W&N Fiction

Praise the Lord and pass the genre ammunition.

Gollancz Author: - February 18th, 2013
Editorial Posts

I look at the ceaseless back and forth of opinion, declaration, review, argument, excitement and comment that SF, Fantasy and Horror are engaged in on the internet, in print and in conversation (the latter generally in the pub, it must be said) and it is clear that we are having a very informed, passionate and ongoing conversation with…ourselves.

Make no mistake, this is wonderful. I can’t think of another area of literary endeavour that is both supported and critiqued quite as strongly as SF, Fantasy and Horror. We’ve been talking like this since the first fan magazines, the first conventions. The internet has taken the conversation to a whole other level. It’s fantastic and it’s a model (like all the best models this one grew by accident and was honed by use) that other parts of the industry are now looking to repeat with their own newsletters, twitter feeds and reading groups; trying to create and then trying to reach out to an informed and dedicated following for all sorts of literary (and not so literary) genres. This level of conversation within SF, Fantasy and Horror’s support networks means that we have a core readership that are uniquely engaged in what we do.

But…

There’s that worry again; we’re really just talking to ourselves aren’t we? Preaching to the converted. Or arguing the finer points of our theology with those on the other side of a schism in our faith. Who is talking to the unbelievers? Who is taking the message out to the heathen mainstream? Where are the missionaries? Where, in short, are the hell we going to get new readers for all these wonderful books from?

I mean, look at our awards. I’m sorry to say that for all their abundant significance to us, for all that we should celebrate the profound achievement of the authors who win them, their award makes not a jot of difference to sales of the winning books. Let alone the shortlisted ones. You see, we’re all so well-informed (or think we are), we’re such a small coterie, that the genre awards simply can’t bring enough new to enough new readers. And isn’t the whole point of an award to celebrate the best and by so doing bring new people to it? To be fair, this is true of pretty much every award in every area of publishing outside of perhaps the Orange Prize, the Costa or the Man Booker.

If only a ‘proper SF book’ (whatever that means) could be even shortlisted for the Booker (don’t worry I’m not going to get onto that particular hobbyhorse)…

I sometimes wonder whether the mainstream and literary markets, even by just occasionally indulging in older genre ideas and treating them with (from religious analogy to art world) broader brush strokes and colours that are easier on the untrained eye, are not going to be more successful at showing to a broader readership what SF and Fantasy can do. Whether it be Audrey Niffenegger, (not Margaret Atwood – she’s just one of us OK? Argument closed), Kazuo Ishiguro, Philip Roth, Will Self or even, God help us all, Martin Amis aren’t those mainstream writers who dip into genre actually doing more to take our argument out there than we are? And this is without considering those fantastic and unashamed genre writers, the likes of David Mitchell and Lauren Beukes who are published under the aegis of mainstream houses and who therefore have the chance of getting their conversation heard by believer and heathen alike.

Now this is not to say that I think our genres should turn the volume of their ideas down from 11 to 4 (from religion, to art, to music! See how my ragged style jumps from unsuitable analogy to unsuitable analogy!), pull their indy and their hip-hop and their grime back to the middle of the road. Far from it. You don’t apologise for your genre, you celebrate it. Much of SFF’s appeal, much of its importance comes from its willingness to be narrowly directed, to pull the reader ahead , to push at boundaries. But I do think it would do us no harm at all to stop being so bloody sniffy about the mainstream and literary (whatever that means) world’s occasional ‘misappropriation’ of ‘our’ cool stuff. Yes they are going to claim (in the broadsheets, on the radio; all those places we don’t get to go) that they had the idea and are better than us (just like we do) but they are at least talking to other people. We should be happy that they are, we should celebrate what they are doing. Some of the people reading them might get a whiff of the divine (back to religion; keep up!) from their books and come in search of the real, old-time religion that’s preached in our neck of the woods.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 1:02 pm and is filed under Editorial Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Praise the Lord and pass the genre ammunition.”

  1. Karen says:

    I agree with you… But I sometimes think the genre categories are too rigid… I tend to like stories with an element of adventure and romance, or a main character having to overcome a thorny life problem… I end up reading all sorts of books that seem to promise that kind of story from horror to stream of consciousness to humour to crime… I actively seek books out but a lot of potential readers may miss things because they think, say sci-fi, is nothing but aliens and ray guns.

  2. Tom Hunter says:

    Great article, thanks Simon

    Speaking as the representative of an SF award (The Arthur C. Clarke) I’m going to say that this pretty much sums up what I see as being the main challenge for the award in the next few years (that and ebooks anyway) and indeed I’m working on some immediate answers right now, so look out for me announcing stuff over the next few weeks.

    In the meantime, a few points to contribute to the conversation started here:

    SF awards don’t increase sales (part 1). Unless I’m being fed false info this isn’t entirely true for us, not for the past few years anyway. Granted this isn’t true for every winning and shortlisted title, it does take a confluence of events to really shift the needle still, and certainly I’m not in any way content with our results to date, but still this statement is a little too broad I’d say.

    SF awards don’t increase sales (part 2). How do you know? I’ve had many conversations with publishers of all sizes about reader insight, and basically there doesn’t seem to be any – publishers seem to know less about their audiences any any other comparable cultural organisation (theatre, gallery, museums etc) So basically unless an award announcement results in an immediate sales spike how are you tracking this?
    I’m not accusing by the way, in fact that’s one of the areas where an independent organisation like the Clarke can help. We recently started the first stages of a reader study with some fascinating results. For example we were seeing readers regularly both buying and reading over 50 titles a year. Sounds great, but when asked how many were publishes in that year the answer both times was less than 5, so the rest is all basically longtail sales. I can correlate some of this and claim at least some of those Gollancz sales coming directly from the Clarke because we track affiliate purchases via our website. It’s a small but consistent accumulation, but then we don’t really spike on site visitors anyway during the quiet periods, but some of those recent sales of Yellow Blue Tibia or The Quiet War, that was me :-)
    I’m thinking there’s a lot of opportunity for the Clarke, and other awards, to help with this kind insight going forward, so it’s great to see the issue being raised here.

    One more thing: I’d definitely agree with the idea that there’s lots of talking to ourselves, but I do think stories are starting to break out more and more consistently and the reach of the dialogue is broader than we might think form inside the echo chamber.

    Taking one of my favourite recent examples, Chris Priest’s comments on last year’s Clarke Award shortlist, I watched the conversation on this from beginning to end, and this story was tweeted and retweeted globally once a minute or more for four whole days after it hit the national press.

    While seemingly negative at the time, award’s are hardly strangers to having their shortlists attached, and actually I’ve noted an extremely positive after effect for the award in terms of engagement with what I’ll call mainstream publishing ever since. Not only is it much easier to get my calls returned, I’m not actually having to call at all and both the enthusiasm and number of submissions for this years award have increased substantially. I take it as a very positive sign that there’s an increasing industry willingness to embrace the SFnal content in their own lists.

    Finally, what’s also struck me about the SF readerships is its relative affluence and willingness to spend – 50 books a year is both a time and a financial commitment after all . If it’s impossible to get meaningful reader data from the clutches of Amazon’s databanks, is it possible instead for publishers to think more creatively around additional products linked to their lists that might enhance their ability to connect more directly with readers via their own sites and social media channels rather than relying on third party shopping sites?

    I think this is going to be the main theme of my own conversations in the pub and elsewhere this year, and thanks again for putting together a lot of my own thoughts far more articulately than I’d ever have managed.

  3. Awards will help the sales of books in two ways.

    Firstly, if there is controversy unrelated to the books themselves. The Booker Prize began as a dull award for worthy literary novels, but in its third year it was dramatically politicized when the winner, John Berger, announced he was giving half his prize money to the Black Panthers. (This was because of the commercial activities of the sponsoring Booker McConnell company.) After that, everyone had heard of the Booker Prize and it began to have an impact on sales of books.

    There were later Booker controversies, but most of them were to do with the books themselves, or with the behaviour of their authors. These made the “conversation” more interesting but don’t appear to have had any effect on sales. Anthony Burgess refused to attend the award ceremony in 1980 unless he was told in advance he had won – this was said to reflect on Burgess’s presumed arrogance and petulance, and in being personalized made it less interesting. In 1984 Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, a novel of manners, won against J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun – something that still has the power to strike incredulity into the hearts and minds of anyone who takes literature seriously. Although now recognized as one of the major writers of the 20th century, Ballard was barely known at the time outside the SF genre, while Anita Brookner was an established literary author. Empire of the Sun remains a classic, but I wonder if Hotel du Lac is even in print these days. And in 2011, the Booker went to Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, a feeble and undeserving novel of English manners and misunderstandings, which made Dr Brookner’s effort look like, well, a bit of a classic.

    There is a much better literary award than the Booker, one which is fairly well recognized in the trade but which is almost entirely unknown to the general public. That is the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, which since 1919 has been making awards to the best fiction and non-fiction of its year. If you look back at the list, the most striking feature is the choice of the books which have won each year. These are usually not at all the obvious books of that period, nor even of the authors, yet which we can see with hindsight are actually good and imaginative choices. But the Tait goes quietly about its business and does not invite or incur controversy, but it does little to publicize itself, its shortlist or its winners. It rarely makes headlines and has almost no impact on sales in the bookstores.

    Tom Hunter kindly (I assume kindly) cites my essay Hull 0, Scunthorpe 3 as stirring up controversy over last year’s Clarke Award, but in fact I can’t imagine it made much difference to sales because my argument was about the quality of the judging, the unimaginative shortlist and the omission of so many other titles which would have put a bit of bottle into the award that year. Although this did provoke some discussion of the books, such is the nature of the internet that most of the apparently endless discussion that followed was made less interesting by being focused on me, my presumed motives, my imagined personal attacks and my supposedly bad tempered ranting (etc etc). Much, but not all, of the point seemed to me to be lost. A year later, while we await the release of this year’s Clarke shortlist, we are left with the residual hope that the Clarke judges (some of them the same as last year’s panel) deservedly feel a bit nervous about what they are expected to do, and will therefore be on their mettle. They might well feel they are being watched.

    But there is a second way of making an award have an impact on sales, and in the case of the Clarke Award it’s something Tom Hunter himself can do.

    What is the reason the “longlist” of submitted titles is held in secrecy for so long? Here we are at the moment, coming up to the end of February, and still no one knows which books are in contention this year. There is nothing judgmental about the longlist: it is merely a note of the titles which have been submitted by publishers. How long does it take Tom to type that out? It should, in fact, be released every year, promptly on January 1st, indicating not only that submissions are now closed, but that the choices of the judges will be drawn from this publicly announced list.

    As for the shortlist, this too is announced far too late, far too close to the final ceremony. Last year, the Clarke shortlist was announced a scant five weeks before the ceremony itself. That’s not long enough. There should be at least two months for best effect. Having the shortlist out in the open as soon as possible is the easiest way of working up a public interest in the award. Not only does it give interested parties time to read the final six titles, it gives the publishers time to publicize their books, bookstores can order in copies and put up display cards, perhaps arrange events – signings, interviews, etc – with the authors and publishers, get material into the press, and in general work up a bit of publicity not only for the authors but for the award and for the genre itself. And, who knows, maybe there would then also be time for a bit of a Berger-type scandal to arise, and make the award not only interesting but a bit sexy too.

  4. Tom Hunter says:

    Lots to unpack in Chris’s post above, and thanks again to Simon for starting this.

    Focusing on the issue of announcement timings for the moment though, I’m not adverse to anything Chris suggests but here’s some counter reasons and behind the scenes insights – some simply practical, others more down to my approach

    I’ve only been publishing the full submissions list for the Clarke Award for the past few years, and for me it’s still an experiment as to whether this adds value. I think it definitely does, but to be clear its not something with decades of historical precedent behind it.

    We don’t publish the list on 1st Jan because books come in right up to the last minute and we go through a checking process after the official close. This doesn’t mean that people can submit after the 31st Dec deadline, but we do want to check we’ve got everything we were expecting.

    In terms of the shortlist and announcement deadline, I’d happily look to vary that, and in fact we have.

    In fact my first year as award director we announced the shortlist itself in Jan, with the winner announced at the end of April. Rather than this giving the conversation longer to grow my experience was that interest died away completely and we needed to start from scratch for the winner announcement. I’m entirely open to looking at this again, things change, but actually it wasn’t that great 1st time around.

    The other issue with when we announce our shortlist is the practical one of actually being able to give due diligence to every book submitted, which naturally affects when we can announce. Other factors we might consider include the dates of other award announcements and the publishing schedules of our media partners.

    The announcing of the winner itself has been linked to our festival partners, Sci-Fi-London, and given they provide the venue where we’ve made the announcement (for the years I’ve been director at least) we’re kind of limited to when we get to choose that date. Not that i feel limited by being partnered with SFL you understand, they don’t just give us a venue (and wine, and ice cream) they also give us access to their audience, featuring us and the shortlist in their programme for example which goes out all across London. Simon’s original post was about taking the conversation to new readerships, so I’m going to assume we all agree that this is a good thing.

    These are just some of the reasons that currently affect the Clarke Award timings. I can’t really speak for other awards but I guess they have similar issues to face. The BSFA for example necessarily has to announce whenever Easter and Eastercon falls for example, which obviously moves every year.

    Coming back to the comments I made in my original answer to Simon, I hope I’ve given some insight into the reasoning behind the Clarke Award timings in our ‘on season’ as it were. I’m also very interested in what an organisation like the Clarke can do to help address the broader issues Simon identified when we’re in the down phase of the award cycle and can help contribute to the promotion of SF as a whole, not only our personal corner of it.

  5. On awards not generating sales, I’ll say that my impression (not scientifically based) is that they do; this question has been raised in years past and there does seem to be a perceptual difference based upon which side of the pond you’re buying your books from. I was informed several years ago that UK publishers had stopped touting awards on their book covers, while here in the states I can find any number of “Hugo Winning Novels”.

    On (mis)appropriation of our genre. Sorry, Argument NOT Closed: Atwood is not “one of us”. She borrows, but in an ignorant way, has demonstrated repeatedly that she doesn’t want to be known as a writer of squidly space tales and has gone so far as to try and craft her own definition(s) that maintain the literary-vs-genre divide, herself clearly on the right and proper side.

    Many others getting the star treatment outside of genre circles (for works that arguably fit our own definitions) seem genuinely ignorant of the field. So much so that they create their own genres (lablit); no doubt some of it engendered by marketing types who still fear the genre tar-brush.

    Engaging with successful works from outside the genre in order to increase readership and exposure is a losing game; those authors seem to have been schooled in distancing themselves from their roots (witness Atwood) and will do anything BUT reference their literary antecedents or clearly-labelled contemporary genre fair (if they are even aware of them).

    Desiring to broaden the appeal of genre works is a good thing – everyone in the field could use a bigger paycheck and a bit more popularity, a bit more ‘respect’, but I think the way to go about it is to work on the marketing side. Once the folks doing the selling come to realize that the vast majority of readers in the (English speaking) world today have already engaged with SF, Fantasy and Horror through film, television and gaming. they’ll eventually come around to understanding that the market for self-proclaimed genre is the market they should have been developing all along. When they figure out how to tie things together, authors like Atwood will be wishing they’d kept their criticisms to themselves.

  6. Simon Simon Spanton says:

    Thanks for contributing everyone. My expertise does not cover awards administration so I shall pause before responding to Tom.

    Steve, thanks for commenting. On the sales issue Bookscan suggests that genre awards have very little, if any, impact on sales. Any boost is certainly within the parameters of other successes within the compass of the genre.

    The literary vs genre divide is, I think, exactly the sort of divide that we need to move beyond. The willingness of genre readers to be snooty about the efforts of literary writers quite matches the willingness of literary readers to be snooty about genre writers. Quite apart from anything else the ‘us and them’ argument exists within the genre too. SF is a fabulously broad church and there are few writers or readers who identify with all of it. And if they do, what exactly are they identifying with? Genre labels are a marketing tool. An odd thing to be loyal to. I’d rather be loyal to fantastic books however marketed, however labelled. I could care less whether Atwood was sought to distance herself from talking-squid, or has mislabelled the genre as being all about talking squid in an interview; she has also written The Handmaid’s Tale. How anyone could describe The Handmaid’s Tale as an ignorant borrowing from the genre is beyond me. Labelling Atwood as anti-genre achieves nothing other than discouraging genre fans from reading The Handmaid’s Tale. How does that help anyone?
    And for every incautious description of genre by one one literary writer there is a Kazuo Ishiguro happily attending a Clarke Award, a Hari Kunzru extolling the qualities of Michael Moorcock across two pages of a major national newspaper.
    You talk disparagingly about the genre tar-brush while vigorously applying your own brush to the literary world.
    I’m not a genre Uncle Tom saying we should be grateful for any crumb of comfort thrown to us by the decent literary folks. Critical walls can be maintained by people on both sides and do neither any good.
    We should grab any good book (whether it is aware of its antecedants or not, whether it steals or not) with both hands. I want people to read brilliant SF not just the brilliant SF we own and approve of. For every badly handled SF trope in a work of literary fiction I can point you to four or five badly handled SF tropes in works of genre fiction.

  7. Simon Simon Spanton says:

    Steve,
    And the marketing issue. Who are these marketing folks you speak of? Generally they are people who love books as fiercely as you or I (precious few other reasons for working in publishing) and often they love genre books as fiercely as you or I. There is not an opposition in publishing between saintly editorial folk and evil sales and marketing folk. We are all in this together. And our colleagues in marketing have long been aware of the mis-match between those who go to see SF films and those who read SF and have worked on that for as long as SF and Fantasy have been marketed. If only it were as simple as that. After all who can forget the slew of the boxing fiction that swept the West on the back of the Rocky movies? Look at all those shelves of Westerns filling the shops on the back of True Grit and Django Unchained…

  8. Zoo City was about to go out of print in South Africa when I won the Clarke Award. It’s now in its fourth reprinting.

    I’ve certainly seen a spike in sales in the UK and SA although it’s still not huge numbers, and in South Africa it has a lot to do with the local-girl-done-good factor. But still a significant uptick.

    More significantly, the Clarke win has lead directly to other opportunities, from Zoo City being included in the Humble Bundle e-book bundle, curated by Cory Doctorow, which sold 80 000 copies (eclipsing all my other sales put together), sales in other foreign territories and, critically, putting me on editors’ radars as my agent and I prepared to pitch The Shining Girls.

    From my very limited experience, it’s amazing and humbling to be recognized for your work.

    Awards are also an opportunity, a spotlight that shines on you brightly but also briefly and it’s up to you to use the stage as best you can in that moment.

  9. Ian Sales says:

    Surely it’s not the awards themselves that affects sales, but the exposure that awards (sometimes) give titles?

    From my own tiny corner of the genre market, I can track osales f my books quite accurately, and the single biggest uptick in sales I’ve experienced was a direct result of being mentioned by the Guardian newspaper in its book blog. If there has been any effect resulting from being shortlisted for the BSFA Award, it may have been lost in the backwash from the Guardian mention. But I suspect not. BSFA members will expect to see the book for free, anyway, in the booklet produced each year of the shortlisted short fiction. And the people who follow the BSFA award form much of the audience of my personal “platform”.

  10. Simon Simon Spanton says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Delighted to hear about those upturns that came as a result of the Clarke. It shows that one can be focused too closely on UK sales :-)

    And, yes absolutely, the winning of an award can be an emphatic tick in the box that can have a profound indirect affect on an author’s career. This is why we argue over awards shortlists so vociferously :-)

  11. Simon Simon Spanton says:

    Ian,

    Exposure? Yes I think so, that being Lauren’s point I think. What would be fantastic would be if we could find ways to increase that exposure, to broaden the appeal of an Award’s brand beyond that of the already interested parties. While also keeping the appeal to the core audience. I’m just asking awards to juggle with two megaphones while keeping balanced with feet in different baths and not throwing the baby out. Easy really… :-)

  12. David H says:

    This:

    “We should grab any good book (whether it is aware of its antecedants or not, whether it steals or not) with both hands. I want people to read brilliant SF not just the brilliant SF we own and approve of. For every badly handled SF trope in a work of literary fiction I can point you to four or five badly handled SF tropes in works of genre fiction.”

    …is absolutely right – and thank you, Simon, for saying it. From the last few years, I can point to books I’ve enjoyed by Adrian Barnes, Nick Harkaway, Liz Jensen, Jane Rogers, Marcel Theroux, Sam Thompson, Katie Ward, Charles Yu and others – all published outside the genre, all drawing from the science fiction toolkit in their different ways. I don’t know what background knowledge these authors have of sf, nor does it concern me. What does matter to me is the quality of the books they’ve written – and those are some of my favourites of recent times.

    The Clarke Award in particular does a great job of championing sf beyond the community, and also of challenging us to think about our own conceptions of sf – and the more these things happen, the better, as far as I’m concerned. The broader our horizons, the richer sf will be.

  13. [...] items from the Amazing Stories blog piqued my interest today.  The first is a link to a story on the blog of venerable British publisher Gollancz, which advocates the embrace of mainstream [...]

  14. Simon Morden says:

    I can certainly point to an upswing in sales when I won the PKD award – and, more importantly, three other effects.

    Firstly, the Petrovitch books continue to sell. Not masses, but steadily, and it’s been two years since they were published. Because they won the PKD.

    Secondly, they’re starting to pick up translation deals. None of which are worth much, but cumulatively do count, and increase the readership beyond Anglophonia. Because they won the PKD.

    Thirdly, it gives me more creative freedom at the publishers. Because, etc.

    Given a choice between selling a shedload of copies or winning the Clarke? I’d argue that it was a false dilemma. Lauren is proof of this, I think.

  15. Justina Robson says:

    This has been an interesting thread. The part that struck me the most because it’s at the top of my mental list of musings is : how do we get more readers for all these great SFF books? Prizes make one notable, and more credible. They flag you for attention. But that’s only to people paying attention.

    I think part of the ‘answer’ lies in observing what SFF books have sold outside the usual demographics and noticing their features. Yes, you can all groan now, of course I am going to mention Twilight and The Hunger Games, and I can point to all the genre tropes from our woods that have cross pollinated every aspect of the gaming and movie industries too. Games, comic books and movies are different forms of entertainment and aren’t suitable comparisons for books in sales respects. They aren’t in competition with each other directly as forms, although they are in terms of leisure time pursuits, but their wanton strategy of stealing, borrowing and copying out of the SFF literature with which the creators grew up is worth a second look.

    Yes, we often moan about how poorly our pets are treated outside the fold. Yes, they are sometimes snatched just because they look good or do neat tricks and aren’t treated with the full respect they deserve. However, what that tells you is that they are hugely desirable things and more than welcome on the appreciation banquet laid out for mass audiences.

    The most commonly observed reaction to SFF in its natural state is that for a mass audience it is simply too much like learning a new skill – the piano, the bicycle – it’s too immediately unfriendly. The manner in which it likes to plunge headlong towards the innovative, odd, weird and unthinkable is way too fast for mainstream consumption. You can groom yourself happy with your superiority in noting what an elitist dude you are for loving it, and you can disdain those who don’t get the attraction but that’s no help. So you love a niche market. Big deal. Nobody will ever stop you loving, appreciating and glorying in the hard stuff. Go right ahead. It’s all yours. You love it and I love it.

    Politically and personally you’ll probably be disturbed and alarmed if that niche became mainstream – your identity might start to judder like the hull of the Enterprise under Klingon assault. You might have to bail out in horror at your own normativity. But don’t worry, even though The Big Bang Theory’s regular viewing figures demonstrate how utterly mainstream SF appreciation is most people still don’t want to read the books. Nothing will alter this, it’s just how humans are. If people wanted a nonstop diet of hard SF, art films and science lectures they’d be buying it already.

    So if you really want to open the farm up to the public your pedigree beasts will have to stand back while you fill the front of house with miniature goats, lamb feeding, fancy chickens and horseback rides. Or, to escape the hideous metaphorical nonsense, you take _their_ stuff and sell it back to them. They will never want your pedigree shorthorn. They will only ever want the petting zoo. Darn, there goes that half-term induced metaphor again.

    Adopt their best bits as your own; their settings, their pacing norms, their story turns, their distinctive and desirable features. Above all go live in their emotional heartland – the places from which they are telling tales that grip sufficiently to move a million hearts because those shift a million books and create a hunger for six million more books quite similar. Keep all the things you like, but make them secondary, not primary; enticement, not preaching. And be lucky.

    I’m not saying all SF should go down this road and I’m definitely not suggesting this cynically. Go wholeheartedly and with love because you naturally want to go there, or don’t go at all. I’m just proposing it as the way of getting more eyes to check out the stall. It’s not just your material and what you’re saying, it’s how you tell it and who to and why.

    The reason Why is because you want to give your audience a great time, whatever kind of time that is – and that time is not defined by the writer, it’s defined by the reader you want to please. If you please them, they will come. And they will absorb huge amounts of other stuff you might be peddling along the way but most of them will STILL NEVER WANT THAT PRIZE COW.

    At least you can still breed prize shorthorns with your money from the petting zoo. And anyway, how cute are pygmy goats? They’re adorable.

  16. [...] Spanton has published a really odd piece called ‘Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition’ on the Gollancz blog. It is only 800 words long but manages to be rambling, patronising and built [...]

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