Love the video; hate the guy who made it for setting the bar for home movies so damn high. Jerk.
Girl Child punchi-sized her face on the school playground yesterday by running around WITH HER EYES CLOSED WHILE MEOWING. Now her upper lip is about the size of a Jeep Wrangler tire, and she doesn’t want to eat solid foods. Good thing she had a dentist appointment this morning anyway.
I know it’s totally un-American these days, but instead of suing the school for not wrapping their playground equipment in three layers of foam and assigning a Safety and Impact Prevention Agent to follow my child around at all times, I advised her that running around on a playground with your eyes closed is not a good way to avoid getting smacked in the mouth by peacefully stationary metal objects. RADICAL, I KNOW.
As of today, I have a literary agent. I’ve signed with Evan Gregory of Ethan Ellenberg, who will represent my works from now on. Together, we will make ALL THE MONEY.
I’ve been looking for a literary agent for a few years now (ever since Viable Paradise XII in 2008, in fact), and Ethan Ellenberg has always been at the top of my list based on their client roster and reputation. To say that this is a pretty big deal is a monumental understatement.
Anyway, please excuse me now while I Kermit Flail around the house and mix a celebratory cocktail the size of one of those kiddie pools.
(Note: This post is largely directed at my liberal and progressive friends. Yes, I have those, just like I have Libertarian and conservative friends. If your entire social circle shares one political viewpoint, you don’t live in the real world, you live in an echo chamber. Conservative friends: please refrain from “LIBRULS ARE TEH STOOPID!!!1!!ONE!! type comments.)
When it comes to pushing gun control legislation, heavy-handed propaganda is generally excused or justified by a lot of Progressives because it serves the right cause and goal.
- Among the many half-truths and outright manipulative falsehoods in Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore tries to show the extent of redneck gun-nuttery by making it look like he got a rifle at the bank where he opened his account. (The bank had advertised a free rifle with new accounts, but the transaction still had to go through a local gun dealer, background check and all.) In his version, he walks out of the bank with the rifle in hand, as if they handed it to him in there.
- Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, lead Democratic sponsor of a bill to introduce a magazine capacity limit, has no idea how ammunition magazines actually work–that they’re not disposable one-time use items, but reusable containers that can be filled with ammunition over and over. She thinks banning them will make shooters “run out of bullets to shoot.”
- Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, when asked about the “barrel shroud” feature she wants to see banned on rifles, describes it (laughably incorrectly) as a “shoulder thing that goes up”, meaning a collapsible stock on a particular shotgun model.
- The President of the United States claims that the Newtown shooting was committed with a “fully automatic weapon”, which is simply not the case. (Adam Lanza used a semi-automatic rifle that fires one shot per trigger pull.)
- Gabby Giffords’ husband is observed buying the same type of weapon he is lobbying to ban, and then claims he recorded the transaction to “show the country how easy it is to pass a background check.” He fails to mention that he was unable to buy a gun on his first try (because he didn’t have a valid Arizona ID), and that the dealer refused to let him take possession of the rifle because he answered a question on the background check form incorrectly (he claimed that he wanted to donate the rifle to the local police department, which means he lied on the “straw sale” question of the federal background check form that asks whether you are the actual buyer of the firearm.) The system not only worked as intended, deliberately lying on the federal form resulted in a refused sale. But showing that would have invalidated Capt. Kelly’s entire argument (which was most likely bogus to begin with, so he either lied to the dealer or the public/media.)
- The lead gun control advocacy group in the United States muses that the public’s confusion about the difference between fully automatic machine guns and semi-automatic rifles (“anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to work like one”) can only help the support for laws that ban the semi-automatic rifles.
- The constant invoking of “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows that can sell guns to anyone without background checks. (There’s no such thing as an “unlicensed dealer”–they mean gun show patrons who bring a rifle or pistol of their own to sell to another private party in the parking lot or while wandering the show floor, not the dealers at the show who have to do a federal background check on every buyer.)
- The claim that guns are “less regulated than teddy bears”, when guns are the only consumer product in the country whose purchase requires a federal background check for every single retail transaction.
If you support restrictions or outright bans on private arms anyway, stuff like that may not be a big deal to you–after all, it only serves to help restrict gun ownership, and any measure that gets us down the road a bit is a good one, right?
Well, you’re actually harming the rest of the progressive agenda by using or supporting such tactics, because they harm your credibility.
If you push legislation on a social issue with arguments that are demonstrably wrong (as in “provably non-factual”), obviously ignorant, and deliberately deceptive, how are people supposed to believe that your arguments are factual, informed, and objective in any other policy debate?
If you think it’s no big deal to get your facts wrong, be ignorant about the issue at hand, and intentionally deceive people into voting your way when it comes to gun control, why should the fence-sitters and the opposition believe that you don’t play loose with the facts when it comes to climate change, energy policy, social justice, economic policies, or any of the other items on the progressive agenda? How can you be surprised when your efforts on, say, climate change are met with suspicion and outright hostility from the other side, and they accuse you of misrepresenting the data to push an agenda? After all, you’ve already set a precedent for that.
Truth and reality don’t need misinformation. If you misrepresent the facts to achieve a legislative goal, you harm your own agenda and show contempt for the electorate. That goes for both sides, liberal and conservative alike. Liberals would greatly resist legislation on reproductive rights pushed by people who refer to the penis as the “jizz spigot” and describe the act of sex like a kindergartner who has caught bits and snippets from her parents here and there. They can’t be surprised when Conservatives oppose legislation on gun rights pushed by people who know little or nothing about guns (and who actually consider their ignorance on the subject a virtue.)
There’s a new trailer for the Carrie remake, and it looks pretty good.
It seems that the remake is playing it even darker than the original, which wasn’t exactly a sunny rom-com to begin with. Also, Chloe Moretz (a.k.a. Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass) has turned into a really impressive actress. I loved the hell out of Let Me In, another horror remake–this one of the Swedish Let The Right One In. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moretz’s role in this remake had a lot to do with the critical acclaim for her role in that other remake.
Terms of Enlistment is finally live at Barnes and Noble’s NOOK store:
Still on iBooks:
And of course Amazon:
You can also get it from me directly by clicking the PayPal link on my sidebar. I will mention that I send those direct PayPal copies out via email as soon as possible after you purchase them, but if you buy a copy at 1am Pacific time, chances are I won’t see your email on account of being sound asleep. Smashwords offers all the common formats for download, and their download system is instant, so if you want a .PDF or .TXT or other off-the-wall format and don’t want to wait for me to email you your copy, I suggest you buy through Smashwords.
Thus endeth the self-promotion. I’ll try to keep these to a minimum, I promise.
Chuck Wendig, Jedi Master of Writing Advice, gave me and Terms of Enlistment a shout-out in his latest blog post about self-publishing. Chuck has gone the self-publishing route, but he’s also traditionally published, so he knows both sides of the coin pretty well.
Steven Gould, author of the Jumper series of SF novels and one of my instructors at Viable Paradise XII, had some nice things to say about me as well, particularly concerning the way I use social media like Twitter. (Hint: I don’t use it for marketing.)
I am a little behind on the blog and email stuff because the last few days (hell, weeks) have been a bit wacky around here.
Terms of Enlistment is still climbing the lists, it seems. As of this morning, it’s #1 in Kindle > Science Fiction > Military and Kindle > Science Fiction > Adventure, #2 in all of Amazon’s Science Fiction >Adventure category, and the #3 Science Fiction novel on Amazon. It’s also the #109 paid novel in the Kindle store. (It cracked the Top 100 for a day on the weekend.)
That’s pretty good for any novel, especially a self-published first-time novel by an unknown author. To say that I am pleased would be a massive understatement. I wrote the thing, which took a year or so, and then spent the next three and a half years trying to get a publisher or agent to bite, with no luck at all. It’s really nice to know that I wasn’t just doing finger exercises.
This month, I’ll re-release Lucky Thirteen, a short story in the Terms of Enlistment universe, on the Kindle for free. It’ll be a little bonus for those who have read the novel, and maybe get some people interested who haven’t read it yet. And next month, I’ll release Lines of Departure, the follow-up novel. If it does only half as well as Terms of Enlistment, I’ll still be very pleased. I think it’s a better novel than its predecessor, mainly because I didn’t have to spend half the novel with Basic and Tech School before things start blowing up. It also delves a little more into the situation on Earth and the social issues back home, something I’ll explore in much greater detail in a future novel.
Some reviewers on Amazon have said that the novel feels like two different stories, and that’s true. I did, in fact, have an alternative second half in which Andrew stays on Earth and explores the backstory behind the Detroit riots. It would have been really gritty, but it would have been a narrative dead end for Andrew because in order to get him where he needed to be to go sniffing around in a PRC, he would have had to leave the service and do things that I didn’t want him to do just yet. He’s a cog in a really large and really faulty machine, and his story needed to get him into space before it can get him back to Earth.
Anyway, back to the salt mines for me. More later. And if you’ve bought Terms of Enlistment, reviewed it, recommended it, mentioned it on your blog, or passed it on to a friend or three: thank you, thank you, thank you.
I had this long and very clever blog post witten in which present-day Marko rebuts the arguments of 2011 Marko in opposition of self-publishing, but it came across all braggy and smarmy, so I deleted the draft and decided to start over.
Yes, two years ago I wrote a lengthy blog post detailing why I’d never, ever self-publish. Rather than refuting all my points from back then, I’ll make a short list of reasons why I finally decided to put the novel out myself.
Firstly, and most importantly, I was out of patience with the traditional dance of Query > Submit > File Rejection in pursuit of an agent or publisher. I finished the novel in 2009, sent it to a major SF publishing house in the summer of that year, and didn’t hear back at all. No rejection, no “I still haven’t gotten around to looking at it”, no acceptance, nothing. I might as well have put the manuscript into the stacks at the local library, hoping that an editor might stumble across it accidentally while looking for new reading material in our village library by chance. That’s three and a half years waiting for a response. In the meantime, I shopped the manuscript around to half a dozen other publishers and about 30 or 40 agents, and got no bites. I was simply at the end of my rope with patience.
Secondly, the market for self-publishing has changed quite a bit in the last two years. In 2011, ebook readers were still just getting off the ground; now they’re so mainstream that everyone and their grandmother has a Kindle or an iPad with a reading app on it. Sales of Kindle books have gone up accordingly–that awful Fifty Shades of Kink book sold twice as many Kindle copies than print books. While self-published authors are still looked down upon somewhat (and there is a lot of awful self-published shit out there), there are now plenty of self-pubbers whose books have sold well enough to get their authors offers from traditional publishing houses, and quite a few who can actually make a decent living off their self-published books. Economically, the field has become more viable for self-publishing.
Now that I have the novel out there, I must say that I also like the control I have over every aspect of this endeavor. I went with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and their control panel lets me track my sales numbers pretty much in real-time. KDP also pays royalties out monthly (traditional publishers pay twice a year), so there’s no guesswork involved in when (or how much) I’ll get paid.
So there you have the reasons why I changed my mind on self-publishing: I was sick of the traditional submission treadmill, Kindle publishing seemed like a good way to get my work in front of a lot of readers, and I very much enjoy the transparency and speed of the sales and royalties model offered by Amazon. Times and circumstances change, and I can admit that I’ve been wrong, and that my fears about self-publishing were (luckily) unfounded in my case. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Somewhere out there is a literary agent (who shall remain unnamed here) who asked for science fiction submissions on Twitter the Friday before last. I was in bed at the time, reading my Twitter feed on the iPad (as one does), so I got out of bed again to send that agent a query letter that followed the requirements of the agency in question.
I woke up the next morning to find a form rejection in my inbox. That agent had rejected the query without having asked for sample pages–without even having read a single word of the novel. And it was a nice, short, courteous, and professional query letter, not two lines of HAY U WANT TO B MY AGENTZ? CHK YES OR NO LULZ.
I said a very naughty word at the computer screen and felt something in my head go SNAP. Then I had Scrivener compile the ebook files for the novel, bought some cover art, made a book cover, uploaded everything to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service, and told people on my blog that the novel is available for sale.
Right now that novel is #245 on the Kindle Store, #2 in Military SF on the Kindle, and #13 in the entire Science Fiction category (all print, Kindle, and audiobooks) on Amazon. Right now that novel has sold an ungodly amount of ebook copies for a self-published first-time novel by an unknown author.
Right now I’d like to kiss that agent square on the mouth for being the catalyst that finally made me decide to take the novel’s fate into my own hands.