2014 in the Mirror

Well, happy holidays to you all, whether you observe Christmas or not.

Thanks for the follow, if you do, and please do if you don’t.
I don’t update a lot, but when I do, it *may* be funny or pertinent to the writing and/or publishing business.

In this post, I’ll will cover how my 2014 has been, both as a writer and as owner/operator of Cohesion Press.
It’s been a big year. It’s also been a sad year, with the loss of Rocky Wood, a renowned writer and president of the HWA. I miss you, mate.
That said, let’s look at the positives.

As a writer, I’ve had two published works this year, with another accepted for publication in 2015:

994865_430535063731529_1627240436_n~ ~ ~

‘Junksick’, a tale of addiction, deception, and a new world order, was published by Crystal Lake Publishing in their anthology Tales from the Lake Volume 1
It tells the story of Joe, a hopeless junkie selling his own soul, along with the bodies of others, for his next fix.

~ ~ ~

‘Happy Hour’, published in Blood Type: An Anthology of Vampire SF on the Cutting Edge (Nightscape bgPress) takes a futuristic, weaponised look at vampirism, played out in a small town in outback Australia. It’s violent and brutal. Just how it should be.

~ ~ ~


Also accepted in 2014 but not due for publication until 2015 (and even then in a very limited format) is my Cthulhu mythos tale ‘Depth Lurker’, part of the powerful anthology Cthulhu: Deep Down Under to be released (initially) by Horror Australis. The anthologists for this one, Steve Proposch, Bryce Stevens, and Christopher Sequeira, have now given the anthology over to a US agent for potential placement with a publisher. More news as it happens. All I know now is that if you missed out on one of the crowdfunding versions, it’s a big loss, as these will truly be ultra rare.

~ ~ ~

That’s pretty much it on the writing acceptance side.

I have managed maybe 30,000 words on a novel work-in-progress, a military horror thing, that I like very much so far.
I’ve also managed a lot of editing and layout work, to bring in money to survive on.

~ ~ ~

On the other side of the coin, my new publishing house, Cohesion Press, has been fairly active over the last year or so.

Dark WatersFINALTRIMFORCOVER2frontNine books now out, starting with Kaaron Warren’s fantastic The Gate Theory in late 2013, and culminating with Dark Waters by Australian author Deborah Sheldon. In between that, we’ve released a number of novels and novellas, both fiction and non-fiction, covering a variety of genres.
Cohesion’s main line of anthologies, the SNAFU series, is doing very well, too. With two released so far (SNAFU and SNAFU: Heroes) and two more on the way over the next six months (SNAFU: Wolves at the DOOR and SNAFU 2), we’re making serious headroads into the military horror scene.final
With stories by such renowned authors as Jonathan Maberry, Weston Ochse, Greig Beck, James A Moore, and Joseph Nassise already released as well as upcoming, and authors like S.D. Perry, Jeremy Robinson/Kane Gilmour, and Bob Mayer contracted for 2015 release, we’re certainly doing well.
2015 holds some new announcements, too, and some surprising moves for Cohesion.
The first of these involves a comic imprint, Cohesion Comics. Working with artists like Montgomery Borror and award-winning Aussie writers like Amanda J Spedding, we’re looking at releasing at least two comics through the year, the first in time for a launch at Oz Comic Con in Melbourne in June.

Our Books

It’s certainly been a busy year. 

On top of all this, 2014 was my first year as a teacher of editing and publishing at tertiary level. Lots of work involved there, I can tell you.
And finally, I’ve also been studying online (full-time) for a BA in Professional Writing and Publishing.

All I can say is that the overall workload has kept me out of trouble.
I feel that 2014 has easily been the most successful year of my life, so bring it on, 2015, and let’s see what you’ve got.

Geoff Brown aka G.N. Braun

Unpaid/Royalty-only Writing Markets

“Give me your stories,” they said.soitbegins
“We’ll give you exposure,” they said.
What I say is crap on that.

Who else works for exposure?
Tradespeople don’t. Doctors don’t.
Plumbers sure as hell don’t work on the premise of free labour if you show your pipes to all your friends, do they?
Doctors getting you to share your scars all over the Internet in exchange for free surgery?
I don’t think so.

Unpaid markets benefit one side of the equation, and only one side.
The publisher.

I hear all the time about the wonderful gift of exposure, but let’s face it, unless you have some name authors in the anthology, the only exposure you’re likely to get is to the other writers and their friends and family.  There are a million for-the-love (FTL) markets out there, with more springing up every single day. These days, anyone can publish through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Createspace (CS). You don’t even need to register as a business, although many of these fly-by-night outfits do so to try and make themselves appear more legitimate.

Fuck that shit. Just fuck it. nope

Yeah, many of these LLCs and sole-operators are decent people who really believe in what they are trying to do. Sure, they are giving upcoming and emerging authors a chance to get their work out there.

Sure, the world of publishing is hard to get a foot in.
Sure, FTL markets seem the way to start off. A way to get your work out and to build up a fan base. A way to validate all your hard work, and to be able to say “Hey look! I’m a published author.”

Well, guess what? Anyone can do that.
I’m not saying that all FTL markets are shite. Just that most of the ones I’ve seen are shite.
And you know why they’re shite?

Because anyone can create them, trained and experienced or totally new to the publishing world.
ANYONE can start up a Blogspot or WordPress or Wix site (all free, of course) and call themselves a publisher.
And they don’t have to risk a goddamn cent to do so.

Let’s break them down, economically, shall we?

10406557_699987173407352_4173397671221668235_nWebsite/blog = no cost
Facebook page/Twitter account = no cost
Microsoft paint/online graphic design tool (to create ugly logo/banner) = no cost
Authors willing to work for exposure or royalty shares = no cost
No editing/editing by founder (no experience or training) = no cost
No proofing/proofing by founder (no experience or training) = no cost
Cover design by founder or their sibling/partner (no training or experience) = no cost
Upload badly-designed Word document interior to KDP/Smashwords/CS = no cost
Spam all the social media book groups = no cost

Risk = nothing

See the problem here?
Well, that’s not all, folks.
You might say that it’s worth it for the exposure writers get.


Let’s look at what a writer DOES get from this.

All their hard work gets no reward except being published, most likely in ebook form, and maybe in print.
That’s good, right?


All of a sudden that story is no longer an original. It’s only valid for reprint markets.
Many of the better anthologies (paid ones) don’t want reprints, and even if they do, they pay MUCH less for them.

So… the publisher gets free stuff, and the writer gets exposed to about twenty or thirty people.

So, what else is in it for the publisher? Surely there’s more, isn’t there?

Yep. There’s more.

Remember what writers are like. We all love to see our shit in print.
We love to have a few copies of anything we appear in on our shelves.
Boasting material.
Bragging rights.
“Yeah… that book there? I’m IN that.” Struts over to the shelves and pulls it out.

So, the usual crap deal with FTL and royalty-only anthologies is that the writer gets a free e-book copy of the volume.
“Wow!” you say. “That’s cool.”

Well, the truth is, no it’s not. They cost the publisher nothing to send out. Another layer of no-cost for the publisher.
Another layer of false legitimacy for the publisher.

Print copies is where it’s really at. Writers want hardcopies. And they usually buy them.
From the publisher.
The same publisher who isn’t paying the writers.

So, the writers are now, instead of getting paid, actually PAYING the publisher to get their stories published.
Likely at least two or three copies.

mathI could do the maths, but I hate numbers, so suffice it to say that 20-30 writers, each buying at least two books, means the publisher has now sold 40-60 books. At likely $15-$20 each.
They may have made five bucks a book, so there’s $200-$300 right there.
From the WRITERS.
The people who should have been paid, but instead are paying.

If you say “well, the publisher is giving each writer one print book,” then that’s something, but I betcha that most, if not all, of the writers will still go on and buy two or three books on top of that. Presents for family and friends.

So… let’s look at this so far.
Writers = out of pocket around $50-60 to have their story published.
Publishers = average profit of $250 AND the beginning of a company. If they do this often enough, they have a bit of an income stream.
I’ve seen publishers like this put out 100 anthos a year. They get authors to move in and act as editors, putting together the antho and having their name on the cover as editor.
All for free, of course, because God forbid anyone but the publisher making a cent out of the whole thing.

In the end, the writer gets little to no promotion, somewhat out of pocket, and a few badly-edited books with crappy cover art.stop
I think I’d rather die of exposure than be subjected to this type of exposure.

To me, it seems way too much like vanity publishing.
Writers PAYING to be published.
I guess that’s because it’s exactly what it is, thinly disguised as some crap where the publisher says “You should be doing it for the love of writing.”
Yeah, fuck that.
What about the love of building a reputation instead of tearing it down in crappy anthologies.

What about that?

Next post, I take a look at royalty-only stuff, which is just as bad.
For now, check out my mate Alan Baxter’s take on that shit:


Paying Art Forward | Author, editor, caffeine-addict, wannabe ninja

Fantastic chance to get in on the ground floor.

“Those who know me know how much I love books. My bookcases are overflowing, my bedside table is stacked high, and my desk is a library of novels and comics and reference books. And let’s be honest, the book and comic-buying isn’t going to stop.My other love is art; be it paintings, illustrations, sculptures, carvings… anything that ‘speaks’ to me and by speaks, I mean screams: buy me! Now!”

via Paying Art Forward | Author, editor, caffeine-addict, wannabe ninja.

Plot driven versus character driven? All bullshit. | Hexebart’s Well

Plot driven versus character driven? All bullshit.

From the blog of Kim Wilkins

From time to time, aspiring writers ask me what is the best kind of story: one that is plot-driven or one that is character-driven? Somehow the idea that the two are distinct and one can be privileged over the other persists. “Character-driven” is usually seen as the mark of serious writing, while “plot-driven” is understood to be written by hacks pandering to the marketplace. This is a false distinction, and a potentially dangerous one at that. No writer can afford to overlook one or the other: a good story is driven by both good plot ideas and good characters. The trick is managing them right.

1. A story isn’t a story until it has people and problems. These two things (character and plot) cannot in any way be conceived outside of each othttp://www.quickmeme.com/img/8d/8dc1c587351499e97e4ebaf3e21ca63ba55b4fa764b8e4f9d0fe1c1d3cb0f582.jpgher. An idea for a fascinating character means little until that character is challenged in some way; and a high-stakes plot idea means little if it isn’t focalised through three-dimensional people whose thoughts and feelings can be communicated to the reader.

2. What the writer must know first and foremost is…

Plot driven versus character driven? All bullshit. | Hexebart’s Well

Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant

Beautiful people, a moment of your time, if you will.

I won’t bang on at length about this (there are many who will), but there’s some important stuff you should be made aware of.

If you are a book lover, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

If you are a reader, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

I presume you’re one of these, because you’re on my blog. So please take 5 minutes of your day, and read on.


In short:

* There is a big French publisher called Hachette. They publish many amazing authors (not me, har har, ego joke) and many incredible books. If you look at your shelves, you’ll find books from Hachette or its imprints.

* Amazon.com is currently engaged in “business negotiations” with Hachette, and is seeking “more favourable terms” in their new contract. In short, Amazon want Hachette to lower their prices, so Amazon can buy Hachette books cheaper, and thus, make more money when they sell them to you (for the same price they were selling them before – you will not save a CENT from this).

* Hachette do not want to sell Amazon their books cheaper. They sell them plenty cheap already.

* As a result, Amazon have begun listing Hachette books as “unavailable” for order on Amazon.com. They have begun delaying the shipment of Hachette books, citing a 3-5 week delivery time (note, the books are IN Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon just aren’t shipping them).

READ MORE AT:  Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant.

Planning a Series

by Susan Dennard

“A few weeks ago, I got this question in my inbox:

How would you go about outlining [a trilogy]? Would you outline it as a whole or each book individually?

Awesome question! And obviously, everyone outlines/plans series differently, so I can only tell you how I plan a series. Hopefully that information is still helpful, though.”

MORE HERE: Planning a Series.