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Bad Project

[Ooops. I wrote this on 26 January, and apparently never hit post. Sorry! You’ve probably all seen the video by now.]

While I’m on a science theme, here’s a new blog, Stars and Spice from a local scientist. She’s collected some excellent science videos, so now you have place to go if I don’t post enough of them.

Shadow Unit

If Criminal Minds met X-Files and had an even more awesome bastard lovechild, Shadow Unit would be it.

Writers include Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, and Sarah Monette, all of whom are awesome in their own right.

SU is a free online reader-funded fiction project with the conceit of being a TV show with regular episodes, and shorter teasers and deleted scenes (the DVD extras). It’s in its third season, and there’s a lot of material to read, especially if you get into the LJ and other ancillary materials, and the active fan forum.

If you’ve never taken a look, you are missing out.

I’m also interested in the ways in which content creators are looking for creative ways to approach distribution and funding, things like Kickstarter and new forms of self-promotion and self-distribution. Musicians seem to be having an easier time of it than writers and other arts – so far, but things are changing quickly.

Settling in

A very full October has concluded. I still haven’t written much about Viable Paradise, but I will. I’ve been gone every weekend in October, and weekends are when I usually get blogging done. Also fiction writing and many other useful things. October was very good in many ways, but I’m glad it’s over. November won’t be quite as crazy, and December appears to be fairly tame.

I need some down time. It’s been a roller coaster of a year.

This past weekend was my first ever World Fantasy Convention (and first ever con of any time). It’s a writer-oriented con, with readings and literary panels, and no costumes, movies, or gaming.

This year it was in Columbus. I had an awesome time. It felt wonderful to be moving into that world, if only as the newest of writers. I signed many copies of Rigor Amortis and participated in the publisher’s group reading on Saturday. Many nice compliments on my story and reading.

I went to many panels and readings, including ones by Saladin Ahmed and Cat Valente. Both of those links are for short fiction, while the authors read from new or forthcoming novels. Saladin has a novel coming out soon, while Cat’s latest novel, The Habitation of the Blessed, was released today. I’m looking forward to reading them both.

After this weekend, I have no shortage of things to entertain myself with while I wait.

That’s not the complete collection!

Many of the people who live in my computer sprung to life at WFC. I’m not going to list them, because I would inevitably forget some (but there’s a list; you can imagine me meeting your favorites). I also met many new folks who will be living in my computer until next year.

A couple of other things:

I have a new Science in My Fiction article today, complete with baby dragons. It would be great if you read it and left a comment.

Tomorrow is election day in the US. If you live here, I expect you to vote, dammit. Google will helpfully tell you where.

National Novel Writing Month starts today. 50000 words in 30 days! I’m using the peer pressure to finish something already in progress. VP and WFC have got me all revved up; I hope that inspiration lasts for a while. I have piles of ideas, and a lot of writing to do.

Just in time, the new edition of the wonderful writing software Scrivener was released today. They’re doing a special NaNoWriMo 30-day trial edition for both Mac and the new Windows edition, a discount for WriMo participants, and a larger discount for winners. I highly recommend it, especially for writers who don’t work in strict order.

And now, time to settle in with my laptop, cat, novel-in-progress. I’ll keep you posted.

Another thing that makes me happy

Sir Terry Pratchett believes that knights should have swords. So he made himself a rather nice one.

Author giveaways

[No, not mine, sorry. It will happen eventually. I just need something to give away first.]

An author I admire – let’s say author X – is doing a twitter giveaway. “When I get to n followers, where n is a nice round number, then I’ll give away something cool to the nth person.”

This is intended to increase followers, I imagine, but I’ve never liked that sort of ‘reward’ system, where novelty is favored over loyalty. Whether it’s the phone company, the grocery, or a book giveaway, it always makes me as a long-time loyal customer (or twitter follower) unhappy. It feels like my time-worn loyalty is being ignored, and only shiny new people are interesting.

I made the mistake of saying so to author X, who really didn’t appreciate my comment. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I like X a lot, I buy X’s books, I read X’s blog, I recommend X to my friends. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t even have tried to engage (or have noticed, for that matter).

I intended it as a ‘This sounds cool, but you might want to consider that you’re making [some] of your loyal readers feel like crap.’ Because I did, and always have when people and businesses do things like that. I’ve asked others, and I know it at least isn’t just me. You know, for next time. Maybe do a random drawing when you hit n, or something.

Because I like X, and want X to grow audience and succeed and all that stuff. But X got mad, and defensive. I’m sure partly it’s the extreme limitations imposed by twitter on rational communication. I tried to be careful about saying that this was how I felt, and that X got to make the rules, but X might want to know that at least some people didn’t like that kind of giveaway. Apparently I didn’t succeed. I probably shouldn’t even have mentioned it.

I think it’s great when authors engage somewhat with their audience. And it’s wonderful when they give away stuff. And there’s no possible way to be entirely fair – it’s always going to be restricted to people on LJ, or Twitter, or whatever. But in this case I as a long-time follower would have to resort to deceit to even enter, and that makes me unhappy.

What do you all think, both about author giveaways and about mentioning it?