A draft of a chapter of some thoughts on things.

The following is a very early draft of a chapter from a book I’m writing with Tom Abba. Think of it as a couple of academics/creators trying to help other creators avoid all of the dumb mistakes they’ve made. It’s very early stages still but all feedback welcome (send them to baldur.bjarnason@gmail.com or to Tom, if you can dig up his contact details somewhere. Probably on his twitter. Or his home page.

Sex, violence, and stílbrot

(This is the fifth Stumbling into Publishing post.) One flaw (out of many) that’s endemic in my writing is that I tend to introduce detail that’s either irrelevant, too early, or too late. Like describing the cut and pattern of somebody’s clothes before the cultural origin of said design becomes important or adding superfluous technical detail to a post when you only need the general idea. A lot of the time adding detail detracted and obfuscated the effect I was driving for.

Blogging has trained me to assume you’re stupid

(This is the fourth Stumbling into Publishing post.) One of my biggest regrets with the Knights & Necromancers series is how generic it sounds. Not just the title—if it were just the title I could have fixed that by changing it. No, the problem is that the stories seem impossible to summarise without sounding like generic cookie-cutter sword and sorcery fiction because that was the foundation I built on. I’d like to think I made something more of it but that ‘something’ is a thing too vague to boil down and market.

What I thought I wanted versus what I really wanted

(This is the third Stumbling into Publishing post.) The project idea was simple: write and publish a series of novella-length ebooks. The reason was even simpler: to learn about ebooks and publishing. I had a few requirements at the start. I was only going to put together four to six stories. Not just for my sake, but also for the reader. I wanted to make sure that the reader had an end in sight.

Stumbling into publishing

(This is the second Stumbling into Publishing post.) If it looks like I have focus, that’s just because every hour, every minute, every second of every day, I feel lost. I eye the world seeking sense and finding patterns in the same way a man on a sinking ship eyes the horizon desperately for sight of land. I’d like to call it curiosity but it really is more than that; deeper and more obsessive.

Publishing has catered to dumb for a long while

The following is from The Technique of the Novel - A Handbook on the Craft of the Long Narrative, originally written in 1947: Why aren’t novels better? It is surprising that they are not worse. Real profits are made in the publishing business by employing highly talented individuals who understand, intuitively in most cases, I believe, the dumb yearnings of dumb people and devise products to please them and keep them dumb and happy.

Make ebooks worth it

Turns out this post is a part of an impromptu series of blog posts. Didn’t plan it this way: Ebook silos and missed opportunities Ebook silos, update Ebooks and cognitive mapping There’s a theme been running through all my blog posts this week. In fact, a single theme runs through all of my writing on ebooks; the driving idea behind all of my thoughts on the subject.

What you people read (on my websites)

One of the basic problems with website ‘analytics’ is that a lot of the data is just noise. We have no real insight into cause and effect—that traffic sources section is insidious because it often amounts to little more than misdirection, knowing where people come from almost never tells you why they came. The scary and frightening fact is that the effectiveness of our online marketing and traffic generation tactics is probably due to random chance—spending time on a particular source of traffic is no different from just buying more lottery tickets.

Good books don't win

> > The editorial fallacy is the belief that all of a publisher’s strategic problems can be solved by pursuing and publishing the finest books and articles. (From _[The Editorial Fallacy](http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2010/09/08/the-editorial-fallacy/)_) > >

This is a belief that seems to be pervasive among large sections of the publishing industry. It’s also a very mistaken belief. The problem isn’t just with the idea that the only thing a publisher needs to do to succeed is publish good books (which is patently untrue) but also with the basic premise.

Namely, what is a good book?