Blog Editing Journals Lifebook Publishing

Lifebook 6 | Francis Coppola and I

Strolling down Memory Lane, somehow I forgot the significance of this detail, that my name is, after all these years, still associated with one Francis Ford Coppola. I was a two-time Guest Editor for one of his literary publications, in which I dutifully selected one of my favorite short stories ever, “The Junkie Muse” by Isabelle Carruthers (a pseudonym) for publication in Zoetrope: All-Story Extra’s 23rd issue in May 2000. All these years later I’m still in love with the story and reflect on its publication with pride. And my association with Mr. Coppola on the now defunct publication’s masthead is something of minor bragging rights, I suppose.


History lesson: Zoetrope: All-Story Extra (ASE) was an on-line supplement to Mr. Coppola’s fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story (ZAS). Each month, All-Story Extra featured two new stories submitted by writers via Zoetrope’s on-line submissions site. The stories were chosen and edited by guest editors—also members of Zoetrope’s on-line submissions site—with assistance from the New York editorial staff of ZAS. ASE was created by Mr. Coppola and five members of Zoetrope’s online submissions site, who comprised the Peer Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB selected the Guest Editors and nominated the stories that the Guest Editors considered for ASE. Guest Editors could also consider stories featured in “The Top Three” stories and/or any others that they think worthy of publication. PAB reps Mare Freed and Jim Nichols were also the original Editorial Coordinators of ASE, which were essentially liaisons between the mother mag and the junior mag. My assigned EC during my time, Barbara Garrett, was a good friend and a joy to work with during my stint.

Fun Fact: I was the only guest editor to A.) Serve on two consecutive issues of Zoetrope: All-Story Extra [issues 22 (May 2000) and 23 (June 2000)]; B.) Work without another guest editor (issue #22).  So in all, I selected three stories, which also included “Sonora Coyote” by Steve Frederick and “Weekend at Nguyen’s” by Mark Epting.






fiction Publishing Update Workbook Working Update Writing

Update: A Change o’ Plans; A Regrouping of Sorts

In my last update a couple of weeks back, I revealed that I was working on a short story collection for a fall release…18 or so stories that fit a common thread or an overall thematic mood. It was more or less to put my writing past behind me as pretty much all those stories were written as far back as the late 90s which was my golden age period. I wrote fiction for years before really attempting to share it with an audience outside of writer workshops. So I have quite the vault of stories in varying lengths, genres, styles and all that.

Well, inxay the collection, at least how I originally envisioned it, and perhaps not as soon as this fall or the foreseeable future. Because of that aforementioned versatility, I’ve come to the decision to launch a handful of pen names and assign appropriate stories and future projects under them. It just makes sense, really, and it’s so liberating, say, for instance, writing and presenting a very female-centric story under a blatantly female pen name.

It’s a long road getting back to this position (a 360 really). When I first started writing prose in 1993, I had studied the career of one Dean Koontz who had used a dozen pen names because, like me right out of the gate, he also wrote in multiple different genres (often cross-genre) using multiple different styles and whatnot. Long story short, though reluctant, it was necessary for him in those times of the 1970s and 80s because publishers (and readers) not keen to pigeonhole a prolific writer, especially one who changed up styles and genres often. It was simply too hard for a prolific, versatile writer to get any traction under one name (especially when a struggling author was putting out five novels a year to put food on the table).

Well, even today, when you’re not yet a brand name, it’s hard to establish a brand with such diversity. The last several years I had been of the mind that it was “to hell with it all, accept me and my diversity as we are”, but that ego-centric approach puts the name/ the persona first instead of allowing the stories to get the fair shake they deserve. Flash-forward to today, in studying certain markets I’ve come to understand that I would face certain gender bias in certain cases. It’s a silly game to be played, but with today’s publishing options (and in some cases lack thereof), it makes more sense to approach it this way, cover all bases and attack from various angles.

Also in my research I was reminded that back in the day (18th & 19th centuries) many women writers had to adopt male pen names because of publisher and reader bias. Everyone knows that women really used to have it bad all over, and I’ve always been real sensitive to their plight in society to a balanced extent. And so the ugly truth of the business of publishing is that readers are discriminate when it comes to associating certain works with a particular genre. No sense in fighting against that with my ego saying “Well, they’re going to accept me as the writer I am regardless.” Yeah, I’m proud of my versatility and my wide-ranging interests in fiction and stoytelling. But if I want the work to get the due attention it deserves without arbitrary interference, then the pen name option will help achieve that.

So the pen names will be launched next month across the web and digitally (though perhaps not in print for a while). I will not be exposing them here or abroad; only editors and publishers will know when I sign their contracts. So there will not be any cross-association of the four (or so) pen names with my true name in any public sense. Of course, there will still be plenty under the usual Brandon L. Rucker byline. I associate with and cross-promote so many other writers across the web that it will be a seamless process to include my ‘secret aliases’ (muhahahahah!) in my promotional efforts.

I have more news, but I gotta scoot to the day job. So, until later…

e-books e-publishing Guest Blog Publishing

GUEST BLOG: J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

J.A. Konrath is a thriller author who is notable for being a success in the independent/self-published author’s game. In his latest update, “The Numbers Game” he breaks down the dollar$ and $en$e of e-book, publishing. It’s a must read for any independent author.


The 25% the publisher is offering is actually based on net. So you’re getting 17.5% of the list price. (Amazon gets 30%, they get 52.5%–which is obscene)

When your agent gets her cut, you’re earning 14.9% of list price on ebooks.For a $9.99 ebook, that’s $1.49 in your pocket for each one sold.

If ebook prices go down (and they will) it would be 75 cents for you on a $4.99 ebookIf you release a $4.99 ebook on your own, at 70%, you’d earn $3.50 an ebook.

Let’s say you sell a modest 1000 ebooks per month at $4.99.

That’s $9000 a year you’d make on ebooks through your publisher vs. $42,000 a year on your own.

Clicky to read more: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: The Numbers Game


Publishing 2-for-2 so far in 2010

In addition to the story I have being published on next month, I also have a new poem being published in Dreams and Screams, an upcoming anthology of fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. My poem “Dream a Little Scream of Me” will be the openining poem in the book and is the only poem to be featured in its pages.

Dreams and Screams is a partnership project put together by six different webzine and book publishers: Aurora Wolf, House of Horror, Lame Goat Press, Liquid Imagination, Silver Blade and Static Movement. The book will be published in a few months by Liquid Imagination Publishing, which is a small press I’ve recently become associated with (more on that in a future posting).

Check out this spankin’ cover by the talented Jack S. Rogers, whose name you will be seeing a lot of (trust me):

Clicky to enlarge

Update: This is the original cover conecpt that was not used. Also, Lame Goat Press was not represented in the actual release.