Attention Authors: More Big Ideas Needed

Fellow authors (and related editors, publishers, and publicists), if you’ve been asking yourself, “Hey, how do I promote this book I will soon have in the stores, to up to 40,000 unique readers daily, all of whom have some interest in the written word?” I may have a solution for you. As you know, I run a feature here called “The Big Idea,” in which authors talk about the big idea behind their latest works, and playing with those ideas affected the writing of the book. Here are some recent examples of the feature. And it’s open to writers of all genres of fiction and non-fiction, because variety is good.

How do you get in on the action?

1. Have a book (not self-published or vanity press; small press is fine) being published, oh, let’s say, between now and the end of 2008 (I’ll begin scheduling for 2009 later this year, probably early December).

2. Send me an e-mail about the book, letting me know who you are, what the book’s about, and the week it’s schedule to be published (editors/publicists, let me know who the author is, etc). Do me a favor and put the words “Big Idea Proposal” somewhere. You may also send along a copy of the book, if you like (I do like seeing the books in question).

3. I’ll check my schedule and see what’s available (I usually try to do a “Big Idea” once or occasionally twice a week, usually on Tuesday and Thursdays). When at all possible I like to run Big Idea pieces on or near the book’s release date. If there’s something available, I’ll let you know.

4. The author then goes off and writes the Big Idea piece (here’s a primer on how to write one — I suggest checking it out) and then sends it in, at least a week before his/her scheduled appearance.

5. It goes up and we all bask in its awesomeness, and rush out to buy the book.

It’s just that simple!

As noted before, at the moment I’m only interested in books coming out through the end of 2008, and only in books that are not self- or vanity-published. Also, if you’re a fan of a writer (but not associated with him/her in any professional capacity), please don’t write me to suggest I solicit a Big Idea from your favorite author. However, you may certainly point your favorite author in the direction of this post, and suggest they try to get on the schedule.

Any questions? Leave them in the comment thread (however, send queries about appearing in the Big Idea series to e-mail, not to the comment thread). Thanks!

10 Comments on “Attention Authors: More Big Ideas Needed”

  1. btw, i found your suggestions for writing a big idea piece a useful writing exercise in its own right. made me think of a few new actual story ideas in a few big ideas that have been kicking around my head while I slave away for the Man.

  2. The big ideas project is great. I’m wondering if you could make it easier to find the older ones again. I’ve had it twice now that I got to read the book and remembered that there was a big idea piece on it – but couldn’t find it anymore…

  3. John,
    Perhaps I can squeak this in – Thanks for reintroducing me to current science fiction writing, although I credit a hero, Harlan, for introducing the ‘new age’, some of the writers in his line were crap and I was in a ghetto of “20’s through 60’s” writers for a very long time. Thanx to you I found Walter Jon Williams and your own books (and your writing does stand up to R.A.H.’s). I’m 52 and have been a reader since being a tiny child. Who else do you like these days?

  4. I must say that I appreciate your big ideas section. I have now found two authors that I like and will be looking forward to more of their works – Tobias Buckell being the latest. I have his newest on hold here at the Multnomah Library (as is Zoe’s Tale). Scott Lynch is another that I have read because of your promotion. You are one of two authors that I read what they recommend – OSC being the other (but he does not do adult SFF). Keep up the great work.
    And while I am sure that you are close to being burned out on OMW’s universe, there are surely more stories begging to be written? (As in pounding in your skull, crying, “let me out”!)

  5. I have a friend, who I could easily point toward this blog, whose first novel was published in April of this year. Too old?

  6. John, A Slow Train to Arcturus (which I co-authored with Eric Flint) came out 8 days ago. Is that too late too? Sorry – I just got pointed at this.