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Over the past twenty years, Rebecca Moesta and I have given our workshop “Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting out” to thousands of writing students. In preparation for Nanowrimo next month, and also for the upcoming Superstars Writing Seminar in February, we put all that knowledge down on paper, including a lot of new sections that we never have time to cover in person. This book won’t teach you how to write—it will teach you how to be a professional writer.
The print version will be released next week. Available now in all eBook formats for $6.99
If you want to be treated as a professional writer, you need to act like a professional. Take yourself and your career seriously. Behave in a way that you would expect a professional to behave.
When you see a doctor, lawyer, banker, or business executive, you expect certain standards—that they are mature, reliable people you’d want to do business with.
You’ve probably seen writers portrayed on TV or film as eccentric, ditzy, pompous, or curmudgeonly, as if that’s the norm for a writer. They shrug. “Eh, creative people. What can you do?”
You can be professional.
When Kevin sold his first novel in 1987, he received an author questionnaire from the publisher’s publicity department, asking about his interests, his areas of expertise, and his background in doing interviews and public appearances. Before the pub-lisher turned him loose on book signings or set up media interviews, Kevin naïvely assumed that some-one would train him. Since the publisher had a vested interest in their author making a good public impression, shouldn’t they go over a list of guidelines or standards of behavior to make sure he was ready for prime time? After all, as an author representing their publishing company, he had their reputation as well as his own on the line. Surely they gave their authors some kind of code of conduct to keep them from shooting themselves in the foot, putting their foot in their mouths, or any other foot metaphor you prefer. When he asked about it, they told Kevin, “You should just know what to do.”
Unfortunately, many authors have no idea what to do.
After a successful career spanning more than a quarter of a century, with over 125 books published and 50+ national or international bestsellers, Kevin has spent a lot of time learning how to be profess-sional.
He and his wife Rebecca—also an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of dozens of books—have given lectures and workshops for thousands and thousands of writers.
They have presented their seminar “Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting Out” for two decades, often to standing-room-only crowds.
Finally, they decided it was time to put that information in writing. The need for business knowledge and professional behavior is greater than ever. With more authors choosing the indie publishing route, they are forced to be front and center—producing and promoting their books, meeting fans, talking to bookstores. No longer can socially inept authors safely tuck themselves away in a cabin so they can write, while someone else does all the legwork.
With the explosion of social media, blogs, and discussion boards, where writers have direct interact-tions with readers—not to mention the potential for unfortunate flame-wars—it is imperative that writers learn to be professional, to stand out above the crowd of amateurs and be taken seriously.
The authors hope this book helps. They’ll be watching.
On September 14, Rebecca and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. In 1991, in the back yard of our house in Livermore, CA, we had a wedding ceremony surrounded by friends, with “Best People” Doug Beason and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Rather than picking one thing to do to celebrate our anniversary, Rebecca and I have instituted “anniversar-week.” We each put down things on an anniversary bucket list, places we wanted to see, favorite restaurants, fun activities, movies to watch. Small but fun things that we do together. And then we spend the week doing as many of them as we can.
We went out to dinner at Tajine Alaimi, our favorite local Moroccan restaurant; one night we made fondue for two at home; we went out to see Guardians of the Galaxy in the theater, and RedBox rented Spider-Man 2, RoboCop, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (all of which we had missed in the theaters). We went to a Saturday morning breakfast at the Egg and I, went to another dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. We took a few weekend hours at the local Farmer’s Market, which we had always wanted to do. We went to the amazing outdoor wonderland Bass Pro Shop (never been there), which could only be one-upped by another one in Denver, Cabela’s Outdoor World—so we did that, too. We drove up to Denver to have lunch at Fogo de Chao, our favorite Brazilian Steakhouse, then on the way back, stopped at the Godiva Chocolate store. Another night we had a lovely tapas-style feast with cheeses, meats, veggies, dips, fruits, olives, prosciutto, and chocolate.
We toured the Cave of the Winds, which we haven’t done in more than ten years, after which we had dinner at an historic Mexican restaurant at creekside. (And after her back surgery, Rebecca did terrific all week.)
Finally, we had dinner at Il Vicino–wood-fired pizza and microbrewery, with Jonathan and Jessica and grandsons Harrison and Xavier (does it get any better). On Sunday, for the very last part of anniversar-week, Rebecca and I are driving to Pagosa Springs, an amazing hot springs resort in the Colorado Mountains.
Then we’ll need to start compiling our list for next year!
When I do appearances and travel, sometimes I’m just a guest author. Sometimes I fit right in. The Rushcon folks are definitely my people.
I was invited to be a guest at Rushcon 14 in Toronto, August 22-24, so I could talk about CLOCKWORK ANGELS the novel and the new comic series being released by BOOM! Studios. It’s always good to have any excuse to go up to Toronto, and I gladly accepted the invitation.
I flew out a day early to spend time with Mark Leslie LeFebvre from Kobo Writing Life, since my WordFire Press does so much direct work with Kobo. Of course it was business-related, but since Mark is also a big microbrew fan (and Rush fan, too) we spent the previous evening together hitting (crawling) the local pubs, and I even had my obligatory poutine at a pub—which was far superior to any other one I’d had previously.
Mark Leslie LeFebvre, poutine, and beer: three essential items for a visit to Toronto
After spending the night in Mark’s guest bedroom, we headed out Friday morning to a meeting at the main offices of Wattpad, a vastly popular reading-sharing site, where we meet with the Wattpad people to talk about my experiences as an indie author and how WordFire Press could work with them. Wattpad is also a sponsor of next year’s Superstars Writing Seminar. We had a great brainstorming session with a lot of exciting ideas, and then Mark took me to check into my hotel for Rushcon—and then it was off to the main Kobo offices, where I met many of the staff then spent an hour behind closed doors with their development team to discuss how they could work more closely with WordFire Press, and we came up with some great ideas. After such productive talks with Wattpad and Kobo, someone remarked, “How many big traditional publishers would bring in one of their authors for meetings on how everybody could work better for the mutual benefit of all?”
Kobo held a reception, talk, and autographing for me. I gave a talk for about an hour, answered questions, signed autographs. Fans came from all around Toronto, and each attendee received Kobo copies of one of my books. Kobo also gave me a high-end Kobo Aura eReader loaded with CLOCKWORK ANGELS and my story “Drumbeats” with Neil Peart as a door prize for Rushcon.
Then back to the Chelsea Eaton hotel to switch from my Author/Publisher persona to Rushcon Author persona—and the Rushcon VIP reception. I picked up my badge, program book, met up with the fabulous JILLIAN who is the goddess of Rushcon and a fine person, and hung out with a lot of other fans, with my table of Team Presto for a trivia game (which we didn’t win, despite my team’s outstanding performance). A good time was had by all…and we were just starting!
with Jillian Of Rushcon
As part of Team Presto, I also met Elaine Kosteva, who took the rest of the terrific photos—posted below with her permission, and my great thanks!
Saturday, I worked in the room that morning, editing BLOOD OF THE COSMOS, and then met up with friend and fan (and invaluable assistant) Jonathan Flamm, and we hauled my books over to the Rushcon venue, The Great Hall. We set up our table with many copies of CLOCKWORK ANGELS in both hardcover and trade paperback, RESURRECTION, INC (my first novel, also inspired by a Rush album), the BOOM! comic issues, and other Rush ephemera, as well as some Dan Shamble books (which the Rush fans also love). ECW Press had arranged to deliver copies of the books, and the publisher, David Caron, would come to hear my talk on Sunday. Apart from a bit of frantic panic when we discovered that my Square credit card reader decided not to work in Canada, we had a great morning in the dealer’s room.
During the afternoon trivia game, I presented the Kobo Reader prize to one of the winners, and also made one of two promised “big announcements”—that I would be editing a new anthology, along with John McFetridge, of stories inspired by Rush songs, to be published by ECW Press…and that I am doing an original novella titled “2113.” [A title sure to send a tingle through every Rush fan.]
I had dinner with one of my former writing students, Stephen Kotowych, got back to the room and did a little more editing (I missed the concert by the Rush tribute band Lotus Land, alas). Next day, Sunday, was my big day. I gave my hour-long talk on the main stage in front of the full crowd. Just before I started the speech, David Caron, the publisher of ECW, arrived (and I was glad, because I wanted him to hear my second surprise “big announcement.”) I talked about my life growing up inspired by Rush, how I had gotten to know Neil Peart through my first novel RESURRECTION, INC., which ECW had just reissued, how that led to the wildly successful CLOCKWORK ANGELS novel and comics. And then I paused and delivered the news that I had kept a close secret all along—that Neil and I were working on a sequel, CLOCKWORK LIVES, and that we’re about 1/3 of the way finished. That was greeted with a nice long round of applause!
After the talk, we sold completely out of RESURRECTION, INC as well as most of the copies of CLOCKWORK ANGELS. My time was tight, and after a quick lunch with Jonatan Flamm and David Caron (who was quite happy to hear of a new CLOCKWORK novel), David took me off to the Toronto airport—YYZ, of course—and I flew home. A headlong flight indeed, and I enjoyed myself a lot.
I just might have to come back next year, with two new Rush-related books under my belt!
A REMINDER: Right now, we have a big Cyberpunk Storybundle running—13 cutting-edge science fiction novels, including RESURRECTION, INC. Name your own price to get the whole batch. Go to Storybundle.com, or read my previous blog entry for full details.
Announcing another storybundle, this one crammed with gritty, cyberpunk novels—including my first novel RESURRECTION, INC. (inspired by the Rush album “Grace Under Pressure”), and HIGH OPP, a previously unpublished Dystopian SF novel by Frank Herbert, author of Dune.
The important details: Name your own price at storybundle.com, get seven complete novels in your preferred eBook format for as little as $3 (minimum bid); if you pay $15 or more, you get an additional six complete novels. Thirteen novels for fifteen bucks? And the offer is good WORLDWIDE.
A quick visit to Wikipedia will confirm that “cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a near-future setting. Noted for its focus on “high tech and low life,” it features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.” But for me it’s always been about the radical change in social order over the high tech. It’s been about hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth that’s absolutely dystopic, not some far-future setting in a galaxy far far away. What’s important is the extraordinary cultural impact of the technology being twisted in ways its creators could never have imagined. And, thanks to Blade Runner, it will always have the echo of film noir inside my head.
It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s exciting and the books included in this bundle are designed to showcase that very trend, available September 10th through October 1st. You’ll find a vast and dizzying array of ideas here—important ideas, because that’s what this kind of science fiction is all about. There’s social commentary. There’s angst. Heartbreak. Heroes. It’s a grim near future we’re facing. We see it in the news every day. So it’s hardly surprising that some of our best writers have taken this bleak future and laid it bare.
StoryBundle’s Cyberpunk bundle is curated by bestselling author Steven Savile, a man who certainly understands the genre. His brand new novel, as yet unreleased (it’s debuting here in StoryBundle first, a month before it will be available anywhere else for sale!) is a heartbreaking example of a future you wouldn’t want to live in, brought about by choices no man should have to make. He’s just written a cyberpunk computer game for a major studio, too. Joining him are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, Kevin J Anderson, David Farland, Kindle sensation Michael Bunker (whose Pennsylvania will challenge the way you think about SF), Rob MacGregor and his writing partner, Billy Dee Williams – none other than Lando Calrissian himself!), Melissa Scott & Jo Graham (with a collaborative novel and a solo novel from Melissa), brilliant British novelist Keith Brooke and one of the founding fathers of science fiction, Frank Herbert. There’s a complete trilogy of incredible novels from David Bischoff and something really special, a debut novel from an exciting new writer who David Farland describes thus: “If Wordsworth had written cyberpunk he might have done something like this.” That’s Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus, by Milo Behr.
Says Savile, “Some of these writers are among my favourites in any genre. I can honestly say I adore each and every one of the books in this bundle. I’m incredibly excited to share them with you, especially the opportunity to help launch what I think will be a dazzling career for Milo, one of David Farland’s students. Why do I think you should pay attention? David’s other students include Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, oh, and Stephanie Meyer. He knows a thing or two. More than anything, I think the books here do a fantastic job of showcasing the dark cities and darker edges of where this world is going and can’t help but capture your imagination in the same way that Philip K Dick and other great writers captured mine. I really hope you enjoy them.”
The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $3 to purchase) are:
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you’ll get another six books, including the next two books in the Star Hounds series!
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books, but after the three weeks are over, the bundle is gone forever!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.