Is Writing Art, or Commerce?

Why not both?

A discussion of the Great Unsurprise of the New Year – the unfinishing of The Winds of Winter – has prompted Joe Vasicek to point out that for indie authors, it may be more the latter:

In the traditional system, writers were paid an advance on royalties by their publishers. The contract also allowed for royalties, but those figures were set so low that most books never earned out their advance. Publishers made up for it by raising the advances for the writers they wanted to keep.

In contrast, indie writers live and die by their royalty checks. Had a good month? Congratulations, you can afford to eat. Had a bad month? Tsk, tsk. Better hurry up with that WIP of yours, because the longer it takes to publish it, the longer it takes for you to get paid.

Thus, the reason Martin can fart around with finishing A Song of Ice and Fire is that he’s already a millionaire and has a small legion of fans who will drop everything the minute the release date is announced to pre-order it on Amazon. Whereas for the struggling indie artist, delay means loss of income, both from the books you aren’t selling and from the market forgetting about you when you finally do bring your pig to market.

Since I don’t have the weight of Bantam publishing behind me, that means I must needs move. I’ve done a lot of outlining for The Blood King, and I’ve got about 1,000 words give or take in various forms. I don’t feel like I’ve really begun to begin, though. I feel like I need to clear other desks (like the long-delayed podcast) first, but that might not be realistic.

I feel the Devil at my heels, though…

Content Creation Blues

 

A Song of Ice and Fire, Hold the Ice

If you’re on Reddit, you probably noticed or took part in the New Year’s Night vigil of watching George R.R. Martin’s livejournal for the update on The Winds of Winter. I myself did, and it was an instructive lesson in group emotions: first excitement, then frustration, then japery, rage, despair, and, just when we thought he’d gone to bed and we were getting all the news we were going to get, he commented and said he had one more update in him. The joy (“hype” as they call it on Reddit) was transcendent. Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire who were previously damning George for a lazy old fat prat got religion without even blinking.

He admitted his frustration with his progress and copped to the problems he’d been having. And I was fine with it. I was fine with him telling me what I surmised to be true: that Season 6 of Game of Thrones was going to spoil the books. It’s disappointing, but it’s okay. Now we can finally accept it.

Podcasting Takes Time

I’ve been trying to find the right moment to sit down and do my next podcast, which I have previously stated to be all about Star Wars. Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the film, I can see some of the complaints about it, but I’m going to talk about that more fully. I just need to make myself do it. And sooner, rather than later, because…

January is My Personal NoWriMo

Reading Larry Correia’s blog (especially this post) has inspired me to sit my rear end down and get cracking on my epic fantasy stories. I started creating this world on an electric typewriter back when I was 14, and seeing them in print has always been a dream. My first completed novel, The Island Prince, was from this world. It took me three years to write it, and its in no condition to be published. So I’m going to start again, with a story a few centuries before that. Hopefully what I’ve learned about writing over the last twelve years will show itself in the product. But at any rate, I’m on this. Working title: The Blood King

Actual Content Creation

The Unnamed Journal, a lit mag I have a tangential relationship to, just published its second issue. Click here for a hard copy, or here for Kindle.

And then there’s the music review project, Every Damn CD, on Tumblr. Currently I’m on the White Stripes, but there’s so much more to go.

get-on-with-it1

Confirmed: George R.R. Martin is Screwing With Us.

hypetrain

Yesterday, Martin’s official Twitter account posted this:

Which prompted the Internet (and especially Reddit) to lose its damn mind. Because, 12 days from yesterday is December 21st, the first day of Winter. The next book in the series is titled The Winds of Winter. Therefore, on that, day, he will announce that book’s release.

logic

And while I would love for this to be true, I just can’t get my hopes up. Writing epic fantasy takes a long time. Doing a good job with it takes even longer. This isn’t some Dragonlance novel you can poop out in a few months; this is A Song of $(*&ing Ice and Fire. He’s got a million threads to weave together: Stannnis’s deathmarch, Jon Snow touching the void, Cersei’s trial by combat, Sam in Oldtown, Arya in Braavos, Sansa in the Vale, whatever the hell is going on with Brienne and Jaime and Lady Stoneheart, etc.

Oh, and Dany riding a dragon with a khalasar at her back.

We’re gonna be waiting, people. Embrace it.

 

 

Game of Thrones Season Two

They should be calling it Clash of Kings, as that’s the second book. But the virtue of the title Game of Thrones is that it fits the scope of the entire saga. In fact, it fits better than the official title, A Song of Ice and Fire. Thus far, the Ice and the Fire have both remained on the margins of the main plot.

Anyway, here’s the trailer. I probably won’t get a chance to watch it until HBO goes free for another weekend, so…

http://www.hbo.com/bin/hboPlayerV2u.swf?vid=1234943