Tag: books (page 1 of 3)

Getting your book published in 2023

This, via Warren Ellis, is a useful resource. I also like that its creator, Jane Friedman, has made it available to be downloaded, printed, and shared “no permission required” (although I wish she’d explicitly used a CC0 license)

When I shared this with a friend, they pointed out that it doesn’t include the ‘kickstarter’ kind of model. While Friedman points out that the chart is primarily for ‘trade press’ (i.e. books with a general audience) there’s a whole different type of approach, which I kind of pioneered a decade ago with OpenBeta and which is more easily achieved these days with platforms such as Leanpub.

(click on image to download PDF)

One of the biggest questions I hear from authors today: Should I traditionally publish or self-publish?

This is an increasingly complicated question to answer because:

  1. There are now many varieties of traditional publishing and self-publishing, with evolving models and diverse contracts.
  2. It’s not an either/or proposition; you can do both. Many successful authors, including myself, decide which path is best based on our goals and career level.

Thus, there is no one path or service that’s right for everyone all the time; you should take time to understand the landscape and make a decision based on long-term career goals, as well as the unique qualities of your work. Your choice should also be guided by your own personality (are you an entrepreneurial sort?) and experience as an author (do you have the slightest idea what you’re doing?).

Source: The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2023–2024

Popular culture has become an endless parade of sequels

Once you start recognising colour schemes and sound effects, every new film ends up looking and sounding the same.

Yes, I’m getting old, but as Adam Mastroianni from Experimental History explains, there’s shifts happening in everything from books to video games.

The problem isn’t that the mean has decreased. It’s that the variance has shrunk. Movies, TV, music, books, and video games should expand our consciousness, jumpstart our imaginations, and introduce us to new worlds and stories and feelings. They should alienate us sometimes, or make us mad, or make us think. But they can’t do any of that if they only feed us sequels and spinoffs. It’s like eating macaroni and cheese every single night forever: it may be comfortable, but eventually you’re going to get scurvy.

[…]

Fortunately, there’s a cure for our cultural anemia. While the top of the charts has been oligopolized, the bottom remains a vibrant anarchy. There are weird books and funky movies and bangers from across the sea. Two of the most interesting video games of the past decade put you in the role of an immigration officer and an insurance claims adjuster. Every strange thing, wonderful and terrible, is available to you, but they’ll die out if you don’t nourish them with your attention. Finding them takes some foraging and digging, and then you’ll have to stomach some very odd, unfamiliar flavors. That’s good. Learning to like unfamiliar things is one of the noblest human pursuits; it builds our empathy for unfamiliar people. And it kindles that delicate, precious fire inside us––without it, we might as well be algorithms. Humankind does not live on bread alone, nor can our spirits long survive on a diet of reruns.

Source: Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly | Experimental History

My highlights from ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’

This morning, I finished reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the translated name of Olga Tokarczuk’s 2009 novel, published a decade later in English.

I thought I’d share my five of the sections I highlighted, because it’s one of those books that, despite being a work of fiction, also has sections which describe well the human condition.

(I’ll also note that the book has made me more militantly vegetarian, which I didn’t see coming!)

It is at Dusk that the most interesting things occur, for that is when simple differences fade away. I could live in everlasting Dusk. (p.43)

When you walk past a shop window where large red chunks of butchered bodies are hanging on display, do you stop to wonder what it really is? You never think twice about it, do you? Or when you order a kebab or a chop – what are you actually getting? There’s nothing shocking about it. Crime has come to be regarded as a normal, everyday activity. Everyone commits it. That’s just how the world would look if concentration camps became the norm. Nobody would see anything wrong with them.’ (p.98)

For people of my age, the places that they truly loved and to which they once belonged are no longer there. The places of their childhood and youth have ceased to exist, the villages where they went on holiday, the parks with uncomfortable benches where their first loves blossomed, the cities, cafés and houses of their past. And if their outer form has been preserved, it’s all the more painful, like a shell with nothing inside it any more. I have nowhere to return to. It’s like a state of imprisonment. The walls of the cell are the horizon of what I can see. Beyond them exists a world that’s alien to me and doesn’t belong to me. (p.146)

The psyche is our defence system – it makes sure we’ll never understand what’s going on around us. Its main task is to filter information, even though the capabilities of our brains are enormous. For it would be impossible to carry the weight of this knowledge. Because every tiny particle of the world is made of suffering. (p.197)

Newspapers rely on keeping us in a constant state of anxiety, on diverting our emotions away from the things that really matter to us. Why should I yield to their power and let them tell me what to think? (p.235)

Source: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead | Wikipedia