Random updates and fun with internet critics

Monster Hunter Legion is coming along. My deadline to have the rough draft done is the end of January, which I will hit. I was hoping to be on the 2nd draft by January and have the rough done by Christmas, but it has been busy, and Mrs. Correia is due to deliver Correia 2.4 soon.

I think you guys are going to like this one. (the book, not the kid, though he should be pretty awesome too) MHL needs a lot of tune up still, but overall I think it is pretty darn good. After Alpha, this one is back to Owen’s PoV. The project after that will be the collaboration with John Ringo. Post apocolyptic steampunk. Yay! Then book 3 of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Warbound.

This is all with me still having my day job as a finance manager in the Evil Military Industrial Complex, which keeps me hopping. Luckily I just got an assistant manager, which should make life easier. I’m making enough off of the writing now to only be a writer, but really like what I do, so figure that I’ll probably keep the day job for one more year. (I indirectly in a small general and administrative way help keep our fighter jets capable of raining fiery destruction down on our enemies, which is pretty awesome for an accountant).

One of my friends just got back safe from Afghanistan and I was able to see him this week. Welcome home, Tony. Mike is down to his last month and a half.  Once he gets home and settled in we will squeeze in the sequel to Dead Six, which is called Swords of Exodus. My half of that one is about 90% done. Mike has a lot to do on his half, but he’s got a real handy excuse, what with going to war and playing highspeed IED death chess and all that. 

It is a tradtion that Mike come to my house for Christmas. He’s been here 4 out of the last 5 Christmases. (missed one for EOD school) It is really weird not having him around. For my children, Mike Kupari coming over and playing board games is a Christmas tradtion. Correia 2.1 beat him at Risk a few years ago. (her first victory against adults) He better not get blown up, or the Correia kids will be pissed off.  

I’ve been getting this question a lot. The audibook for Spellbound will most likely be out in February. Bronson Pinchot (who also narrated Hard Magic) was unavailable for a bit because he was working on a TV show or a movie or something.  There are currently no plans for an audio book of Dead Six. The MH books have been doing extremely well on Audible, with MHI being one of the top sellers in fantasy for 2011, and MHV being one of the most/highest rated overall. I do believe that is all because of Oliver Wyman’s fantastic narration.

And while I’m thinking about it, if you’ve read Hard Magic and you are a WorldCon member or attendee, you should think about nominating it for the Hugo. I’m just saying… First off, it is actually really good and very original, and second, and far more importantly, the literati hoighty-toighty absolutely hate my guts, I’ll always just be an action-pulp-right wing-gun guy to them, and if I get nominated again their heads will explode. You have no idea how much joy I got from the reviews last year that talked about how if I won it would “end literature forever”.  🙂 

Today I’m working on the Christmas Noun 4. I’m out of time and have to hurry up and get that out. It is tradition. You guys need your cheesy Christmas story! On an amusing Christmas Noun note, like many authors I google search my name every so often. The reason being is that you want to see what people are saying about your books, who is reviewing you, what the general vibes are, that sort of thing. Chalk it up to market research. (warning, do not do this unless you’ve got a thick skin, because the internet is filled with mean people who like to poop on everything and kick puppies).  I found a series of forum posts from somebody who despises me, Ringo, Kratman, Williamson, Baen in general, and happiness, who then tried to demonstrate what a horrid writer I was by putting up excerpts from the Christmas Noun. 🙂

Yes. The annual tradition of really terrible writing is… gasp! Terrible! Oh, man. You totally pwned me!  I can only imagine if he’d found Tom Stranger. It quite possibly might have actually turned him illiterate! It never ceases to amaze me just how hard some people hate my guts. (usually with a link to something where I had the audacity to have a political opinion that differed from theirs).

Oh well. When I get that sort of negative hate review thing on the internet, I simply have to console myself with my tens of thousands of fans, hundreds of good reviews, respect from my peers, prestigous award nominations, TV deals, audiobook deals, foreign sales, a safe full of guns, my hot Viking wife, and then cry myself to sleep in my mini-mansion overlooking a ski resort.  However, if I’m still all torn up inside as a result of their razor-sharp commentary and their incredible knowledge of literature (gleaned from reading TV Tropes and their semester of creative writing), then I just have to carry on in the knowledge that I sold more books yesterday than they will in their entire life.

Yeah. I get by. 😀

If you are going to make it as a writer, you either have to ignore reviews entirely, or just not care when you get a terrible one. I remember talking to a friend of mine a few years ago. He’s a very successful YA writer, and had just gotten back from a huge tour his publisher had sent him on. That particular book ended up pretty high on the NYT list. He was on top of the world. Then he read a random, anonymous internet review that called him names. Despite knowing that he was kicking ass, he admitted to us that that one review had still managed to bring him down. He said it was like finding a dog turd in his cereal.

Thing is, this YA writer has gone on to write several more really popular books. He has legions of fans, but as far as I know he doesn’t read reviews anymore. He’s just not wired to take abuse.

Not me. I’m a sucker for this stuff. I’ve gone head to head against highly paid lobbyists to argue over proposed laws in front of a state legislature as a subject matter expert, and I did it for fun. I like conflict. If somebody says Owen Pitt is a Mary Sue, I say maybe, but enough people like him that he’s paid my mortgage for the last few years. Stick that in your English degree and smoke it.

A quick note on internet criticism for aspiring writers: Don’t be a douche. The internet lasts forever and you may regret some of the things that you’ve said about people. For example, you’ll notice that I don’t review movies on the blog anymore. I quit doing that right after the first time I met professionally with the Hollywood types. The realization hit that I had talked trash and insulted the work of men who I was now trying to sell stuff to. Next thing I know, I’m working with people, and in the past I was the one that left the turd in their ceral bowl. So now if I talk about something that I didn’t like, then I’m going to at least try not to be a pretentious prick about it.

I found a blog the other day that trashed MHI. Okay, that’s cool. It isn’t perfect. It’s my first book. I’ve written 7 books since and have gotten a lot better with practice. Believe me, there are things that I’d love to go back and do over again. However, when the review started insulting my intelligence, questioning my fan’s taste, and insulting the ability of the editors/publisher that purchased the book, before going on to talk about how they were still trying to get published and what they could learn from this… Duh. Seriously… You friggin’ idiot.  

Publishing isn’t a huge business. Everybody knows each other. Like I said, I’m used to being insulted, mostly because I was politically opinionated a long time before I got published. And if you are a conservative, you are going to get made fun of. (which is why there are so many right leaning authors but only a handful of us “out of the closet”) But here you are trying to sell a book, and you just insulted a gigantic fan base that you hope to sell books to in the future? Huh?  “Yeah, if you liked this book, then you’re stupid in your stupid face!”  Because that’s a sales pitch.

Okay… If you are in a totally different market you might be able to get away with that. I joke about Twilight, but my target audience is totally different than the Twilight target audience. I’ve made a lot of money off of the anti-Twilight backlash. (and that said, as a businessman and capitalist, I’ve got nothing but respect for Stephanie Meyers, because she now lives in a house made out of solid gold bars).

But if you are working on the same target audience, and your strategy is to come in and tell someone in that audience that if they enjoyed a particular work then they’re idiots who obviously aren’t as smart as you, (and this work has gone through 5 printings, and is still a solid seller several years after release, with a VERY loyal and vocal fanbase), you are a moron.

Back when I was in the gun business, we had a rule for anybody that was working at the sales counter. Never ever, ever, never insult someone’s choice in guns. So if you were helping somebody and he started telling you about how much he loved his Lorcin, you could try to educate him about the diffence between guns, but you couldn’t come right out and say that the Lorcin was a POS. Why? Because if you insult someone’s choices, they will take it as if you are insulting them. People connect themselves to their choices. Boom. You just lost a sale.

(Except for HK, because back then I would rather have gotten dental work done than deal with their customer service, but to be fair I’ve heard they’ve gotten tons better and are actually pleasant to deal with now. But on this topic, just look at the famous HK post that I wrote that is still generating hate mail a veritable internet-eon later. Those folks took me making fun of their choice as a personal insult.)

It is one thing to call an author dumb, but if you call his fan’s dumb, and they find out, they sure as hell aren’t going to buy your book.

Insulting fans is foolish, but when you insult an editor’s intelligence, that takes the cake. Bad move, dumbass. The publishing industry is actually very small and pretty much everyone knows everybody else. I know of a few aspiring authors that are basically toast in traditional publishing because their name is mud.

I’ve got enough books under contract to have guaranteed employment for the next nine years at two books a year, and I still don’t publically insult any editors!  One of these days I might wnat to write something for one of them, or they might end up changing publishing houses.  Why in the world would you be dumb enough to insult someone that can write you a check for your fiction in the future? 

I’m lucky. I love my editors. I have a frew friends that work for editors who I think are complete imbeciles, but I’m not going to name them on the internet, because that’s sort of like setting your career on fire. Word gets out between this small community that you are a know it all jerk, and you might as well wipe your ass with your query letter before mailing it in. The end results will be similar.

All that said, my favorite negative review I’ve gotten this year had to be the one that absolutely hated my guts, and then went on and on and on about how awful MHI was, and how if you enjoyed MHI then you were obviously illiterate, uncultured, and retarded, and then said how it was garbage compared to really good urban fantasy, like for example Jim Butcher’s stuff. Of course this was posted the day after Jim Butcher posted on Facebook about how he really liked MHI. 

I so love my job.

In the interest of full disclosure, the advice I’m giving to aspiring authors about not offending potential readers needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If you’ve read this blog, then you know I’m very opinionated on political topics. Writers are about as politically divided as any other group, but like the rest of the entertainment industry, the right wingers normally keep their mouths shut for fear of being blacklisted. 

I don’t, because A. My publishing house only cares about if books sell well, not it’s writer’s political opinions, so I can get away with it. (hell, one of our bestsellers is an actual Trotskyite Communist, former labor union organizer and on the opposite side we’ve got Ghengis Tom Kratman).  and B. One half of the country is really tired of having their entertainment mock their fundamental beliefs. So for every one potential reader I turn off, I pick up three others who are sick of getting preached at. 

If you haven’t broken in yet, keep in mind that your public politics can turn off potential editors. And you get one guess where most of them fall on the spectrum. (hint, the publishing industry is based in New York City). There are some absolutely phenomenal writers who used to win literary awards all the time, but once they come out of the closet as deviating from the accepted group think, no more awards for them. Orson Scott Card is probably the best example.  

So I’m probably not ever going to get a positive review in Time Magazine, but I was the #1 book of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier battle group. I’m totally cool with that.

Your mileage may vary.

My Geeky Hobbies: Skorne Army
Speaking of Schlock Mercenary, I forgot the board game