My latest book, out today, has its genesis in books by other writers published 52 years apart (or perhaps 73, as we shall see).
One is a personal improvement book written in 1937 that has sold 15 million copies and is still frequently referenced today. The other was a survey of the British science fiction and fantasy writing establishment in 1989.
Combine the two and you get my contribution to today’s book launch: Titans Rising: The Business of Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in the 21st Century, published by Quillcraft Press.
The publisher doesn’t know anything about that 1989 contribution, so let’s start in the America of 1937 with Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The premise was to collect the reflections of successful entrepreneurs and attempt to distil the essential behaviors and attitudes that made them successful. By applying these learnings, readers would find greater success in their own lives. And not just in business; this extended to all aspects of life.
When I’m running, I sometimes listen to motivational audiobooks and that Napoleon Hill book and its findings are still frequently referenced. I would love to think that any of my writing would be read and discussed in 85 years’ time.
Titan’s Rising takes some of the most successful indie and small press authors in the arena of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and seeks to distil what it is about them that makes them so successful. Like Hill’s 1937 classic, Titan’s Rising aims to do so in a way that will help authors (and publishers) to greater success in their own endeavors.
I haven’t read the book yet. My copy should arrive tomorrow and I’m eager to read. I’m eager to learn too. Just because I am one of the contributors, doesn’t mean I’m not part of the audience to read this book. In fact, I expect to learn a great deal from the other writers.
And what a lineup they are!
You can imagine the publisher for a book like this describing its contributors as ‘some of the leading authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror today’. In the case of Titan’s Rising, this hype would be justified. In the indie and small press world, these really are some of the most successful authors around. I’ve been writing and publishing science fiction and fantasy as a full-time career for eleven years now, and on this at least, I know what I’m talking about. There is premier quality talent here.
So much so that I feel very much one of the most junior contributors. Nonetheless, I believe I have made suggestions that I feel sure will help some readers.
So what about 1989?
I used to belong to an organization called the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association). Alongside sister organization the British Fantasy Society, this was essentially the establishment for British SF/F/H fans and traditionally published authors and the small press as it was then.
The BSFA ran an author survey in 1989 and then again in 2009. A few years later, members received a paperback (by Paul Kincaid and Niall Harrison) that condensed the responses from both surveys and tried to draw conclusions about how things had changed over those twenty years.
To be honest, there weren’t clear conclusions about anything very much. Nonetheless, I still found this a fascinating read. By the time I received the book, I was a professional science fiction writer myself, and as I read the responses of other authors to the survey questions, I naturally wondered how I would have responded.
That BSFA book was originally published in 2010, which was the year when science fiction publishing changed fundamentally with the introduction of Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m sure many (most?) professional science fiction and fantasy writers of today would scratch their heads when reading that 2010 book, because it represents an alternative view of publishing, one that still exists but is very different from most of our experiences.
1989. 2009. 2029.
I have half a sleeper ear, primed to activate in seven years and listen out for a sequel.
Seven years! Doesn’t sound so impossibly distant now.
If that does come about, and if I were invited to contribute (for which there is a minuscule likelihood), then you would have to wait at least another eight years before such a book could be published.
Now you don’t have to.
Today, I present Titan’s Rising. Compared with the BSFA publication, it has a much greater emphasis on teaching how to succeed and in selecting contributors who are themselves commercially successful. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends upon your perspective. But for me, in addition for the publisher’s stated purpose, Titan’s Rising should make a fascinating counterpoint to the BSFA book.
As I write these words, I haven’t yet read Titan’s Rising, but I do know the other contributors, their reputations, and their success. I don’t need to read it to know that anyone serious about succeeding in the world of indie and small press publishing, or simply interested in the state of publishing today, will find buying, reading, and digesting this book to be one of the best investments you can make this year.
I’m sure you can pick up a copy at the FantaSci convention that’s kicking of as I write this post. Hi to everyone at FantaSci! For anyone not in Durham, NC this weekend, you can grab a copy from Amazon USA | UK | CA | OZ | DE
Tim C Taylor is lucky enough to write science fiction adventure for a living.
His most recent book is the anthology, You Pay; We Slay, by Hit World Press.