Venus Rising Update: Beta Readers Are Go Go Go

Phew. Just in time for me and the missus to bugger off for a week’s holiday over New Year’s, I finished my initial edit of VENUS RISING, and sent the latest draft off to my beta readers.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, beta readers come into the editing process after the writer’s first edits, but before it goes to the professional editor–in my case, the lovely Misti (Level 80 Dual-Class Grammarian and Sci-Fi Expert).

Betas give feedback on high-level stuff like plot continuity, characterisation, and plain-old whether they enjoyed the story. Invaluable feedback, for which they are paid not at all. Mwahahaha.

Anyway. I was pretty happy with the first draft, and how clean it was. My initial edit was mainly running through and tightening up the writing. I’ll find out if there are any more fundamental changes that need to be made when I get my beta feedback in a few weeks. Nailbiting!

Finally, there won’t be any posts for the next week while I’m away, so I’ll catch up with you all in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone!

P.S. I considered using the holiday to outline the novella that’s next in the series after VENUS RISING, but I’ve decided to just read instead. I’ve got Old Man’s War and Zoo City waiting on my Kindle, among others. Can’t wait!


Interview with Ian Rankin at The Guardian

Worth a read here. My favourite bit:

What’s the biggest myth about being a novelist?

That we’re introspective, sensitive souls and have arcane knowledge. I used to think that: whenever I heard that someone had taken 10 years to write a novel, I’d think it must be a big, serious book. Now I think, “No – it took you one year to write, and nine years to sit around eating Kit Kats.”

Important Notice for Kindle Paperwhite Readers

It’s come to my attention that there’s a bug/feature in the Paperwhite that means it displays many, many ebooks in a tiny, unreadable font which the user can’t change. Unfortunately Amazon are claiming this is working as designed, so the only thing we authors can do is reformat our books and reupload them.

And that’s what I’ve just done–a new version of Ascension Point is now live on Amazon.

So, to anyone who has bought the Kindle edition of Ascension Point, and owns a Kindle Paperwhite: please delete the current copy from your device, and redownload it to pick up the latest version.

This has been a public service announcement. THBAPSA.

China Mieville on “Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory”

Wow. I only just came across this, but China Mieville–Hugo Award-winning author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council and The City and the City–gave an hour-long lecture at the University of Kansas in 2009 where he discussed the scholarly theory and political implications of science fiction, and the distinction between science fiction and fantasy. It’s fascinating analysis from a fascinating writer and thinker.

“The cognition effect is a function of charismatic authority. It is the surrender of the reader to the authority of the text, and the authority of the author function.”

Or in other words, the science in SF need not be plausible for the story to be ‘believable’, and for the reader to happily immerse themselves in the writer’s world–but only as long as the internal logic of the story is consistent, and the author presents the ‘science’ of the story’s universe in an authoritative–or charismatic–way.

Worth setting aside an hour for. Videos embedded below the jump.

Read more…

Venus Rising Update

Quick update: I just finished writing chapter eighteen of the first draft of Venus Rising. One more chapter and the epilogue to do, and I’m done!

I should be able to knock those out before we go away for our New Year’s vacation on the 28th, and then it’s editing time. If all goes well, and stars align with my cover designer and editor, we’re looking at publication in April.


Successful Indie Author Lindsay Buroker on E-book Pricing

questionLindsay has a great post on her blog where she gives her views on how indie author-publishers might want to price their books.

Her rationale for pricing a novel happens to be exactly the same as mine, though I’ve never quite managed to express it this succinctly:

“I personally think about $5 per full-length novel is a fair price all around. It gives you far higher per-book earnings than traditionally published authors are receiving (even those whose ebooks are selling for $10+), it gives the readers a deal when compared to most traditionally published ebooks, and it’s often considered a fair price by those who feel that digital books should cost less than the dead-tree variety since paper, ink, and shipping aren’t a part of the equation.

“Lastly, it separates you from the legions of indie authors charging $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99 for their novels (often on the belief that they won’t be able to sell at a higher price because they’re not established names — I started out at $2.99 for just that reason). A lot of readers still walk warily around self-published books, so it can only help if you’re not giving obvious clues that your book was never vetted by a gatekeeper.”


Accurate Sci-Fi

Just a quick one: io9 have an interesting little article here where a few scientists talk about which science fiction depicts their field most accurately.

And what’s not so accurate:

“Whedon et al. also seem not to realize how big space is, even within our solar system. You can’t make a blockade in space. To give you an idea, the “asteroid belt” in our own solar system is supposed to be this incredibly dangerous region with rocks everywhere. In reality, the distance between big asteroids is more like a million miles.”