Fronting the 10%

Self-published eBook author? Want to convert samples into sales? Consider cutting the “front matter”: the testimonials, genealogy, pronunciation guide, foreword, epigraph and cast of characters: When you get a reader interested enough that they downloaded a sample, or are clicking “look inside” on a web page, you really don’t

Of post-apocalyptic SF romance with pirates, and other sub-sub genres…

Great tip for writers who plan to self-publish their books on Amazon Kindle (and similar).  ‘Writing to market’ used to mean writing  ‘teenage vampire stockbroker‘ erotica for publishers looking to meet the latest craze. For indie authors, ‘writing to market’ means: I’m going to look at the sub-sub genres, check the potential sales

The sexual allure of jihad

I have a Gitta Sereny-like fascination with the morality of violence. Film-maker Deeyah Khan spoke to the London Evening Standard about Jihad: A British Story: I suggest IS may be the ultimate headhunters. Khan nods. “They are. It’s also like grooming. They find out what

[Talking point] Is short science fiction in crisis? A market review

Earlier this year I read short stories nominated for this year’s and the 2014 Hugo Awards, and some that missed out due to the Puppy kerfuffle. And I wondered: Were they the best that science fiction had to offer? And, if so, is short fiction – often seen as the core of

Sorry for the lack of posting…

I was at the seaside resort of Eastbourne for the weekend. Nope, not holidaying. At a convention for players of modern board games. You may have heard of Settlers of Catan. I’m more of a Blood Rage perp myself.  

Why moral therapeutic deism and geopolitics don’t mix

A system of ethics that depends on being “good, nice, and fair to each other”  is questionable at the best of times. And becomes truly silly when applied to geopolitics. Let’s kick off with Syria. President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy with a

Some days I wonder…

…Whether I was a better writer when I was fifteen. So begins Syer Roth: Fire Empress, the science-fantasy novel I wrote as a teenager. I found it in the spare room this morning – all 960 pages of it.  The internet didn’t exist in those days so it’s wholly

[Interview] Allen Ashley on the state of the SF&F short story market

Is the science fiction & fantasy short story a dying art form? Or is there a growing market driven by push-button publishing and the web? Last year the Guardian newspaper argued that SF&F short fiction was entering a golden age and Greg Hullender recently discovered

Thinking about writing a female protagonist? Hmmmm…

Erin Lindsey describes of the no-win situation as you dare to craft your female protagonist. She must be strong, but not so superhuman that she’s a Mary Sue. And she must be recognisably female, but not a feminine stereotype. When creating your heroine: balance is key. Like,

Hugo nominations 2016: Best Professional Artist?

Bastion is a new science fiction magazine publishing digitally on the first of every month… Their cover artist is Milan Jaram and every cover is absolutely gorgeous.  I love the striking images in intense shades of blue, orange, etc.  They’re dramatic and eye catching. They remind me,