Friday, June 30, 2006

Baen Books to Live On!

Jim Baen apparently had some procedures in place for the inevitable so that his company could continue on without him. Good thinking, Jim. There are so few publishers remaining who take unagented sf/f novels, we can't afford to lose even one.

Baen Books, which lost founder Jim Baen to a massive stroke Wednesday, will keep its doors open. Baen's house, which was established in 1984 and is best known for its line of science fiction titles, will continue under the leadership of executive editor Toni Weisskopf. Weisskopf, who will assume the role of acting publisher, told PW that no personnel changes or new hires—the indie outfit currently has a staff of 15—are planned in the wake of Baen's passing. Baen, known particularly well in the industry as a vocal champion of ebooks, began his publishing career at Ace Books, where he would go on to oversee the house's science fiction line. After tenures at Galaxy magazine (which published a number of acclaimed sci-fi authors) and Tor Books, where he helped found the house's sci-fi line, Baen started his own house.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jim Baen's passing

The news is going around, so you've probably already heard, but Jim Baen fell into a coma about two weeks ago and recently died. David Drake wrote his obit here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

JA Konrath's 500 Tour

JA Konrath, suspense/thriller author, is starting a whopping 500 bookstore tour to promote his new book, Rusty Nail, which is the third installment in a three book series.

I like Joe (can I call him by his first name?). I don't know him, never met him, probably never will (he's not coming to Texas as part of his tour for some reason), but I've followed his career, checking in on his web site and now his blog from time-to-time. He seems like an OK guy, and I've gotten a ton of info about how the whole publishing business works from the aforementioned sources as well as from a couple of articles he wrote for Writer's Digest.

He's in an interesting position: He's fulfilled his initial three book deal but also landed himself another three book deal on top of that, so he's got more room to run, books to sell, and fans to win over. We should all be so lucky! He's a self-promoting animal, taking on a lot of responsibility for selling his books all on his own. In short, I think he's a good model of what it takes nowadays and really shows that even after you've landed that first book deal, the work ain't over.

Joe's going to make daily entries in his blog as the tour progresses. I intend to keep checking in to see how things are going for him.

Harper Lee No Fan of E-books

Harper Lee Tells Oprah She's No Fan of E-books
Lee reveals that she's no fan of modern technology, or e-books for that matter, writing: "...in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books."

Well, ok, so do I. But I also don't mind getting my books in digital format. What I don't like about the digital format is DRM and the inability to print. In fact, I refuse to buy e-books as long as I can't print them. Assuredly, there are challenges to this, both technical and legal. But neither is insurmountable.

Baen's Universe offers a slew of short stories and even some novels as downloads sans any of the DRM "stuff". Of course, you have to have subscribed to the ezine first before you have access, but I think it’s a good trade-off. Baen himself wrote a short piece on the evils of DRM. Now where did that link go...

I don't know, but I do have this one, an editorial by Eric Flint of Baen's Universe.

Ms. Lee goes on to say:

...can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up—some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal."

She's got a point, besides for the fact that my laptop is plastic, not metal, and if I tried to curl up with my wife's desktop I'd have a hard time breathing let alone reading. Books are traditional; Ms. Lee's apprehension of e-books obviously stems from that. It's what she's "used to". Nothing wrong with that!

From another perspective, though–from a writer's perspective, in fact–I think e-books are great. They provide another outlet for sales and provide a broader reach for the thing we're trying to sell. Of course I want my works (if they're ever distributed as anything let alone in e-book format) protected! DRM is a necessary evil which, unfortunately, is hurting e-book sales more than helping (no, I don't have any data to back that up–I'm just making broad strokes here). Only when basic functionality such as printing is allowed will e-books really go anywhere, IMHO.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Who am I?

Introduction
Life is about juggling, trying to keep as many balls in the air as you can without dropping one. Or dropping them all. Life is also about prioritizing. Family, work, hobbies, etc. For me, a priority has become writing.

I'm just starting. I have one novel written and another in the works. I've written some short stories and even had one accepted years ago by a small 'zine which no longer exists, but novels are really where I find myself most of the time. My writing mind has a hard time plotting out short stories, even though I recognize it's a good means for a no-name writer such as myself to break into print (Note to self: must explore short stories as another means to break into the field).

So what have I written?
My first novel is called "The Hall of the Wood", and in the tradition of the first short story I had published all those years ago, it's about rangers and witches. I've shopped it around to about thirty agents and three publishers. No takers. Which means I press forward with my next book.

The next one, while still fantasy, is different from "The Hall of the Wood". It's about druids and priests and the two friends caught between their ancient struggle. I think its going to be good, but what do I know? I'm almost done with the outline (I outline everything), so writing should begin soon.

Even if the end result is a lot of rejections, its going to be a fun ride. Stick around.


Oh yeah... I'm also at http://www.myspace.com/scottmarlowe and http://scottmarlowe.spaces.msn.com. I put some pics of me out there as well as some of my dogs- they're always good for a few laughs even if I'm not!