Tag Archives: Publishing

16.02: Publishers Are Not Your Friends

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Howard, and Brandon

It sounds like a mean thing to say, but it’s not a wrong thing to say. A publisher is a corporation, and a corporation doesn’t have friends. It has contractual relationships. We can make friends with people who work for publishers, but those are not the same thing.

Liner Notes: here is an archived copy of Dave Brady’s essay about “company loyalty”

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

 

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Business research! Make a list of publishers who are releasing new books by new authors in your space. Watch for editor and author names.

Active Memory, by Dan Wells

16.01: Your Career is Your Business

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, and Brandon

Welcome to 2021, and Season 16 of Writing Excuses. This year we’re dividing the year into “master classes” or “intensive courses.”

We’re kicking it off with Brandon’s episodes, which are all about the business of writing, and the first of those is this one!

So… your career is your business. In this episode we’ll talk about how that mindset—this is a business—informs our other activities, and how valuable it can be to get our heads in the right place early on.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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So… GOOD OMENS. Read the book. Watch the series. Consider what sorts of decisions Neil Gaiman made to adapt the novel to a new medium.

Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

“Positioning feels like the most important question in all of publishing.” — Dongwon Song

In this episode we talk about how to ask and answer the question of positioning, which is “who is this book for?”

Credits: This episode was recorded before a live audience aboard Liberty of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Identify and describe your target reader. Use comp titles as necessary.

14.34: Author Branding

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Authors have brands whether they want to have them or not. It’s a simple principle of marketing, and the better we understand that principle, the better able we are to control how it affects our careers.

In this episode we talk marketing, and freely use terms like “relationship marketing,” “authentic experience,” and “brand loyalty,” despite the fact that sometimes these words make our inner artists cringe.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Identify your brand. Think about the core aspects of your personality which you’re comfortable sharing publicly. Pick at least three things, and document them.

Be aware that “Murder Hat” is taken.

Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone

14.25: Choosing Your Agent

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Guest-host Dongwon Song joined us at WXR 2018 as an instructor, and gave great advice regarding the business side of working as an author. In this episode he takes us through a conversation about choosing an agent.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Document the attributes of your ideal agent.

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

Writing Excuses 9.40: Understanding Royalties, with Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens, an editor at Tor, joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon 67 to talk about royalties. After a brief definition of the term, he explains how royalties are calculated, how they’re processed on Tor’s side, and what sorts of things authors should and should not expect.  We talk about contractual terms, advances, the differences in royalty rates between the different mediums (ebooks, audiobooks, paperback, hard cover), and much more.

We’ve had a lot of requests for an in-depth discussion of royalties. This, folks, is very definitely it.

 

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Write the writing prompt that Dan Wells should have given us.

The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki

Writing Excuses 9.39: Publicity for Books

Patty Garcia, Director of Publicity for Tor & Forge books, joins us in front of a live audience at Westercon 67 to talk about what publicity activities look like for commercially published genre fiction books. In large measure, these activities center around driving discussion about the books with the most-followed reviewers, and we talk about what some of those are. We grill her about what sort of criteria we should be using for review copies, and what other activities new authors and established authors alike might consider spending time on.

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Write a short essay that touches on one of your books, and that will drive interest in your book.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addisson, narrated by Kyle McCarley

Writing Excuses 9.35: What to do when you disagree with your editor

Peter Orullian joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon to talk with us about dealing with editors. We usually talk about craft, but this is a business discussion, and it’s about one of the most delicate and important relationships in the business. He begins by telling the short version of the story, and how he managed one of the worst-case scenarios: asking your publisher for a different editor.

We then move into some take-aways, and some additional experiences we’ve had that will hopefully help our listeners manage this sort of thing in the future.

 

 

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Write a sword-fighting scene, a la Princess Bride, in which the witticisms are part of a magic system, and are part of the fight itself.

Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, Written by: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jacqueline Carey, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Shawn Speakman (editor)
Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, Jay Snyder