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Random thoughts – Podcast reach, missing files, and 2013 events/appearances

I was looking at my stats today. I don’t like looking at my numbers, as they haven’t really done much in the past several years. I hit a plateau of listeners and didn’t really budge.

And yeah, “Do more regular shows,” is the clear answer. I know. I know.

But I decided to peek at them today. January had a noted increase from December, and Feb looks like it might just outpace January. So that was cool. Then I found out Libsyn gives a neato map of your podcast reach. So here are the people listening to ISBW:

Click on image to embiggen.

Click on image to embiggen.

I was delighted with all of the listeners in the Southern Hemisphere, I usually hear from Australia and New Zealand, I didn’t know I had listeners in South America and most of Africa. Of course, now I’m looking at the little white countries and wondering if anyone knows anyone in Greenland, or Suriname, or Ethiopia to spread the message of I Should Be Writing?

People are bringing to my attention that there were files on the poor departed website that died in the destruction of the site. One of the things was a critique sheet given to me by, I believe, my producer Patrick Hester. I’ve found a copy and am uploading it again, you can find it here. Critique Template Word

I’ll be including my appearances this year on a permanent page shortly, but I wanted to mention now that I have the following cons/appearances coming up:

ISBW #278 – Rapid Fire – Style Sheets

I am doing some rapid-fire shows this week, to catch up on things and to give you some content. I talk style sheets in this one, hope you like!

I mention VooDooPad, one of my favorite wiki programs.

Playing For Keeps in the Bundle of Holding!

I’m in a bundle! I’m in a bundle! Since we’re writers and stuff, many of us who have written in RPGs have also written fiction (me*, Matt Forbeck, Chuck Wendig, and others). So Allen Varney got a group of books together and decided to call it the Bundle of Holding and offer the ebooks, DRM free, for a “choose what you pay” price. While not an official “Humble Bundle” it works in the same way: The authors get a cut, a charity (in this case, Childs Play or Reading is Fundamental) gets a cut, and the site upkeep gets a cut. You choose what you pay, you choose what percentage goes to to the three recipients, and you get a bunch of awesome, DRM-free ebooks. Win-win-win. So go check it out!


FYI- when the rights to Playing For Keeps reverted back to me, the publisher said they had the rights to the Superman-homage cover and I was no longer allowed to use it, so we’re back to the 2007 cover. Don’t get confused- it’s the same book!

*I do know that the fact that I wrote RPG fiction will be the news flash for some of you (instead of me writing fiction), but I did do RPGs first, then fiction. You can find my stuff in older Mage, Vampire, Exalted, and WoW RPGs.

ISBW #274 – Feedback

When I get to the feedback questions in a timely manner, the shows are a lot shorter!

How to find a literary agent:

And also: Elizabeth Bear on auctorial constructs.

Crankypants Writer Attacks

It is one of my true beliefs that the majority of the problems in the world are caused by people thinking, “My experience is the same experience everyone has had. And if they don’t have my experience then they’re doing it wrong.”

A more poetic way to say this is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you make assumptions.

I try to step out of my own experience to see others’. I also, as you know, Bob, like to encourage the new writer who is discouraged. I quit writing for 10 years because I was discouraged, and if I can stop someone else from losing ten years of their writing life then I will damn well try as hard as I can.

[Criminy, i just got depressed. A decade of my writing life is gone because i was discouraged and I quit! Anyway. Buck up little camper! Onward.]

Thusly, I was quite annoyed when I read this article about Philip Roth pooping on a young writer’s (Julian Tepper) dream by suggesting he quit after the sale of his first book. And it wasn’t because the guy was crap, or that he had no potential. Tepper’s first novel is about to come out! No, Roth just said, “It’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful.”

I often compare this job to ditch digging because dangit, you have to get your work done (plug for Magic Spreadsheet goes here) no matter whether the inspiration strikes you or not. But here’s the deal- writing is unlike ditch digging (besides the very obvious way) in that manual labor is hard, and thankless, and rarely what kids dream they will be. Kids dream of being writers. And they write, and yes, throw away, a lot of words in their efforts to be writers. It’s mentally and emotionally hard work. It’s agonizing sometimes. But sheesh, what career isn’t? I can’t think of any job that’s super easy, fun, rewarding, and not tough on you ever.

A writing career is a dream come true for a lot of people. And you’re going to have more people thanking you for how your book affected their lives than you will have people thanking you for making sure the roads don’t flood when it storms. Even if you write wacky superhero satire, you can make a difference in someone’s life.

Roth clearly is not a happy writer (obviously, since he just recently retired from it.) Or he wasn’t the day that Tepper gave him a copy of his book. But Roth never considered that perhaps Tepper’s career isn’t going to mirror his experience exactly. And I’m not even talking about the external fame and money, I’m talking about his internal view of his life and career. Tepper might view writing as something other than “torture.” (I hope Roth is never tortured. Cause my worst day writing isn’t quite torture… Amnesty International has never investigated my office.) Some people love writing. Some see it as work that needs to be done. Some people are self-loathing and trudge to the computer to open a vein and drink scotch and complain about writing later. But there must be some reason they do it…

Anyway, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a response to Roth here, which is how I heard about this, and wanted to give my two cents.

Chase that dream to be a writer. It’s awesome.

ISBW #273 – Publishing talk and David Lubar Interview

The show brings children’s and YA author David Lubar to the mic, along with my daughter Princess Scientist to kick us off with a “no offense” question.

Things we discuss in the show: Publishing, Nathan Bransford’s report about B&N, and David Lubar!

Attack of the Ninja Weenies

Beware the Ninja Weenies

ISBW #271 – Paul Cornell Interview

At WorldCon I spoke to Paul Cornell, author of London Falling and many other things in many other media.

Paul Cornell's London Falling

Paul Cornell’s London Falling