UCLan Publishing – it’s the first time these guys have featured here and, well, OK, I’m part of them and it’s my blog so they’re first billing this week. UCLan (that’s University of Central Lancashire, non-UCLanites) have their own publishing house and as part of our Publishing MA, we’re hosting a Science Fiction and Fantasy writing competition. To sum: Anyone can take part. The word count is 2,000 – 10,000 words. It should be speculative fiction. The winning submission will become an interactive eBook. The winner gets £150 and a sense of pride. Avoid cliché. Deadline is 18th March. Complete stories only. So get writing! Full details are on our Facebook page.
Angry Robot Books: as per a previous post, these guys are doing something freakishly similar to UCLan press, but, you know, with a budget. It's unsolicited submissions month - they're accepting complete submissions only - much like another publisher I may have mentioned (UCLan Publishing).
Scrolls: part of the Geek Syndicate network of podcasts (self-described as: ‘fairly drunken, incredibly sexy’. Beautiful), this podcast is an interview with 7 UK SFF writers about getting into writing, whose time was purloined at the SFX Weekender. The interviewees are speculative fiction golden boy Joe Abercrombie, Scott Andrews, Peter F Hamilton, Jonathan Green, James Lovegrove, Andy Remic, Adrian Tchaikovsky and some Camber Sands seagulls. Topics covered: getting re-commissioned; standard rejection slips; how style can’t be taught; mechanics of language; unflinching read-through crews; writing and editing process and how to know when your book’s ready for agents. I particularly enjoyed the slightly awkward misunderstanding between Hamilton (who does ‘know how to tell the story’ and doesn’t need story editing) and the interviewer. Also enjoyable were the solemn, post-interview add-in announcements of each author’s name. Most interesting point this makes is that agents aren’t always necessary for authors – James Lovegrove has had 35 books published and has been more or less agent-free throughout. That said, persistence should come as standard.
Orbit USA: have commissioned a self-published author. Michael J Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations series will be published in three volumes, the first book of which – Theft of Swords - will be out in November 2011. These have already been making their own merry way in the world in eBook form and print on demand and populating the eBook bestseller lists. Compared with Terry Brooks and Brent Weeks by Senior Editor Devi Pillai, who goes on to describe the series as clichéd (bizarrely) but also adventurously fun. Sullivan has this description on his site (the italics and speech marks suggest it is a quote. I suspect it’s his quote): "There's no prophesy, no innocent boy destined to save the world, no ultimate evil to be slain. Just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to survive." One fan’s comment on the Orbit blog states: ‘Orbit, I hope you realize the legion of fans who have been reading, raving about, supporting, and sharing this great series since its inception.’ I suspect they probably did know, hence commissioning. I also suspect I will be buying Theft of Swords. It goes to show that eBooks have power. And that hype has power over me.
Other Orbit news: they’ve launched their podcast, which can be downloaded on iTunes. The first episode features the much-publicized Joe Abercrombie, who has emerged from the geekdom sphere and pierced the nirvana bubble of mass literary acceptance.