A Note From Doc Wilde’s Workshop

Wondering about what’s happening with Doc Wilde?

You’re in the right place. As you may know, I pulled the series from Putnam in order to use the tools of the new indie publishing revolution to produce the books the way I’d originally envisioned them, including covers and a lot of incredible interior art by comics maestro Gary Chaloner. The original plan had been to have three of Doc’s adventures out by the end of this year, but as I’ve explained previously, this plan has fallen to Murphy’s Law.

I’m not at all happy with that, but the situation is what it is. Gary and I are working steadily on getting the first book, the re-release of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, out in time for Christmas. I’d say even sooner, but such statements seem to like to come back and bite me on the ass.

As you can see above (as well as in previous posts, and in my “Doc Wilde” photo album on Facebook, which is viewable by the public), the work Gary is doing is amazing, and well worth the wait.

In other exciting news, we’ve added a brilliant new member to Team Wilde, taking an important step toward global domination. My lovely friend Nydia Macedo has contracted to translate Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom into Portuguese for release in Brazil. The Brazilian edition will include the same Gary Chaloner design and art as the English edition, and will be just the start of worldwide availability of Doc Wilde’s astonishing adventures.

Welcome to the family, Nyd.

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The Nature of Apology

I’ve been thinking, of late, about apologies.

Saying “I’m sorry” is an act of humility, and of strength. But it can also just be a tool used, insincerely, to alleviate conflict and evade direct responsibility for one’s actions.

Interestingly, this week I had someone pull out an apology I had made to them months ago and try to use it as a bludgeon against me. She pointed to the fact that I had apologized to her, for whatever part I had in the collapse of our friendship, as proof that I was not only fully at fault but downright malicious. That’s right: by apologizing, I had apparently admitted to complete culpability and that culpability proves that I’m a vicious bastard.

Had I not apologized for anything, like her, I’d presumably have the high ground. I’d be free of all guilt. I’d be the victim.

For the record, if I sat down with you and tried to tell you what the hell happened, what I did that was worth throwing a friendship away for, I couldn’t do it. I’m as perplexed now as I was then. And ultimately it doesn’t matter, because clearly a friendship so cagey and fragile is no friendship at all, and its demise is to be celebrated, not mourned.

She was the one who turned hostile. She was the one who literally refused to discuss whatever was happening. She was the one who responded to my apology by blocking me on Facebook. She was the one who then wrote a lengthy blog post that wasn’t about me, but in which she defined herself by listing things she doesn’t like, which happened to be things I like (pulp fiction, comics, Bruce Springsteen) which she had apparently been pretending interest in to get close to me for months.

So, if I say I’m not sure what I did to enrage her so much, and that she acted with such unreasoning hostility, why did I apologize in the first place? Continue reading

Teaching Myself How To Grow Old

It’s one of those weeks. People with serious depressions know them, they’re the ones when you get nothing done and don’t care because it really doesn’t matter anyway, does it? They’re the ones where you sleep way too much because if you get up, nothing’s worth doing. They’re the ones in which anger swims in your veins, disguised as anxiety and stress and frustration, ready to cut you when people do things that annoy. They’re the ones when you realize just how few friends you truly have, and how little you feel you can look to the ones you do. It’s mostly the depression talking, and a broken psyche in pain. Mostly.

Here’s our song of the week, from Ryan Adams…

PANCAKES

In certain circles, there has been a royal stink the past few days about, of all things, pancakes. I don’t actually know the particulars and feel like my brain cells are better occupied with other things, but as an antidote to that particular venom, and any other you may be suffering from, I offer up this classic Hellboy tale by Mike Mignola. I hope it’s okay to do so, as these two pages are widely available on the net, and I originally read the tale as a free digital comic on the Dark Horse Comics website. If I hear otherwise, I’ll remove it.

Continue reading

Regarding Harper Voyager’s Submission Portal

Harper Voyager has put out a short-term call for unagented submissions:

Yes, it’s true! We are delighted to announce an exciting joint venture that will offer talented aspiring writers the chance to join our global science fiction and fantasy imprint.

The submission portal, http://www.harpervoyagersubmissions.com, will be open from the 1st to the 14th of October 2012. The manuscripts will then be read and those most suited to the global Harper Voyager list will be selected jointly by editors in the USA, UK and Australia.  Accepted submissions will benefit from the full publishing process: accepted manuscripts will be edited; and the finished titles will receive online marketing and sales support in World English markets.

Voyager will be seeking an array of adult and young adult speculative fiction for digital publication, but particularly novels written in the epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural genres.

See? The impact of ebooks and Amazon is having yet another positive effect on the publishing ecosystem for writers: a big publisher is actually open to unagented submissions (imagine that) if only for a limited time (two weeks, feh), with the successful submissions going on to be released digitally.

It’s an obvious attempt to adapt, which is to be respected (and hopefully emulated by other publishers), though I would look VERY closely at any contract they offer, particularly as regards the royalties paid (this is a royalty only deal, no advance), lifespan of the agreement (since it’s all-digital, it’d be all too easy for Harper to keep books “in print” forever and lock in a paltry royalty), and attendant rights (this is digital only, but do they restrict the authors from taking full advantage of print and other rights?). I’d also look for guarantees of some real level of promotion and marketing; if they’re just going to throw the books out there like they usually do, with little or no actual support, the author is gaining very little beyond short term gain (mainly editorially, and perhaps in cover design) for long term commitment that will no doubt pay most of its profits back to Harper.

I suspect new authors are better off doing it themselves, but for those who can only believe in their abilities if they’re officially allowed to join the club, it’s good that more opportunities are starting to appear. Thank Amazon: publishers know they have to stay viable, and that they have to start recruiting more raw talent (a lot of established writers will be leaving their houses over time to do things themselves) and taking full advantage of digital platforms. But if the authors are getting anything less than at least 50% of the profits, they’re not doing themselves much of a favor by going this route.