Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Bunch of Stuff Including Smart Things and Fanfic

Lets start with Brenda Novak's charity auction fundraiser for diabetes research. Among the many many things that are being auctioned off are fiction critiques of varying lengths by 98 authors including yours truly, 60 agents, and 50 editors. Plus there are all kinds of other goodies from signed books to fine crystal. This is a great fundraiser and its a cause that I believe in both in the abstract and the concrete. My grandmother, who did the bulk of the work of raising me was killed by a heart attack which was ultimately a complication of her diabetes. I lost an aunt to complications to the disease as well, and have a couple more family member dealing with it. If I'm lucky I take after the McCullough side of the family and won't develop it myself.

I'm going to hit the general smart things here and use that to segue into fanfic because the current internet writing kerfuffle is all about people saying things smart and not so smart about fanfic.

Kristin Nelson is making the best argument I've ever seen for not self-publishing if you want to make a career of selling novels via the large or medium presses, or at least for not doing it under your own name. Basically, if you self-pub in any way that generates an ISBN, the sales of that book are going to be tracked by bookscan and forever tied to your name. And every time an editor looks at your stuff they're going to be able to check bookscan and find out that your first book sold 75 copies and they'll know that that number is going to come up when they try to sell you to the bookstores and that's a very bad thing.

Jim Van Pelt with some interesting thoughts on fiction and essay and tools of writing.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden saying official things about's submission policies for short fiction.

Finally, Charlie Stross to provide that segue into fanficton. First, saying more smart things about writing in the 8th part of his publishing misconceptions series, this one on the life and income of a writer. Hint, it's a rough job in a lot of ways.

Next, Charlie talks about his own personal position and feelings about people fanficing in his worlds and says pretty much what I would have said in terms of substance. I also like Jim Butcher's statement on fanfic in terms of outlining some practicalities and politesse. Likewise John Scalzi's take. And as a reference publishing/entertainment lawyer C.E.Petit talking about the legal landscape of fanfic in great depth.

Going back to Charlie, let me quote the part of his fanfic FAQ* that I am especially taken with: "In summary: I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon's gold, the dragon will leave you alone. Offer to bring the dragon more gold and the dragon will be your friend."

Now, since I know everyone wants to know about the kerfuffle and is wondering about the dragon and the unicorn, here is a link to Scalzi's post summarizing the mess, and another to the blog of the unicorn.

*Which, btw, is terribly fun to say.


Jim C. Hines said...

I was told that bookstores distinguish between different types of books, and that low numbers on a small press or self-published title will be seen for what they are, and won't be considered in the same way your numbers would on a previous commercial title.

Otherwise, something like publishing a short fiction collection could kill your novel career.

tate hallaway said...

On the fanfic kerfluffle, I just posted over at one of the various sites that it just makes me sad for completely different reason.

I have to BEG people to fic or slash my work. I could only *wish* that my stuff inspired legions of fans to corrupt it!

Kelly McCullough said...

Jim, that's how I had thought it worked in the past too, and that makes more sense to me, but Kristin is normally really on top of the business side of things so I'm not willing to just dismiss her take on it. Perhaps, there's another layer there that either she's not talking about or I'm missing.

MICAH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Fanfic is interesting to me as I spend time thinking about how the RIAA is trying to strangle music, or how the intellectual property gnomes are trying to make copyright forever, or how Monsanto wants to patent the rainforest.

But I want Kelly and Tate (AND Lyda) and all'y'all to make as much money as you can... again it boils down to giving the most oomph to the creator and looking askance at corporate entities trying to assert the same rights. That's just one part of it however.

I like the CC license go-ahead. Very good.

Eleanor said...

The Charles Stross post on making a living as a writer is truly fine.

Eleanor said...

If you find more bleak little essays on being an SF writer, please post them.