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Posts Tagged ‘jim butcher’

Okay, so maybe I’m guilty of a little hyperbole: “Success” is like the mechanical rabbit that dogs chase around the track and never quite catch, so maybe claiming it is a bit premature. However, as a principle … well, let me explain.

I put The Killing Scar up for pre-order a couple of days ago, and when you do that Amazon sends you a nice little email confirming that the site is live, so people can actually, you know, pre-order the book. And in the email, it says if you want to see how things are going, you can check the “pre-order” tab on your private author site. So, being as anal about these things as all authors are (regardless of whether they admit it), I checked the “pre-order” tab, on a lark. After all, even I hadn’t known the site was live, so no one else was going to know…

And there it was, my first pre-order. I did a double-take. Somebody had gotten to the site even faster than I had. (Whoever you are, thank you!) At first I thought it must be a friend, but when I checked I saw it was from a foreign market, in a country where I don’t know anyone.

Oh my gosh. I have a fan. There is someone out there who has read the first two books and is so eager to read the third that he/she/they jumped on the pre-orders as soon as it was possible to do so. How cool! I thought, then: Oh, wow, what a responsibility.

As Ben Parker famously said: “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” Now, I’m not going to claim that writing adventure novels is a great power, but it is a great responsibility. There is someone out there (and I hope a good many someones) who has put faith in my ability to write an entertaining story, to the point of reserving my next book before it’s available. There is someone out there who is looking to me in the same light (although not in the same way) as I look to Jim Butcher.

That’s a lot to live up to. Not that I am comparing myself to Jim Butcher (you may laugh), but we share the same burden: We both owe our readers the experience that we ourselves have set them up to expect. We both are responsible for producing the best product we can, every time we sit down.

And with that being said, I’m sure that when I sit down tonight to write, there’s no reason to believe that I will suffer from terminal writer’s block. Really. No reason at all.

Help…

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Note: This is about the Sad Puppies/Hugo flap, but I hope it’s more than that. You can skip it if you want to.

I am what some call a Social Justice Warrior (“SJW”). Not that I crusade for liberal causes; other than voting and contributing to a few, I don’t get much involved. But the Sad Puppies and their allies would call me an SJW for that alone, or because I believe awards should go to stories that are more than just popular, or for a hundred other reasons. Fine. Call me what you want. It just shows how short-sighted such labels are, because in the end, I read the same stuff you do.

The Puppies put Jim Butcher on the Hugo ballot. I love Jim Butcher’s books. Larry Correia would have been on the ballot if he hadn’t taken himself off. I enjoy his books a lot. Most of the other Puppy offerings I am unfamiliar with, but my point is made. They want books that have spaceships on the cover to be about space exploration and high heroics. Well, guess what? So do I. You want proof? Read “The Invisible City.” It’s about a guy who ends up in a (mostly) invisible city. Truth in advertising. End of plug.

But I also believe that the influx of new authors who are not white males is a good thing. The only thing wrong with saying, “F/SF is a wide field with room for all kinds of authors and stories,” is that it implies we’re still writing and reading in a ghetto. We should be saying, “Literature is a wide field with room for all kinds of authors and stories.” Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, why aren’t we fighting to break out, into the “Fiction” section of Barnes & Noble, instead of being stuck off to the side like we’re not good enough?

The problem with the “Puppy” point of view (and those fighting so hard to preserve the status quo) is that we are fighting over the last doughnut in the apartment when we live over a bakery. The Hugos are voted on by a few thousand people at best. There are billions of readers out there, most of whom couldn’t name an SF book that hadn’t been made into a movie if you offered them a suitcase full of cash.

Given the undeniably wide spectrum of SF and fantasy we write, why get into a brawl over limited resources when there’s a world out there for the taking? I mean, c’mon, if anybody knows how to conquer a planet, it’s us.

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