chuck wendig

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Endings are hard.

You don’t orchestrate an ending so much as you have to earn it. You build a foundation and then you create architecture based on that foundation and the taller you go the more married to that design you are. You can’t build some fancy skyscraper and then put a giant ceramic clown taking a dump at the top of it. You don’t put a windmill on an igloo just because you  really love windmills and hate igloos.

–Chuck Wendig didn’t like the HIMYM finale either.

2014-06-08T17:35:33+10:008th June, 2014|Tags: chuck wendig, pop culture, writing|

Chuck Wendig versus piracy.

As well as services like Patreon and other direct pay/tip jar systems. Like John Scalzi, who gave a similar answer earlier in the year, Wendig’s argument against direct-to-author payments as “compensation” for pirated works is essentially that it misses out on everyone else in the production chain:

You give me donations, or tip me via Patreon, I’m not giving you what I really want to give you, which are the books that I’ve written. Further, it means my editors and cover artists and all the people who worked hard to help usher many of my books into the world gain nothing from it — you bypass them and put money into my pocket. That’s unfortunate.

Wendig also points out that, while sales are the “base metric” in publishing, there are still things fans can do outside of that if they really, really can’t afford (for whatever reason) to purchase their own copy of a title.

On my own tangent for a second: fans, never underestimate the value of work-of-mouth recommendations, or the benefit of being a “visible” fan, particularly in genre fiction. Things that “get big” get big because they have highly visible, highly mobile fanbases who do things together online or in public, from the flower crowns of Hannibal to flash mobs of Homestuck trolls to suddenly everyone on your Tumblr dash reblogging weird fanart of a guy with a radio mic and three eyes talking about angels. This is what discoverability–that all-purpose publishing buzzword–is really about. You can read all the blog posts about it that you like but, at the end of the day, true discoverability isn’t something that can be bought. It emerges when something in a work connects so strongly with an audience that they do the fanart and write the fanfic and reblog the meta and wear the makeup.

That’s also why discoverability is so scary. Because you can mass-follow every single person on Twitter but that still doesn’t guarantee you work will ever make that connection. And nothing scares authors more, I think, than the notion that their work just may not connect.

All this is why, at the end of the day, ten bucks in a tip jar is nothing compared to a single afternoon spent in cosplay at a convention.

Book sales are the metric, but fandom is the medium.

2017-08-23T09:51:39+10:008th June, 2014|Tags: books, chuck wendig, fandom, pop culture, publishing|

The gorilla.

It is often the mode to chastise what The Big Five Publishers do, and understandably — they are sometimes very good for authors and sometimes not so good for authors. And the reason they can be sometimes not so good for authors is because they do not have a great deal of competition.

That should sound familiar.

Because that’s Amazon.

–Chuck Wendig on why Amazon is not your friend.

2014-05-11T23:19:00+10:0011th May, 2014|Tags: amazon, chuck wendig, publishing, self-publishing|

Self-publishing drinking game.

(Based in part on this blog post, with additions by yours truly.)

You will need:

  1. 1x article, blog post, comment, or forum thread about self-publishing
  2. much alcohol, very booze

Take a drink:

  • Any time the words “choice”, “freedom”, “control”, or “revolution” are used.
  • At any comparison of royalty rates, either with numbers (“70%!”) or folksy, Pa Kent-sounding platitudes.
    • Take two shots if the maths is wrong.
  • Any time self-publishing is called a hobby.
    • Take two if this occurs anywhere near anything talking about money/profit/royalties/etc.
  • “Readers are our gatekeepers!”
  • “Legacy publishing”.
  • “Hugh Howey”.

Drain the glass:

  • “You should’ve self-published your book!”
  • “Traditional publishing is like winning the lottery!”
  • Unironic comparison of traditional publishing to a cartel, et cetera, in the same post as anything lauding Amazon.

Drink everything in sight:

  • Anytime anyone compares traditional publishing to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, prostitution, or similar.

… What am I missing?

2014-04-21T17:15:27+10:0021st April, 2014|Tags: chuck wendig, publishing, self-publishing|

Baboon Fart Story.

Amazon wants to be Netflix more than it wants to be YouTube. It doesn’t want to be eBay or CraigsList. I’ve spoken to folks inside Amazon who are… aware of the quality problem and are a little worried that over time Amazon could be positioned as a bargain basement content provider. If Amazon ever feels that their already thin margin of profits are threatened because of this perception, you can be sure they’ll bring the axe down quick. And Amazon has used that axe more than folks would like to admit — they have removed books, including books of so-called monster porn, from their ranks. To quote the KDP guidelines: “Content published through Kindle Direct Publishing is held to the high standards customers have come to expect from Amazon.”

–Chuck Wendig predicts the demise of Baboon Fart Story.

2014-04-16T17:27:34+10:0016th April, 2014|Tags: amazon, chuck wendig, publishing, self-publishing|

Craft versus art.

Except here the issue is not purely a matter of taste. An author on Facebook the other day noted, quite correctly, that writing is a craft and as a craft it can be evaluated fairly easily. This isn’t about whether a story is to your liking, but rather, does the author know the basic rules of writing a story? Rules can be broken, of course, but they must be broken with some skill — breaking the rules out of ignorance creates, you know, a fucking mess. A writer not knowing the difference between a possessive and a plural is not some avant-garde hipster trick. It’s a basic lack of craft awareness. At that point you’re not a marksman doing tricks; you’re a toddler with a handgun.

–Chuck Wendig reminds us that sometimes it really just does suck.

2014-04-13T17:52:52+10:0013th April, 2014|Tags: books, chuck wendig, writing|

December PSA.

The hard part is not writing a book. That is actually the easiest part. Writing a book is the Play-Doh phase. It’s just you smooshing words together and screaming out ideas and making your action figure characters do shit and say shit. It’s a drunken clumsy race to the finish line. It’s inelegant. It’s the braying of a donkey. What comes next is not fill up this super-soaker with my word-vomit and hose down the publishing industry with it. What comes next is edit this thing into something resembling a great novel.

–Chuck Wendig’s post-NaNo PSA.

2013-12-02T09:15:48+11:002nd December, 2013|Tags: books, chuck wendig, maniac december, nanowrimo, psa, writing|