen to all be in the same universe with a continuing story line. Sound good if the Paris publishers buy it. (This made me think of when this "anthology" of 8 previously published short-stories plus one new story was released a some time back. You may have heard of it - the Foundation Trilogy.) LOL

The DB Paper could be a little fickle in some places, but overall it was very useful. A Girl in Time was my first time with the betas, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't believe you think we'll be overloaded by this - we're getting to see John Birmingham working at his craft! Also, I don't know how your publishing editors have been but I've seen many books by others where it was obvious the editors didn't understand what was going on. Do you want the betas, after the book is released, to be telling you "Look at these continuity errors, JB! WE would have found all of them!" LOL

Finally, I'd also like to know a bit of what Cruel Stars is about :)

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted November 16
"Come January I'll release all of the Stalin's Hammer books in one volume"

Literally a volume, like on paper?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted November 16
Yes.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted November 16
Excellent!

dweeze asserts...

Posted November 16
Come January I'd be purchasing such a volume then.
Yay.

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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 16
1. DB Paper is worth sticking with - even though I'm one that used my ipad almost exclusively, and as above, yeah it's not without its frustrations.

2. We betas get at least as much in return for what we give. So I selfishly say go for it. But will understand if you don't (your publisher may also have a risk-averse view).

3. Lots on JB - well done. Is it safe to say in 29 days you will be rich?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 16
I wouldn't go that far.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted November 16
I think there will always be enough alphas available at any one time to cope with any potential overloading. I feel like it's ok to dip in or out depending on our individual workloads, or is that just lazy slave talk?

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Dave C swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 16
Dropbox was good. There were a few fuggly moments using it on my android, as stated above, but generally it was excellent.
If you're asking whether to beta The Cruel Stars, I'd describe it like this; everyone's got their favorite bands, right? And their albums are the mint, polished, end-product. But come on, who wouldn't want to hang in their studio while they're laying the tracks?

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted November 16
Not a fan of the Dropbox Paper. I found it pretty maddening to work with.

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Jeats puts forth...

Posted November 16
Just out of interest you mentioned the rights to the audiobook... have you ever had interest for a movie? The time does seem ripe for a "Final Countdown" style movie - you know to make 'merica great again!

I am really looking forward to reading "The Cruel Stars" when it is released.

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DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted November 16
A girl in time is perfect for a netflix production. And the Dave for that matter (SFX budget might be a bit high!)

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Alastair mumbles...

Posted November 17
What about a burger meetup in NYC? I'm in!

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien puts forth...

Posted November 17
Dropbox Paper took me a second to get used to, but overall it was good. As others said, it wasn't without its shortcomings, but it did the trick.

As far as doing beta for "The Cruel Stars," I would do it in a heartbeat. But it's totally up to you (and the publishers).

The anthology sounds good too, and I am sure all of us are looking forward to WW3.1.

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted November 17
DP was rough on IPad Pro. One thing that I didn't like (or figure out) was how to bookmark my progress so that I didn't have to do that entire scroll from the top thing every time. Probably a PIFOK error.

I'm always up for a beta ... mainly because I can lord it over the untermenschen.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted November 17
We do not mention the untermenschen

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Ceramic would have you know...

Posted November 17
Never mind, just emailing you now.

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted November 18
But. But. But ... the sounds they make when taunted are like music for the soul.

But, my Master has spoken ... no more more mentions of the U-word.

Sudragon reckons...

Posted November 18
They have become...

Untermentionables.

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Oldy reckons...

Posted December 1
If you're worried about overloading the betas, you can always increase the pool...

...just sayin'

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted December 1
Old, if you want in, just let me know via the mailing list email.

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