AISFP 124 – Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Scifi Trivia

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Kristine Kathryn Rusch joins us for a special two segment interview. First, we discuss the changing publishing industry, including why Kris says new writers should not seek agents at this time, the changing marketplace, the use of ebooks to revive older series that traditional publishers no longer wish to publish, and what writers don’t understand about book contracts and agency contracts. Then Kris returns to discuss CITY OF RUINS, DIVING INTO THE WRECK, her many pen-names, archaeology, her use of short chapters, and so much more.

Finally, this episode features our Summer of Scifi Trivia question! Make sure to write down your answer somewhere you won’t lose it, and listen to SF Signal and I Should be Writing for the other two questions. 12 books are up for grabs!

Novelists Inc.
The Passive Voice
The Bookseller
The Copyright Handbook
Doug Smith
Publisher’s Marketplace

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  1. Awesome podcast. I’ve been reading Kris’s Business Rusch blog series for almost six months now, and as an aspiring writer I’ve found it immensely helpful. Thanks to Kris for coming on the show!

    One thing I wonder, though, is if publishers are rescinding their “no unagented submissions” policy, why do they still use the same form rejections? Why not show a little transparency and print up new forms with their actual policies? I understand that they don’t want to be inundated with crap, but as a writer, I find this kind of schizophrenic duplicitousness to be highly frustrating and a waste of my time. It’s partially because this that I’ve decided to forego traditional publishing and epublish my own work first. Maybe I’ll go with a publishing house later, but with all of the other problems you discussed (bad contracts, agents-as-publishers, the royalties fiasco, etc), I think it’s a much better idea to go it alone until I’ve built enough of a platform to have some weight to throw around.

    Again, thanks so much for the show and the excellent interview!

  2. Wow, Kristine is like the female David Abraham, having different names for different genres (James S A Corey). I guess Kristie Lake is a new one. My google fu fails to find it.

  3. This episode was fantastic. And to go along with the spirit of what Joe said, having ‘no unagented submissions’ stamped all over their websites under the submission guidelines pages doesn’t make much sense either. I don’t know why they insist on being so coy.

    Even places like Tor, I believe, who are famous for taking unagented manuscripts, still insist of using agents for science fiction. I scratch my head. It’s frustrating.

    Can’t wait for the next show, you guys are terrific.

  4. Christian Berntsen says

    Gentlemen, this was an excellent episode, very well done with this different interview format. I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time, but Shaun, Brent and Moses, I’ve found that since the three of you began working together on AISFP 2.0, there was an immediate chemistry and an easy way about your roundtable segments. You rarely stumble over each other and you guys sound like you’re having a great time. All this translated into your interview with Kris Rusch (who was very informative, I follow her blog as well). Fantastic job, guys, keep it up! – Christian

  5. Shaun Farrell says

    Thank you so much, Christian! We appreciate those kind words, and I can say that, yes, we have had a natural chemistry from the beginning. Maybe I edit just a weeee bit as well. Just a bit.

  6. Shaun Farrell says

    Joe and Rusty, it makes no sense to me why publishers couldn’t spend fifteen minutes drafting a new rejection letter. It’s not like the rejection letters are long, after all. Just a couple sentences!

    *Palm to forehead*

  7. Sean,

    “Joe and Rusty, it makes no sense to me why publishers couldn’t spend fifteen minutes drafting a new rejection letter. It’s not like the rejection letters are long, after all. Just a couple sentences!

    *Palm to forehead*”

    Insufficiently geeky.

    *Picard facepalm*


    Excellent podcast, btw.

  8. Or maybe this issue calls for a Picard Epic Double Facepalm.

  9. James Clark says

    While I understand that the form rejection letters are annoying (and apparently now inappropriate/inaccurate) I can still understand why some publishers will still put out the idea that they don’t take un-agented manuscripts: to keep the riff-raff out, in short.

    I can only imagine that these people have taken one look at the situation and said, “We don’t want a slush pile fifty deep with fifty more turning up every day.”

    They have instead come up with a solution that relies on submissions from only those who are firmly of the belief that they are good enough to be published from an unsolicited manuscript, those who have put in the man-hours to research the publisher, perhaps even speaking to other published authors at cons or even the editors of these presses. They’re probably committed, high-quality, knowledgeable and intelligent authors who you wouldn’t mind having on your books.

    That said, this all assumes that they want to control the size of the slush pile… if they don’t then the whole form rejection and official notice thing seems a bit counter-intuitive.

    All the best and I loved the new format; I hope you guys try it again soon!


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