Last month I had the pleasure of participating in a question and answer session with author Alex Scarrow about his long-running traditionally published series, TimeRiders, and his newer, self-published series featuring a young female protagonist, Ellie Quinn. The newest of this series, Ellie Quin in Wonderland, was released in early February.

In the process of planning the interview we discussed having Alex Scarrow write a guest post on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, of particular interest because he is currently active in both arenas.

With thanks for taking the time to share his thoughts, I give you Alex Scarrow!

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John Helfers is a freelance writer and editor based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at the packaging company Tekno Books, he edited more than fifteen short story anthologies for DAW Books, Inc., and more than one hundred others for publishers in all genres. He also worked with well-known authors and co-editors such as Charlaine Harris, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Jean Rabe, Robert Silverberg, and Kevin J. Anderson. John has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His media tie-in fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He’s written fiction and nonfiction, including a novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers™: Cloak and Dagger, the original fantasy novel Siege of Night and Fire, and a history of the United States Navy. Recent projects including overseeing the second Elemental Masters anthology with Mercedes Lackey, and working with Esther Friesner on the next Chicks in Chainmail anthology. In his spare time, he’s signs on to Kickstarter projects he believes in while trying to write several projects in the middle-grade and adult genres.

The Brave New World of Publishing, or How the Cars, Cards & Carbines anthology and Kickstarter project came about
Or, How the Cars, CARDS & CARBINES Anthology and Kickstarter Project Came About

by John Helfers

This is my first foray into Kickstarter as a co-editor, indeed, as part of any project. For that, I can thank Travis Heermann, whom I’ve known for several years, ever since I acquired his novel Heart of the Ronin for Five Star’s Science Fiction and Fantasy line, and have enjoyed his work ever since.

I’ve also had a front-row seat to the changes that have been happening in publishing over the past several years, from the rise of e-books and self-publishing to the various permutations and machinations large publishers have gone through in response. Unfortunately, there have been casualties in this brave new world, and one of them is anthologies.
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[GUEST POST] Joshua Palmatier on How to Create a New Small Press


Joshua Palmatier is a fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics, currently residing in Binghamton, NY, while teaching mathematics at SUNY College at Oneonta. He has five books currently on the shelves: The Skewed Throne, nominated for the Compton Crook Award for 2006, The Cracked Throne, The Vacant Throne, the conclusion of the Throne of Amenkor series, and Well of Sorrows and Leaves of Flame, the first two books in a new series written under the pseudonym Benjamin Tate. He has also co-edited the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar and The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.

How to Create a New Small Press

by Joshua Palmatier

John DeNardo here at SF Signal asked me to stop by and say a few words about the behind-the-scenes action in creating a new small press, Zombies Need Brains, that I hope will be able to bring SF&F fans some great anthologies in the near future. We’re running a Kickstarter campaign for the creation of the small press and for the first anthology, CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS, with some great authors — including Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Gini Koch, Gail Z. Martin, Bradley Beaulieu, Ian Tregillis, and Caitlin Kittredge — already lined up to participate if we’re funded. Check it out at Kickstarter if you haven’t already. It’s an exciting project.
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[GUEST POST] Silvia Moreno-Garcia on Getting Published in Lit Pubs

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is currently crowdfunding her first novel, Young Blood, about Mexican narco vampires. Her short stories have appeared in places such as The Book of Cthulhu and Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing . Her first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, is out this year. In 2011, Silvia won the Carter V. Cooper Memorial Prize (in the Emerging Writer category). She was also a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize. She blogs at silviamoreno-garcia.com and Tweets as @silviamg.

Yes, Virginia, You Can Get Published in Lit Pubs

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I always feel uncomfortable when people start bickering about whether literary fiction or speculative fiction is better. It’s like watching your parents fight at the dinner table. There is really no need to build brick walls around each category, though we are often eager to do so.

Recently, I was Guest of Honor at Keycon in Winnipeg. Talking to some aspiring writers, it became clear that the idea of boundaries between lit and spec is pretty strong, and sadly it keeps readers from sampling interesting material and writers from finding good homes for their short stories. Because literary magazines do publish speculative fiction.
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Robert J. Sawyer has won 46 national and international fiction awards including a Hugo, a Nebula and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He’s been called the Dean of Canadian science fiction and Canada’s premier science fiction author and lives in Ontario with his wife, a poet. His novel, Flashforward, was the basis of the ABC  TV series in the U.S. His other novels include Terminal Experiment, Illegal Alien,The WWW Series, The Neanderthal Parallax and The Quintaglio Ascension trilogies, Calculating God, Mindscan and his latest Triggers from Tor Books.

His short fiction has appeared in anthologies like Dinosaur Fantastic, Sherlock Holmes in Orbit, and Far Frontiers, and three short story collections. He can be found on Twitter as @robertjsawyer and Facebook and via his website.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt had an extensive conversation with Rob about his craft and work for us.


SFFWRTCHT: Let’s start with the basics: Whered your interest in science fiction and fantasy come from? And who/what were some of your favorite authors and books?

Robert J. Sawyer: Growing up in the 1960s with Star Trek and Apollo, plus seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey in first run. Clarke Childhood’s End, Pohl Gateway,  Niven Ringworld , Asimov Caves of Steel.

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Into the Black: Reclaiming Dystopian Fiction

There’s not doubt about it: Dystopian fiction is a hot literary commodity. In fact, dystopian literature seems to have supplanted paranormal romance as the new “It” genre—bookshelves, both virtual and brick-and-mortar, are awash with sexy heroines who, despite total societal collapse, still managed to apply makeup. Yet, in this rush to realize Hunger Games levels of fame and fortune, publishers and their media brethren have sanitized the genre, stripping away the grit and existential horror that defines classic dystopia.
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In episode 125 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars to weigh in on: eBook Pricing!
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O’Reilly’s TOC Conference is the place where leading practitioners from the publishing and tech industries converge to explore ideas, share what they’re learned from their successes (and their failures), and navigate the profound changes affecting our industry. Each year, TOC provides a deft mix of the practical and the visionary to give attendees the tools and guidance they need to succeed—and the inspiration to lead change. In 2012, TOC goes “4-D” with a particularly sharp focus on Data, Design, Development, and Deployment. This “4-D” approach provides a wide range of practical, in-depth sessions that cover the innovations rocking every aspect of the art, craft, and business of publishing in the 21st century–from designing and implementing profitable business models to the advanced technical aspects of creating digital books, agile publishing, and fostering collaborative environments that help ideas (and careers) to thrive.

Here’s LeVar Burton’s Keynote…
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Check out this clever video from the folks at Penguin [via Poe TV]

Here’s an interesting experiment in self-publishing…

Fergus Bannon (whose writings have appeared in Interzone, Territories, West Coast Magazine and Shipbuilding) has written a novel called Judgement, a book author Gary Gibson describes as reading “like an episode of CSI, if CSI had been written by Timothy Leary and filmed by James Cameron”. Judgement is a psychedelic science fiction thriller described thusly:

It started with a few isolated incidents. A mob shootout in Las Vegas, a firefight in the Central American jungles – one apparently unconnected event after the other, hinting at a worldwide conspiracy of unprecedented proportions. But before long CIA computer expert Bob Leith realises it’s something much more than mere globalised terrorism, something literally not of this world …

Rather than just sell the eBook outright, Bannon is trying something interesting.

You can either buy the novel in various eBook formats at Smashwords for the more-than-reasonable price of $2…or, you can read it online for free.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says people will not pay for what they can get for free. Will it work? The thinking is that people will pay for what they like, especially if it’s cheap enough. I’d be interested in hearing a few months from now how well this works…

SF Tidbits for 10/10/09

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SF Signal Interviews Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer, known as “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen, is one of only seven writers in history to win all three of the science-fiction field’s top honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (for his novel Hominids), the Nebula Award (The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (Mindscan). Rob’s novels are top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada. His novels include Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, Flashforward, Calculating God, the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy (Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids), Mindscan, and Rollback. His short fiction collections include Iterations, Relativity, and Identity Theft and Other Stories. Rob is also Editor of Robert J. Sawyer Books, the science-fiction imprint of Calgary’s Red Deer Press and blogs at http://sfwriter.com/blog.htm.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with Rob about his latest novel WWW: Wake, his writing, publishing, and the upcoming ABC television series, Flash Forward, which is based on his book…

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