Matthew Cook's Blog

October 21, 2013

  I have some bad news guys... A few days ago, I got an email from Sean Wallace at Masque Books, which began:

Part of being a publisher is making decisions that one does not really want to make. We are re-evaluating and re-aligning our direction with Masque Books. Unfortunately, this means we are dropping a number of titles we had already acquired. Your Under Steel Skies is one of them.

  I have no idea what's going on over at Masque, but suspect that other authors may be in the same boat. Obviously this is incredibly disappointing - I've been just about killing myself trying to get the final manuscript into shape on top of trying to get a software startup off the ground at the same time. At this point, Under Steel Skies has no publisher and no prospects, unfortunately, and with the startup sucking down so many mental processing cycles the idea of starting a new search for a publisher or an agent is, quite frankly, overwhelming.  For now, I plan to finish the final work on the manuscript of course - I'm a writer and that's just what I do, and then.... I don't know. Probably start from scratch with an agent search. Maybe make a few calls around to my contacts.

Thank you very much to everyone who's supported me by being a first reader. I'm sorry you'll have to wait to see the stories in print or on your e-reader, but please know that your efforts are not in vain; the work is truly much, much better for your involvement. Keep an eye on this space, as well as my Facebook page, for updates.
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Published on October 21, 2013 07:30 • 21 views

April 10, 2013

  BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS!

  I'm pleased to announce that I just signed a book deal with Paula Guran over at Masque Books (a new digital imprint of Prime Books)!

  Masque will be releasing my new book, UNDER STEEL SKIES, due (tentatively) in December of this year!  I'm thrilled to be working with Paula again: long-time readers will remember that Paula was the editor who gave me my big break, when she purchased my debut novels Blood Magic and its sequel, Nights of Sin, for Juno back in 2007-2008. Paula is a consummate professional and I can't wait to get the final version of  manuscript to her (..."it'll be done by (((mumble, mumble, mumble))), Paula... HONEST!")

  ABOUT UNDER STEEL SKIES

  Under Steel Skies is a novel-length series of linked science fiction novellas, set in a near-future world that very much resembles ours.  Stories in the collection will focus on issues of ethics and the unintended consequences stemming from society's embrace of technology, including the pitfalls of drone warfare, the challenges (and perils) inherent in developing artificial intelligences smarter than ours, and the surprising sub-cultures that spring up around web celebrities, tech inventors, and recipients of artificial limb technology. If you've read and enjoyed my sci-fi work for Interzone Magazine ("The Shoe Factory", "Railriders", and "Insha'Allah"), then you'll probably feel right at home Under Steel Skies.

FIRST E-BOOK EDITION 

  The first edition of Under Steel Skies will be available, appropriately enough, as an e-book, with a "dead tree" version following thereafter if sales warrant. Be sure to tell all your friends with Kindles, iPads and PCs to be on the lookout for it around Christmastime!

  The table of contents, pricing, and other nuts-and-bolts issues are still being worked out with the publisher, but as they are I'll definitely be posting more details. Until then, be sure to check out Masque Books website, and keep your eye on this site. While your at it, be sure to Friend my author Facebook page as well!
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Published on April 10, 2013 12:19 • 8 views

April 3, 2013

  Watch this space for an important announcement about a NEW BOOK, coming soon!  No specific details yet (sorry), but I should have something more concrete in a few days.  Sorry this space has been so quiet lately, but it's going to get busy soon!
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Published on April 03, 2013 14:05 • 7 views

April 24, 2012

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Pauline Creeden over on Readers' Realm just posted a very positive review about the just-published SPACE BATTLES anthology I'm in.

Money quote:

"In Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6, the reader is privy to tales of characters who are attacked because of race or religion, hunted by an avenger, hunted for food, attacked by an unknown enemy, and given no quarter.  Each of the stories in this anthology brings the reader into the life or death struggle of war in the Sci-Fi medium of space travel.  This is a book both to be enjoyed as well as savored."

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Published on April 24, 2012 08:41 • 10 views

April 18, 2012

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The new anthology collection, which includes my short story "The Book of Enoch" (a tale of the Seventeen Systems featuring Amish space truckers...) was just released in non-electronic, genuine "dead-tree" format. Get it at Amazon TODAY!!!
Product Details:
Paperback: 264 pagesPublisher: Flying Pen Press LLC (April 18, 2012)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 098459275XISBN-13: 978-0984592753..
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Published on April 18, 2012 09:28 • 7 views
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The very first review for the Space Battles anthology was just posted - CHECK IT OUT HERE. If you're a lover of sci-fi you should check out the collection, which includes 17 stories of intergalactic warfare and strife. Mmmmmm.... strife.
Individual reviews for each of the stories is behind the link.
Assorted author profiles, info on the collection, and purchase links can be found HERE.
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Published on April 18, 2012 07:08 • 6 views

April 17, 2012

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Penny Arcade just posted an interesting (and timely) article on how Steam's use of discount pricing for downloadable video game sales has, paradoxically, seems to have increased buyer's valuation of certain products. It's an interesting discussion particularly in light of my last post regarding the rising trend of e-publications at lower price points that I hope my writer friends will take the time to mull over.
Money quote:
Dejobaan founder Ichiro Lambe told the Penny Arcade Report that this subject came up in a discussion at Business in Gaming recently. “Someone lamented that gamers weren’t willing to pay enough to support us game developers, and my response was, ‘So what? That’s not their job,’” he said. “Steam’s not unique in offering games at these price points—you see Apple selling these wonderful little experiences for under the price of a latte.”

and...
“The market doesn’t care what I think any more than it cared what buggy whip salesmen thought when the automobile came around,” Lambe explained. “Bottom line: I can rail against lower prices, or I can adapt to how people are willing to pay for what I create. I’d rather do the latter.”

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Published on April 17, 2012 16:49 • 7 views

April 14, 2012

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A recent post on Sullivan's blog titled "Our Publishers, Ourselves" makes an EXCELLENT point on publishing, particularly:

"...if traditional publishers — of all kinds, not just the book industry — want to maintain some of the value they have had in the past, they will have to stop thinking about controlling the process of distribution or the delivery platform, and think more about the services they can add for authors and readers."

One such value: DEVELOPING A SOLID BUT STILL HALF-COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT INTO A FULLY-REALIZED ONE.

From what I've seen from the self-published world, the majority of work is riddled with errors (which a good copy editor could have caught), and, worse, with poorly-realized concepts, plots, character arcs and ideas. Historically, editors and publishers have performed the crucial service of vetting the mountains of crap in search of the nuggets of good stories (at least, the good ones have - the bad ones were just "public distributors" of varying skill and effectiveness as described in the article). I have to ask: in a world where any moron can crap out a 120k word "magnum d'oh-pus" and then sell it on Amazon for $.99 (thereby lowering expectations in vast swaths of the reading public for both what a book's QUALITY as well as the COST should be, as fellow writer Melissa Long recently pointed out), who - IF ANYONE - is going to fulfill this role? I worry, more and more, that the answer is "nobody".
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Published on April 14, 2012 08:34 • 7 views
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Get 40% off Space Battles if you preorder by next Tues http://bit.ly/IBkcjM Plus free short story from Bryan Thomas Schmidt (@BryanThomasS) http://bit.ly/IBkdE4
Space Battles features a new tale of the Seventeen Systems: "The Book of Enoch". What's it about, you ask? Three words:
Amish
Space
Truckers
That is all...
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Published on April 14, 2012 07:47 • 10 views

April 12, 2012

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The excellent new Bordertown collection (Welcome to Bordertown, which, you may recall, I reviewed last April) just came out in mass market paperback!
Ellen Kushner, co-editor extraordinaire, is running a contest over on her blog in honor of the edition - all you gotta do is tell a friend about the collection, blog about it (real difficult for you guys, I know...), and then copy the URL of the post on the contest's Official Comments Thread to be entered.
Here's the prize list as per Ellen's announcement post:
New Welcome to Bordertown paperback, signed by Holly & EllenA flyer we found in the gutter on Carnival Street announding Eldritch Steel playing at The Dancing Ferret last year (“1 free drink for noobs”)A ticket for the Unicorn Trolley (expired, alas!)A Bordertown necklace by Chimera Fancies Bordertown necklace by ChimeraFanciesA Bordertown T-shirt
I don't know about you, but I think those official B'town shirts look pretty sweet...
Good luck, and Welcome to the Border!
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Published on April 12, 2012 18:51 • 17 views