Friday, 4 July 2014


I put out a call for questions, and you hath delivered!

Now it's time for me to pretend that I have the answers.
Kevin Waleroup asked...
I have start my own publishing company call Blaster books but I'm now looking for Arthur can you help me?
Congrats on diving into the hairy, and sometimes scary world of book publishing. I'm assuming you're looking for "authors" and that the auto-correct on your phone took you in a different direction, because I don't know where Arthur is.

Oh, wait, there he is…


Let's look at what you need to be a publisher.

1. The means to produce books, which includes:

  • Authors. People to write the books, they can be found via an institution called "The Slush Pile" or through literary agents. The slush pile is the name for the pile of unsolicited manuscripts sent in by authors and agents.
  • Editors. These are the people who separate the wheat from the chaff in the slush pile. They then work with the authors to make sure that the final product reads like a professional quality novel. Key are "copy-editors" who seek out and destroy glaring spelling, grammar, and typographical errors that separate the best seller from the self-published amateurs.
  • Graphics. Nothing sinks a fledgling publisher quicker than bad cover art. There's a website dedicated to some of the eye-bleed inducing abominations that clog up self-pub and small-press outlets like Amazon. They repel book buyers with their stock image mash-ups, and they tell wannabe authors that this press is amateurish and poorly run. So decent graphics are a must.
  • Manufacturing. The means of production have simplified, especially for e-books. E-books can be made using a desktop computer. Print books are trickier, but not as hard as they used to be.
2. The means of getting books to readers:
  • Distribution. There's no point to publishing books if you don't get them to readers. E-books require a connection to a big online retailer like Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble, and are not that hard to set up. Getting print books into physical stores is most likely trickier. The big distributors want publishers who can provide a steady stream of product that will sell.
  • Promotion/Marketing. Readers need to know about your books if they are going to buy them. That means getting the word out. Social media spam can only go so-far, and that ain't far at all. Leaving paid advertisements, and word of mouth that can be amplified by good reviews by influential readers.
Hope that helps in my own small way.
what is going on at NBC now?
Well, I'm not sure what's going on right now. The age of the "personality executive" at NBC seems to over, and with the cancellation of Community, the only show I watch on NBC is the strangely compelling Hannibal.

Nate Winchester asked...
You've talked before about how revolutions are making the ability to create movies cheaper and cheaper and with distribution being practically free now... how long do you think it will be until we see a self-releasing revolution in the movie business like we've seen the self-publishing one in the book business? Do you think that might be the next indie upheaval?
We're starting to see not so much a revolution, as an evolution when it comes to what you would call "self-releasing." Outlets like Amazon and Netflix need more content than the major studios can provide for their VOD services, and digital projection makes theatrical releases more affordable.

However, it's still an expensive and time consuming proposition that most people, even filmmakers, lack the skill set to master. I'm sure that as I write this there are people out there looking for opportunities to be found in getting such material to their target audiences.
You've spoken a lot about the jobs in Hollywood, but I'm curious how those jobs interact with each other. Like when the director wants a change, do they call the writer or just do it without them? How much do the editor & director get along? Those are such examples, I'm sure there's many more but I can't think of them right now. (hey... could be a new blog topic series)

As for interaction of the different jobs that depends a lot on the film and who is making the film. Some directors are hands on from script through production, and post-production, some leave things to the experts, while others are hands on when they should be leaving things to the experts. 

There are literally reams of union regulations that say who can do what in a major Hollywood production, but mostly they centre around who gets credit for the work, which determines royalties and residuals.
I know you don't like predicting the academy awards, but what about the razzies? 
Ever thought about doing your own awards?
The Razzies are even more predictable than the Oscars. Pick a movie that teens are into, but is otherwise nonsense, and shower it with questionable prizes.

As for my own awards. Too much work, too little point.

I see on this:
The words:
"A wickedly satirical..."
That and your previous post on satire makes me wonder... D what do you think are the best and worst satires out there? And (if "worst" doesn't cover it), what do you think is the satire that most missed the subject it was aiming for?

The best satires are the ones that don't hit you as a satire right away. Instead of hammering you with their ideas they use humour to slyly let the point they're trying to make seep into your mind.

Right now I'm re-watching the original British production of House of Cards and on the surface it's a melodrama about a ruthless man doing whatever it takes to reach the top of the proverbial greasy pole including murder. Beneath that it's a wicked satire of politics, politicians, and the media based on a surprisingly conservative political philosophy.

You see: satire built on a liberal philosophy say that all the problems with the world are people who have the wrong ideology. Those who follow that wrong ideology, like corporations, religious groups, and the like, are inherently stupid, evil and often grotesque because they follow that ideology, and thus should be mocked for their desire to remake the world in their stupid, evil, and grotesque image.

Satire built on a conservative philosophy is all about the temptations power offers to people, who are all fundamentally flawed because they are human beings. The greater the power on offer, the greater the flaws become as the wrong people are attracted to it. Which can be summed up as: "Shit floats."

Judging whether a satire is good or bad depends on what you believe and the judgement of time. Good satire, while commenting on the time it was made, is essentially timeless, because no matter how many things change, some fundamental truths will always apply. Bad satire comes across as shrill, lecturing, and in the long run extremely dated. 
 rick mcginnis asked...
On the topic of a movie producing revolution - I've noticed that the imdb trailer page frequently posts trailers for small-budget films, which are given the same space as new releases as big studio or pseudo-indie films. So far, so good. The other thing I've noticed is how awful the trailers are, and how well they dissuade me from any curiosity about the films they tease. If you work from the rule that a trailer usually features the best bits of any film, they work as negative advertising. It's nice to hope that, with production costs falling and distribution networks being given an end-run, a whole bunch of talent that had fallen through the cracks would emerge, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Remember Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crap."

That law is probably getting an extra boost from the simple fact that while the ability to make films has been democratized, the talent to make good films hasn't.

However, the market has ways to correct this, all but a few of the really bad filmmakers will eventually either run out of money, go on to have big studio deals, or realize they suck and move on.

Eventually, as this new form of micro-budget uber-indie filmmaking matures, the static-noise of shit will begin to fade and you'll start to see real talents emerge and find their audience.

90% will still be crap, but at least the trailers will look more professional.
Kevin Waleroup asked...What was your science fiction book about?
You mean JOE AVERAGE the e-book that I'm giving away for free until Saturday July 5th 2014?

It's about a man with superhuman powers, but a less than superhuman appearance. He's an average looking schlub who just happens to be able to fly, deflect bullets and punch his way through brick walls.

He tries to use his powers for good, but ends up dealing with not only with super-villainy, but the even nastier everyday villainy of crooked politicians, their cronies, and a media that doesn't know what to do with a hero who doesn't look like he should be a hero.

Why don't you get a copy, you can't beat the price.
Anyway, I hope I've answered all of your questions as well as I could.


  1. thank you
    I will pay $35 novelette and $45 Novella. If i buy you novelette and Novella I keep the right for 3 years you will get 30% royalty for sales.

  2. Joe Average is already published, but if something else comes up I'll let you know.

    I would suggest setting up a website that shows off what you can do, and then make contact with writers via social media like Facebook and Twitter.