Self-Editing For Writers (Online Class) July 25, 2015

For two years, my editing partner and I have been attending Cons and doing our panel Editing 101 for Writers to great success. We continue to do so, but I wanted to offer a different version of that panel as a class online for writers who might be interested in improving their self-editing skills.  I am a Hugo-nominated editor and author with anthologies under contract or published by Baen Books and St. Martin’s Griffin, amongst others. I also am a Junior Editor for WordFire Press, the small press founded by Bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. I have been a professional editor since 2015 and worked extensively with writing and copyediting as a technical and non-fiction writer for a decade before that. But now my focus is fiction, specifically Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror for children and adults.

This Self-Editing class with cover topics such as passive vs. active tense, showing vs. telling words (intruder words), compound sentences, flow and pace, and more. It will be held via either Skype or Google Hangouts (whatever works best for the attendees and myself.)  I am taking the first 10 applicants and the fee is $35 per person paid via PayPal. It will be at 12 noon CDT on Saturday, July 25, 2015 (90 minutes) so people from all coasts should be able to participate. Attendees will also be allowed to send me 5 pages of a story or novel to edit so we can discuss your personal weaknesses and areas on which to focus. To sign up or for further questions, contact me here. I look forward to helping you grow.

Bryan

 

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Announcing Bi-Annual Open Reading Periods Coming Soon

Shattered Shields cover smallAs most of you know, I am a very busy anthologist, with 8 projects in various stages of contract and development through 2017. Most of these have their allotment of writers already, but as I develop new projects, I hope to expand my stable. Because of budget and busyness, my reading time is limited and so slush is just not something I can manage at the moment, however, I have come up with an option that will appeal to some of you.

I am ending Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat in August. This is because of sheer exhaustion from four years, fading enthusiasm from me and regulars, and also needing time to read for both fun and work that I can’t find anywhere else. Interviewing people, even twice a week, and reading one of their books to do so, is a tremendous time commitment. I have had to put in 20 hours a week to it since starting in 2010. I just can’t keep up with that and slush, and I can’t read novels by friends or colleagues for fun, blurbs or more. Add to that my work in Acquisitions and Development for Wordfire as a Junior Editor, and I just am falling further and further behind. I hate that, so something had to give.

Mission Tomorrow cover 2So the solution is that I will be doing an open submission period of two weeks, starting this Fall (September 1 through 15) where writers can send me their best work. The idea is to give me a chance to get to know your work–voice, style, etc. for consideration toward future projects with openings. I am not going to buy these stories. So send your best, whichever speculative genre you want. The sole exception is erotica. I don’t publish or buy it so it won’t be the best sample for me. I don’t promise quick turn around. It may, in fact, take me months to get through the submissions. But if you are professional quality in your writing, you will be considered for invites to future anthologies. You will be in the door. I will limit the word count, probably 6k words and under,  but those details shall be announced when the Fall comes. And I will limit to one piece per writer as well. I need to be able to see an end game here if I ever hope to do it again. Published work is fine. I will be flexible on format as well. I will make it easy for you, so please do the same for me.

Beyond Sun Cover.inddFurther details will be announced when the submission time gets closer. But since many busy anthologists just don’t have time and resources to do many open calls, consider this a great chance to get into projects that may interest you in the future. If you are put in my pool, I will notify you and invite you to appropriate future projects. You also have the right to ask about openings when I announce projects you want to be invited to. Yes, people do that anyway, but if I don’t know your work, I almost always say no. Just a practicality. In any case, get those submissions ready. Reading stuff I’ve edited for taste might be a great way to see what I like in the meantime. I look forward to discovering new colleagues to work with.

Thanks.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo nominated editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. His anthologies as editor include Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek for Baen, Mission: Tomorrow, Galactic Games, Little Green Men–Attack! and Monster Hunter Tales (with Larry Correia) all forthcoming also for Baen, Joe Ledger: Unstoppable with Jonathan Maberry for St. Martin’s Griffin (forthcoming 2017), Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, Beyond The Sun and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter as @SFFWRTCHT.

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My Schedule: ConQUEST 46 May 22-24, 2015

As usual, I am attending our local Convention, ConQuest Memorial Day weekend. I am moderating and participating on some great panels.  Here’s a list.

 

CQ 46 logo

ConQuesT 2015

BRYAN THOMAS SCHMIDT‘S SCHEDULE

 


MAY 22 • FRIDAY

  5:00pm –  6:00pm W World Building – Religion and Magic

*Count Basie Ballroom A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Kathleen Collins
Panelists: Gera L. Dean, Brandon Sanderson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Thomas Trumpinski

MAY 23 • SATURDAY

 11:00am –  12:00pm W Editing 101 For Writers

Julia Lee A/B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Claire Ashgrove

  1:00pm –  2:00pm L Brandon Sanderson Interview

*Count Basie Ballroom A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Brandon Sanderson

  2:00pm –  3:00pm L Space Opera: Then and Now

Jay McShann B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Lou Antonelli, Robin Wayne Bailey, Rich Horton, Jim Yelton

  4:00pm –  5:00pm L Anthologies: The Art Of Collaboration

Bennie Moten A/B (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Steven x Davis, Sean Demory, Marshall Edwards, Rich Horton, Lezli Robyn

MAY 24 • SUNDAY

 10:00am –  11:00am L Sports and Science Fiction

Lester Young A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Brent Bowen, Ai Ling Chow

 12:00pm –  1:00pm W Editors Are Not The Enemy

Jay McShann A (Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105)

Moderators: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Lou Antonelli, Claire Ashgrove, Robin Wayne Bailey, Chris Gerrib

Look forward to seeing some of you there. I am also throwing a party Friday night at 8 p.m. with Robin Wayne Bailey. We will be signing copies of SHATTERED SHIELDS, the Baen fantasy anthology for which co-editor Jennifer Brozek and I are nominated for Hugos this year and in which Robin has a story. And Jenn has signed them, too. You can get the for $14, no shipping and $1 off. My other anthologies will be available as well.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is a critically praised author and Hugo nominated editor whose works include THE SAGA OF DAVI RHII space opera trilogy (Wordfire Press, 2015), GALACTIC GAMES (Baen, 2016), MISSION: TOMORROW (Baen, 2015), SHATTERED SHIELDS (Baen, 2014), BEYOND THE SUN (Fairwood Press, 2013), RAYGUN CHRONICLES (Every Day, 2013) and many more. His debut novel, THE WORKER PRINCE, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011. He regularly hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat on Twitter under hashtag #sffwrtcht and can be found on Twitter as @BryanThomasS or via his website at www.bryanthomasschmidt.net.

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Guest Post: Music As Magic by Peter Orullian

By Peter Orullian

 

It’s not new. This music as magic thing. Many fantasy writers have done it. So, the thing is how. And that’s where I’m hoping folks will dig my approach.

Peter OrullionSee, I’m a musician. I’ve no idea if my fellow fantasy writers who’ve attempted music magic systems are also musicians, but there’s no doubt it’s influenced how I write about music. I’m not casual about it. Whether I’m writing a scene that deals with the intricacies of how I built my music magic system, or just describing the experience a character has of listening to music, I’m all in. I’m just built that way.

Now, as for the music magic, itself, I need to tell you about Resonance. I spent time in my worldbuilding to develop the notion of what I call a “governing dynamic”—Resonance. It underlies multiple magic systems in my world. In some, it’s quite obvious. In others, much less so. But it started first with music, and the notion that all things have a resonant signature that may be resonated with.

I grow past this, of course. Past the simple notion of acoustical resonance. I built out an idea I call Absolute Sound, which I actually wrote about in my novella for the Unfettered anthology that released a bit ago. That story, entitled “The Sound of Broken Absolutes,” goes into this idea I have about resonance taking place at a distance, out of earshot. It’s an advance technique for practitioners of the music magic in my Vault of Heaven series.

For those who haven’t read my first book, or anything else by me, never fear. I’ve written book two, Trial of Intentions, as an entry point to the series. I mention it, because Trial of Intentions is where I go much deeper into the music magic. You get a close look at how it works, and how it affects people. Those scenes are some of my favorites of the entire series so far.

And different from the idea of sweet, soaring sopranos and the like. Or even soft, intimate truth-sounding songs. Some of the music magic you’ll experience—dare I say, “Hear”—in my world is assertive, rough, combative. It’s often loud, bold, and meant to disquiet. It’s rhythmic. It’s filled with great passion. Great sorrow, sometimes. And when done right, it’s filled with “intention.” I put that last word in quotes because intention is very much at the heart of my music magic system. It’s a close cousin to Resonance. It matters what you mean when you sing. And that might have nothing to do with lyrics. In fact, often, they’re unrelated. Lyrics can even be dispensed with.

 

Trial of Intentions cover OrullianFind the bottom of pain. Therefrom will come powerful music. And when given voice from someone who understands the right technique, the power of the music is undeniable, unrelenting.

 

And all of this is brought to bear in a great song, in my world, knows as “Suffering.” It’s sung in nine movements, taking nearly seven hours to complete. It’s a song of power. It keeps a barrier strong that separates the races of the east from creatures who’ve lost empathy. Not beasties. These are reasoning creatures. With intentions of their own.

 

And music is the thing the gods left the world to protect itself. Music premised on a governing dynamic I call Resonance.

 

The UnrememberedOf course, beyond all this, I care, as a writer, about the beauty and flow of words themselves. Writing can be lyrical, musical. And my favorite writers possess this quality. The fiction experience is very nearly song-like. That’s a huge bonus, for a guy like me.

 

Anyway, in the effort not to do spoilers, you have here a bit of the feeling and high-level mechanics of my world and music magic system. And even if you never read my work, if you’re a music lover, we’re kin. Maudlin that, but I’m leaving it in.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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On My First Best Editor, Short Form Hugo Nomination

Space Battles front web sizeSo I got nominated for a Hugo for Short Form Editing. Wow. Found out two weeks ago and it surprised but thrilled me. I didn’t campaign. A group of people deemed me worthy and nominated me. Since nominating people you think are worthy is how the system works, I didn’t say a thing, except thank them for their confidence and wait to see what happened. I know I was nominated by people who are not Sad Puppies because they told me. Several, in fact. Some were Sad Puppies, but most who told me were not. The only thing I know is I have worked very hard and this is a major achievement and career moment, and it is unfortunate some people are choosing to attempt to spoil that. I just discovered April 8 that I am was on a slate called Rabid Puppies. I would have demanded removal had I known but I didn’t know it existed until nominations and had no clue who was on it. I don’t associate with the person running that campaign and am deeply disappointed by how he conducts himself and his presence on the slate. I deeply regret this but there is nothing I can do.

Thing is: forever on I am a Hugo nominated editor. The only change. I will do what I’ve always done: strive to make the best books possible. From the beginning I have worked hard to do so, by picking the best new and old pros I can find to write stories, seeking diversity in the pool from right to left, white to POC, LGBT to straight, etc. With a diverse pool in place, I then pick the best stories and hope what I get reflects that well. So far, I think it has. It has varied, of course, but that is the way it goes for every editor. Still, when you want to make books with broad appeal to a broad and diverse readership, that is the only way to do it right. I have always believed that, no matter what some detractors may say. Taking someone’s ambiguous statements and twisting their interpretation does not make them fact.

Beyond The Sun revised coverA few figures of my anthologies so far:

SPACE BATTLES
11 male writers
7 female writers
2 LGBT (that I know of)
11 Progressive (that I know of)
6 Conservative or independent (that I know of)

BEYOND THE SUN
9 male writers
9 female writers
2 LGBT (that I know of)
11 Progressive (that I know of)
7 Conservative or independent (that I know of)

RaygunChronicles front displayRAYGUN CHRONICLES
14 male writers
11 female writers
3 LGBT (that I know of)
Not sure of the political alignments but some each stripe

SHATTERED SHIELDS
1 female co-editor
10 male writers
7 female writers
3 LGBT (that I know of)
10 Progressive (that I know of)
7 Conservative or independent (that I know of)

And none of this reflects the content itself which includes diverse subject matter and stories.

Don’t believe me? Go check the Tables of Contents posted online. Research it yourself. 3 of these were edited solely by me. I made all decisions. The last was co-edited by my fellow nominee Jennifer Brozek. We made decisions jointly in full. She has written about it on Locus.

Shattered Shields coverThe stats on my 9 forthcoming anthologies are not finalized so I can’t post them but these are the works that got me to where I am. The last is the one that qualifies me for a nomination.

I have spent a good portion of my life working with the disadvantaged from poor to non-westerners to LGBT. I have friends I love of all stripes. Anyone who actually knows me will tell you I do not discriminate. I also avoid kerfluffles unless I am dragged in. And even then I try to be gracious. My philosophy is treat others how you want to be treated. Help people when you can. And live and let live.

I take pride in having accomplished all these things. A number of writers have made first sales to me, including Anthony Cardno, who is gay, for example. Many have gotten to find new audiences and appear alongside their writing heroes. I love that I can make that happen. Getting to work with my heroes is part of the thrill of doing this as well.

I love diversity. Don’t believe the critics. I always have and I seek it out. It is the single best gut check I know for keeping me honest and widening my point of view to see outside the box in which I live. That’s so important that I seek it out. I don’t have to agree with everyone to listen to them. But hearing how they see the world makes me see it bigger. Makes me better.

From day one, it has been a privilege to make books and I only seek to serve the SFF community as best I can. It’s such an honor to be a part of it (most days). And I really am humbled that I get to do what I love. If I get rewarded for that with awards, that will be mindblowing. But make no mistake. I did not campaign for awards. I just try and do good work. And I will continue to do so, hoping people will give it a fair chance.

To the nomination voters, thank you for your confidence in me. Sorry for the uproar. Don’t let it spoil the moment if you can. You made me part of science fiction history. It’s so amazing, and I am truly grateful. Now, may the best person win, whomever they are. I leave it to the works.

Bryan


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo nominated editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for Every Day, and Shattered Shields with coeditor Jennifer Brozek for Baen Books with nine more forthcoming, including Gaslamp TerrorsMission Tomorrow: A New Century Of Exploration (BAEN), Galactic Games (BAEN), Speculations KC, and several others.  A Junior Editor for Wordfire Press, he acquires and develops books of all kinds. He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

 

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MyOryCon Schedule

Well, I am off Thursday for my second trip to OryCon in Portland, Oregon at the Lloyd Center Doubletree.  It’s a fun con with lots of friends in attendance and a fairly laid back atmosphere. Jennifer Brozek and I will be having our SHATTERED SHIELDS Book Launch in Suite 1570 Saturday night, too, and then we’ll attend SF AuthorFest at Powell’s Beaverton Sunday afternoon to sign along with contributors Wendy Wagner and Annie Bellett and a ton of authors.

Meanwhile, though, here’s where to find me at the Con. Hope to see some of you!

Fri Nov 7 2:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 3:00:pm
Hamilton
Revision: Path to Better Writing or Way to Never Finish?

Endless revisions can kill good writing, but everyone says polish your work. Besides, the first draft is usually bad, right? How to navigate through the apparent contradictions without going crazy.

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, SD Perry, Bruce Taylor, Manny Frishberg, K.C. Ball



Fri Nov 7 3:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 3:30:pm
Grant
Bryan Thomas Schmidt Reading (30min)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his own works.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt



Fri Nov 7 4:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 5:00:pm
Hawthorne
Religion in Fantasy

Gods? Goddesses? Just pretend religion doesn’t exist?

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Devon Monk, Jack Whitsel, Joan Gaustad, Karen Azinger



Fri Nov 7 5:00:pm
Fri Nov 7 6:00:pm
Lincoln
I Quit My Job to Be a Writer! WHAT HAVE I DONE?

What the full-time writing life is like, how to stay focused when you’re all by yourself, the realities of making a living via the written word, and techniques for forcing yourself to get dressed and leave the house.

Richard A. Lovett, Matthew Hughes, (*)Mary Rosenblum, Mike Moscoe, Bryan Thomas Schmidt



Sat Nov 8 11:00:am
Sat Nov 8 12:00:pm
Morrison
Planners vs. Pantsers

Some writers have everything outlined and plotted before they put their fingers on the keyboard. Others insist on flying by the seat of their pants. If you’re one, come learn the techniques of the other, and why you should pay attention.

(*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Anna Sheehan, J. A. Pitts, Dean Wells, Steve Perry



Sat Nov 8 12:00:pm
Sat Nov 8 1:00:pm
Jefferson/Adams
Surviving the Edit

Sometimes it feels as if editors are out to crush your soul, when they’re really there to save the soul of your book (or they should be). Learn how to choose an editor, how to take your lumps–and when you should ignore what the editor says.

Colleen Anderson, SD Perry, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jason V Brock



Sat Nov 8 4:00:pm
Sat Nov 8 5:00:pm
Madison
Social Media and the Modern Writer

Websites, Facebook fan pages, email lists, contests, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, ads, blogs and that annoying thing called a “platform”: what works, what doesn’t, and why you need to care (spoiler: you do).

Theresa (Darklady) Reed, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Erik Wecks, MeiLin Miranda



Saturday Nov. 8 :00 pm     Shattered Shields/Baen Launch Party
Suite 1570                               Alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and more. Come win signed artwork and books or buy some. Join Jennifer Brozek, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Wendy N. Wagner and Annie Bellett.

Sun Nov 9 1:00:pm
Sun Nov 9 2:00:pm
Hamilton
Crowdfund Your Project

You’ve got a book, a comic, a film, a game–something awesome! Your fans want it. How do you raise the funds to get it to them? Let them pre-order it via Kickstarter or the other crowdfunding sites. We’ll discuss best practices, when not to crowdfund, backer rewards people want, fulfillment nightmares and successes, and handling the haters (they gonna hate).

MeiLin Miranda, Erik Wecks, (*)Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jake Richmond
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Why Everyone Should Be A Blindsider

I don’t talk about my past very much on this blog for lots of reasons, mostly because it’s not all that tied to what I do now, and there tends to be a group who look down on me for my religious work, etc.  and also because I don’t really like being seen as prideful or self-aggrandizing. Promoting my work is a business responsibility that’s necessary, but promoting my personal life and such is not.

Then I rewatched the wonderful movie Blindside starring Sandra Bullock when it ran on cable, and I was reminded by that movie of values that have infused my life and that of my family and very much shape how I live and everything I do. I’m not talking about the fact that main characters in the movie are Christians like myself and my family. Nor am I talking about their rural background, although we do have both those things in common. Instead, I am referring to a concept I define as “learning to live WITH people, not just around them.”

For those unfamiliar with it, The Blind Side is the true story of a wealthy Tennessee couple who discovered a black kid from the inner city was attending their children’s private school but was homeless. As they discover him and bits and pieces about his situation, they take it upon themselves to offer help. At first, taking him in to their home for a night or two, and then eventually permanently, raising him like one of their own. They even become his legal guardians. The experience changes not just the inner city kid, Michael Oher, but also their own two children and themselves. Michael goes on to become a huge football star in high school, then college and finally is drafted into the NFL. It’s a well-acted, well written, heart-warming tale of people reaching out beyond the box in which they live and choosing to help someone else because they can, and, in the end, making a better life for all of them and their community.

The reason I call this “learning to live WITH people, not just around them,” is because most of us find it very easy to live in our own little box, worry about our own concerns and people, and not pay much attention to what’s going on beyond us. Every once in a while a tragedy or some drama occurs that calls our attention to it, but for most of us, we can go around blissfully unaware of the needs of people around us most of the time. I have had this tendency at times in my life, but then I remember how I was raised. I was raised by people who paid attention and took action, and so I jump back in when I can without hesitation. It’s a lifestyle that becomes more and more second nature to me.

I get this because of several key people. My Grandma Schmidt has been described often as the type of woman who never knew a stranger, the kind who when someone in need showed up, would drop whatever she was doing, wherever she was to help. If food got cold or her family of 7 had to wait longer to eat, it didn’t matter. If she was late to an appointment, people would have to understand. To her, this was God’s business and what she was put on Earth for and there wasn’t even a question or hesitation: she had to try and help.

My other grandmothers were also very much like this. From teaching to taking in exchange students, to feeding neighbors, helping children and more. My father is a doctor who always cared more about healing people than getting bills paid, so much so that he once fired an office manager for being too harsh about collections, and he freely donates his time, money and effort to helping others despite his busy schedule and career demands.

I could name dozens of other examples in my family but suffice it to say I grew up with people who taught me: we are put here on this Earth to help and love one another, to do whatever we can for them no matter what race, religion, politics, etc. they might have. You might be poor, but you can always give time or talents. And it was an expectation that if you were in my family, this was how you’d live.

To me, the couple in The Blind Side, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy embody these values, and they demonstrated in gloriously when they took in Michael Oher. Were they perfect? No. And they were more blessed with wealth than most, but more importantly, they didn’t just say they cared with money, they lived it with their actions and daily lives. That’s the kind of people who raised me, and it’s always the kind of person I’ve wanted and tried to be. I don’t always succeed, of course. None of us are perfect. And sometimes it has cost me trying — such as shunning a career path so I could stay freelance in order to get time off to travel to various places and help people as much as I could. By the time I settled down and got married, I’ve had a lot of financial struggles to overcome time and again, I have no kids as I’ve always dreamed I would, etc. In many ways, I seem far behind my peers, and yet, by going to Africa, Brazil, Mexico and other places and teaching, I’ve gotten a kind of wealth money can never provide and enjoyed a kind of satisfaction no other success can create.

When I got into science fiction, I tried to write stories that reflect these values, and as an editor, I try to employ them in not only who I invite but the stories I buy and the subject matters I pursue. I don’t do it perfectly, but I make a concerted effort, and I’ve been rewarded by developing friendships, creative partnerships and working relationships with some of my writing and editing heroes, and making some books that got great reviews and touched people. I’m pretty much a live and let live guy, in that I don’t care about your religion, philosophy, politics, sexual orientation, race, etc. If you’re a decent person, we’ll get along. I publish stories that often differ from my personal beliefs and practices, but as long as they are good stories, I choose them because I want my books to reflect the larger community they are intended to serve, and that means reaching beyond what I know and am comfortable with.

Why am I writing all this? I guess it’s to encourage others to cover the blind side of other people, too. There’s no one way to do it, but there are many needs. You don’t have to be rich or powerful, famous or even creative, all you need is time and a willing heart, and also a willingness to be uncomfortable for the sake of helping others be more comfortable and lead better lives. You might take weekends to go help a single mom on her farm, as I did this summer, or to tutor inner city kids, help build or rebuild a house, or do any number of other things. Some you’ll be good at, some you won’t (like me and farming). But it’s not about skill as much as it is effort anyway. And the effort is never wasted, no matter the results.

The best experiences in my life and career have come from these experiences, and the most precious relationships as well. People from all walks of life and cultures who are friends because we spent time together, not because of what we were doing or what we accomplished. Oh, good things were accomplished, don’t get me wrong, but success is not the primary goal, being there is. And in the process, you’ll learn new skills and new points of view, and have new experiences that infuse your life with so much richness you can’t even imagine. Try it, if you don’t believe me.

So my point in writing this is to say, be a blindsider, not a sideliner. Take time to live WITH people around you, not just walk among them doing your own thing. It won’t just make their lives better, it’ll make you a better and happier person. And it’ll give you opportunities to live in ways words can’t describe or even equal. More than waving a flag for a cause or putting money in a donation box, you’ll be actually changing the world for the better. And I promise you, that can be far more impactful than money or slogans or any amount of campaigning ever will.

For what it’s worth…

 

 

 

 

Posted in General

Announcing: The Tentative Table Of Contents for MISSION: TOMORROW (BAEN 2015)

Hot off the press!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the (tentative) Table of Contents for Mission: Tomorrow, coming from Baen Books in 2015.

18 stories, 100,938 words of great Science Fiction. All original except Silverberg and Gunn.

Concept: Science Fiction writers imagine the future of space exploration in a world no longer dominated by NASA. What might it look like? Private or public? Stories of space exploration, travel and adventure.

“Tombaugh Station” by Robin Wayne Bailey
“Excalibur” by Jack McDevitt
“The Race For Arcadia” by Alex Shvartsman
“A Walkabout Among The Stars” by Lezli Robyn
“Sunrise On Mercury” by Robert Silverberg
“Tribute” by Jack Skillingstead
“The Ultimate Space Race” by Jaleta Clegg
“Orpheus’ Engines” by Christopher McKitterick
“Around The NEO in 80 Days” by Jay Werkheiser
“On Edge” by Sarah A. Hoyt
“Airtight” by Michael Capobianco
“Ten Days Up” by Curtis C. Chen
“Windshear” by Angus McIntyre – a story finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Contest
“Malf” by David D. Levine
“Panic Town” by Michael F. Flynn
“The Rabbit Hole” by James Gunn
“Rare (Off Earth) Elements” by Ben Bova
“Tartaros” by Mike Resnick


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s science fiction and fantasy novels and anthologies. His debut novel, THE WORKER PRINCE, received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011, and was followed by two sequels. As editor, his anthologies include SHATTERED SHIELDS (Baen, 2014), BEYOND THE SUN (Fairwood, 2013), RAYGUN CHRONICLES (Every Day, 2013) and SPACE BATTLES (Flying Pen, 2012) with four more forthcoming from BAEN and EDGE in 2015 and 2016. He hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every first Wednesday at 9 pm ET on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht and is a frequent guest and panelist at World Cons and other conventions. His website is www.bryanthomasschmidt.net and his twitter handle @BryanThomasS.

Posted in General

GlitchCon Schedule August 1st-3rd, 2014

GlitchCon

GlitchCon

 

Well, another Con has arrived. From Friday through Sunday, I’ll be in Springdale, Arkansas at the Holiday Inn Conference Center for GlitchCon with the lovely Claire Ashgrove, my best bud and editing partner in Finish The Story, Jonathan Maberry and David Farland and several others. Here’s a full schedule of programming. See participants at the website at http://www.glitchcon.com/

FRIDAY, August 1

3:00 – 3:50 pm Creating Comics and Graphic Novels (Jonathan M. /

David F. / Kyle / *Tommy) (Steam Room)

5:00 OPENING CEREMONIES  (John Q. Hammons Hall)

6:00 – 6:50 pm Pulp Fiction (Jonathan M. / David F. / Tommy / Bryan

100_0440

Bryan and David Farland

S. / Phillip D.)(Steam Room)

6:00 – 8:00pm Story In A Bag, lead by Dyann Love Barr & Claire A. (Anime & Cosplay)

7:30 p.m.   — David F. / Jonathan M. / Claire / Bryan to dinner

 

SATURDAY, August 2

10:00 – 10:50 — Collaboration (Sue S. / Bill A. / Brad S. / Dyann)   (Steam Room)

12:00 – 12:50 — Series Writing (Saranna D. / David F. / Jonathan

M. / Bill A. / Claire A. / Dyann LB) (Anime & Cosplay)

1:00 – 1:50 — Writing 101 (David F. / Phillip D. / Sue S. / Dyan LB

/ Claire A. /  Saranna D. / Bryan S. (MOD)) (Steam Room)
2:00-2:50 – Old School Monsters (Jonathan M.)(Steam Room)
3:00 – 3:50  pm  Horror – Then and Now (Jonathan M. / David F.

/ Brad S./ Saranna D.)

4:00 – 4:50 — The Fantasy Allure (Jonathan M / David F. / Bryan S.

/ Brad S. / Claire A. / Saranna (MOD))(Steam Room)

7:00 – 7:50 — World Building (Sue S. / Bill A. / Dyann LB / Bryan

S. / Claire / Saranna, John W.) (Steam Room)

Bryan & Claire

Bryan & Claire

 

 

SUNDAY, August 3

10:00 – 10:50 – Story In A Bag Winners Announced

3:00-4:20 – CLOSING CEREMONIES (John Q. Hammons Hall)

Posted in appearances/schedule, General Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Why I Am An Editor

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Shattered Shields coverI became an editor for three primary reasons: 1) I love reading stories; 2) I love working with and discovering new writers; 3) I like helping others. For me, editing combined all these loves, so it seemed a natural fit. After all, I could get a chance to work with my heroes and legends as well as up and coming and new writers who are legends yet to be, and in the process, have fun and make some really interesting books, giving great, diverse stories life.

I’ve interviewed a lot of editors, and I think most of them said some combination of the above as well.

But for me, it also stems from years spent working with nonprofits to help artists from different backgrounds and cultures come together and create art and be heard. There’s no greater gift you can give an artist than a chance to share their voice, I think. And it’s such a joy helping them polish and refine their work, giving them a venue and audience, and watching them shine. I found it very addictive. So addictive that when one camp I was working with moved cross country, I created my own nonprofit and started doing the work in other ways, taking it across the world to Ghana, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, and other places, usually places where such training is too expensive or too elite for the poor, and focusing our work on artists denied those opportunities. Doing that work was life changing and has forever shaped by beliefs, my life, my goals, and my art, and I continue to long to find ways to do more of that work in the future. So anthologies and editing had natural appeal.

Beyond The Sun revised coverAnd the first anthology opportunity proved to be a challenge for sure, but also a whole lot of fun. It’s as much of a challenge sometimes attracting writers to trust a new editor as it can be for writers to get a shot, and I wound up short on submissions and thus late on deadline, but this did give me a chance to work with some writers to improve their stories. There were at least three that made into into the final book after such collaboration. Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, the end result is a book I’m proud of. It’s not as good as the books that followed in some ways, but the reviews have been solid and it’s a fun read, and above all, when creating anthologies, I want to create fun reads. For me, reading should be fun. Science Fiction and Fantasy should be fun. Above all other concerns.

So creating opportunities for authors has been a huge part of what I got into this to do, thus, when I didn’t have the editorial credibility quite yet, I looked toward Kickstarter and put together Beyond The Sun, somehow being lucky enough to get four of my writing heroes as headliners. That experience proved yet another great one and shortly after that Kickstarter, friends from a Canadian small press approached me with the idea for Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For A New Age, and so a few months later, we Kickstarted that with even more big names. That was my biggest anthology yet.

Again, the highlight of both of these was working with writers. Even as the fanboy in me thrilled at getting to work with Silverberg, Rusch, Kress, and more, I enjoyed seeing the up and coming writers’ eyes light up and the chance to be in a book with such luminaries as well. I enjoyed working with them to develop stories, polish them, and assembling the books, etc.

Then Baen bought an idea I had come up with and recruited Jennifer Brozek to co-edit, the military high fantasy anthology Shattered Shields. Like Raygun,  we had a full on professional budget and this time we were buying all originals. So I had the chance to work for a major publisher for the first time, again, an incredible experience. And despite our different tastes, Jennifer and I wound up agreeing on almost all the stories, the exception being a couple, and, of course, she liked some more than I did and vice versa. Still, a great creative partnership. What a talented lady!

RaygunChronicles front displayAnd having such opportunities to partner with great people is the highlight of being an editor. I just really appreciate that. It’s why I don’t want to work with people that don’t share a mutual respect. Time’s too short. I want to be able to enjoy working together. After all, collaboration should be fun, I think. And it’s why I keep pitching and developing anthologies of various types. It’s also why I wanted to use my credibility to reach out to new voices in projects that might be tougher to find publisher homes for like World Encounters and Enabled, but which still have important subject matters which deserve to be explored.

I love reading. Reading has changed my life. It’s made my world bigger. It’s made me a better person. And it’s opened up possibilities I could have never imagined. As reading amongst new generations decreases in popularity, I also want to create books parents and kids can read and enjoy together, that will provoke discussion and nurture a love of reading and genre. That’s why I always push for an educational accessibility aspect in all my guidelines and books, and why I try and keep content PG13 at worst, so it can reach the largest audience. And my background with diversity and cross cultural encounters makes me desire to include writers of diverse backgrounds and beliefs in every project. Sometimes you are limited by who’s available and who connects with the concept, but I try nonetheless. And I have had some great successes.

In any case, just a few thoughts on why I love being an editor and why I wanted to be one. I admit, I’m hooked now, and I hope I get to continue doing this for a long time to come.

For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for Every Day, and Shattered Shields with coeditor Jennifer Brozek for Baen Books (forthcoming).  He is currently working on Gaslamp TerrorsMission Tomorrow: A New Century Of Exploration (BAEN), Galactic Games (BAEN), Enabled, and several others.  He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

Posted in Editing, General Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

ConQuest 45 A Success

100_0611Well, ConQuest 45 – Noir has come and gone, and I am calling it a great success. This is the one Con I try to make annually, because it’s local and put on by my local fan group, which is a great group of people. Glen Cook has been attending as a dealer for years, but this year we also honored him as Guest Of Honor, and that was a blast. I panelled with Glen several times including a Spec Noir panel with Mark W. Tiedemann (shown), a live GOH interview which neither of us wanted to end but did, and a military fantasy panel also featuring Kij Johnson and Robin Wayne Bailey.

On Friday night, Robin Wayne Bailey, Todd Hunter and I threw an impromptu launch party for Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For A New Age, which released last December after funding on Kickstarter the previous March, and which features stories by Todd and Robin as well as many others, including Seanan McGuire, David Farland, Brenda Cooper, Sarah A. Hoyt, Allen M. Steele, and A.C. Crispin. The party was hopping for several hours and a Who’s Who of the Con stopped by, later voting us Best Party at the Closing Ceremonies. I also sold out of copies, for the first time ever, selling 19 and giving away 2. So I had to order more for the next Con. I call that a success./

Once again, the Basic Editing 101 For Writers panel that my editing partner Claire Ashgrove and I initiated last year was a hit with really strong attendance, including Artist GOH David Lee Pancake, who told me it was the best, clearest panel he’d seen on basic issues like passives, telling vs. showing, etc. I hadn’t encountered David yet, due to my busy schedule, so afterwards I headed down to the art show and wound up buying one of his beautiful works.

I also did a panel on Heroes and Heroines with Kij Johnson and others, a Writing For Young Audiences panel with Chris McKitterick and K.D. McEntire, and several others. Only my Abraham Lincoln Dinosaur Hunter reading drew interest as my first reading was Friday night during check in time, so I got an extra hour of rest pre-Con.

100_0615An Editor’s Are Not The Enemy panel with Selina Rosen, Deanna Sjojander and Rich Horton was lively, and brought up interesting issues about publishing traditional vs. self-publishing vs. small press which I hope were helpful.

The Con Suite, which I made extensive use of this year, unlike last year, was also well stocked and managed and I relied on it for most of my meals outside a Friday dinner with Dennis and Diane Barr and Saturday dinner with Rich and MaryAnne Horton.

Altogether, a delightful time and well worth attending, even though I arrived tired and not sure I was not sure I was ready. I quickly slipped into a different frame of mind and really enjoyed myself. Thanks to the Con Comm, and the party group especially for helping make this such a delightful experience.

After the Con, I came home and announced an upcoming Kickstarter anthology I’ve really been looking forward to. And I know it’s going to be a real special and fun project to complete. A fitting way to close the Con, with inspiration.

 


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press,Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for Every Day, and Shattered Shields with coeditor Jennifer Brozek for Baen Books (forthcoming).  He is currently working on Gaslamp Terrors and Mission Tomorrow: A New Century Of Exploration.  He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter,

 

Posted in appearances/schedule, Raygun Chronicles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

WriteTip: Advice On Why No Is Rarely Personal – Handling Rejection For New Writers

WriteTips-flat

WriteTips-flatYesterday at ConQuest, a panel discussion led to talks about editors and writers and how much editors love discovering new writers and great new stories. And in the midst of it, I got reminded how intimidated writers often are by editors, especially writers who don’t know any personally. I’ve experienced this myself as a writer and as an editor. So I wanted to offer a little perspective.

The most important advice is this: “NO” is almost never personal. The only times it is personal, you’ll know it because the person will make it obvious. And this is very rare. Seriously. The reality is that hearing “No” is just part of being a writer. And saying “No” is part of being an editor. Editors take no more glee in saying it than writers do in hearing it. Unless, of course, you’ve pissed the editor off. So don’t do that.

Editors say “No” for lots of reasons, many of which have to do with factors besides simply elements of your story and certainly besides who you are. If they have a similar story already, you’ll hear “N0.” If they have too many stories with a particular theme, setting, etc., it’s “No.” If they have budget issues because of length of stories they bought–especially with the headliners whose name cache helps sell the books– then it will be a “No.”  And so on and so forth.

The only things you can do to lessen the likelihood of rejection are to:

a) respect and follow the guidelines. Doesn’t matter if they are annoying or sound stupid. Just do it. You can be rejected simply for ignoring them, because you are saying, “I’m an exception and my story’s so good you won’t care.” Well, wrong. We do ask for guidelines for a reason, and you’re not going to be that exceptional.

or b) Write an awesome story.

c) Submit early in the open reading period. This will make it more likely that if similar stories come in, yours was chosen first and you won’t be rejected for the other reasons mentioned above.

Those are the best ways to avoid rejection, honestly. Beyond that, it’s a matter of timing, luck, and finding the right market. Just like everyone tells you.

People who reject you for personal reasons almost always reveal that in some way, from comments to a later post or off the cuff comment, etc. But most professionals leave that stuff aside when choosing stories. Because all we care about is that the story is awesome and whether we can work with you in a respectful relationship. Don’t be an asshole and the rest won’t matter. If you’re an asshole to the editor, it tells them you don’t respect them and likely wouldn’t take edit notes. And it’s not worth the bother for them. It’s that simple.

So how do you respond to a “No?” Don’t email them to criticize their taste. Don’t badmouth them on social media. Don’t even graciously thank them in an email for considering the story. Chances are they are overwhelmed with emails already and won’t want to have to sort through another.

Instead, send the story elsewhere or polish based on any suggestions offered that you find useful and then send it out.

Write another story and submit to them again.

And the cycle repeats. Seriously. There’s no magic trick here. Persistance, Politeness, Professionalism — these are the keys to success. Ask successful writers.

Short but sweet, but I hope it’s helpful. Seriously. It will also help your self-confidence and morale to remember this: “No” is rarely personal, it’s just part of the process.

Now, go write more stories! And good luck!


 

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press,Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for Every Day, and Shattered Shields with coeditor Jennifer Brozek for Baen Books (forthcoming in November).  His first YA anthology CHOICES will be out from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2015. He is currently working on Gaslamp Terrors, Mission: Tomorrow (BAEN) and Galactic Games (BAEN), amongst others. He has also edited novels, including the New York Times Bestseller The Martian by Andy Weir.  He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

Posted in Editing, Write Tips Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Conquest 45 Noir Schedule and Details Updated

Conquest 45 logoWell, for the third year in a row I am a panelist and moderator at CONQUEST 45, the local Kansas City Con on Friday May 23rd through Sunday May 25th. Well attended, with, as usual, a great lineup of guests and panelists, CONQUEST is the largest local Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror convention. And it’s always a blast, but also always hectic for locals like me, especially those of us who are members of the local fan club KacSFFS.

This year’s Guests of Honor are Glen Cook (Author GOH), David Lee Pancake (Artist GOH), Bridget Landry (Science GOH), Ray and Barbara Van Tillburg (Fan GOH), and also Caroline Spector (Toastmistress).  Also attending (besides myself) are local professionals like Robin Wayne Bailey, Kij Johnson, Rich Horton , K.D. McEntire, Mark W. Tiedemann, Rob Chilson, Selina Rosen, Claire Ashgrove, Bradley Denton, H.G. Stratmann and Chris McKitterick. A full list can be found here.

Returning to downtown this year, CONQUEST 45 takes place at the Downtown Marriott, just off the famed Power and Light District, pretty much the center of Kansas City’s nightlife.

Room assignments are not final, but here’s the panels, panel descriptions and list of panelists in which I’ll be participating. As you’ll see, it’ll be a really hectic weekend for me. I also hope to have books on sale at Glen Cook’s dealer table, and we are working on a possible Raygun Chronicles party. When details on room assignments and the party are final, I’ll do another post, closer to the Con.

Here’s the schedule as it stands now:

Friday – May 23, 2014

Reading (Big Joe Turner A)
Friday 1400

Author/Editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his forthcoming epic fantasy series The Dawning Age.


SpecNoir (Count Basie Ballroom A)

Friday 1700

Speculative fiction and noir mix particularly well in many subgenres and forms. What is noir and what are some examples of who’s writing what and good reads out there?

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Glen Cook, Mark W. Tiedemann

Raygun Chronicles Launch Party
Friday 2130 (Room 619)

Authors Todd Hunter and Robin Wayne Bailey join me to celebrate our pulp-style space opera anthology, Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For A New Age. Party with snacks, drinks and giveaways.

 

Saturday – May 24th, 2014

Military Fantasy (Lester Young A)
Saturday 1000

What is it? Who’s writing it? How does it differ from high fantasy? What are some examples?

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Glen Cook, Kij Johnson, Robin Wayne Bailey


What makes a hero/heroine? (Jay McShann A)

Saturday 1200

A discussion of what defines heroism today and what qualities we want to see in our heroes and heroines that make them heroic. And how are definitions evolving in the modern age.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Dennis Young, Gera Dean, Kij Johnson


Writing for younger audiences (Jay McShann B)

Saturday 1300

Writing for adults and writing for YA, MG and Children differ. Authors and Editors discuss the differences, the approaches, and fine examples.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Chris McKitterick, Deanna Sjolander, K. D. McEntire

 

KID’S READING: Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Big Joe Turner A)
Saturday 1500

Children’s author Bryan Thomas Schmidt reads from his chapter book series ABRAHAM LINCOLN DINOSAUR HUNTER, a humorous, action adventure, alternate history for all ages.

Self-Editing 101 For Writers With Finish The Story (Mary Lou Williams A/B)
Saturday 1600

Editorial team Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Claire Ashgrove discuss tips for basic editing of manuscripts, how to get perspective, common issues, and more.

Moderators/Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Claire Ashgrove

Sunday – May 25th, 2014

GOH Interview: Glen Cook (Count Basie Ballroom A)
Sunday 1000

Come here me do a live SFFWRTCHT-style interview with the amazing Glen Cook. And you can ask questions, too!

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelist: Glen Cook


Editors are not  the  Enemy (Mary Lou Williams A/B)

Sunday 1100

What editors do, why it matters to writers, and why writers should consider them an asset not an enemy. An exploration of author-editor relationships.

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Claire Ashgrove, Deanna Sjolander, Rich Horton, Selina Rosen


Self-Publishing — Taking the Leap! (Mary Lou Williams A/B)

Sunday 1300

Considering self-publishing your novel?  It isn’t as easy as publishing a book and reaping the royalties, nor is it for every author.  Discover pros and cons of the Indie market, tips to launching a successful book, and whether you’re prepared for the business demands.

Moderator: Claire Ashgrove
Panelists: Karin Gastreich, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Brett Williams

 

Hope to see some of you there. Be sure to come by and say hello!


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut science fiction novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011, and was followed by two sequels The Returning and The Exodus (forthcoming). His children’s books include 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter–Land Of Legends. Schmidt has edited edited anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6Beyond The SunRaygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age and, with Jennifer Brozek, coedited military high fantasy original anthology, Shattered Shields. Several more anthologies are under contract and forthcoming. Schmidt hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

Posted in appearances/schedule Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mission: Tomorrow Coming To Baen in 2015 — My Latest SF Anthology Sale

Well, it’s been a really busy month, and so I have not managed to blog as intended. But it’s for good reasons. I’ve been booking SFFWRTCHT’s final six months, as it’s regular weekly Twitter incarnation will be ending this Fall. I have been working on lots of editing and packaging anthologies, and I sold two anthologies–one I can’t yet announce details on, and the other of which I will detail here. I already announced on Facebook but here’s the details for those who missed it.

My fourth science fiction anthology will be my second anthology for Baen, my first as solo editor there.  Inspired again by my grandmother’s and my shared passion for NASA’s space program, this one caught the interest of some amazing talents. I have fourteen headliners attached here, and thirty other people vying for the remaining six to eight slots. There will be two reprints, both by Grandmasters, and the rest will be original to this project.

Toni Weisskopf bought it within a few days of receiving my pitch. Ironically, I had so many proposals on her desk, I had been pitching it elsewhere for six months before finally trying her. Perhaps from now on I should just go to Baen first. Contractually, given the options, I rather have to. In any case, it’s been a great experience working with Baen so far, and I look forward to a long and healthy relationship there.

So here’s the scoop:

MISSION : TOMORROW – A NEW CENTURY OF EXPLORATION

Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Mission: Tomorrow is a pro-paying anthology of 95,000 words in which Science Fiction writers imagine the future of space exploration in a world no longer dominated by NASA. What might it look like? Private or public? Stories of space exploration, travel and adventure. Coming from Baen Books in 2015.

Headliners: Catherine Asaro, Robin Wayne Bailey, Gregory Benford, Ben Bova, Michael Capobianco, Brenda Cooper, David Farland, Michael F. Flynn, James Gunn, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, Jack Skillingstead

Yep, so a mix of hard and soft science fiction for this one, adventure and real science blended to make for some interesting near future tales of space exploration. Silverberg’s reprint is a story about the exploration of Venus, and Gunn’s is about exploring a wormhole. Ben Bova has written a new Sam Gunn story that features a Chinese female astronaut as the protagonist encountering Sam Gunn. Beyond that, I am waiting to see what comes in, but with the people involved, I’m quite excited about it.

You can find it on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21023216-mission

Meanwhile, I sold a Young Adult anthology, a mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror, all reprints except for three new stories, but filled with huge names, to a foreign publisher, my second non-US sale, after Raygun Chronicles. I’ll release details once contracts are signed, as it’s all verbal now, but expect to see it and Mission: Tomorrow both released in 2015.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author whose debut novel received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction of 2011. He’s written novels, children’s books and short fiction and edited several anthologies, including two for Baen, Shattered Shields, coedited by Jennifer Brozek (November 2014) and Mission: Tomorrow( forthcoming Fall 2015).

Posted in Editing, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

For Immediate Release – SFFWRTCHT on Twitter Will End in 2014

Sffwrtcht-flat

Update: SFFWRTCHT has always been a celebration of community: what unites us, not divides us. Although I can’t keep up with the weekly grind any more, given other obligations, we will continue with twice monthly chats beginning in early 2015 after a brief hiatus. More details to come. 

160 shows, 165 guests, hundreds of thousands of hits–when I started SFFWRTCHT (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat), I did it for two reasons: 1) I wanted to network and learn from so many awesome writers and editors who were using twitter, and 2) I wanted to contribute to my new SFF community and family in a positive way. I never expected how successful it would become, not how time consuming it would be. But I don’t regret a minute.

However, after a lot of soul searching, I have decided the time has come to end the weekly live twitter chat that is SFFWRTCHT. Much of this is selfish, I admit. I spend 25 hours a week, including reading time, question and guest prep, booking guests and more per episode. And as I get busier professionally, that is coming to feel more like a chore than the delight it once was. It’s hard to find time to read for fun or to research for my own projects. I am locked to home or at least a place with good Wifi every Wednesday night. And trying to keep it fresh requires me to search for guests who are new, not just repeats, so that I am not asking the same stuff of the same people over and over.  In the beginning, with my being out of work with plenty of free time, this was easy. And the industry embraced it which made booking guests easy. But as I’ve burned through the most active Twitter users, and become an almost full time editing professional, it’s more and more work to find time for SFFWRTCHT, a volunteer effort, which, while rewarding in its own way, requires a serious time commitment to do right.

When our original host site for the cleaned up interviews shut down for similar reasons to my own expressed here, SFSignal welcomed us. But I also find myself competing with their interviews with the same people, and that makes my interviews less useful and relevant, and less helpful as promotional tools for our guests. I don’t think repeating what someone else is doing is a compelling use of my time or our guests.I’ve toyed with recruiting help. But even my regulars, who are delightful and whom I adore, have their own lives and no one has jumped up to volunteer. I toyed with cutting back some, but then how would people know when to look for us or where?

So, in the end, it seems best to back off the weekly grind of live interviews and instead convert to regular email interviews. Whether this will be weekly or monthly, I don’t know. Where they will appear, I don’t know. But I have several month’s worth of past transcripts I can start with cleaning up and posting, and as I plan to continue to December in present format, I’ll have even more by then to give me time to sort all of this out.

In the meantime, I express my thanks for the kind support and regards of the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror writing and publishing industry and fandom. It’s a pleasure being a part of the family and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute positively to community building. I hope to do so in the future in new ways. I know many books have been purchased and many writers encouraged and even taught through SFFWRTCHT. I’m humbled an honored by that.

In the meantime, you can still find transcripts, links, reviews, etc. on our website, which I will be maintaining here. I look very much forward to what the future brings.

Kind regards,

Bryan


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. His anthologies as editor include Shattered Shields with coeditor Jennifer Brozek for Baen, Mission Tomorrow: A New Century of Exploration, also for Baen, Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, Beyond The Sun and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter as @SFFWRTCHT.

Website/Blog: www.bryanthomasschmidt.net
Twitter: @BryanThomasS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bryanthomass?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3874125.Bryan_Thomas_Schmidt

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Write Tip: 8 Tips For Getting Blurbs From Name Authors

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WriteTips-flatThis week’s Write Tip addresses a question I get a lot. I have been fortunate enough to get blurbs on my books from many well known authors, and people want to know how I manage it. So here are some tips for getting blurbs from name authors.

1) Ask. — It sounds really obvious but it’s the truth. If you don’t ask, you won’t succeed. When it comes to asking for blurbs, you just target the desired authors, and politely ask if they’d consider reading for a blurb. Authors won’t put their name on something they don’t feel good about, and not every author who agrees to read the project will blurb it, but getting them to take a look is the first step. So ask.

2) Pick Appropriate Authors. — This one may be less obvious to some of you. Don’t just ask your favorite authors. Ask authors who are known for writing the genre in which your book falls. These will be people who typically enjoy reading books like yours. They will also have names familiar and most enticing to your targeted readers. There’s no point putting a blurb on your book from someone who might not be considered informed on the topic and genre. Unless it’s a meganame like Stephen King, having inappropriate blurbers may not add any benefit at all.

3) Give Them Time. — If you can get permission from your publisher, the time to ask for big name blurbs is after the book is turned in to the editor or goes to copyediting. Don’t wait for galleys. By the time most galleys show up, your turn around time is usually very short. By starting early, you can offer several months to potential blurbers which gives them a lot more flexibility to work such an obligation into their own very busy schedules and makes it more likely they’ll agree to take a look. For our Baen anthology Shattered Shields, Jennifer Brozek and I got permission from Toni Weisskopf to ask for blurbs just after we turned in our manuscript. This gave us the opportunity to ask people like Mike Resnick, John Marco, Catherine Asaro, and Ken Scholes for blurbs. All four said yes, and before we even have copyediting marks to review, three of them have sent us great blurbs for the book.

4) Pick People You Have a Relationship With. — In the age of social media, building relationships with authors you admire is simpler than ever. All you have to do is engage smartly. Strike up a conversation. Encourage. Ask thoughtful questions. And soon you’ll find yourself in dialogue with them. Over time, this can develop into a familiarity and even friendship that will make requesting blurbs not only much easier but much more likely to be well received by them. It’s not like they don’t have to do the same thing themselves. But if they don’t know your work, knowing you are cool and likeable will make them much more willing to both help you and to assume you’re not sending them crap.

5) Be Grateful. — Whether they say “yes” or “no,” be grateful that they considered it. Graciously thank them either way, and consider it a positive that you even got to interact. You never know what possibilities that may present in the future. Even if they say “no,” they may see you at a con later and ask how things are going with your book. That opens a door to dialogue and building a relationship which might lead to a future “yes.”

6) Do Not Abuse The Privilege. — Don’t over ask. Don’t ask people constantly for help. Be careful who you ask and how often. This shows consideration for both the level of your relationship and their own busy schedules. They have deadlines of their own, and those come first. Whenever you’re asking someone to take time out from those and help you, be respectful of the fact that they have limited time to do such things. They have to make choices. They are more likely to choose you, if you are considerate and don’t over impose.

7) Offer To Return The Favor. — Okay, if you’re not a known author yourself, your blurbs are likely meaningless for them. But what you can offer is to proof or review their books on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and authors are almost looking for help with that. You can’t repay them. You shouldn’t pay them, as it’s really not standard and it violates most people’s ethics. But you can offer to do them a favor in return.

8 ) Send Them Quality Projects. — This tip may seem obvious but I guarantee it’s not. The better quality your project, the more likely the askee is to agree to consider a blurb. Make sure the manuscript is clean, copyedited, and formatted professionally. If you are self-publishing or working with a small press, this is especially important. Authors know the Big Five New York houses will clean up the manuscript to make it professional. Small presses and self-publisher are less reliable. If their name is going on it, they want to be sure it’s worthy, and besides content, that means presentation, so send them a quality project with quality presentation and they are more likely to say “yes.”

Well, there you have 8 tips for getting blurbs from name authors. Remember, they’re doing you a favor. So “no” is never personal. A “yes” is always a gift. And treat them accordingly. If you follow these guidelines, use good common sense, and are professional, you’ll likely have a good chance of getting blurbs from known authors in the future. Maybe not for every project, but then again, if you follow these tips, you won’t send them every project. Regardless, these tips have worked well for me.

For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012), Beyond The Sun (2013), Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (2013) and coedited Shattered Shields (Bean, 2014) with Jennifer Brozek and is working on Monster Corp.A Red DayMission Tomorrow, and Gaslamp Terrors, among others. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

 

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WriteTip: 6 Things Any Writer Can Do To Make Science Fiction and Fantasy Better

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WriteTips-flatYou may have noticed there’s a lot of yelling going on in Science Fiction and Fantasy these days. Some yell because they’re angry. Some yell because they’re sick of the yelling. Others yell to be trolls. And the cycle never seems to end. I’m not much for yelling myself. It may serve as a great vent for your emotions, but it rarely actually serves to change anyone’s mind. Instead, it often makes people tune you out. BUT on the other hand, there are things I and every writer can do to make things better. So for this week’s Write Tip, I thought I’d suggest a few.

1) Don’t Write the World as it is but As You Want It To Be. — It’s real easy to complain about the world not changing or wishing it were better. But one of the great advantages of speculative fiction is that writers can invent worlds and make them into what they want them to be. Take advantage of it. Don’t just imagine the pessimistic world in which you live. Imagine one that’s better. Write a world that models what you’d like our world’s future to be. It’s a great way to demonstrate possible viable changes in attitude, culture, etc. without preaching at people. It’s also often a lot more pleasant experience for yourself and readers. And it certainly would help avoid a lot of cliches and rehashing that so commonly occur.

2) Avoid Placing Female and Minority Characters Solely in Traditional Roles. —  Just as the world can be whatever you want it to be in your imagination, so can people. NO housewives or Mexican gardeners. Instead, you can write of black women in power or gays in a majority, etc. You can invert the norms you see around you and imagine roles for people that might not exist yet. This is another way to demonstrate a viable future without preaching, and to promote positive change in the process.

3) If You Want Diversity, Write It. — Seriously. It’s very easy to write what you know. And sometimes that means falling back into writing about people like you. But the world is full of people who don’t look and act like you, and if you’re creating a world that can be even more so the case. So if you want to see it, make it so, as Captain Picard might say. If you can imagine it, you can write it, and what a great way to paint images that stimulate the imaginations of others by doing so.

4) Don’t Preach A Message, Show It In Action. — Yep, Show vs. Tell even applies to this. People hate being preached at. Sometimes, even if they agree with you. So instead of pounding them over the head with message fiction, just demonstrate the results of what you desire to see. Not just with the setting and characters, but the actions, dialogue and culture surrounding them. Model the future you’d like to see. Write it so it’s real for readers. Because chances are, if they couldn’t imagine it before, you can enable them to. And imagination is always a key step to real change in cultures and societies. That’s one reason the arts have always been so powerful.

5) Channel Your Passions. — There’s a lot of anger going on for many reasons in our world today. And the Science Fiction and Fantasy community is certainly no different. Channel your passion into great storytelling. Worry less about preaching or arguing with people and more about telling stories that will inspire them to change themselves and want to change the world. Sounds hard, I know, but the list of books that have influenced the world for the better is a long one.  And I know more top selling authors who avoid politics and religion and instead bring out their ideas through good stories than I do who spend hours and hours arguing and angrily decrying those who don’t share their beliefs. Certainly there’s a time and place for that, but being nasty creates an ambiance, frankly, whether you’re wrong or right, and that can affect readership and publication. Readers want to read pleasant people. And publishers want to work with pleasant authors. I know you’re passionate. You’re an artist. You have to be. But just remember that the bigger the audience and outlet, the more people hear you, and it’s easier to be heard with great art than angry diatribes. By channeling your emotions into characters and story, you can add a vivid reality to your storytelling that will speak louder than you ever could alone, really affecting and connecting with reader’s hearts.

6) Be The Kind Of Citizen You Want Others To Be. — Okay, I admit, this one is inspired by my belief in “doing unto others,” a biblical notion. But it really does ring true. If you treat others with respect and kindness, most will return the same to you. If you want equality, treat others as equals. If you want respect, be respectful. If you want to see diversity, surround yourself purposefully with diverse people. Go where you can meet them, get to know them, interact and befriend them, and hang out. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I just know that some of my best friends and best teachers have been people I met in places an upper middle class white boy from Kansas would never expect to be. And those have stuck with me for a lifetime. It’s transforming to see the world through others’ eyes, but you can’t do it if you don’t take time to know others who aren’t like you and listen to them. Chances are, if you surround yourself with diversity, readers will be encouraged to do the same. It’ll also infuse your writing and worldbuilding for all the suggestions I made above. And you’ll be seen as someone who lives what they believe, not just someone who suggests it in words alone.

Well, there you have six suggestions, some easier than others, but all truly possible, for how you can make Science Fiction and Fantasy better. I hope some of you will try them. I have been and will continue to do so. I know there’s room for improvement, but I want to make change, not just talk about it. How about you?


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012), Beyond The Sun (2013), Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (2013) and coedited Shattered Shields (Bean, 2014) with Jennifer Brozek and is working on Monster Corp.A Red DayMission Tomorrow, andGaslamp Terrors, among others. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

 

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WriteTip: The Importance Of Writing Rules As Boundaries For Learning Craft

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WriteTips-flatSince December of 2010, I’ve been interviewing authors, editors and others almost weekly on craft every Wednesday for SFFWRTCHT, and one of our regular and favorite question is about Best and Worst Writing Advice. It’s always interesting the answers we get. And after hundreds of guests, only a few repeats, it always amazes me how many different answers we get.  In fact, sometimes a repeat guest will answer differently each visit.

But what surprises me sometimes are the harsh rejections of mainstays writing rules like “avoid passives,” etc. I think sometimes experienced writers reach a point where old rules seem more limiting than helpful, perhaps. But I still find and believe, as an editor and author both, that those rules have an important role to play in most writer’s development and growth with craft.

There’s another old adage in entertainment that applies as much to publishing as Hollywood. It goes like this:  “No one knows everything.”

And while it’s true no one knows everything, you do need to know the boundaries before you break them, and writing rules are a great way to learn those.

For example, passives are a weaker form that when employed exclusively or excessively weaken the storytelling and act as telling, not showing. Once you’ve learned how to construct strong sentences, yes, you can use passives effectively, but in the beginning especially, I think learning to write without them is absolutely important and even essential to success.

Another thing about writing rules is that they often outline pet peeves of various people, and some care about one rule more than others. But the value in knowing them is that they tend to help guide you to a stronger path and stronger prose. And they often identify common weaknesses and missteps writers have taken which have hurt their writing, their success, and the appeal of their work not just to publishers but to readers as well. There are differences between writing fiction and nonfiction, between journalism and fiction, and so on. And sometimes fiction rules are helpful if you’re experienced with another form of writing but inexperienced with fiction, as I was.

There’s another adage that gets trotted out too: “Rules are made to be broken.”

You hear people cite writers like Stephen King or Neil Gaiman who have broken rules. And yes, they have and get away with it. But usually they get away with it because the rules are so imbedded into their process that when they stray from them, they do it with such skill that it just works in ways a lesser writer couldn’t manage.  You see, knowing the boundaries so well that they become second nature has advantages, and one of those advantages is that you can later deviate outside them a bit without falling off a cliff.

Let me say it again, knowing the boundaries is necessary before you can risk going outside them. And teaching boundaries is what the writing rules so often taught are for.

As a professional editor of both anthologies and novels, I see people violating the rules all day long. Rarely is it on purpose. Most often it’s because they don’t know the rules or understand how to abide by them. And the result is always sloppier, weaker writer, and a less effectively told tale. ALWAYS. I can’t count how many times a day I have to correct over and over the same errors and explain the same rules. It gets tedious. Sometimes it gets annoying. But it’s the job, and it’s made up for by the pleasure and joy I get in seeing the final polished project overcome these weaknesses and really sparkle and shine.

You can’t be expected to just know everything when starting out. And you won’t learn unless someone takes the time to show you, to explain. So part of my role as editor is to do that for you, gently, but firmly. And I try and do it with a sense of humor, too, to hopefully lessen the sting. But I still have to do it, and you still need to learn the rules.

Just because they seem arbitrary doesn’t mean they are. Just because they can be annoying doesn’t mean you can ignore them.

These rules have developed over decades for good reason. And although they evolve as tastes and grammar and publishing house style guides change, most of them have remained relatively the same for a very long time.

So next time you hear or see your writing hero blow off the rules, don’t take it as an invitation to do so yourself. Your journey is not the same as theirs. In fact, your journey is not identical to anyone’s. Learn the rules, practice them until they become instinct and you can recite them by heart. Learn them until you don’t even remember them anymore, you just do it. Because you’ll be a better writer, that’s what their for. And you’ll be more successful and respected.

And once you have that respect, then you can throw caution to the wind and go crazy. But not before.

For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012), Beyond The Sun (2013), Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (2013) and coedited Shattered Shields (Bean, 2014) with Jennifer Brozek and is working on Monster Corp.A Red DayMission Tomorrow, andGaslamp Terrors, among others. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

 

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WriteTip: On Writing What You Know As A Search For Truth

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First things first, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts. Apologies to anyone who follows the blog. I honestly ran dry in my well, because I was working on so many creative projects from writing to editing that finding energy, let alone time, for blogging was not happening. I think it was a worthwhile break for me, but I do need to reconnect with my audience I didn’t want to leave you all behind forever, and I certain value our relationship. Thanks for your patience. I am going to try and resume these once a week on Thursdays at least three times a month.

So for our first topic back, I wanted to reflect on an old mainstay, the advice to “Write What You Know.”

In a Twitter interview last night with New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh about his new science fiction noir novel, Shovel Ready, Sternbergh responded to my usual question about good and bad writing advice as follows: “Worst: Write what you know. Classic workshop trope. But what I know isn’t interesting enough for anyone to read.”

On the surface, I understand his sentiments, however, I’m going to disagree. Perhaps if we dug deeper into the statement with Sternbergh, he might agree with me but for now, we’ll just deal with the statement as is.

I believe the advice to write what you know is about a quest for truth. Writing what you know is easier for several reasons. The more familiar you are with them, the more realistic the characters and situations you write will be.  Assuming you only apply this advice to a few things, you might say, “Oh, I’m a journalist, it’s been done, boring,” or “Oh, I’m a housewife, who wants to read that.” However, I think the advice goes deeper.

Whether you’re writing speculative fiction or contemporary, historical or alternate history, readers will only connect with your story if they find elements they can relate with. From characters to situations, your story’s connectivity is going to come from the truths it contains. And so I think the advice to write what you know is very important because if you want people to connect, you must tell the truth, and you can’t write truth without knowing something about it.

In a far future tale on an  alien planet, what resonates with us are the emotions of characters, their relationships, how they see the world. Sometimes those are very different from our own, yes, but that very fact can be illuminating of our own experience. Other times, those emotions, relationships and views are like ours, and in such cases we can see ourselves in the situation reacting with the character.

Regardless of which way it goes, most readers ask themselves questions as they read, like: “What would I do in that situation?” “How would I react?” etc. And so the motives of the characters, their actions, and their emotions need to reflect believable truth for us to really find the story plausible. If they don’t, it doesn’t make sense and leaves us feeling unsatisfied.

So, as cliche as the advice “Write What You Know” may seem on the surface, I have to say it’s become so common because it speaks of a universal truth. In writing, one must write things that are true for his or her story to be true enough for readers to connect with it.  In a sense, writing what you know then becomes less about writing characters, settings, etc. that are based on your real world experiences and yourself, and more about creating ones that reflect reality in some familiar way that readers will relate with. And if that is the case, then writing what you know is indeed very good advice.

Giving writing advice is tough, because so much of it can vary from person to person, even conflict with that of others. You do have to use discernment in applying such advice, of course, and use what you can, ignore what you can’t. But to me, “Write What You Know” is advice we all can use to make our fiction stronger. That’s why I think it comes up so often, and why I think it’s stuck around so long.

Dig deep. Find the truth in your settings, characters, and situations. No matter how fantastical you dress it up, that truth is what will keep readers coming back and make your stories stay with them long after they’ve turned the last page. There’s truth in characters, relationships, settings, and all sorts of details no matter how smile. Find them, use them, and they will bring your fiction depth and make it pop off the page, make it come to life. That’s what good writing is all about. It’s what makes stories successful and memorable.

To me, that’s advice worth knowing. For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012), Beyond The Sun (2013), Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (2013) and coedited Shattered Shields (Bean, 2014) with Jennifer Brozek and is working on Monster Corp.A Red DayMission Tomorrow, andGaslamp Terrors, among others. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter.

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For Immediate Release: Broaddus and Schmidt Team With Alliteration Ink For Urban Fantasy Noir Anthology

UPDATE: Sad to say I quit this project due to the unprofessionalism and lack of integrity shown by the publisher. I’ve never looked back. BTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Alliteration Ink black_logo2Bram Stoker and Black Quill award nominated editor Maurice Broaddus and editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt are teaming with Steven Saus and Alliteration Ink for Streets Of Shadows,  an urban fantasy crime noir anthology headliner by New York Times Bestselling authors Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kevin J. Anderson, Glen Cook, Tim Lebbon and Seanan McGuire. Other contributors committed include Alex Bledsoe, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Diana Pharoah, Adrian Phoenix, and Chuck Wendig.

One of the most popular genres of speculative fiction today, urban fantasy involves stories in urban settings, usually with a dark feel much like crime noir settings, which include fantastical elements. It’s similarities make it a natural fit to combine with the long popular crime noir detective story. Streets of Shadow’s stories will include stories set in popular universes like Glen Cook’s Garrett PI, Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shamble, P.I. along with new settings by other authors.

Maurice Broaddus

Maurice Broaddus

The project will be crowdfunded on Kickstarter in January and release in late Summer 2014 in trade paperback and ebook editions. Open submissions will be accepted for one month after the Kickstarter in March 2014, with stories also due in March from an invited list of top names and up and coming writers.

Maurice Broaddus has written hundreds of short stories, essays, novellas and articles and had fiction published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Asimov’s, Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Black Static and Weird Tales. He coedited the Bram Stoker and Black Quill award nominated Dark Faith anthologies for Apex Books, several stories from which were honored with mentions in annual Year’s Best anthologies. He also authored the urban fantasy series Knights of Breton Court from Angry Robot Books.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s first novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011. His short fiction has appeared in Tales of The Talisman magazine and anthologies like Triumph Over TragedyWandering Weeds and Of Fur and Fire. His anthologies as editor include Beyond The Sun (Fairwood Press), Raygun  Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (Every Day Publishing), and the forthcoming Shattered Shields, coedited with Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014) and Gaslamp Terrors coedited by Tim Marquitz (Evil Jester Press, 2014). Three of these have been funded using Kickstarter and picked up by small presses.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Alliteration Ink is a small press specializing in speculative fiction which has published anthologies  like The Crimson Pact 1-3, Sidekicks, Dangers Untold, from editors like Paul Genesee, Jennifer Brozek and more.

For more information on Maurice Broaddus and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, see their websites at www.mauricebroaddus.com and www. bryanthomasschmidt.net respectively. They can be contacted at mauricebroaddus@gmail.com and bryan@bryanthomasschmidt.net. Alliteration Ink can  be found via their website at http://alliterationink.com/ and contacted via steven.saus@gmail.com.

Posted in Editing, General, Kickstarter, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Evil Jester, DC Comics Artists and Editors Team For Gaslamp Terrors Steampunk Horror Anthology Project

Evil Jester logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 2, 2013

Evil Jester logoDC Comics artists and acclaimed editors Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Tim Marquitz are partnering in 2014 for Gaslamp Terrors, a steampunk horror anthology from Grant-Day Media to be released through their Evil Jester Press Imprint. The project will be an anthology of prose stories with illustrations by comic book artists, not a comic or graphic novel.

One of the most popular subgenres of speculative fiction going today, steampunk is as much an aesthetic as a genre, and involves stories set in the Victorian Age in which science and steam power go hand in hand. With top authors from science fiction, fantasy and horror, Schmidt, Marquitz and company will be presenting stories of the terrors that haunt the streets, stalk the shadows, and lurk in alleys. Headliner by New York Times bestselling authors Jonathan Maberry and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Gaslamp Terrors will also include stories by Weston Ochse, Jody Lynn Nye, John Skipp, Esther M. Freisner and Mike Resnick, amongst others.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s prior anthologies include Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales 6 for Flying Pen Press in 2012 and the critically acclaimed Beyond The Sun (Fairwood Press, August 2013) and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (Every Day Publishing, December 2013) as well as a forthcoming anthology for Baen Books. Schmidt’s prior Kickstart anthologies have received good reviews in Locus and Analog, amongst other sites. Tim Marquitz’s anthologies include Fading LightManifesto and the Kickstarter success Kaiju Rising (forthcoming). His anthologies and work have gotten frequent mention in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year anthologies. Both editors have had prior Kickstarter successes between them and both are also successful authors.

Charles Day - Evil Jester

The editors and Owners of Grant-Day Media, Charles Day and Taylor Grant will be crowdfunding the project on Kickstarter in February and March 2014 with the goal of releasing both hardcover and trade paperback editions in Fall 2014. We will be showcasing and selling this at many of our conferences and venues throughout the country. Rewards will include signed editions, signed artwork, multiple copies and more. Details to come.

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner in this endeavor with such a great team as Charles and Taylor,” Schmidt said. “Their enthusiasm is infectious and their love of genre unparalleled. They have the experience to really make a great book, and we have a ton of experience to bring them great stories. It’s the perfect combination.”

Tim Marquitz

Tim Marquitz

“We look forward to working with them closely,” Marquitz added, “And hope this is the first of many collaborations to come.”

Bryan Thomas Schmidt can be found via his website at www.bryanthomasschmidt.net or as @BryanThomasS on Twitter. Tim Marquitz is online at www.tmarquitz.com and on Twitter as @marquitz. Evil Jester can be reached via Charles Day at cday3067@hotmail.com and on the website at: http://eviljesterpress.com/main/

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My Agenda: OryCon 35 Nov. 8-10, 2013

OryCon 35 Launch party Covers

OryCon 35 Launch party CoversWell, I’m off to Portland Thursday. My first time in Oregon. And I’m looking forward to it. While I was disappointed to not be included in ORYCON programming for the first time ever at a Con in three years, I do have two key events I’ll be a part of.

BOOK LAUNCH – Brenda Cooper/John A. Pitts/Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Saturday, November 9th @ 8:00 pm SUITE 1569, Portland Doubletree Presidential Suite

Brenda Cooper, John A. Pitts and I combine forces with publisher Patrick Swenson for a 3 book launch, THE party of Saturday night at OryCon. Beer, wine and snacks will be served. We will launch Brenda’s “The Diamond Deep,” book two of her terrific “Ruby’s Song” Scifi trilogy from PYR Books, John’s collection “Bravado’s House of Blues” from Fairwood (who published Beyond The Sun) and “Raygun Chronicles” my third anthology as editor, contemporary space opera in retro pulp style.

Join us if you dare!

THEN, on Sunday:

SCIFI AUTHORFEST 7 – Portland, OR

Sunday, November 10th @ 4:30pm Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323

A starfleet of science-fiction and fantasy authors descends for one galactic booksigning event. Attending authors include:
Camille Alexa
Claude Lalumiere
Alma Alexander
Patricia Briggs
Brenda Cooper
Diana Pharoah Francis
Jay Lake
David Levine
Louise Marley
Andy Mangels
Devon Monk
Mike Moscoe/Shepherd
Phyllis Irene Radford
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Dean Wesley Smith
Ken Scholes
Brent Weeks
Daniel H. Wilson
Anne Bishop
J.A. Pitts
Kay Kenyon
Rhiannon Held
Eldon Thompson
Adrian Phoenix
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Lilith Saintcrow
Ian Doescher
Steve Perry
Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Jason Hough
and the Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion

So  come on out and join us!

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New Blurbs and Reviews For My Newest Anthology Babies — Raygun Chronicles & Beyond The Sun

RC Arc Front cover

RC Arc Front coverWe have four blurbs in for my soon to be released pulp space opera anthology so far:

“RAYGUN CHRONICLES breathes supercharged life into the space opera genre with exciting and inventive new tales by a superb line-up of writers. This is why science fiction will live forever!”—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of PATIENT ZERO.

“RAYGUN CHRONICLES is an impressive anthology with an impressive list of contributors, a real showcase of the color and scope of what science fiction can be.”—Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Saga of Seven Suns

“Wonder, adventure, romance, humor–space opera delivers all of these, and this anthology brings together some of the finest talent in the business. Strange new worlds await. So lower your shields, engage your thrusters, and prepare to jump to warp speed!” — Dave Wolverton, New York Times Bestselling author of Star Wars: The Courtship of Prince Leia

“These stories bring the reader back to the days when we dreamt of blasters and flying cars. Golden age space opera fun with a strong Western feel.” — Alex Shvartsman, Editor Unidentified Funny Objects and Official Ken Liu Hugo bearer

Now I just have been mailing out review copies for Raygun Chronicles. It takes a while, but those efforts for Beyond The Sun have landed us two major reviews and a major podcast appearance this month. The two major reviews are out this week in LOCUS’ October 2013 issue which is THE industry zine and thus a huge boost for us. These are also my first Locus reviews EVER. The first comes from Gardner Dozois, year’s best editor, award winning anthologist and writer:

There’s nothing really exceptional in Beyond the Sun, a mixed original/reprint anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, but it is a fun read, with some solid core SF work, although a similar concept was explored better last year by Jonathan Strahan’s Edge of Infinity. The theme appeals to me, as stories of exploration and adventure in space beyond the bounds of Earth remain one of the foundation stones of SF, but don’t expect to find hard science and rigorously worked-out physics here, as this isn’t that kind of book. Instead, it belongs to the old Pulp Adventure school, where spaceships flit between planets in days and sometimes even hours, and there are lots of exotic alien races to interact with and/or battle with. The best of the original stories here is probably Nancy Kress’s ‘‘Migration’’, a compelling look at the power instinct can hold over even the most rational minds, but also good are Brad R. Torgersen’s ‘‘The Bricks of Eta Cassiopeiae’’, Jaleta Clegg’s ‘‘One-Way Ticket to Paradise’’, and Nancy Fulda’s ‘‘A Soaring Pillar Of Brightness’’. There is also solid work by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Cat Rambo, Mike Resnick, and others, as well as good reprint stories by Robert Silverberg and Jason Sanford.

Also from October Locus, Karen Burnham reviews BEYOND THE SUN for Diverse Hands:

Beyond The Sun revised coverKAREN BURNHAM Beyond the Sun, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed. (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-38-5, $17.99, 296pp, tp), August 2013. Cover by Mitchell Davidson Bentley. [Order from Fairwood Press, <www.fairwoodpress.com>.] 

There are many reasons people may want to settle out beyond our solar system: religious freedom, economic opportunity, exploration, contacting other life, or simply the desire to be left alone. A little bit of all of these can be found in Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s broadly themed anthology Beyond The Sun. There are aliens, religious fanatics, soldiers, and plenty of people just trying to get by in this diverse volume. 

One story about going to the stars in search of a simpler life is ‘‘Respite’’ by Autumn Rachel Dryden. In it a more-or-less Puritan couple are trying to reach the main settlement by wagon while the wife is in labor and the local fauna is about to launch into a feeding frenzy. Ann’s internal perspectives on events gives us a wonderfully dry take on a very tense story, and the troubles between her and her husband are deftly sketched. What I found particularly interesting is that the story ends up admiring a particular view of father- hood that is directly critiqued in the anthology’s strong opening story, ‘‘Flipping the Switch’’ by Jamie Todd Rubin. Rubin uses a trope similar to Joe Haldeman’s classic The Forever War to describe a father who is providing for his family but is fundamentally detached from them. The story effectively portrays the increasing tension the man feels as he drifts farther and farther away from his loved ones. 

Returning to religious themes, Jean Johnson’s ‘‘Parker’s Paradise’’ depicts a colony that’s been vastly oversold by its religious leader; the acerbic perspective of a soldier tasked to protect the first contact group makes me want to go read some of her military SF, because this was hilarious. Jason Sanford’s ‘‘Rumspringa’’ gives us the space Amish, with a team of post-humans looking to manipulate an Amish colony through one of their own that went out into the world and came back. ‘‘The Far Side of the Wilderness’’ by Alex Shvartsman depicts a man driven by religious faith to hijack a ship and try to find Earth; his single-minded pursuit leaves him dissatisfied with a most amazing journey. Maurice Broaddus’s ‘‘Voice of the Martyrs’’ gives us an interesting blend of military, religion, and colonization – no easy answers in this one. 

There’s one final story that features a religious colony: ‘‘The Dybbyk of Mazel Tov IV’’ by Robert Silverberg. Unlike most of the stories, which are original to the anthology (there are two other reprints, both from the 2000’s), this is a reprint from 1973. This is the second anthology I’ve read this year that has done this: taking a solid selection of contemporary stories and adding in a cherry-picked story from many decades past. Inevitably, the reprint by an old master (it was a Le Guin story the last time, I recall) blows the others away. Robert Silverberg’s story seems fresher, livelier, and more three dimensional than so many of the stories here – not that any of them are bad, but simply that they don’t get over a bar set that high. Some of them do; I would put Rubin’s story in that category along with Cat Rambo’s ‘‘Elsewhere, Within, Elsewhen’’ (a lovely tale of alien contact that literalizes the metaphor of being trapped in a shell of bitterness and resentment). But it really seems unfair to most of the authors involved. I understand the incredible temptation when you’re offered a Silverberg or Le Guin reprint that perfectly suits your theme, but in a mostly-original anthology I wish the editors would stop and reconsider. 

That said, there are plenty of solid and enjoyable stories here. Various forms of libertarianism feature in Nancy Kress’ ‘‘Migration’’ and Brad Torgersen’s ‘‘The Bricks of Eta Cassiopeiae’’. Massive miscommunications with and about aliens feature in Simon C. Larter’s ‘‘Inner Sphere Blues’’ and Jennifer Brozek’s ‘‘Dust Angels’’. Jumping to conclusions is ill-advised in Nancy Fulda’s ‘‘A Soaring Pillar of Brightness’’. Luckily, aliens can be just as quick to misjudge a situation when Mike Resnick depicts them examining our television broadcasts in the concluding story ‘‘Observation Post’’. 

Overall, this is a collection of solid stories in the somewhat neglected outer space exploration genre of science fiction. Post-humans are rare and garden variety humans occupy center stage, which feels a bit unusual these days. I worry that it seems that aliens in this volume are so difficult to communicate with: it often takes personal sacrifice to do so, or something improbably hand-waving to do with biology and telepathy. Compared to Silverberg’s 1973 story, in which communication with aliens is not terribly more fraught than communication with a rival human religious sect, this anthology seems a little discouraging about the real potential for relating to and communicating meaningfully with the Other. 

Nonetheless, these are enjoyable tales with serious themes, worth the time spent reading them.

Lastly, several authors, the cover artist and publisher gathered with me in San Antonio at World Con for Hugo-nominated SFSignal’s podcast as well, and you can find that here: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/09/the-sf-signal-podcast-episode-204-2013-live-worldcon-panel-with-the-authors-editor-and-publisher-of-beyond-the-sun/ So lots of new stuff to enjoy.


View More: http://emilymeganphotography.pass.us/bryanBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013), and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age  (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and is working on Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website atwww.bryanthomasschmidt.net or Facebook.

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Announcing My Schedule For Archon 2013 in St. Louis, October 4-6

100_3440

100_3440This weekend, I will be attending ARCHON 37 in St. Louis, my first time there. I had to cancel last year due to unforseen circumstances and despite living in St. Louis from 2000-2009, this will be my first time attending. (I know, for shame, for shame.) Once you get over booing me, there are some very cool guests coming including:

Writer GOH: David Weber
Aritst GOH: Donato Giancola
Toastmistress: Lee Martindale

And such SFF luminaries as: Glen Cook, Angie Fox, Laura Resnick, Dr. Charles Gannon, Michael Z. Williamson, Rich Horton, Sharon Shinn, Mark Tiedemann and my favorite artist collaborator Mitch Bentley and friends Sherry Dean, Allison Stein and Guy Anthony DeMarco, amongst many others. Full list here.

ARCHON 37 is taking place at Collinsville Convention Center, just over the river in Illinois from downtown Saint Louis at Gateway Center Drive – Collinsville, IL – 62234 with a few events, as noted on the schedule here, at nearby hotels.

I’m doing a number of panels, and I hope local folks will come say hi, as my schedule is lighter than usual and I’ll be hanging out a lot. Glen Cook will also have my books on sale in the dealer room, so I’ll likely be hanging with him a l0t.

My agenda:

Friday, October 4, 2013

5:00 PM GATEWAY CENTER Illini Author Readings A trio of Authors give a short reading and allow for comments and questions. (In order) Lee Martindale, Mark Tiedemann, Bryan ThomasSchmiDoubleTree Hotel
8:30 PM GATEWAY CENTER West Hallway Autographs Please restrict your requests to three items at a time. Thank you. Laura LeHew, Van Plexico, Bryan Thomas SchmiDoubleTree Hotel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

11:10 AM

GC

Marquette A

Writers Workshop

Closed to Public. Open only for those who sent in manuscripts. Mark Tiedemann, R.J. Carter, Kristin Bailey, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

3:50 PM

GC

Mississippian

The Future of Space Opera

Are today’s stories enough to make a series? How has space opera changed over the decades? What might it’s future look like? Bryan Thomas Schmidt (m), David Weber, Charles Gannon, Rich Horton

5:00 PM

GC

Mississippian

Editors are not the Everything (Enemy)

The collaboration between editors and writers. Bryan Thomas Schmidt (m), Charles Gannon, Rich Horton

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I’ll hang around the dealer room and common areas for part of the day and take off mid-afternoon to be with family.

Well, that’s where you can find me. If you plan to be there and want an extra way to reach me, message me for my cell number. I promise not to lose it this time (fingers and toes crossed).

Look forward to seeing everyone. I will have sneak peek copies of Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age available if you want a peek.


Beyond The Sun revised coverBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013), and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age  (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and is working on Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website atwww.bryanthomasschmidt.net or Facebook.

 

 

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Write Tip: Creating Releases To Send With Review Copies

WriteTips-flat

Okay, it’s been a few months since I did one of these. I’ll admit, my well was running dry and needed a break to refresh. But I’m going to pick it back up now with a subject that many authors and even small publishers might benefit from: creating releases to go with review copies as you send them out.

If you’re not on a list to receive ARCS from majors, you may not have seen one. But all ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) come with a press release containing key information about the book. They are easy to create. I did mine in Word. And yet, they entice the recipient to read as well as making it easy for them to find key information about the author and book in case they want to write reviews, do interviews, or more.

I recently made these for my latest anthologies and here’s what they look like for Raygun Chronicles:

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So let’s break it down. First, your header should include the publisher’s logo and primary business address.

The footer should include the meta data about the book (as shown), including page count, release date, sale price, ISBN, format, etc.

360 pages · ISBN 978-0-9881257-5-9 · Hardcover: $29.95US/$34.95CAD ·
Publication: December 3, 2013 · Paperback: ISBN  978-0-9881257-6-6 $17.95US/$19.95CAD ·
ebook: ISBN 978-0-9881257-7-3 $6.99US/$8.99CAD

Usually centered. This is the key information for both reviews and articles as well as booksellers and others who might want to order the book.

The header and footer should be the same on every page of the release. And I should tell you, two pages is usually more than enough. In fact, most are a page and a half.

Now let’s look at what lies between.

First, at the top right corner, put contact information. An email address, name hyperlink and even phone number if you want, usually for a publicist or publisher who will serve as key point of contact for inquiries about the book. Sometimes the release date is also included in bold above this information.

Next, key quotes. If you’re fortunate enough to have early reviews or blurbs back, use them. If they’re too long, trim or use judicious ellipses, but don’t change the meaning of anything. This is very important. You will be called on it and having those kinds of questions raised in the middle of a release is not advisable. It’s an unneeded distraction at the least.

Then, centered, in large text and bold, Title and author’s name as a reminder which book this release pertains to. After all, most reviewers and interviewers get many ARCs and releases and they can be easily separated and all look alike. Make it easy for them to be matched up again if necessary.

Then a brief summary about the book, using your best exciting, sales language, of course, to make them want to read.

This should be followed by a bio of the author. 100-150 words should suffice. Less if possible. Concise and quick is what matters here. You want to excite and tease them but not make them stop reading.

Then after the bio, usually on page 2 (as shown) include blurb clips from author’s previous work. Sometimes there can be images of the book, but these increase printing cost. Often a list of the author’s other titles with ISBNs and prices is included.

Regardless, this is the standard information for such releases. The purpose is to get the recipient to prioritize attention to the book in question. And so keep it concise, clean, and positive. But also be honest and don’t overdo it. After all, the book should speak for itself. Remember, with all the requests inundating them and the fact that not every book, subject or author appeals to everyone, your book may not be chosen. Sometimes they’ve reviewed too much in that genre recently or even an0ther of your books. Sometimes, there are other reasons. Regardless, getting it into their hands and getting their attention is your job. What happens after that is not.

Printing these double sided is a good idea, but stapled double pages is also common. Regardless, they are easy to make and cheap to print and they will make even your self-published or micropress book look professional alongside the books from the majors. Provided your cover design and layout can compete, that is. But that’s a different post.

So that’s how to make your own professional Release Cover Letters For Review Copies of your books. I hope it’s useful. For what it’s worth…


Beyond The Sun revised coverBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013), and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age  (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and is working on Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website atwww.bryanthomasschmidt.net or Facebook.

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Statement on Quitting Blue Shift Magazine

blueshift_minicover2013I’ve been delaying this for a month but the time has come to clear my slate.

In August, I resigned as editor of Blue Shift after several frustrating circumsatances.  First, while I and several contributors were paid, in some cases more than we were due, others were not. Ad payments only came after I asked twice about them. I was reassured five times that people were paid. I even provided a detailed pay sheet with who got paid for what and how they wanted to be paid as well as their addresses for contributor’s copies.

When the magazine published in August, I anxiously awaited copies. None came. So I went online and paid for one. That money went to waste. Repeated inquiries brought excuses and then no responses.

I have not had a response from White Cat owner Rick Ferrell Moore in weeks.

Now, Rick was good to me, and his goals are admirable. He even gave me a free laptop, shipped at his expense from Detroit to Kansas, when my laptop died.

But Rick also tried to launch way too many zines at one time, despite several advisors warning against it. And he is a freelance consultant in a very busy industry. Every time his regular business had a crisis, he disappeared. When his managing editor had a life threatening illness, instead of hiring someone else, he decided to do it himself, but it wasn’t getting done. And despite the fact that I like him as a person, I felt forced to draw the line. Because I am a professional. I’ve worked hard to get good writers involved, even big names, and my reputation is at stake when people don’t get what’s due to them.

I enjoyed editing a magazine. So much so that I am planning to launch my own zine soon, details to be revealed at the appropriate time. I enjoyed discovering new writers and working with them. But it must be done professionally and run well, or I can’t be a part of it. And so I regretfully tendered my resignation. I have not heard from Rick since other than one email to say he’d be in touch to wrap up lose ends. I’m still waiting.

I hereby release officially all stories for issue 2 to contributors with apologies for those who wrote specific items for this. I’m sure the stories can find other homes, and I will do my best to find homes for the others. But in the meantime, I felt I had no choice but to part ways and move on to better endeavors, and I hope everyone will understand.

Integrity has always been important to me, and I continue to strive daily to practice it. That includes a philosophy of treating people the way I want to be treated. I got into editing with a desire to help others, in the process not only creating new opportunities for me but for 0thers and getting the chance to work with writers and artists I admire. I plan to continue doing so. My fourth anthology, Shattered Shields, coedited with Jennifer Brozek, will be turned in to Baen soon. And I have more projects in the works with Mike Resnick & Pierce Watters, Cat Rambo, Tim Marquitz, Maurice Broaddus, and Jennifer Brozek. As well as on my own. But for now, my relationship with White Cat Publications is over.

I do hope they can get things together and wish them well. And I thank them for the opportunity to try editing a magazine. I hope to edit more.


View More: http://emilymeganphotography.pass.us/bryanBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012), Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013), and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age  (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and is working on Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website atwww.bryanthomasschmidt.net or Facebook.

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World Con 2013: The Trip of A Lifetime

With Toni outside Marriott Rivercenter's main Restaurant

With Toni outside Marriott Rivercenter’s main Restaurant

Well, I’ve been away from blogging for a month due to various reasons, with apologies to those who follow the blog. And so I’m going to try and get back into the swing of it with this report on my recent trip to San Antonio for World Con. As those who’ve seen my pictures on Facebook can already tell, I had the trip of a lifetime.

This year’s World Con brought my first solo sit down meal with a Big Five editor. My first sit down meal with a Grand Master and writing hero. And my first chance to sit in the front rows at the Hugo Awards. Amongst other things. I met so many people, built on preexisting relationships, laid foundations for new relationships, and explored new possibilities in so many ways.

For me, World Con is the most important business meeting of my year by far. So many publishers, authors, editors, booksellers and others come together in one place that it just creates tremendous opportunities. So I plan my trip accordingly. I arrange meals in advance, focusing mostly on people I want to do projects with, friends or not. I try to get on panels and a reading and signing. But then I leave the rest of time free to just mingle and network.

Although this year’s trip started rough with a lost cell phone (a bit of a handicap when trying to meet up with people at a con spread over 3 buildings with 3500 attendees), I quickly shoved it aside and launched into my second day by having lunch with Toni Weisskopf, who was delightful. I remembered chatting with her in 2010 at ConQuest in Kansas City, when she was Editor GOH, but this time we met as publisher and author, as I am coediting an anthology for Baen. We mostly talked about life, ourselves, and anything but business but she did inquire how the anthology is coming and wound up inviting me to pitch another, so I offered two ideas. I’ll be more formally presenting them soon. One is an immediate follow up to Shattered Shields, the military fantasy anthology I am editing with Jenn Brozek for Baen right now. (We just closed our Table of Contents and are doing final edits now). The other is a collaboration with the delightful Cat Rambo.

I also got to finally meet Lezli Robyn for lunch. She’s been my online friend for ages and we had missed each other completely in Chicago, so we made a point of getting together this year. She’s delightful. We sat on a Mexican restaurant’s outdoor patio overlooking the River Walk and were soon joined by Kay Kenyon. Two lovely ladies. Such fun.

In between I had done my first panel, a science panel titled “My Favorite Dinosaur” and had fun with Elizabeth Bear and the other panelists, including artist-author Spring Schoenhuth, a paleontologist, and a scientist from Japan. Later that night, I did a panel with the flawed question: “Do SF Stories have Fewer Happy Endings Now?” which the panelists and I basically deconstructed for an hour. When you name panels, narrow questions work best. Broad ones so dependent on people’s perspectives, tastes, etc., generally don’t work as well, at least for writing panels.

My moderating seemed to go over well, so I was excited for my last panel with Gail Carriger, Robin Hobb and Amanda Downum the next day on “Intricate Worlds.” But first, I spent the evening at parties and BarCon, then did a little crit work for my Writer’s Workshop session that Sunday.

Saturday I slept in then worked on panel prep and workshop stuff before meeting Dave Farland to get Raygun Chronicles bookplates signed. We had chatted the night before for ninety minutes at the Writers and Artists of the Future panel and wound up hanging and chatting again for a while, with David Brin even stopping in at one point. Dave is a really nice guy who is in two anthologies for me this year, and I am very glad, after hearing about him for years, to finally get to meet and work with him.

Mid-day, JM McDermott took Maurice Broaddus, Django Wexler and I off site for a signing and panel on faith in fiction. We had a small crowd but a great discussion, then Django and I hit the food court for a quick meal before I headed to the worldbuilding panel. The ladies and I had decided in advance to not do the stereotypical worldbuilding panel, so I launched us off with worldbuilding pet peeves and we went for there. In all, I was told, it was a favorite and very helpful panel for many. We covered the under valued areas of worldbuilding, favorite examples and more. And the hour simply flew by. Fun people, and, of course, sitting between Carriger and Hobb, I was fanboying the whole time.

After that I just took a nap and worked on my crits so I could print them, then hit a couple parties. The Baen party was a priority, and due to all the rushing around and walking, wound up being my sole stop for the night, though I did grab dinner for a “date” with my pals Jay Werkheiser and Lisa Montoya, whom I met last year and joke around with now constantly on Facebook. Jay is in Analog a lot as a writer and has generously beta read for me a couple times. Just delightful folks.

Sunday I had my Bucket List breakfast with Robert Silverberg and my roommate, Alex Shvartsman–fellow editor and author, tagged along. Silverberg was a blast, as usual, being funny and a great conversationalist, and soon his wife Karen Haber joined as well, and she is a similar delight. Alex and I both got the All-You-Can-Eat buffet but ate only one plate because we didn’t want to go back and miss any of the conversation.100_0458

Then it was off to print my crits and lead my two hour Writer’s Workshop session. I think at least two of the writers were quite receptive. The third was polite but didn’t seem to agree with an assessment all four of the rest of us made of his work. But I hope all of them found benefit in it nonetheless. Time will tell, as always.

At one, I met Patrick Swenson, publisher of Beyond The Sun, John A. Pitts and Brenda Cooper and we had lunch and discussed our mutual book launch at OryCon. These are three of my favorite people in SFF. Normally, I see them once a  year at World Con. Excited that I’ll see them again, and that working on books has had me in touch with them a lot more this year than normal as Patrick published Beyond The Sun and Brenda and John each wrote stories for others.

The last bit of official duties was to record SFSignal podcast with Patrick Hester, Patrick Swenson and Beyond The Sun contributors, including authors Jean Johnson, Cat Rambo, Jamie Todd Rubin, Alex Shvartsman, Maurice Broaddus and artist Mitch Bentley. It flew by but was fun and I hope brings more attention to our collaboration, a project we’re all very proud of. Good reviews keep coming in and Gardner Dozois is reviewing it for Locus next month. Mitch also gifted me an original canvass of his cover art, which was a nice surprise I’ll treasure. I’ve worked with Mitch on four books now and his cover for Beyond The Sun is getting him accolades from Toni Weisskopf, Jack McDevitt, Robert Silverberg and more. Since I do anthologies to help myself and others build our careers, it’s nice to see it paying off for friends like that.

The night was taken up with Hugo Awards, where Alex accepted for Ken Liu and we spent the night carrying around a Hugo.

It was delightful to be together with the community and see recent conflicts and kerfluffles not interfere. That was probably the best surprise of all. Even Silverberg had confessed his fear that there would be a dark cloud over the proceedings but I was as warmly received by all as anyone, and clearly those who matter don’t pay much attention to rumors based on assumptions and innuendo, thankfully. We all had better things to do than discuss such overwrought unpleasantness. And I was relieved.

I am not naming everyone I met, but I did also meet several fans and Kickstarter backers, as well as other top people in the field. It was just an all around delight, and I wish I could afford to go to London. At this point, it appears World Con will be out for me, but we’ll see. It sure is a once a year time of greatness I’d hate to miss. The trip of a lifetime, as I said in the title to this post, and I look forward to many more to come.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. In addition to Shattered Shields, he edited the anthologies Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012), Beyond The Sun (2013) and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (2013). He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter as @BryanThomasS.

Posted in appearances/schedule, Beyond The Sun, General Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back To My Blog aka Jamie Todd Rubin + Shot Of Tequila = Genius

I have basically been unable to even look at my website since I switched laptops at the end of July. I was locked out. 403 errors if I tried to either pull up the main URL or the login URL. Today, Jamie Todd Rubin swoops in and tells me how to fix it in 30 minutes or less. One shot of tequila and that man is a genius.

And also, Better WP Security plugin was the culprit. Be very careful with that one folks. I was using it to make it harder for trolls and spammers to access my site but in the process, I wound up being unable to access it myself. The culprit were changes to the .htaccess file, which, once reset to default, made the problem go away.

But it was a frustrating and perplexing month that basically left me blogless. I was so busy with deadlines and other issues, I let it go. Until I got locked out of sffwrtcht as well. Thank goodness Jamie responded to my tweets.

Kudos to him. He also wrote a great story for Beyond The Sun, which is getting great reviews so far at Goodreads, Amazon and Functional Nerds.

Anyway. I’ll have a lot to catch up on, but first World Con. I’ll blog from there. Find my agenda here. Hope to see some of you there!

Bryan

Posted in Beyond The Sun, General Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

My World Con Schedule 2013

LoneStar 3 Con Schedule – Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Thursday, August 29

Arrival: 1:30 p.m. on Southwest then scramble to get to hotel, check in, unpack, drop books at dealer room and make:

Thu 17:00 – 18:00 Autographing: Taylor Anderson, Paul Herman, Bryan T. Schmidt, Sharon Shinn (Autographing) (Participant), (Convention Center)

Friday, August 30

10 a.m. – Breakfast with Toni Weisskopf/Baen (private) 

Fri 12:00 – Fri 13:00 Panel: My Favorite Dinosaur (Science, Panel), 007B (Convention Center)

Panelists:

  • Elizabeth Bear
  • G. David Nordley
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Takayuki Tatsumi
  • Bryan T. Schmidt (M)

1:30-3:00 p.m. – Lunch With Lezli Robyn (private)

Afternoon free

Fri 18:00 – Fri 19:00 Panel: Do SF Stories have Fewer Happy Endings Now? (, Panel), 007A (160) (Convention Center)

Panelists:

  • Grant Carrington
  • David Nickle
  • Jessica Reisman
  • Bryan T. Schmidt (M)
  • Martha Wells

Dinner with J. Kathleen Cheney, Chris Kastensmidt and whomever is around

Saturday, August 31

 Morning Free

Signing (off-site at Viva), Sat. 12:30-2:30

Panelists:

  • Django Wexler
  • Maurice Broaddus
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  • J.M. McDermott

 

Intricate Worlds (, Panel), Sat 15:00 – Sat 16:00, 007A (160) (Convention Center)

Panelists:

  • Gail Carriger
  • Amanda Downum
  • Robin Hobb
  • Bryan T. Schmidt (M)

Evening Free

Sunday, September 1

 7:30 a.m. – Breakfast with Robert Silverberg (private)

Sun 10:00 – Sun 12:00 Writers Workshop O (Writers workshop), Conference 4 (Rivercenter)

Panelists:

  • Linda King
  • Bryan T. Schmidt

2:30-3:30 – Podcast Recording: SF Signal

Beyond The Sun panelists:

  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  • Patrick Swenson
  • Jean Johnson
  • Jamie Todd Rubin
  • Cat Rambo
  • Alex Shvartsman
  • Maurice Broaddus

Hugo Prep/Pre-Reception/Hugo Ceremony

I leave at 9 a.m. Monday morning on Southwest. So hope to see some of you during some of these times. My books will be on sale in the Dealer’s Room at Book Universe. They’ll be signed but find me to personalize. Bar Con is a good bet when none of the above.

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Rumors, Scandals and Other People’s Drama, oh my!

I went through a lot of drama in my former marriage due to my wife’s mental illness. I didn’t realize until recent events how much that changed me. For one, I have a very low tolerance for other people’s unnecessary drama these days. There are things worth drama and things that are blown out of proportion. I see this a lot these days. Rumors, scandals and drama abound. People assume, get angry, start hurling insults, and it just escalates into real nastiness from there.  In the midst of such overwrought drama, real issues, real problems that deserve the attention get lost. People lose interest because they hate conflict and drama. Change doesn’t occur.

There are a few things I have learned that I wish a few others would learn about these kinds of situations. Here they are:

1) Freedom of Speech does not just apply to those you like and agree with.  People these days are quick to demand that those they find offensive shut up. So much for freedom of speech. Apparently it only applies to those who say the right things. Unfortunately, a little document called the United States Constitution would take issue with that.

2) People have a right to an opinion of their own. Even if it’s not the same as yours. That’s a founding principle for democracy, folks. And it should be treasured and respected.

3) When someone is offended by something because of their assumptions and background, not specific words, they are not due an apology. Happens a lot these days. Someone writes something and people interpret it as offensive. They demand an apology. Others line up to support them. But what the author owes them is: nothing. Common courtesy would suggest a clarification might be prudent even polite. And if the words themselves were clear and inherently offensive, then an apology would be appropriate. But if the complainers takes meaning not inherent in the words, they are choosing to be offended by interpreting the words a certain way. It’s not them to whom an apology is due. They owe one to the author. Especially if a clarification was offered and they refuse to accept it.

4) Sensitivity and Respect go both ways.  If you want people to be sensitive to your feelings, etc. or those of others around you, you cannot be dismissive of theirs. Impugning anyone with whom you disagree is no more appropriate or acceptable than anything you might accuse them of saying. If the response is just as or more offensive than what provoked it, you are also just as wrong. Bullying in the name of anti-bullying is still bullying, folks. Bigotry in the  name of anti-bigotry is still bigotry, too.

5) Your views can be just as offensive as those of your opponents. Especially for those watching you shove them arrogantly down everyone’s throats. In fact, I know many people who agree in principle with the loud voices who wouldn’t stand up and be counted because they don’t want to “act like that.” The harshness of the behavior does more harm than good to the cause. You won’t convince anyone to change by chasing them off with rudeness and insults.  If you are so aggressive that people shut up and walk away, you have lost, not won. You have defeated your cause. You have not been heard.

6) Just because a group someone belongs to was guilty in the past or has currently guilty members does not make all members of said group responsible. This is a big one. “You are a priveleged white male, so you are guilty of racism, sexism, etc. by being a white male.” This is just one common example. Sorry, but no dice. I am not responsible for the sins of my ancestors. I am responsible for my own sins and actions. If you can’t separate the two, the problem lies with you. This article on Kafkatrapping and Logical Fallacies addresses how ridiculous these claims really are. And I think we should judge people as individuals not classes, groups, etc. Isn’t that what eliminating discrimination is all about?

If more people remembered these things, I think the internet and society would be more pleasant. Certainly Science Fiction and Fantasy as a community could benefit, but I believe that’s just a reflection of broader culture. I need to remember these things.  I hope my readers will as well. Most of all, I hope some will learn to do them. Productive and effective communication doesn’t occur well in the irrational environment of inflamed emotions. But it can occur in productive, reasoned dialogue. As I said before, I’ll say it again, stopping the insult hurling and talking is the better path.

For what it’s worth…


Beyond The Sun revised coverBryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction including the novels The Worker Prince and The Returning, and the children’s books 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (Flying Pen Press, 2012) and Beyond The Sun (Fairwood, July 2013) and is currently editing Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age (Every Day Publishing, November 2013) and Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek (Baen, 2014). He also edits Blue Shift Magazine and hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and can be found via Twitter as @BryanThomasS, on his website at www.bryanthomasschmidt.net or Facebook.
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