When I teach craft workshops, one of the things I work on the hardest is teaching writers the difference between taste and “good fiction.” I put “good fiction” in quotes, because there seems to be this belief among most writers and readers that “good fiction” is something quantifiable. Certain books are “good” because they have elements that professors approve of, or elements that the culture […]
Most writers check their traditional book contracts for the advance, the payout, and the due dates. They don’t look at anything else. Writer after writer, and editor after editor, have told me this.
I always look toward the editing clauses first. Because if they’re ugly, the rest of the contract usually is as well.
This applies to all kinds of writing for traditional markets, especially for nonfiction and short fiction. I’ve seen terrible editing clauses in those contracts, and what’s ironic is that those clauses often seem to be the most innocuous.
What you want is complete control of the content of your work.
We all have those moments when we think, Jeez, if I just write [insert latest trend here], I’ll do so much better than I’m already doing. It doesn’t matter how well we’re already doing. There’s always a better. If you’ve been in the business a long time, you have a follow-up thought: I know how to do [latest trend]. It wouldn’t take much. And if […]
When I was taking classes in the craft of fiction, everyone—from established professional writers to English professors—recommended that a writer never ever say that a character looked like a famous actor. No “he resembled a young Orson Welles” or “she dressed like Claudette Colbert.” Not only was it lazy writing—the Gurus said—but, more importantly, there was no way for your reader to know exactly what […]
I taught a week-long science fiction craft workshop in October, and read lots of excellent stories. I’ll mention them when they show up in print and you can find them. I’ll be amazed if editors don’t snatch these stories up. I know that Lee Allred took some for the second Fiction River special that he’s editing, and I told the students if they didn’t sell […]
This morning, on my Twitter feed, a kind gentleman tweeted me with the news that he had just bought the first volume of Fiction River on Smashwords. Then he thanked me for “having good sense to make it easy not to steal.” I know what he meant, even though the tweet was oddly phrased: WMG Publishing has published DRM-free editions of Fiction River, in addition […]
I spent the holidays seeing movies. I expected to relax. I did not expect to find a blog topic, but I did. Two of the movies I saw, Jack Reacher, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, came from books. Both films had a different approach to the book’s fan base. In one case, it might pay off. In another, it didn’t. For months, I have […]
The Business Rusch: Changing Times (Overview) Kristine Kathryn Rusch As I have mentioned many times in the past, my industry—publishing—is changing. I have written a few posts about it, but generally, I have avoided the topic. My reason is simple: this business blog, and the Freelancer’s Guide before it, are geared toward the general business reader, not just toward everyone in the publishing industry. However, […]