Cheeseburger Gothic

Deadline vs dead writer

Posted December 6, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

I've reached the point in this deadline where I can wrote or I can exercise but I cant do both. So I might be going backswards on my fitness over the next week.

Must stay away from the bakery.

6 Responses to ‘Deadline vs dead writer’

Brother PorkChop reckons...

Posted December 6, 2017
No Portuguese custard tarts fo you my friend......
Tell me which bakery it is, aside from the tarts, your poison and I'll take one for the team.

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Thalesian would have you know...

Posted December 6, 2017
My FIL has one of these you could borrow if you want...

http://img.medicalexpo.com/images_me/photo-g/74702-9100535.jpg

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted December 6, 2017
Multi task. Apparently men can do it if they try hard. https://treadmilldeskaustralia.com.au/

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted December 6, 2017
Those typos are so me right now

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted December 6, 2017
One word.

Croissants.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 8, 2017
Totally stay away from the creamsticks.

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An End of the World Project

Posted October 27, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

Having lain fallow for most of the year, I now find myself ready to do A LOT of work. The white board that hangs by my desk has a bunch of projects on on it, probably three years worth.

One is called EOW.

I think of it as my nod to The Stand, the book that got me into reading and, as it turned out, writing.

I had been thinking about what to do with it. Trade? Indie? One massive volume. Lots of individual serial stories?

Now I've decided. I'll write it naked.

Not just pantsless like all of my other books. But out in the open, where anybody can watch. Well, anybody willing to pony up the admission fee.

Some of you have already signed on, and for that, many thanks.

For anybody who's interested, the link is here.

I wont waste Burger pixels explainging the idea. Just hit the link.

For anyone wondering, shit, when is he gonna do all the other books... Answer: right fucking now.

The Four Horsemen, as I'm thinking of this new project, will take two years. WW 3.1, Smith and Cady, even The Dave, they'll all get their moment in the sun first.

12 Responses to ‘An End of the World Project’

jl ducks in to say...

Posted October 28, 2017
This is exciting sh*t.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted October 28, 2017
I think the opportunity to see the sausage being made is well worth the small amount of money. Transparency is not something to be afraid of. I happily supply complex, or even simple, search strings to everybody. It gives them the tools to replicate what I do, to be able to bypass me, but it doesn't give them the magic, the dark arts of whatever you excel at. You have the magic buddy.

insomniac reckons...

Posted October 28, 2017
Oh, does this mean the Solar Project is dead and buried, or perhaps just long forgotten.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted October 28, 2017
Killed by spam

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Sparty asserts...

Posted October 28, 2017
Top tier sold out already!

jl mutters...

Posted October 28, 2017
Guilty as charged.

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted October 28, 2017
Done! Although The Dave and Smith and Cady are the ones I look forward to.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 29, 2017
They'll be out in January, I reckon.

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted October 30, 2017
Are you sure you can wait 2 years?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/30/mystery-of-octopuses-found-walking-on-welsh-beach

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Sparty asserts...

Posted October 30, 2017
The post image is typical Aussie Brit bashing , you can tell the Ashes are coming up ;-)
WHY does it ALWAYS have to be London destroyed.....gives me PTSD about an event which has never happened...

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted October 31, 2017
Because destroying Taunton will never bother people in the same way?

"Oh no, Taunton is destroyed, can life ever b... oh, look, we can just move up the road to Monkton Heathfield."

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jason would have you know...

Posted November 22, 2017
For anyone who hasn't jumped on board I would highly recommend checking this process out. It is a leap forward in publishing.

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Interview With Jo Penn

Posted August 22, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

I've been doing a few podcast interviews recently. This one, with Joanna Penn, was a good un.

4 Responses to ‘Interview With Jo Penn’

jl mutters...

Posted August 23, 2017
I got a lot out of this. Thanks, JB!

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jason has opinions thus...

Posted August 23, 2017
I can hear my peers laughing already but... Where do I download this podcast?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 23, 2017
I reckon you could search up 'The Creative Penn' on iTunes. Or just go here: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/08/21/how-to-be-a-writer-john-birmingham/

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted August 28, 2017
I loved that interview, I'll have to go trawl through Jo's back catalogue now, she was great

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The quiet catastrophe

Posted July 17, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

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.

The rest is here.

10 Responses to ‘The quiet catastrophe’

jl reckons...

Posted July 17, 2017
I read this with great interest. My fingers itch with the thought of sending another book into the howling internet wasteland, to be judged by readers in random, isolated locations worldwide.

It's a bit like what many of our ancestors did when they stepped onto ships headed somewhere else. They didn't know what would happen when they got to their destination, but they did know it would be something new. And they would have to adapt or starve.

The frontier of our time is digital, and it looks like the big publishers have received a tomahawk to the face.

Quokka would have you know...

Posted July 21, 2017
yes it must have been shocking when they got here & 40% of the indigenous population promptly sickened & died with smallpox.
A friend told me that her child just learned in high school that the English insist it wasn't them that brought the smallpox - it was the French.
I thought better of Catholic ed up until that point but rinse lather repeat seems to be the order of the day.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted July 17, 2017
Show noodles. Mmmm.

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Jeats reckons...

Posted July 18, 2017
More posts in CBG please John. This site has gone fairly dark recently.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 20, 2017
Jeats Birmo has many demands on his time. If you need a fix subscribe to the Alien Side Boob. It elevates spittle flecked ranting to an art form that reminds me of Henry Moore the flowing forms, the mass with grace and the Fkn great big rocks.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 18, 2017
Very interesting. Indeed the last paragraphs suggests there isn't just hope, but real concrete hope for new writers too. You mentioned the other week that a certain organisation (rhymes with wood louse) had screwed you (so badly that your arse was still bleeding), but didn't really go into the details. What you're saying here suggests that the right place to start for someone still silly enough to try non-genre fiction is still writers groups and local agents taking on such things. I guess I'm not clear where the leap into the unknown would begin... Doesn't one need some external validation that the product is reasonable? Not in question for a successful juggerauthor, or course. But the starting question remains.

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 18, 2017
Very interesting. Indeed the last paragraphs suggests there isn't just hope, but real concrete hope for new writers too. You mentioned the other week that a certain organisation had burned you pretty badly, but didn't really go into the details. What you're saying here suggests that the right place to start for someone still silly enough to try non-genre fiction is still writers groups and local agents taking on such things. I guess I'm not clear where the leap into the self-publishing unknown would begin... Doesn't one need some external validation that the product is reasonable? Not in question for a successful juggerauthor, or course. But the starting question remains.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted July 18, 2017
Yeah, I dunno that I'd want to try self publishing literary fiction. It doesn't sell when trade published, unless they pour buckets of money into promotion. It probably wouldn't sell with indie either.

damian puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2017
Yes, it's one of those branch points where several subsequent steps are different depending on the path taken. It seems like local agents are still most interested in non-fiction and Australian literary fiction, while genre is supported better overseas (the location depending slightly on the genre). There doesn't seem to be a specialist entry point for Australian crime fiction, or sf or urban fantasy. I could just be looking in the wrong places of course. And obviously the making-up-my-mind-and-trying-something bit is probably the more important bit at this stage.

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Abe Frellman is gonna tell you...

Posted August 7, 2017
Having followed this slow moving train wreck over the last decade or so through picking up on what you have (or sometimes haven't) written here on CBG imagine my horror when my first born announced she wanted to do a writing degree with a view to going in to editing or publishing. Anyway after much debate and discussion I came around to the view that (i) it's her life (and HECS bill), but that aside (ii) while publishing might be cactus, all of those self-publishers are going to need editing skills. So I figure the delivery mechanism will change. Is there a market emerging for freelancing editors JB or are there any co-ops springing up? Any thoughts appreciated.

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Book schedule changes

Posted March 28, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

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.

Why?

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’

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2017
I'm a little surprised the spooky blue AI allows such fripperies to influence scheduling.

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jason has opinions thus...

Posted March 29, 2017
JB,

Is there a word length limit for the fan fic stuff. I just figured if it goes to far we cant list you as a primary author so lose some visibility.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 29, 2017
Hmm. Interesting question. I guess about 8000 words if you got that in you.

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted March 30, 2017
Sounds like you have a plan there John. And after all, you're the one writing for food.

Me, I'll puchase and read anything you want to publish when it's available.

Btw, I found/ recovered the AoT story I wrote for the original fan fic festival on Journalspace all those years ago. Is it ok to polish and resubmit that one?

I do have a follow-up story in early development too. Must get cracking on that.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 30, 2017
Yep. Happy to take pre-loved fanfic

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30, 2017
Like Surtac I'm happy with anything! Although the next installment of The Dave would be nice....but The Golden Minute would be cool too.

As I'm rereading the AoT books at the moment I am moved to ask: has any cash rich folks talked about movie/TV treatments of...well...anything? Mind you, any of your stories would be bloody expensive and special effects laden. Hence the 'cash rich' thing.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 30, 2017
All sorts of movie and tv people have expressed an interest at various times. But movie and tv people are infamous bullshitters.

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted March 31, 2017
TV people are the worst (I'm shooting some TV on Monday, this sentence is bought to you by ironic detachment)

Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted March 31, 2017
Yes there is that BS factor in the televisual game...I seem to recall Harry Harrison had sold the movie/TV rights to his Stainless Steel Rat books several times. People bought the rights with a time limit to make something, they would then NOT do it, rights went back to Harry who flogged them off again. I understand he was quite happy with this arrangement!

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Rob puts forth...

Posted March 31, 2017
should be the Dave for fathers day.

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Dave The Siberian Hamster mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2017
Have you thought of doing them as a Manga Series?

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Dave The Siberian Hamster is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2017
Have you thought of doing them as a Manga Series?

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Dave C asserts...

Posted April 3, 2017
Plan looks good. Am intrigued what a JB mass market title will look like? Pretty sure there'll be less swinging demon junk and waking up with gladiators. Mental note to self, gotta bludgeon my keyboard to squish out my next twisted fan mash...

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Elie Abitbol has opinions thus...

Posted April 13, 2017
Hi John,

I'm a big fan of The Axis of Time and Stalin's Hammer. I just finished reading Paris and i can't wait to read WW 3.1 ! You ended Paris in quite a dramatic cliffhanger and i really want to know what happens next.
Please keep me updated on the release date.

Kind regards,

Elie

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 14, 2017
Hey Elie. If you're on my newsletter you'll hear all about it.
You can sign on at jbismymasternow.com

NBlob would have you know...

Posted April 14, 2017
Elie, be forewarned- JB's scheduling can be described a "fluid," "dynamic," or perhaps even "mercurial" in so much as He promises explodey Space Opera and delivers, well with all due respect, a pair of old coots rabbiting on about sport, music, booze & artisnal cheeses.

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Eric Willhelm ducks in to say...

Posted April 20, 2017
Fair enough and understandable. I eagerly await WW 3.1 but in the mean time, I'll just keep using the Without Warning setting for my table top Role Playing Game.

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Jack S swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 20, 2017
I just want to know what happened to poor old Buster Cherry. Re-read the books recently but couldn't find his specific demise. Probably killed in Hawaii?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 26, 2017
Hmm. I was pretty sure he died in Hawaii. I'll have to check.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted April 26, 2017
I seem to remember Buster taking up with Rosanna & a 12 gauge shotgun, then coming undone in a techno colour manner.

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Unpossible would have you know...

Posted May 9, 2017
Hi John;

Maybe I already mentioned before, but I'm working on a Super Dave fan fiction. Its set in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, and draws a bit on old Dayak legends about monsters, magic swords, heros, super powers, and other stuff from the old days. Hope its welcome. M

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Don Bagert is gonna tell you...

Posted May 10, 2017
Y'know, it never occurred to me until I re-read this message that Father's Day might be on a different date in Australia than in the U.S. And it is - September 3 in Australia rather than June 18 in the United States. (September 3 is Labor Day in the U.S.) Ten-and-a-half additional weeks of waiting for WW3.1!!!! :(

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Lets eat grandma

Posted March 20, 2017 into Writing by John Birmingham

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’

Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted March 20, 2017
Nice work on making the Oxford comma funny - at least a little bit.

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Dick mutters...

Posted March 20, 2017
Would you believe, I actually read that story. Slow day at work.

Eats, roots, and leaves v eats roots and leaves

Which one's a herbivore

Timmo is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2017
Like JB's title example, this example illustrates the need for commas but not the Oxford comma specifically, as the three items are not technically in a list. The issue is a comma changing context of "roots" from the subject of a verb to a verb in itself
e.g. A wombat eats roots and leaves.
vs.
A wombat eats, roots and leaves.

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted March 20, 2017
This article is so close to my heart. I wrote a series of short stories about Grammar Man, a super-hero who saves the world with correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar. The irony being that it came back from editing with more red ink than black.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted March 20, 2017
I don't know how many Oxford commas I've had to ask patent attorneys to insert into claims over the (long ago) years, but if I had a dollar for every one ...

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HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted March 20, 2017
Yeah! as you would all be well to well fkn aware, I'm all fkn over Poxford fkn Comma's and FKN GRAMMA! let alone punctuation, spelling and all the other fkn gear. You know. Diction, Period, Colin, coalin, semi coalin and colon-oscopathy too!, whats that other fkn thing. SALUTAION! FKN YEAH BABY! Ill set that shit straight rather fast I might add. Oh you do compound sentences, Yes, yes I do, right after I do compound fractures you mthr fkr!

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Vovchara mumbles...

Posted March 21, 2017
The best explanation I've ever read.

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted March 21, 2017
I reckon "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by Lynne Truss, is a cracking contribution to the field. I liked the wry dedication: "to the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers of St. Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters, and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution"

Then there's this - which I already spammed JB with on The Twitter https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-comma-in-the-second-amendment-2013-8

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