The Ultimate Genre MFA

So, this article about MFA programs has been going around for the last couple of days. Unsurprisingly, the ever-thoughtful, ever-incisive hilarious Chuck Wendig has a point-by-point response which is dead-on (standard heads-up: Chuck is virtuoso of inventive swearing). So rather than add my own point-by-point response, I want to take the conversation in a bit of…

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Birthday Giveaways!

Hello, all! Today is my birthday, and to celebrate, I’m hosting three giveaways for copies of my novels. One giveaway is right here. Just comment on this post between now and Friday the 27th at 5PM EDT with your personal favorite birthday tradition: a food you like to eat, a restaurant you visit, some media you partake…

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How We Can Save Borderlands

A while back, Borderlands Books announced that they would have to close up shop. This was met with much despair and many calls to investigate options to avoid closing. Borderlands held a planning meeting earlier this month to consider options. Writer and Reviewer Sunil Patel took notes at the planning meeting, which I Storified here (N.B. these…

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Introducing GENRENAUTS

Tor.com has announced their launch roster for The Imprint, including two books by me in a new series! When I heard the news of Tor.com launching a novella imprint, focusing on digital sales and experimenting with different sales and promotion strategies, as well as offering a higher royalty rate on digital sales, Macmillan had my curiosity. When…

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SFWA Welcomes Self-Published and Small Press Writers

Late Tuesday afternoon, SFWA announced that it was revising its membership requirements to specifically allow self-published/indie/author-published and small press writers. This move had been under discussion for quite some time, and like many professional organizations, SFWA is somewhat slow to make large policy changes. But changed it has. I am incredibly pleased by this change. There are…

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…and while we’re at it, books, too.

Yesterday, the team at BOOM! Studios, one of the coolest independent comics publishers, announced a new initiative called ‘Comics Forward’

Push Comics Forward

Push Comics Forward has its own site, and a hashtag for discussion on Twitter (#ComicsForward)

And fortunately, BOOM! are not the only comic publisher pushing diversity and expanding their audience. DC has added Gotham Academy and Batgirl, Marvel has Captain MarvelMs. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and more. Image has a swathe of comics like this – fewer for all-ages, but many that expand the range of what’s available in comics storytelling.

Some quick historical context: when comes were at their most popular, they encompassed a wide range of genres (especially including romance, a notable missing genre among most larger comics publishers right now, crime, as well as supernatural/fantasy/supers), and the readership was both women and men. It’s only later on that the major publishers narrowed their aesthetic and marketing focus in a way that excluded women and younger audiences. So this intentional expansion of what kinds of stories are being told and what audiences are being invited in is not a question of ‘cheapening’ comics or ‘giving in to feminism’ (which is like saying ‘giving in to equality and compassion’), but more like a return to the breadth of content and readership comics had at its height.

I am excited to see what Push Comics Forward will accomplish, for BOOM! and for comics more broadly.

In both comics and in SFF literature, there’s been ongoing conversations about diversity and representation, to the point that I hope it will prove to be a sea change and not a seasonal or temporary topic. With initiatives like Push Comics Forward, the Destroy Science Fiction anthologies (Women Destroy Science Fiction, Queers Destroy Science Fiction), We Need Diverse Books, and more, I hope that a high standard of diversity and representation will become just another part of what is expected from the comics and SFF literary world. I’ve been doing my best to be part of the equation by writing as diversely as I can, and there are many other writers leading the way in the prose world – Seanan McGuire, Ann Leckie, Kameron Hurley, Max Gladstone, N.K. Jemisin, Saladin Ahmed, and many many more.

Whether these efforts succeed or fail will be decided by creators and consumers both. So let’s Push Comics (and Books) Forward.

I’ve talked before about the Content Wars in media – the fight for exclusive content, of capturing, holding, and monetizing attention with subscription models, walled garden marketplaces, and so on.

It behooves writers, readers, and all media consumers/producers to stay abreast of what’s going on in the broader business landscape for creatives.

Which is why I wanted to point out this Tumblr article by musician Zoe Keating.

The music industry is not the publishing industry, so I’m not saying this precise model will be replicated in publishing with services like Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, Scribd, etc.

But among other things, it’s a good reminder to be aware of the partnerships you’re making, and that aggregators, distributors, and retailers (Google, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Kobo) are not your friends. They are businesses looking out for their own best interests. And if you are beholden to any one of them for too much of your business/reach/content, it can and often does end poorly.