Articles and posts about the business of publishing and how it affects SF, fantasy and horror.

Zoe Duff – Independent Publisher

What do you do when you’re writing in multiple genres and don’t quite fit into contemporary classifications? If you’re Zoe Duff, you start up an independent publishing house and learn the process of printing and selling your own books. For Zoe, it wasn’t just about seeing her books in print – though that’s been the […]

Publishing Primer

Contrary to what they tell you when you take “Author 101” in college, writing a book isn’t necessarily the most difficult part of producing a book. Publishing is a creative industry. What does that mean? Well, “creative” is intuitive. We all know what we mean when we say we are undertaking a creative pursuit. It’s […]

What Science Fiction Lacks

Good criticism and brave critics. That’s what the science fiction field lacks. For decades now, most book reviews with in the field rarely give honest assessments of a given works strengths and weaknesses. Read any given issue of LOCUS (which is the “Newsletter of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Industry”). The book reviews are generally […]

Pulling Back the Publishing Veil: Editors and Their Roles

One of the big advantages of signing with a traditional publisher, is access to industry leading editors. If you’re new to publishing, you may have no idea about the various types of editors and what each one does. Hopefully this post will help demystify some of that. The size of the publisher may mean that a single […]

Burn Your Books

Welcome internet traveler. I will be stockpiling neatly organized bits into a collective known as a blog along this portion of your journey. Do not fear for your personal safety, as I will take great care to observe the rules of hospitality during your visit.  As I am a certifiable Tech Geek, I will spend […]

Just Write

The key to self publishing is to write. Often, this can be a difficult feat, much harder than it first sounds. For instance, I have four children. Fitting any writing in around them can be a challenge. I am also a full-time student, writing papers and essays for classes. Finding time to write is hard, […]

Rejection Slip Scrapbook

We all deal with rejection in our own way. To some, anything that feels like the slap on the hand they got from touching something forbidden as a child can discourage them from trying again, certain that their manuscript isn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But a rejection slip doesn’t necessarily mean your […]

A Way To End Ebook Piracy?

I recently had my most-recent non-fiction book pop up on an illegal file sharing site.  Within a week, it had gotten 500 downloads. Needless to say, I was p*ssed off. The site (which I won’t mention here) is openly scoff-law because they’re hosted in China. On the site, they’re “if you ask really nicely, maybe […]

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 6)

But How Do I Know It’s Ready?: Dealing with submission fear and arrogance Welcome back. This is the sixth in my weekly series of posts on how to market and sell short fiction. You can check out my earlier posts here. This week, within the broader overall series, I start a mini-series on the actual […]

Why Self Publish?

Why am I self-published? Well, firstly, because I’m spoiled. I was just talking to my significant other, who happens to live a half a continent away from me. I had sent him a piece to read and critique, and it took several minutes for the email to go through. I know this because we were […]

To Query or Not to Query

There are two words in the English language that never fail to give me a painful case of writers block: Query Letter. Just the thought of it has me wiping sweaty palms on my jeans. Writing a query letter often feels like an exercise in futility, like I’m sending out a request for another rejection. […]

In the Hall of the Mountain King

I was asked by Sol Cohen in April 1968 to succeed Harry Harrison as Editor of Amazing Stories. One hundred dollars a month, a limitless supply of letterhead stationary and full reimbursement of postage. “We’ll see how that works out” Sol said, “And if you do well I’ll give you a raise.” Sol, who had […]

Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Traditional Publishing by the Numbers

If you’ve ever considered becoming a writer, surely you’ve heard the old expression, “Don’t quit your day job.” But what can you really expect as far as income is concerned? Let’s first explore traditional publishing.  When it comes to trying to determine advances for debut fantasy and science fiction novels Tobias Buckell is the best […]

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 5)

Why You Never “Sell” a Story: Understanding rights and licensing (conclusion) Welcome back. This is the fifth in my weekly series of posts on how to market and sell short fiction. You can check out my earlier posts here. Last week, I began an overview of one of the most important topics in this series: […]

Am I A Science Fiction Writer?

Now that’s an interesting question. We’ve just launched my first novel, Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood, and the Bartender’s Guide, at Arisia. It got written up in both Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal in their coverage of new science fiction releases. While I make no claim that it is “hard SF” […]

Many paths

Publishing Options – Many Choices Now Viable

Many fans of fantasy & science fiction have dreams of joining the ranks among their favorite authors someday. But as little as five years ago the publishing landscape was much different than it is today. Savvy would-be authors need to keep abreast of the changes in the industry to decide which path is best for […]

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 4)

Why You Never “Sell” a Story: Understanding rights and licensing Welcome back. This is the fourth in my weekly series of posts on how to market and sell short fiction. You can check out my earlier posts here. This week I’ll be dealing with one of the most important topics in the series: understanding the […]

Epic Fantasy Analysis Jan 24, 2013

My intention is to do these analysis every 15 days or so.  This is the second in the series and is from data as of 1/24/2013. To review previous data (01/03/2013 you can click here). Once again this is the data time I routinely track from the Amazon Kindle Epic Fantasy Bestseller List. For readers, you’ll […]

Nothing New Under the Sun

How does an editor manage to still be moved by a story when she has to sift through ever-growing stacks of unsolicited manuscripts, looking for a nugget of something new? I mean, how many ways can you write a romance? Or a murder mystery, a space opera or zombie invasion? Sure, there are tried and […]

Playing the Short Game: How to Sell Your Short Fiction (Part 3)

Why Short Fiction?: The benefits of the short game to a writing career Welcome back. This is the third in my weekly series of posts on how to market and sell short fiction. This week, I discuss the benefits of short fiction to a writing career. Personally, I love short stories, both to read and […]

Digital Only Publishing – Think Twice Before You Sign

Not long ago, my publisher (Orbit) released a new work by Lilith Saintcrow, The Hedgewitch Queen and they released it ONLY in ebook format priced at $2.99. This was the first time I had seen a major publishing house do a digital-only release, but predicted there would be a lot more in the future.  And […]

Five Signs You Should Self Publish

With all the changes going on in publishing these days, new writers are often left wondering if they should just publish their work themselves. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the following five situations will help you know whether or not you should self publish. When you have the rights to your backlist. Ironically, probably the […]

What I Mean When I Say…

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed something when I’ve conversed with people (in person or through email), posted things on my blog, or left comments on someone else’s blog.  We may be using the same words, but what we mean by those words isn’t always the same.  This is especially true when discussing […]

The Dangers of Ignoring the Ebook Revolution

On January 8th, the long awaited final edition in the Wheel of Times series was released in hardcover.  The ebook, however, was no where to be found, and won’t be available until April 9th. Hardcover only releases have existed for years, but where people were once willing to wait six-months or a year for the […]

Attention Grabber

The single most important step for a reader is the initial act of choosing what to read. After that, everything else is just a formality of literary cultivation. You read, you absorb and you grow. But it’s that first step that determines who you are as a reader. So, what books grab “your” attention?

Opening Salvo

Hi. I’m glad you’re here. Come in, make yourself comfortable, and let me introduce myself. My name is Keith West. I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for about 35 years, coming to the genre through comics, Star Trek, and Star Wars. You’re probably wondering what I’m going to blog about. After all, there are […]

What Was I Thinking?

I’ve never written a blog. I’ve never had the urge to write a blog. So imagine my surprise when I bumped into a fantastic opportunity that I couldn’t resist: writing a weekly blog for Amazing Stories Magazine. I could barely contain a fangirl squee! So. Much. Fun. The timing was a little awkward since I […]

Epic Fantasy Analysis Jan 3, 2013

November 2010 was a watershed moment with regards to the ebook revolution. That was the month I saw my sales go from a modest 1,000 per month (across 4 titles) to 10,000+ a month (across 5 titles). What was even more amazing is I wasn’t the only self-published author seeing this kind of spike, and […]