Author Archive for Nora Jemisin



29
Oct
09

It’s never “just a story”.

Another quantum post! As you read this, I’m on a 9-hour trek across the country to World Fantasy Con. If you’ll be there or in the San Jose area, I’ll be reading from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on Saturday at 3 p.m. Come listen and say hello!

Two things I’ve seen this week triggered today’s post. The first was this news article, about a young woman recently found wandering and amnesiac here in New York city. She’d forgotten her name, how she got here, or what had happened to her. What she could remember, however, were lines from a fantasy novel by Robin Hobb. Now, the important and tragic part of this story is that this young woman has probably been through some major physical or psychological (or both) trauma; I don’t want to gloss over that. She’s been identified, and is hopefully now being treated. But the part that caught my attention, given my professions — not just fantasy writer, but psychologist — was that she remembered the Hobb book. She also remembered that she herself is a fantasy writer, working on a novel; she can apparently remember what her story is about, too. So hold those thoughts for a minute.

The other thing that triggered today’s post was seeing a video featuring Nigerian author (and MacArthur “Genius” Grant award winner) Chimamanda Adichie, in which she talks about the dangers of a single story. Watch it for yourself:

My favorite part is the anecdote she starts about about the 10:55 mark:

“I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho, and it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.”

Adichie says it herself: stories matter. Not only because too few stories can create stereotypes or incomplete understandings of the world, but also because all stories lodge in our minds so powerfully, influencing our thinking at such a deep and often subconscious level, that even when our identities are stripped away, the stories remain. In fact, there are psychological theories which posit that human consciousness is nothing but stories — that aside from our most simplistic instincts, all of our ability to reason consists of chains of interlinking narratives, from the simplest to the most complex, that we form and associate in order to understand the world.

I think of things like this whenever I hear people dismiss fantasy, and fiction in general (but especially genre fiction), as “just a story.” This seems to happen frequently in any serious conversation which attempts to deconstruct the stories we tell — like in this conversation that’s taking place in the romance end of the genresphere, about race and cultural appropriation. A number of respondents in the comment thread seem upset at being asked to think about real-world issues because they just want a story to enjoy — by which they seem to mean the same kinds of stories they’ve always read, however singular and incomplete those are. But how much more enjoyable might those stories be if they were made more complete? How many fresh, complex, new stories might appear if there were more tellers, different tellers, and if the old incomplete stories were retired instead of rehashed?

Think about it: if the world’s six billion people knew of Americans only through that Bret Easton Ellis novel, what would they think of us? What if the world only expected Ellis-ish stories from American authors, and refused to publish anything different on the assumption that stories about non-murderous Americans were somehow “inauthentic”? What if the authors of other nations, when they deigned to include Americans in their fiction, only wrote of Americans as narcissistic serial killers? What if the readers in those other nations got upset whenever Americans asked for more and varied representations of themselves? And worse, what if the governments of other nations started building their policies around such stories, requiring that all Americans be frisked and held for psychiatric observation on entering the country?

Would American Psycho be “just a story” then? Could any story written by or about Americans be “just a story”, in that climate?

So I don’t buy the idea that what we’re doing, as writers and as readers, is “just a story”. The stories I write have a powerful impact on the consciousness of every person who reads them, whether I intend to have that effect or not. The stories I read have a powerful impact on my own consciousness — and subconsciousness, whether I’m aware of that impact or not. It seems disingenuous at best, irresponsible at worst, to pretend that neither of these facts are true.

Here’s an idea: just imagine yourself as that young amnesiac woman. Ask yourself: what stories would be foremost in your mind, helping to shape your remaining identity? Because there would be some stories left in you. There always are.

22
Oct
09

A Brief Dip into Politics: Health Care

Apologies to those who saw a related post about this on another blog, or an older one on my blog; I just feel strongly enough about this to reiterate. I’m going to pause the examination of fantasy and writing and whatnot to talk for a moment about health care reform.

It’s directly relevant to the lives of working writers, if you’re wondering how this is on topic. Fulltime writers in America, or even those who work part-time or freelance, struggle as much as any artists to find affordable health insurance (something I’ve alluded to here before). There are any number of writers’ grants and loan programs, including the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Emergency Medical Fund, that are designed specifically to help ailing writers pay for unexpected medical bills. Why do you think such funds exist? Because so many American writers, even bestselling ones, are uninsured or underinsured.

Let me tell you a story. I’m in my thirties, generally very healthy, responsible. I’ve got health insurance, for which I’ve been paying about $300-$350/month through the Freelancers’ Union. Expensive, but bearable. Better than nothing. It’s provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Anyway, I’ve got a family history of fibroids (Mom had a hysterectomy at about my age, though that was back in the Dark Ages), and some warning signs have appeared, so my doctor has recommended that I check annually to see if I’ve got them too. This usually means a sonogram (ultrasound), which I’ve now had for the past three years. No biggie. Last year I didn’t have any fibroids, and this year I’ve got small ones. Again, no biggie — nothing I need to do anything about, really. But if I do decide to do something about them, they’re easy to take care of with hormone therapy or something non-invasive, since I’ve caught them early.

This year, however, there was a big biggie — the insurance company refused to pay for the sonogram. Claimed the fibroids were a preexisting condition, despite me not having any on my last (less than a year ago) sonogram. Obviously it wasn’t a preexisting condition, but here was the problem: many health insurance companies routinely consider any significant health condition reported during the first 12-18 months of a new policy to be a preexisting condition. “Significant” means anything worse than a head cold, basically. So because I switched to new insurance when I quit my job to write books, and even though I’ve paid my premiums for almost a year, I’m not really covered. So now I have to pay $3000 for the ultrasound meant to keep me from enduring major surgery and years of possible followup complications. Meant to keep me healthy, really.

Which plunks me solidly amid the 25 million Americans who are underinsured — i.e., people who are paying through the nose for insurance, but are still up a creek if they get sick. If my fibroids become a problem — or hell, if anything goes wrong with my body in the next few months, until I’m out of this preexisting period — I’ll probably be on my own for treatment, which will land me in another statistical category: 80% of bankruptcies due to medical bills are filed by people who have insurance.

I’m fighting this, of course, so hopefully I can make them see reason. (Insert cynical laugh here.) But more importantly, I’m doing whatever I can to fight for decent health care in this country. In my opinion that means single-payer — but I’d be willing to put up with a public option too, so long as it’s not so watered-down as to be useless.

I don’t know you guys’ politics, and don’t really care. I can’t speak for the other Magic District dwellers; this is just me saying this. But I’m urging all of you who do care about health insurance reform to take action. Please, consider writing to your congressional representative in the House or Senate. Do this especially if you live in one of the states/districts whose Democratic politicians are opposed to health care reform, because politicians listen to their own constitutents more than they do people from elsewhere, and these guys are the main obstacle to fixing the system. Send the letter via snail mail for extra impact. And consider joining an organization that’s fighting for reform, like these guys.

Because — as many of you know firsthand — it’s awfully hard to dream up entertaining imaginary worlds when you’re worried about physical and financial survival right here in the real one.

08
Oct
09

WANTED: Self-Promotion Methods That Actually Work

As You Know Magic District Readers, my first novel comes out in February 2010. Just five months! That means I’ve entered the hardcore pre-release promotional phase — lining up readings, giving out ARCs to reviewers, planning my convention schedule for next year, etc. I’m a typical debut novelist; some things my publisher will handle, but other things are up to me. I’ve had some nifty bookmarks made, and will be taking those to World Fantasy in a couple of weeks. Have been scoping out spots for my book launch party, and think I may have just found the perfect place. And so on.

Among other things, I’m having a real debate with myself about whether to do a video or audio book trailer. I’ve seen a lot of the former on YouTube and authors’ websites; they’re trendy now. But frankly, I can think of only a few that actually served to get me interested in the book… and the ones that worked for me were clearly not made for cheap. An audio trailer is cheaper and easier to put together, and I think I have a better chance of snaring potential buyers by running ads on popular science fiction podcasts and radio shows — in particular those I’ve been on or will be going on in the coming months.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m shooting in the dark here. I have no actual clue whether a video or audio trailer is more effective. So much of marketing is conditional: if the trailer is good it might be effective, and if the trailer is poor it might actually hurt the novel’s sales. (I doubt that, actually, but you never know.) Bookmarks might help a potential reader remember to buy the book if the author is friendly and personable, but if the author’s a schmuck the bookmark could actually serve as the reminder of an unpleasant experience. So who’s to say what’s really effective and what’s not?

Well — marketing people, actually; they do research and stuff. But a lot of marketing research is proprietary and thus never shared with the public… and more significantly, a lot of the marketing questions I have are so small-scale that they’re beneath the radar of Srs Mrktg Bznss. I seriously doubt whether anyone has ever studied the efficacy of four-inch laminated bookmarks versus 3×5″ matte postcards. You’d spend more on conducting that study than on just buying the postcards and crossing your fingers.

So here’s where you come in.

Stats for the Magic District show that we get about 200 unique hits a day. Not bad for a bunch of n00b authors (two of whom don’t even have books out yet), and better than I usually do by myself on my own website. We do much better on days when one of us writes a really kickass post — like Maggie’s famously awesome text adventure, for example. That post has since gotten almost 6000 hits all total. More modest but still good numbers for something like my own Describing Characters of Color pt. 2 post for awhile back — that one’s at 1300 unique hits. Most of these come along in the day or two after the post is made. So basically, during any given week we’ve got a few thousand folks traipsing through here. Which makes you guys a handy-dandy research sample, for my purposes.

Now, OK, my old grad school research methods professor would come beat me if she knew I was doing this. A few thousand people is far too small a sample for statistical significance, and this is going to be just a quickie poll, not a proper survey checked for reliability and validity. Still, the information could be useful for me and the other Magic Districters, so please take a moment to fill out the poll below. Pass the word to other SF/F readers so we can get more responses. As you’re filling this out, some things to keep in mind:

a) Assume that all the promotional methods mentioned here are average examples thereof — e.g., think of typical bookmarks you’ve seen, not the craptastic ones that Joe the Author printed out on his spotty inkjet using MS Word Clip Art.

b) Please click on a method only if it caused you to buy a book or reserve it at the library, etc. If you thought, “Hey, neat bookmark”, then promptly forgot about the book, then it wasn’t effective. But if you thought “Hey, neat bookmark”, and hopped on Amazon to preorder it, then that counts.

c) If you’ve run across another method that was effective, please fill it in, or mention it in the comments. Fresh ideas are welcome here, folks.

So here goes:

ETA: Argh. For some reason, when people fill in an answer for “Other”, the answer doesn’t appear. Not sure what the problem is, but please put your answers in the comments of this post instead, folks. Sorry.

Your response can help impoverished newbie authors get their careers off the ground! Can’t you spare us a click for a good cause?

01
Oct
09

Sidelines

One of the things writers realize, when they try to figure out whether this whole full time thing can work, is that alternate sources of income are crucial. You don’t know when you’re going to sell a book; if you sell one, you don’t know how long it’ll be before the advance check comes; and once the advance is done, you don’t know if you’ll get any royalties. The advance check might look nice, but it’s 50% less nice than you think because of taxes and agent fees, and if you’re paying for your own health insurance you can kiss another 30% of it goodbye, and… well. Multiple income streams are the way to go. (This is true for anybody, really; best way to recession-proof yourself. But since writers are kind of in a constant personal recession…)

Since I have a Masters’ degree (albeit in counseling) and some teaching experience, I’m hoping to make the transition to teaching writing. I’ve run some writing workshops, been in some intensive and prestigious writing groups, so I reconfigured my resume to highlight these things — but thus far I’ve had no dice in getting a teaching job. It seems to me you need either an MFA to do this, or some noteworthy publications, or a friend who works in a university English department. Or some combination of the above. I’ve got the friends, don’t have the rest, so I’m hoping my prospects there will improve once 100K comes out. (Have considered the MFA, note; I know lots of folks who swear by Stonecoast. But I just can’t bring myself to go and get a second Masters’ degree when I may not need it. I’ll wait a few years and see.)

I do still have my career as a career counselor, which I’m continuing to keep active by working part-time while I finish the trilogy. I’ll probably keep doing that, because I really enjoy it. But having tasted a different lifestyle in the past year, I’m feeling the urge to explore new things too.

Including creatively. Although I’m primarily a fantasy writer, I’ve always dabbled in other genres — science fiction most notably, but also erotica. Yes, erotica. I’ve written some short stories in that field, but I’ll be blunt: there’s not much money in the short story field for erotica, any more than there is for SF&F. The way to go is a novel, which I’ve actually got an idea for. Just need to find the time to write it down.

Here’s the thing, though — these days, authors are encouraged to think of themselves as brands, and their books as products. When they switch the product, they’re supposed to switch the brand. Thus historically we have writers like Anne Rice doing her vampire and other books under her own name, but publishing her hardcore BDSM erotica under A. N. Roquelaure. I suspect, back in Rice’s heyday, that this was necessary not just for marketing purposes, but also to protect her from prudish bookburny types who might pillory her for eroticizing a popular children’s tale. (Though really, the original version of Sleeping Beauty was never anywhere near G-rated, with that whole rape-cannibalism schtick.) Still, her “Sleeping Beauty” books sold phenomenally well — better than her first Vampire Chronicles book. Not entirely surprising, given that the erotica/romance industry is a financial powerhouse, even moreso today than 20 years ago. So A. N. Roquelaure ended up being a great sideline for her… but if the books had crashed and burned, or worse yet triggered some kind of backlash, she could have readily discarded that “brand” and continued to sell her grocery lists as Anne Rice.

Conversely I’ve been following the career of a more modern writer of gorgeous prose, fantasist Catherynne Valente. I loved her The Orphan’s Tales: In The Night Garden, though I am woefully behind on reading the rest of her stuff. But I note that she’s got a very erotic novel out now, Palimpsest, with the cool concept of a magic city passing from person to person as a sexually-transmitted tattoo. She’s selling that under her own name, possibly because her work is already sensual and erotic even when she’s not writing about sex, and possibly because cities-as-STDs isn’t nearly as potentially offensive to the prudeyfolk as Sleeping Beauty on a rocking horse. (And no, I don’t mean the kind for kids.) Valente seems to be building one big brand of lush, juicy fiction, into which an explicitly erotic book fits like a hand in a glove. (Carefully avoiding other metaphors here.) I’m watching to see how that works out for her.

Anyway, so these are the sorts of things I’ve been contemplating lately, as I progress steadily on Book 3 and realize that soon, the Inheritance Trilogy will be finished. Inevitable that I would look around here and suddenly wonder, “What’s next?” and face the daunting answer: “I have no idea.” But I thought I’d share what’s going through my head now, for those of you who think pro writer life is enviable and easy — if you still do after having read this site for the past few months! I’ll keep you posted on my future as it unfolds.

Oh — and if anyone is a reviewer and interested in a review copy of Like Twin Stars, the Circlet Press e-anthology that’s published my short story “The Dancers’ War”, contact me offblog.

24
Sep
09

Why I, Perhaps Stupidly, Continue To Live in New York

Like Rachel, I’ve sought and gotten a lot of sound business advice from established writers in the year or so since my book deal happened. Most of that advice has been excellent — no, essential, and I’m grateful for all of it. But there’s one piece of advice I’ve been hearing again and again from various quarters, and it’s starting to chafe. Namely, that I shouldn’t live in New York.
Continue reading ‘Why I, Perhaps Stupidly, Continue To Live in New York’

17
Sep
09

Formative Fantasy: Ariel

Whoopsie, just realized I didn’t post last week. No excuse; I just forgot. Will try not to do it again, sorry.

This week, though, I’ve been re-reading the fantasy novel that had the most significant influence on my tween writing career: Steven R. Boyett’s Ariel. It’s been re-released recently, after decades out of print; it was originally published in 1983. I would’ve been eleven at that time, though I don’t think I read it ’til I was 13. Probably just as well.

See, when I was thirteen, I actually didn’t like fantasy. I’d tried Tolkien at the time, and bounced off it; too old-fashioned, too British. I’d absorbed the science fiction genre’s disdain for “that made-up stuff”; fantasy wasn’t about Real Science ™, it was about silly impossibilities like wizards and fairies. (But my favorite books at the time, in my smug superiority, were Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern”.) There was a gendered element to it too; as a self-avowed tomboy who’d internalized a whole lotta sexism, I wasn’t interested in anything girly, which I at the time perceived fantasy to be. (McCaffrey wasn’t girly. Her dragons were big muscular COMBAT STEEDS. With FIRE. Andsomeromancebutnotmuchsothatwasokay. Plus, FIRE.) So when I finally decided to give fantasy another shot, naturally it was going to be something I perceived as rough, tough, macho stuff. Hard core, with explosions and stuff. And maybe a fairy. As the mascot.

So I picked up Ariel. All the crucial signs of toughness were there: written by a man (grunt), starring a man (grunt), about hard-core stuff like survival after an apocalyptic event (grunt grunt). There were swords! A showdown with a necromancer! Stuff! Blowing!! Up!!!1! It helped that the story was at least partially set in New York, which held a kind of mythical power for me at the time; yeah, bankrupt crumbling NYC of the 1980s was my Camelot back then. What can I say? Growing up in the ‘burbs had bored me to tears. So I was willing to overlook the presence of a unicorn on the then cover. All these macho characters needed something to ride, right? And unicorns could probably kick serious ass with those horns, in battle.

(OK, look, everybody’s a little messed-up at thirteen, a’ight? I grew out of all this, thank every god in creation.)

Alas, the marketing completely fooled me. Sure, there were explosions and stuff, but the book turned out to be the most beautiful love story I’d ever read. All that action was sandwiched between poignant human dramas: people just trying to get by after a traumatic event, children growing up in a hurry, loss and grief. There was a ton of magic in the book, but the best was the kind that isn’t “made up” — the magic of eerily beautiful landscapes and surreal cityscapes; of lonely people and hopeless dreams. I finished the book and cried. Then I read it again. And again, and again, until my copy literally fell apart. Then I taped it together and read it some more.

I had begun writing by that point, so as a further sign of my admiration, I tried to incorporate what I’d learned from the book into my own work. I started chapters with quotes from poetry or Shakespeare, as Boyett had done. (This, of course, forced me to read poetry and Shakespeare, which I then grew to love. Sneaky, Boyett. Sneaky.) I made my characters angsty and gave them snappy dialogue. (If I’d been born ten years later, I’d probably have written Buffy fanfic. Thank goodness I’m a Seventies child.) I — cautiously — began adding romance and female characters to my stories, as an experiment (because at the time I’d somehow absorbed the notion that girls couldn’t be heroes in SF/F). I started trying to subvert the tropes of fantasy that had so repelled me; Boyett had given me a unicorn who swore like a sailor, so maybe I could write freaky fairies and monster angels and so on. I realized fantasy can be set anywhere; modern-day America works just as well as medieval Europe, and it can incorporate elements of SF. And I realized the best story elements aren’t necessarily the explosions, but the quiet moments of people just being people.

Basically, I read this book and grew up a little.

Re-reading it now, at 36, has been interesting. Boyett himself acknowledges the weirdness of reading an Eighties novel now, in the Naughties; the Twin Towers still stand in New York, and the characters mention TV but not cellphones or computers. I know a bit of lit theory now, so I know what to call this kind of story: a standard bildungsroman, though beautifully done. I’m a bit more widely-read too, so I can see the works that influenced Boyett in the bones of this tale. I’m noticing the flaws I didn’t back then — a few Handwavium ™ moments in the plot, and I’m laughing my butt off at all the white male characters oh-so-Seriously pretending to be samurai. (Boyett does offer a tongue-in-cheek explanation: after the mysterious Change in this world that causes technology to stop working and medieval-style weapons to make a comeback, all the people in the Society for Creative Anachronism suddenly jump several notches on the socioeconomic scale.)

But these are minor flaws, all things considered. I met Boyett at Worldcon this year; cool guy. He noted that he was 21 (!!) when this book got published, which impressed me even further. When I was 21, I was writing crap. So I’m willing to forgive him a few blips, considering the whole is so timelessly well done.

So I’m wholeheartedly recommending this book once again. And I can’t wait for its sequel, due out soon, called Elegy Beach.

Oh — and this is my own dip into the idea jar, as Diana put it. Periodically I’m going to review fantasies that I read during my “formative years” as a writer, which I’ll be tagging as, duh, “formative fantasy”. I’m curious to know other peoples’ formative fantasies, too, because I kind of get the impression I took a less-traveled road into this genre. Feel free to mention yours in the comments. In the meantime, go buy Ariel.

03
Sep
09

Who’s Afraid of Urban Fantasy?

I’m about to step in it big time with this one. I’m primarily a writer of secondary-world epic fantasies, and here I am opening my mouth about urban fantasy. That’s just asking for a smackdown. But here goes.

Read this article at io9, in which Orbit Books’ Tim Holman (disclosure: my trilogy is coming out from Orbit, not that this has anything to do with anything in this case) notes the phenomenal growth of urban fantasy. To the point that it’s rapidly consuming the whole SF field.

Now, I read some urban fantasy. In fact I read both kinds of urban fantasy: the pre-Anita Blake kind (e.g., China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, the Paper Cities anthology) as well as the post-Blake (e.g., Jim Butcher, Marjorie Liu, and yes Laurell K. Hamilton). I even write a little in short story form, though my stuff veers closer to the pre type than the post. I’m aware of the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, or at least to the degree that the issue has been decided (which is to say, not). So I’m not completely ignorant on the subject. Being here at the Magic District helps, actually, because my UF-inclined fellow Districtians’ books are all on the excellent end of the Urban Fantasy continuum, and I’m being exposed to more through their posts.

Despite all this, I had the same reaction as a number of io9 commenters to the news that UF was growing like the Blob: dismay. Because like them, I’ve seen a lot of stuff from the crap end of the UF continuum, and this phenomenal rate of growth probably means that more crap is forthcoming. It’s not nearly as bad as some people are making it out to be; a lot of the rage I see directed at urban fantasy has to do with the preponderance of girl cooties in it. The spec fic field has never been very welcoming towards that. But we still hit the Sturgeon’s Law problem: with so much urban fantasy out there, how am I ever going to be able to sift out the gold nuggets from the flood?

And what does this mean for me as a writer?

Don’t worry; I’m not dumb enough to change my writing in order to try and fit this trend. Think about it: by the time I finish Book 3, write another book, hopefully sell that, and then do the 2-year wait for publication, the trend might be over. But as a writer of primarily epic fantasies, does this trend mean I might have trouble selling my books in the future? After all, the last time there was a trend like this — I’ll cite the surge in psychosexual killer-based horror that happened in the Eighties — the rest of “traditional” speculative fiction suffered mightily. Many publishers, as I understand it from folks who were active at the time, were trying to capitalize on the slasher/splatter/supernatural killer film boom (think, “Nightmare on Elm Street”), so a whole slew of novels in the same vein came out around this time. They sold well, too… for awhile. Then the public got really, really tired of their similarity, and the books stopped selling. There was too much of the stuff out there, and too much of it was crap; the market got glutted, and subsequently contracted. Aside from Stephen King and a few notable others, there was a solid spate of years in which horror was functionally dead. (These days it’s rising from the dead, pun intended, largely on the strength of… wait for it… zombie fiction and vampires. And, of course, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.)

During that market contraction, writers in horror and related genres had trouble getting published. (Don’t take my word for it; here’s an interesting 1991 convo between some spec fic writers discussing the matter.) Even some science fiction and fantasy writers suffered — because publisher dollars were being heaped onto the horror pile. And later, when the pile caught fire (to mutilate a metaphor), publisher dollars became scarce as they fought to survive massive financial losses. It’s taken years — decades, literally — for genre and industry to recover.

Now, I’m no expert about the business end of publishing. Frankly I’m a babe in the woods as these things go. But it seems to me that if a trend caused this kind of implosion in one genre market, it could happen here in fantasyland too.

So what am I gonna do about it?

Well, like I said, I’m not going to suddenly start trying to write urban fantasy novels; that way lies danger, Will Robinson, danger! (Though I note with irony that there are substantial urban fantasy elements in Book 2 of the Inheritance Trilogy. Didn’t plan ‘em, they just happened. Can’t talk about that without spoiling Book 1, though, so…) I’m also planning to diversify. My next project on the table is a YA novel, possibly a duology or trilogy. If I can establish myself in another genre — and YA SF really is different from adult SF in many ways — that might insulate me somewhat, should another market contraction hit. Also, since many of my fantasy novels contain core romantic elements, I’m hoping to get the attention of the romance industry. Now there’s a financial juggernaut; to paraphrase Carl Sagan, there’s billions and billions of dollars churning out of that engine. Only smart to try and build an audience there.

IMO, this is how writers have to think, nowadays. Yeah, we’re artists, and craft comes first. Still, I dunno about other artists, and I’m indulging in some wishful thinking here, but I want to reap the financial rewards of my art before I kick off, not after, thanks. At the very least, I’d like to continue paying rent and buying food. That means I need to understand how this business works.

So here we are. What do you guys think of the surge in urban fantasy? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? A good thing for now, bad for later? Bueller?




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