About That Last Post

I’ve been meaning to update the Big Idea guidelines for a while, so I went ahead and did it. The big changes:

1. Now I’ll accept books that are ebook-only;

2. I’m asking people to provide more links and formatting so it’s easier for me to get pieces up more quickly. Because hunting down links, etc actually takes a fair amount of time.

Note that although I’m accepting ebook-only releases, I’m still largely not accepting self-pubbed ebooks. The reason for that is simple: I can’t possibly read every book submitted for a Big Idea, and so I need an at least minimal standard of assurance that the books being featured are competently written. Having a third party publisher who says “hey, I will pay money to publish this book!” is a good way to do that.

(Mind you, lots of books published by third parties are less than good, and many self-published works are good — remember I self-pubbed Old Man’s War before it was picked up. But again, I can’t take the time to read every single submitted book. This is my sorting process.)

As I’m updating these guidelines on the week, sometime in the week, probably Tuesday, when editors and publicists are actually online,  I’ll make a general post noting the updated guidelines. Try to look surprised when it happens. In the meantime you, my weekend readers, just got a soft release of those guides. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

11 Comments on “About That Last Post”

  1. Typo: “Try to be look surprised when it happens.”

    (Do you want to be notified of typos in the comments? I looked around briefly but I couldn’t find anything about it in the comment policy. My apologies if I was supposed to use email instead.)

  2. I prefer e-mail, but in the comment thread is fine as long as it’s done matter-of-factly. Also, if it’s within ten minutes of the post going up, wait — I almost always go through immediately after to root out the obvious typos (some I miss, clearly).

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me


  4. “must have an editorial staff that is not comprised of the author or their immediate family”

    Which makes me frightened to think that this has to have happened at least once for it to be in the rules.

  5. “must have an editorial staff that is not comprised of the author or their immediate family”
    Which makes me frightened to think that this has to have happened at least once for it to be in the rules.

    Uhmm, Eragon?

  6. Not That Frank, I believe Eragon was published by a small press that was run by the author’s parents; the editorial stuff may or may not have had members that were not relatives, but the press was a legitimate bussiness that published other authors. I think this part of the rules is about people who try to hide the fact that their book is self-publised by setting-up a press that is comprised of their family and friends. On the other hand, I don’t know how reassuring it is to have “a third party publisher willing to pay money to publish this book”, when said third party is highly prejudiced in the author’s favor.

  7. Interesting tidbit about “Old Man’s War” as last week I was in the public library looking for any books of yours and I found three. I chose this particular one as it stated on the blurb that it was your first published novel.

    I look forward to reading it.

  8. Thanks again for the existence of ‘The Big Idea’ and the opportunity to contribute to it. It’s introduced me to a lot of books I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered.

  9. There seem to be a disproportionate number of books that are urban fantasy and alot of young adult literature. There does not seem to be a lot of harder science fiction or epic fantasy (non-young adult). I know you just posted John Barnes and Peter F Hamilton books, but those types of books seem to be few and far between.

    I could be wrong on this. This is not empirical, so don’t go off on me…. I just prefer these types of books and just pointing out what I think I am seeing. Could be that this genre just publishes less books of the type that I tend to like than from others.

    That being said, I like the Big ideas and I have found several books to read from it. I like the way authors do more than just summarize their books.

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