2017/09/22

The Convergence of Science Fiction

YouTuber Max Kolbe recently had me on his show to explain how the SJW convergence of tradpub science fiction happened. Max is particularly interested in the sudden shift from stories that took the Christian worldview for granted to overtly atheistic, anti-religious works. We discussed how John W. Campbell ended the reign of the pulps and how the Futurians fomented a Marxist revolution in SF publishing.

The episode garnered a lot of praise. Listen in and learn how sinister forces relegated the once-dominant SFF genre to a cultural ghetto.


Max himself is an unabashed sci-fi fan from way back, and I couldn't help nodding along as he related how he drifted away from the genre about twenty years ago. He'd also been led to think of the post-1937 Campbell era as the "golden age" of SF and to regard everything that came before as trash.

The highlight of the episode for me was when Max looked over Gary Gygax's Appendix N--with which he was already familiar--and realized that most of the entries are a) not Campbellian and b) take Christianity--or at least some form of spirituality--for granted. It was an honor and a solemn duty to redpill a long-time SF fan on how the genre was purposefully hijacked by a clique of 50 New York editors.

But the tide has turned. Barnes & Noble is collapsing. The big New York publishers who rely on their paper distribution monopoly are hemorrhaging money. The ranks of indie authors who are writing fun stories that fans actually want to read are growing by the day.

I'm gladdened and humbled that SFF readers have singled out my highly unique Soul Cycle as an antidote to the failing gatekeepers' message fic. It's a pleasure to announce that I've retained world-class artist Marcelo Orsi Blanco to return and design the cover of the fourth and final SC book.

If you haven't read all three current Soul Cycle books, now's the time to get caught up for the award-winning series' mind-blowing conclusion!

The Soul Cycle

2017/09/21

Authors: Control Your IPs

collectibles store

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch hammers home the importance of intellectual property rights and observes how decades of tradpub conditioning has left most authors woefully inept at controlling their IPs.
I wrote the following sentence to someone who wanted to take my entire IP in a series for a pittance:
I’ve spent decades developing my IP.
I then proceeded to explain to that person that I controlled my IP and they would not get their grubby paws on it, especially for a few thousand dollars and promises of future money. (Anyone who could read contracts would know that the company didn’t have to pay me the full up front money in a timely fashion if at all, and there would be no future money…to me…because I would have signed it away.)
I’ve spent decades developing my IP.
I have never said that before, nor have I said it so blatantly. It provided me with an incredible and unexpected perspective.
I was trained in traditional publishing, where writers go begging for opportunity. Writers are taught to beg, from professors (let me into your class!) to critique groups (is my writing good enough?) to agents (will you take me on?) to publishers (will you buy my book?).
We’re not trained to value what we’ve built.
I’ve spent decades developing my IP.
That statement is a statement of power. It’s a statement of value. It says I have worked hard. Respect my work and deal with me like a professional.
Imagine if all writers took that attitude into their negotiations for their work. Or into anything they do for their writing.
Writers would become stronger, just by owning what they have done. By valuing what they have achieved.
A fact of life that would greatly benefit authors to get through their heads is that publishers--all publishers--survive by exploiting authors' work. That doesn't mean the exploitation isn't sometimes mutually beneficial, but before you go seeking some acquisitions editor's approval, keep in mind that:

  • You create IPs every time you put pen to paper.
  • By international copyright law, you own every IP you create the second you set it down in writing.
  • A whole bundle of rights comes into being when an IP is created, e.g. print, foreign, movie, TV, merchandising, and a slew of other rights. As the author, you own all of them--at first.

KKR backs me up:
As a writer, you create IP every time you commit your ideas to paper. (Into a form.) If you don’t understand copyright, you’re going to be a huge disadvantage, which is why I wrote a simple blog post on copyright last year and then begged you all to buy and read a copy of The Copyright Handbook.
I did that so you could defend your copyrights, so that you know what you’re actually licensing, and so that you’re in tune with how your business actually works. Dean’s doing a great series of posts called The Magic Bakery, in which he discusses why writers should protect copyright as well as how to monetize your copyrights properly.
Dean’s blog is fascinating to me. Because whenever he talks about the value of intellectual property, he gets a huge pushback from writers. Or a somewhat clueless series of questions that mean the writers have no idea what they’re actually working on.
Writers are so used to begging to get attention, that they have no idea how to think of their work as something not just important to them, but as something with lasting value.
You might remember our good friend Dean from other popular posts on this blog. Dean knows what he's doing. Listen to him.

Rusch concludes with an IP-related parable.
The IP I was dealing with in that negotiation came from a novella I first published more than a decade ago. I’ve written dozens of stories and even more work set in that world since. I am constantly developing, licensing, and honing that IP.
It is an active IP, which means that it continues to grow.
I know, still sounds theoretical, right?
So instead of using Dean’s Magic Bakery analogy, let me give you one of my own.
Imagine this:
You have spent fifteen years owning a brick-and-mortar collectibles store. (I’m basing this analogy on one of our stores.) The store has more than 2,000 square feet of retail space, packed to the brim with collectibles as small as a marble or as large as a Homer Simpson life-size doll. In the back is a warehouse with even more items.
There are hundreds of thousands of collectibles in the front and back of that store, each with its own unique value.
One day, a Hollywood location scout walks in the front door, looks around, and decides that this store is a perfect setting for one scene in an upcoming movie. The scout talks to you, and you agree that they can rent the entire store for two days to shoot that scene.
Then the scout brings you the contract to sign that allows them to shoot in your store.
For a few thousand dollars and permission to shoot for two days, you sign away all ownership and control of that store. Sure, you might continue to work in the store, but any profits you make will go to the movie people. And they can take anything they want out of that store for the lifetime of the store, and use those items as they see fit. In fact, they can move the store to Los Angeles if they want, and bar you from entering the store forever.
As a store owner, you would never do that.
Writers do it all the time.
Wow, they think, I’ll get a movie made out of my book.
Wow, they think, I’ll get a game made out of my book.
Wow, they think, I’ll get a traditional publishing deal and my book will be on the stands everywhere.
And they lose the one thing they have of value. Control of their IP.
Does the writer ever think that they spent years developing that property? Nurturing it? Making it cool enough that someone else comes calling and wants a piece of it?
Nope.
Almost never.
And the agents the writers put in charge of guarding the door to their little shops only ask the movie people/game company/traditional publisher how much up front money the writer will make so the agent can get a fast 15%. Or, as in the case of at least one agent I know, the agent demands that the movie people/game company/traditional publisher give him a piece of the property if the agent lets them in the door.
In other words, the agent takes part of the business, but leaves none for the person they’re supposed to represent.
Which is why I do all this annoying negotiation myself.
I've had multiple offers of representation from literary agents. I don't even respond. Instead I spent considerable time reading books and articles on contract and copyright law. After all, since the vast majority of my business is done through Amazon, it makes no sense to give an agent 15% of my KDP royalties for absolutely nothing.

On the rare occasions when I have to engage in business negotiations, I just do it myself. It's worked out OK so far--probably because I know better than to deal with traditional publishers at all.

Your IPs are valuable. You own them. You should keep control of them.

Of course, I'm more than happy to let you enjoy some of my award-winning IPs for yourself :)

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier






2017/09/20

Japanese Pulp Influence on Cinema

Author M.T. White joined me on the latest episode of Geek Gab: On the Books to discuss the major influence that Japanese pulp novels have had on the world of film. We also speculate on how the pulp ethos survived in Japan while being almost totally memory-holed in the West.

Check it out!


And don't forget, my thrilling Soul Cycle space opera series is now on sale for less than the cost of one Scalzi eBook!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier




2017/09/19

War Demons

War Demons - Russell Newquist

War Demons, the new urban fantasy/military adventure novel from author Russell Newquist, is here!
Driven by vengeance, Michael Alexander enlisted in the Army the day after 9/11. Five years later, disillusioned and broken by the horrors he witnessed in Afghanistan, Michael returns home to Georgia seeking to begin a new life. But he didn't come alone. Something evil followed him, and it's leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
The police are powerless. The Army has written Michael off. Left to face down a malevolent creature first encountered in the mountains of Afghanistan, he'll rely on his training, a homeless prophet, and estranged family members from a love lost...
But none of them expected the dragon.
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden collides with Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International in this supernatural thriller that goes straight to Hell!
I was given an advance review copy of War Demons. and I highly recommend this love letter to red meat SFF in the vein of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series. If you're tired of the rampant nihilism peddled by New York publishers and yearn for a fun book that takes Western Christian morals for granted, War Demons is a godsend.

Get it now for Kindle or in paperback!

War Demons is a fast, action-packed read. I predict you'll burn through the pages and be left wanting more heroic, genre-bending fiction. You're in luck, because my two Dragon Award-nominated space operas--one of them also a Dragon winner--are now on sale for less than $8.00.

Pick up Souldancer and The Secret Kings today and get ready for the upcoming release of the Soul Cycle's grand finale The Ophian Rising!

Souldancer and The Secret Kings

2017/09/18

Marvel's War on Beauty

She-Hulk

The original plan this week was to discuss American Assassin, and Daddy Warpig did give a quick and dirty review, but then he launched into a patented Warpig rant on the comics industry's open hatred of beauty.

In particular, DW singled out Marvel as the most egregious offender. When they've got attractive, feminine-looking heroines being strangled to death by 'roided up desecrations of same, it's hard not to see his point.

Admittedly, I kept pretty quiet for this one--because I've learned to stand back and let the Warpig work, and because I spent most of the episode amusing myself in the chat with a troll who followed DW from Twitter. Geek Gab's highly intelligent and accomplished regular listeners took over from me and made the troll their verbal pinata. I love you guys.

In case you missed the live chat, the gist of my argument for objective beauty is here.

And by no means should you forget to listen in on Daddy Warpig's epic rant.



Souldancer - Astlin

To get your fix of cute monster girls, check out my award-winning Soul Cycle.