Friday, January 26, 2007

New, Newer, and Newest

Two books right off the presses, a bunch more almost done, and we've just announced our next set of books to our distributor. I've got about five minutes to breathe, so here's what's going on.

Now available

The Fate of Mice by Susan Palwick
The Secret City by Carol Emshwiller

Coming soon
(see 'em here)

April 2007: Portable Childhoods by Ellen Klages

May 2007: A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

June 2007: Year's Best Fantasy 7, Kathryn Cramer and David G. Hartwell, eds.

July 2007: The Asimov's SF 30th Anniversary Anthology, edited by Sheila Williams

Newly Announced

September 2007: The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick

September 2007: Shatterday by Harlan Ellison

October 2007: Rewired: The New Cyberpunk Anthology, James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, eds.

January 2008: The James Tiptree Award Anthology 4, Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, and Jeffrey D. Smith eds.

February 2008: The New Weird Anthology, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

March 2008: Sweet Lightning by Peter S. Beagle

I'm amused that when Jeff posted the New Weird cover and a brief FAQ, the fur started flying. My favorite comment so far: "Everytime I hear the phrase New Weird, my soul vomits a little." Subtitle, maybe?


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Klages wins Scott O'Dell Award

Ellen Klages is the winner of the 2007 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for The Green Glass Sea. The award is presented to a children's or young adult book published in English by a U.S. publisher and set in the Americas. Last year's winner was Louise Erdrich, so Ellen's in some pretty grand, and well deserved, company.

With quite the good timing, we're releasing Ellen's first short story collection, Portable Childhoods in April. It's great from the outside in, with a gorgeous John Berry cover designed around Ellen's own art (one of her many talents). The collection itself, including the Nebula award-winning "Basement Magic" and three original stories, has the depth of The Green Glass Sea, but also shows off Ellen's amazing versatility. It's everything you'd expect from sf's no longer best-kept secret.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pre-Nebs for Jim Kelly and Peter Beagle

The preliminary Nebula ballot has been announced. (OK, it was announced a couple of days ago. It's been busy.) James Patrick Kelly has been pre-nominated in the novella category for Burn and Peter Beagle has been pre-nominated in the novelette category for "Two Hearts" from The Line Between.

How it works: the preliminary ballot gets whittled down to five nominees per category before the final ballot is voted upon. So essentially, it's the long list. The good news for Jim is that there are only four nominees in the novella category, so he's guaranteed a spot on the final ballot unless he really ticks someone off. I'll try to keep him under control somehow.

Peter has already won a 2006 Hugo Award for "Two Hearts" and Jim was a Hugo nominee for Burn, but Connie Willis brought home the strangely suggestive Hugo trophy instead, for "Inside Job." I console myself by suggesting that you read that in our Year's Best Fantasy 6.

So it's kudos to Peter and Jim. And I'm looking forward to working with them both again later this year. More about that later, after Jacob and I get catalog copy and covers to our distributor. It's the 2008 books already, and an impressive list if I say so myself. And I did.


Swanwick Unmasked

Well, it didn't take long, after a few false starts (no, neither Khyentse Rinpoche nor Woody Allen called Michael "the one true Western Bodhisattva."). Congrats to Richard Mason over at Caltech, who correctly identified Swanwick himself as the author of said quote, which was originally published in Asimov's SF as "Letters to the Editor," and then in his short-short (a.k.a. microfiction) Tachyon collection Cigar Box-Faust and Other Miniatures. Richard will receive the promised mostly-sacred copy of Michael Swanwick's Field Guide to the Mesozoic Megafauna.

In the interest of fairness, very close runner-up Josh Bales will receive a slightly-less-holy Field Guide, which Michael signed with his left hand instead of his right.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nina Kiriki Hoffman nominated for Philip K. Dick Award

Congrats to Nina Kiriki Hoffman for her Philip K. Dick Award nomination for Catalyst. The PKD award is given for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States. This is Nina’s first nomination.

This year’s nominees include Elizabeth Bear (Carnival), Mark Budz (Idolon), Justina Robson (Living Next Door to the God of Love), Andrea Hairston (Mindscape), Tony Ballantyne (Recursion), and Chris Moriarty (Spin Control). Bantam/Spectra had five of the seven nominations, with independents Aqueduct and Tachyon picking up the final two spots.


Monday, January 08, 2007

The Enlightened Mr. Swanwick

Michael Swanwick has just turned in his third Tachyon collection, The Dog Said Bow-Wow, coming out this September. It’s a renewed pleasure to work with Michael, who has, unsurprisingly, "achieved full spiritual masterhood and been recognized as the Dalai Lama and the ascended masters as the one true Western Bodhisattva." A free signed and blessed copy of Michael Swanwick’s Field Guide to the Mesozoic Megafauna to the first person identifying the author and publication of that quote—I’ll accept either the magazine or the collection. Yes, that’s a wee hint.

And for Buddha’s sake, go get Unca Mike’s advice.

Friday, January 05, 2007

So You Want to Publish Your SF / Fantasy Novel, Part 2

Note: I’m assuming you’ve read Part 1, the previous post. If not, go back and read it.

More about the industry: conventions, workshops, and time

You’re still trying to get that novel published. Good. So how about conventions? If you can, go to sf/f conventions, and meet other writers and (hopefully) agents and editors. Networking takes a pretty extraverted personality, and/or some kind of in (i.e. someone who can introduce you around). Getting yourself out there can be good for your career, and you can get useful advice from professionals (not to mention finding a community, if you keep going). But don’t be too forward, and don’t try to jump right into a conversation with an SFWA Grandmaster or a New York editor. Remember, you're a fan until you're a pro.

The major sf/f conventions include the World Science Fiction Convention, known as WorldCon. WorldCon is in Nippon, Japan in 2007. Attending WorldCon means you get to vote on the Hugo Awards. When WorldCon is overseas, a smaller con, the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFIC) is held in the U.S. The other major con is World Fantasy Convention, (World Fanatsy or WFC) geared toward sf/f professionals—a tough crowd if you’re unpublished. WisCon, the world’s only feminist science fiction convention, is sometimes even bigger than World Fantasy, with a really lively, and friendly yet challenging atmosphere.

You can check out some smaller cons, from listings courtesy of the diligent folks at Locus. You'll probably find that there’s a con near you that you might want to check out. Some cons are more involved with the more media-oriented aspects of sf/f (TV and movies), which are sometimes affectionately, sometimes derisively, referred to as skiffy. For better and for worse, fandom is everywhere.

Workshops can be helpful to hone your work, and at a higher level, to meet editors, publishers, and professional writers. Clarion West is the most prestigious sf/f workshop open to unpublished writers, and it’s by invitation only, based on your writing submission (Clarion, the original incarnation of the workshop, is now only on the West Coast). Clarion West is an amazing opportunity to work with some of the most important writers in the genre, and its emeriti have gone on to some great careers (though not all of them in writing). One of Clarion's founders, Kate Wilhelm, wrote a book that all aspiring sf/f writers should read, Storyteller. But you don’t need to go to Clarion. A local workshop can give you much-needed feedback and support. Also, if you workshop a first novel, you can get a much better idea of whether it’s ready for prime time, or if you should stick it in a drawer (a.k.a a trunk novel) and work on something new for awhile.

How long will it take to get your novel published? Ten years. Or ten minutes. Or never. I admit I can’t really answer this question. It depends on the quality of your work, your persistence, your connections, and sheer luck. To shorten your path, you need a champion—an aggressive agent, editor, or publisher. Someone who pulls your book out of the slush, or a pro who can do you some good. Any kind of writing’s obviously a very tough business to get into, fraught with rejection and frustration. I know brilliant sf/f writers who took more than ten years to break in, but they did. I also know a couple of writers who published the first story they sent out, and even won a major award for it.

In case you’re wondering, major sf/f genre awards include the Nebula (voted upon by sf/f professionals), Hugo (voted upon by sf/f fans at WorldCon), and World Fantasy (juried) awards. The John W. Campbell Award is the award you should focus on, because it’s for new writers and you can win it for a short story. Career booster. There are many other awards, including international, regional, themed, new writer, reader poll, and academic awards. You must be published to win any of these awards.

Some last thoughts. Write a lot. Don’t send anything out that you aren’t confident is ready to be published. Make sure you do send things out. Be unrelenting but very respectful. Professionalism is surprisingly rare and always appreciated.

Good luck. Keep at it.


Resources—or, Part 1: The nuts and bolts (or nut and bolt, in this case)

SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, have a comprehensive website that includes advice for new sf/f authors. The site is well worth a thorough going over. Start in the Writing section.

Another essential resource is Locus Magazine. Locus is *the* trade magazine for sf/f, an invaluable place to learn about the genre industry. Their links page is a treasure trove.