I've been doing a few podcast interviews recently. This one, with Joanna Penn, was a good un.
Wrote a piece for my brother's site about disruption and the publishing industry:
My first year as a working writer I made a hundred and thirty-five dollars and ate a lot of generic poverty noodles. My second, a bumper year, I broke two hundred. It was encouraging, but not enough to upgrade to those fancy Maggi noodles the big, prize-winning authors get. After a decade of freelancing, though, I’d made it. I could mostly pay my rent and buy any damn noodles I wanted, as long as I was happy to sleep under a pile of old hessian bags on a brown couch in a share house. I didn’t go into writing expecting to make money and it turned that my expectations were entirely realistic. Starving artist KPIs? Nailed ‘em.
And then I wrote a book about living on brown couches in share houses—He Died With A Felafel In His Hand—and all of that changed, at least for a while.
The nineties and noughties were a golden age in publishing. Books, newspapers, magazines, they all made the sort of money that paid for long lunches which turned into late dinners with open tables and murderous bar bills, settled with somebody-else’s corporate Amex in the first light of dawn the next day.
And then… it was over. Not for me, not straight away, but both industries in which I worked—publishing and media—were disrupted with extreme prejudice. The Great Recession starting in 2008 accelerated a structural collapse which had been underway since Mosaic rendered its first webpage nearly fifteen years earlier. The sorrows of media have all been well traversed; the closing of venerable mastheads, the hundreds of thousands of laid-off journalists, the indignities of clickbait, the desperate raising of paywalls, the erosion of standards, the triumph of advertising over editorial, the shit-eating grins of the surviving management cadre as they tried to pretend everything was still totally golden.
But publishing was ok, right? Bookshelves are still full. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling could still fund their own small war in the Middle East if they wanted. And after a decade of chaos and collapse, independent bookstores are even coming back. What’s up with that?
Did the book industry pivot?
Did big publishers get smart?
Can we for God’s sake please get back to the business of long, bacchanalian lunches again?
No, no and not just no, but hell no.
9 Responses to ‘The quiet catastrophe’
I've been looking at my sales figures and my schedule for the year and have decided to tweak the order in which I work on this year's titles. I'm deep into The Cruel Stars at the moment and will kick on with that for another five or six weeks.
I had intended to then start WW 3.1, but I'm going to push that back to second half of the year to concentrate on The Golden Minute (or Girl in Time 2, if you prefer) and then a mass market thriller called Sleeper Agent.
The numbers. I'll make a lot more money off Golden Minute, and have been accepted into a box set deal for Sleeper Agent, so they get priority.
I'm still doing WW 3.1 and Stronghold (Dave 4) but they'll be released for Father's Day and Christmas respectively
And I'm still looking for fan fic across the the various storyworlds if people are interested.
22 Responses to ‘Book schedule changes’
Commas FTW! And Oxford commas for the bonus point:
“Who gives a fuck about the Oxford Comma?” Vampire Weekend asked on their eponymous first album. The hard-working truck drivers of the Oakhurst Dairy company in the great state of Maine, that’s who. A dispute with their bosses over whether they should be paid overtime came down to the lack of an Oxford comma in the state’s law regulating who gets paid a little bit more for working extra hours.
What is the Oxford comma?
It’s the one that parks itself before ‘and’ in a series of three or more things. If, for instance, you are planning a private party in the Moscow Hilton and you sent a note to the concierge asking him to “invite the hookers, Trump and Putin,” he can rightly blame you when the only guests who show up are a couple of transsexual despot-cosplayers.
You should have invited “the hookers, Trump, and Putin”.
That one little comma makes all the diff...
From today's kinder, gentler ASB.
8 Responses to ‘Lets eat grandma’
Just did a really fascinating interview with a project manager. (Surprisingly enough, on commission for a feature in Project Manager magazine). It was fascinating because although this guy came out of the Navy and into mining and marine engineering, almost everything he said was directly applicable to managing a writing career, especially juggling a couple of different projects such as books, columns etc. For once, I'm actually looking forward to transcribing the interview.
15 Responses to ‘Project management and the arts’
Is anyone eligible to nominate works, or to vote in the Hugo's? It occurs to me that not only should Cady and Smith try their luck (granted, they have zero chance), but the Hugos have categories for fan writing and everyone in Buttecracke is eligible! I don't see why that crazy Vos or Vox or whatever the fuck his name is should be the only one gaming this system.
I'm not a member of WorldCon or any of the baby cons that would afford nominating rights, but maybe somebody here is.