AISFP 200 – Lou Anders

Tincture Wolf DawnTincture: Grave robbing requires a corpse, so at most, this was all just simple thievery.

“Rhamuel and the last of his family, Abranyah, travel their barren world, shack to shack, selling tinctures to keep a full belly and evading the dogmatists to keep their throats safe. Time has moved on after The Whatever, an apocalyptic event that few remember and even fewer can explain, danger now as commonplace as the unrecognizable relics of war, and the madman Aphulan—along with an iron rule over his small township—may hold the answers. . . .

Wolf Dawn: Ashton Chayton was born with a powerful gift, a unique inhuman ability. Orphaned, raised by the Red Wolves of Opan, captured and enslaved – he is now free and on the run. Unfortunately everybody wants Ashton. Admiral Jones will torture him to get the secret of his power. Lady Lindha feels he is “The One” as named in Temple prophecy. The influential Lord Andros just wants him dead.  Ashton only wants two things: revenge, and the Lady Lindha. If you had unique powers, wouldn’t you use them to get what you want?

Subscribe to TINCTURE today, and purchase WOLF DAWN. Oh, and tell them AISFP sent you!

Show Notes:

In this episode, we take a drive down memory lane. Then we update some of the past “big topics” covered on the show, including: The Death of Short Fiction, the rising paradigm shift in publishing, the dangers of Indie Publishing, the hottest sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy, space travel allergies, and more.


In celebration of 200 episodes, we are giving away 2 copies of THE SIX-GUN TAROT. To enter the drawing, please post something about us producing 200 episodes either on facebook or twitter, encouraging your friends to check us out. Please make your entry by March 18th.

What are some of your favorite moments from our first 200 episodes. Please hit us up on Twitter and call the voicemail line at  619-75-AISFP (24737). We will play your voice on the show!

Do you have questions only a New York Times Bestselling author can answer? Email them to us and we will forward them to Tobias Buckell for answer on the show.

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  1. Congrats on 200! If I had known that so many people were complaining about the jazz into I would have given you some encouragement. One of the sound bites about taking on creative projects you fear might be impossible encouraged me numerous times. Do you remember what episode that’s from?

    I have more to say, but I’ll send you guys an mp3 comment.

  2. Shaun Farrell says

    That sound byte was from Chris Roberson, Tim. Episode. . . . well, search for Chris Roberson. 🙂

  3. Oh wow. I’m a big fan of Lou Anders, love all his interviews on this show, met him at Worldcon and think he’s a nice guy, but when it comes to his comments on self publishing in this episode, I think he’s completely out of touch.

    Don’t get me wrong. I agree that the people who throw up their first story on Amazon expecting to get rich are seriously misguided. It still takes ten years to become an overnight success–ebooks haven’t changed that at all. But from that, Lou comes to a number of conclusions that just leave me scratching my head.

    First of all, traditional publishers are not looking for quality writing. All three of you pointed that out in this very episode in your discussion about 50 Shades of Grey. What was it that Lou said? “Writing is the only profession where as you get better, you get paid worse.” If publishers are looking for quality writing, it’s only insofar as they expect that to help it become a commercial success.

    But here’s the rub: the benchmarks for commercial success are completely different for a self publishing operation than they are for a large house with a corporate structure. A self published writer who puts out two novels a year can make a decent living on 1,000 true fans (or less) who buy each book as soon as it comes out and tell all their friends about it. A good example of someone doing this right now is Lindsay Buroker, but she’s by no means the only one. However, for a traditional publisher, those numbers are way too small. Kris Rusch did an excellent job pointing this out in a blog post last year, “No Reader Left Behind.”

    Can a traditionally published author with a fan base sufficiently large to support himself and his publishing house self-publish and expect to see success? Yes, certainly. Does that mean that it’s necessary and sufficient to publish traditionally before you can expect to experience success self publishing? No, not at all. The benchmarks for self publishing success are much smaller, the avenues for global distribution are wide open, and the tools are available for anyone with a good story to build up a fan base on their own.

    Or here, let’s put it this way. The first stories we write tend to be pretty crappy. That’s true whether or not we self publish. But does that mean that you shouldn’t submit anything until you’re absolutely sure it’s golden? That you shouldn’t send anything out to a traditional publisher until you’re sure that they won’t reject it? No!

    Heinlein’s fourth and fifth rules are “you must put your story on the market” and “you must keep it on the market until it has sold.” That was true in the traditional publishing world, and it’s just as true in the self publishing world. Yes, the first thing you throw up on Amazon probably isn’t going to make it big, but that’s no reason to trunk it. Put it up anyway, then write another one and put it up as well. If they suck, they’ll sink to the bottom of the ebook marketplace–but that doesn’t leave you any worse off than if you hadn’t put them up at all. And if you’re worried about ruining your name, then put them up under a pseudonym and don’t tell anyone. If nobody buys them, then that probably means that you’ve got to work on your craft some more. And when they do start buying them, then that’s probably the best sign you can get that you’re ready to start rolling stories out under your own name.

    We all have a million words of crap to get out before we start putting out good quality stuff on a regular basis. But every time I’ve heard a seasoned professional mention that, in the next breath they add “but if you can get paid for any of those million words, take the check to the bank.” On a purely cynical level, that’s what self publishing is. It doesn’t really harm anyone if no one buys it, since it all sinks to the bottom anyway. But as a creator, you never know which story is going to rise to the top.

    Finally, regarding the burglary analogy: some of the best thieves in our day don’t have a clue how to pick a physical lock. They work with networks and computer code, and can make untold thousands more than a burglar without leaving the comfort of their own home. In fact, their skills are so good that governments are employing them to wage cyber-warfare on other nations, stealing corporate and military secrets, and destroying equipment like the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran. Technology changed, and the thieves changed with it.

    The idea that it’s somehow “easier” to self publish, or that writers who self publish are cheating by taking the “easy” path, is complete and utter bunk. Everyone pays their dues, whether through rejection slips or years of poor sales numbers. The biggest difference is that a successful self published writer is much more likely to learn how to take responsibility for their careers and treat their writing like a business, whereas writers who only publish traditionally tend to see themselves as little bundles of talent that need to be nurtured and taken care of.

    To be fair, though, it’s not just Lou who’s out of touch, but pretty much the majority of people in both the new and the old worlds of publishing. If / when I become a successful author, it will be in spite of all the advice I’ve received, not because of it.

  4. On a less controversial note, I had a moment of happy giddiness when I heard the original intro to the show. I’ve been listening faithfully since 2006, through that temporary hiatus the show went on for a while, and I’m still a huge fan. I have to admit, I’ve missed that old intro song, though I love everything you’ve done with the show since. I can’t wait to hear episode 300! 😀

  5. I liked the “jazz” opening…

    the “Pixelstained technopeasant wretches” clip made me smile every time…

  6. I liked the “jazz” opening as well. Who did that opening, I wonder?

  7. Shaun Farrell says

    Victoria and TW, you have made my week by liking the jazz opening! Thank you. If you listen to one of those episodes, Victoria, I credit the artist in the closing credits, but I can’t recall anymore who it was.

    Joe, thank you for taking the time to write such a long comment and for being a strong supporter of the show. I disagree with Lou being ill-informed. I think his opinion is just different from yours, but I see truth in both sides. Look at me becoming all politically correct!

    I am still on the fence with much of this stuff and perfectly willing to let others test things out. The more evidence I can gather over time, the more confident I will feel either way. If my novel were ready today, I would still go the traditional route with it. I think the best thing to do is what we discussed Jeff Carlson doing. Play in both sandboxes and let the results multiply.

  8. Congrats on 200! I say celebrate by incorporating a brand new intro! I love all the great content. I am fairly new to the podcast, but it has been very inspirational to me. Much thanks to all at Adventures in SciFi Publishing!

  9. Congrats on 200!

  10. Many congratulations, Sean. Great show, too…Lou Anders is an excellent interviewee, and I love the stuff he puts out, though not read that many yet.. On my wish list. Oh, for anyone who may be interested, I’ve written a review on my blog of Lou’s Masked anthology (in spite of what he said about superheroes in prose, he’s proven himself wrong here):

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