At least for now, I am only listing publishers who published my books -- short fiction, e-books, and so on will have to wait.
When I was first trying to break into the business, Del Rey Books was the acknowledged leader in the SF/fantasy field. Del Rey, founded in the mid-1970s, was the SF/fantasy imprint of Ballantine Books, which had been a leading paperback publisher since the late 1950s. Judy-Lynn del Rey was the editor-in-chief and ran the science fiction side, while her husband Lester del Rey ran the fantasy side.
Lester was partly responsible for the huge boom in fantasy that took place in the 1970s. At a time when many editors were rejecting Tolkien's imitators as hackwork, Lester realized there was a huge market for the stuff, and gave customers what they wanted by publishing Stephen Donaldson's "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" and Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara, both of which became major bestsellers. Ballantine had always been a major player in science fiction, and Lester's success made them the dominant publisher in fantasy, as well.
I always figured that a would-be writer should start at the top market and work his way down when trying to sell a story; if you work any other way, how will you know how high you might have gotten? So when I finished writing what eventually became The Lure of the Basilisk, I sent it to Del Rey.
That was late August of 1978. In May of 1979 I got a three-page letter from Lester del Rey himself saying that if I'd make certain changes, he'd buy it, and was I planning a sequel?
I was, of course, ecstatic. A letter from Lester del Rey, one of my favorite authors, offering to buy my book, and asking about a sequel, and I actually had one outlined!
That began a long and happy association. Lots of people disliked Lester, for a variety of sound reasons -- he really could be an arrogant bastard -- but I always got along well with him. When other, better-selling authors were griping about Lester's brutal editing, I was sometimes getting novels published exactly as I'd written them; apparently my approach to storytelling suited him well.
So I revised The Lure of the Basilisk as requested and then wrote The Seven Altars of Dusarra, which Lester wanted heavily revised but which he did buy. After that, though, I wanted a break from Garth, and wrote The Cyborg and the Sorcerers, which Lester handed off to Judy-Lynn, who bought it, though she made me change the ending. Then it was back to Garth and Lester for The Sword of Bheleu, and I thought I was all set, alternating fantasy and SF.
Except then Judy-Lynn turned down The Chromosomal Code.
That flustered me horribly; I had no idea how to find another publisher now that I was an established author. I decided I needed an agent, and wound up signing with Lester's own agent, Russell Galen, because I had no idea how to find any others. There was no World Wide Web to google in 1982.
Obviously, though, Del Rey had dibs on any sequels to The Cyborg and the Sorcerers, so in 1985 I sent a proposal for The Wizard and the War Machine to Judy-Lynn, who bought it -- and who then had a stroke and went into a coma, and after lingering for a few months, died in February 1986.
That was the beginning of a long decline for Del Rey; Judy-Lynn had been running the company almost single-handedly, and her assistant and successor, Owen Lock, just didn't have her genius for publishing. For one thing, Judy-Lynn had been the only person on Earth who could get Lester to meet deadlines or delegate responsibility, so the fantasy side of the company immediately began to develop serious delays waiting for Lester to get anything done, while the SF side struggled to function with their leader and best editor gone. Two other fantasy editors, Deborah Hogan and Veronica Chapman, were handling a lot of the work and kept the fantasy side functioning, but often found themselves waiting for months on a decision from Lester that should have taken hours.
I didn't know about most of that, though; I knew Judy-Lynn had died, of course, but not what effect it had had. I turned in The Wizard and the War Machine in June of 1986, and discovered that my new editor, Shelly Shapiro, hadn't known it was coming. Shelly and I -- well, we got along okay, but not as well as I had with Judy-Lynn or Lester. I figured that didn't matter, since Avon was publishing my SF.
With Del Rey's fantasy operation running so slowly, I decided I needed to diversify. I'd recently gotten the hang of writing short fiction, so I wrote lots of that; horror was booming, and Del Rey didn't have a horror line, so I wrote The Nightmare People for NAL/Onyx, and edited an anthology, Newer York, for them, and sold Tor a novella for their line of Tor Doubles, as well as continuing with the fantasy novels for Del Rey.
Finally, though, I got so fed up with Lester's delays (it took two years to get him to decide whether or not to buy The Spell of the Black Dagger!) that I decided to write a big fat novel that would, I hoped, appeal to my established fantasy readership, but which would be edited by the SF side at Del Rey. This was entirely to get around Lester's delays.
The contract negotiations with Owen Lock went very strangely; I had the definite impression that Owen wasn't really paying attention to the nature of the project. The net result was bizarre -- Del Rey would not buy the single novel I had proposed, The War Against the Dark, but if I turned it into a trilogy they would buy it at three times the original asking price.
That was far too much money to turn down, so I wrote what became Worlds of Shadow -- and by the time all the contracts were signed and I started work, Lester had been eased out of the company that bore his name, making the whole exercise unnecessary. But I was committed to it by then.
Initially my editor on the project was Deborah Hogan, Lester's former assistant and my favorite editor ever, but she left the company before I finished the trilogy, to be replaced by Steve Saffel, who's a nice guy but who I didn't find congenial as an editor. The series packaging also mutated -- the first volume was published in hardcover, the second in trade paperback, and the third as a mass-market original. What's more, publication was slow -- so slow that they needed to add a rider to the contract, which would otherwise have expired before the third book was published. The series is fairly horrific, but the first book was packaged as if it was humorous, and the third like action-adventure. Nobody at Del Rey seemed to have a clue what sort of story this was, or how to market it.
Sales sucked, unsurprisingly, so when it came time to present Del Rey with my next project, Touched by the Gods, they turned it down. Didn't even make an offer; said they couldn't justify paying me anything that wouldn't be insulting.
So I took the project, and my career, to Tor, and that was the end of my connection with Del Rey. Pretty much my only further contact with them was reverting the rights to everything of mine they'd ever published.
From 1979 until the early '90s I was proud to be a Del Rey author, but by the time I left I was very glad to be out of there. It wasn't the same company anymore.
- The Lure of the Basilisk (March 1980) The Lords of Dus, Volume One
- The Seven Altars of Dusarra (June 1981) The Lords of Dus, Volume Two
- The Cyborg and the Sorcerers (June 1982) War Surplus, Volume One
- The Sword of Bheleu (January 1983) The Lords of Dus, Volume Three
- The Book of Silence (January 1984) The Lords of Dus, Volume Four
- The Misenchanted Sword (September 1985) A Legend of Ethshar
- With A Single Spell (March 1987) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Wizard and the War Machine (September 1987) War Surplus, Volume Two
- Nightside City (April 1989)
- The Unwilling Warlord (November 1989) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Blood of a Dragon (November 1991) A Legend of Ethshar
- Crosstime Traffic (November 1992) short story collection
- Taking Flight (March 1993) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Spell of the Black Dagger (July 1993) A Legend of Ethshar
- Out of This World (hardcover, March 1994; paperback, December 1994) Worlds of Shadow, Volume One
- In the Empire of Shadow (trade paperback, March 1995; paperback, September 1995) Worlds of Shadow, Volume Two
- The Reign of the Brown Magician (May 1996) Worlds of Shadow, Volume Three
In 1982 Del Rey turned down The Chromosomal Code. It was my fifth novel since breaking in, and the first one Del Rey didn't want, and I was very unsure what I should do next, but I thought getting myself an agent would be a good idea.
So I did, Russell Galen, who was at the time working for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency. (A decade or so later he left SMLA and founded Scovil Chichak Galen, now Scovil Galen Ghosh, where I'm a client to this day.)
I would probably have sent the novel to Ace or DAW, but Russ said Avon was revamping their SF line, and since at the time they were part of the Hearst Corporation, which had deep pockets and plenty of industry savvy, that looked very promising. (They're part of HarperCollins now, but pretty much every imprint in the business has changed ownership since 1982.) So we sent the novel to John Douglas at Avon, who made an offer.
Not a very good offer, really -- considerably less than I was getting from Del Rey at the time -- but a bird in the hand, and all that, and there was an implication that they would build up from there. So I accepted it, they published the book, and all seemed well. I liked John Douglas, and found him reasonably pleasant to work with.
And when I wrote my next SF novel, Shining Steel, we sent that to Avon, too.
They accepted it, but the offer wasn't that much better. I was disappointed. I was starting to learn my way around the SF community by this point, and compared notes with some other writers, and realized that Avon's revamp, such as it was, hadn't included much in the way of improved marketing or distribution; they just weren't selling a lot of books. Del Rey did a lot better; my books there were selling several times what my Avon titles did.
When we submitted Denner's Wreck, I was ready to go somewhere else if the money didn't improve significantly.
It did. They offered a two-book deal, with the second book paying more than the first, and while it still wasn't as much per title as I was getting from Del Rey, the second book would be close. So we took it.
Things went pretty smoothly with Denner's Wreck, though there was some debate over the title (the working title was The Light of Another Sun, and when FoxAcre eventually reprinted it they changed it to Among the Powers). The next book, though, was Nightside City, and that was where everything went to hell.
First off, I was very, very enthusiastic about it; I thought it was by far the best thing I'd written to date. I was so enthusiastic that I wrote roughly the last third of it in five days (four days of writing obsessively with a one-day break), and wound up turning it in months ahead of the contract deadline, in the fall of 1987. Then I waited eagerly for an editorial response.
Didn't get one.
Unknown to me, Avon's editorial department was in a state of chaos at the time. John Douglas's assistant had turned out to be a complete incompetent, and had repeatedly said he'd done jobs he hadn't; he got fired roughly the same time I turned in the manuscript, and the rest of the office then got to spend much of the holiday season trying to clean up the mess he'd left. Rumor had it that John Douglas himself was in the midst of a personal crisis at the same time, so that he was delegating as much work as he could and not getting much done at his desk.
My contract specified that they had sixty days to either accept or reject the manuscript, or request revisions -- that wasn't anything I'd requested, or anything Russ was responsible for, it was just part of Avon's standard boilerplate. When the sixty days had come and gone without word I got very impatient -- very impatient. This was my masterpiece, dammit, and they were just sitting on it! I started nagging Russ, and Russ started nagging John, who was much too busy with other problems to actually read and edit the book himself. Eventually he said that a revision letter was on the way, and would be in the mail Monday.
Several Mondays came and went. No letter. There were reports that John's new assistant, Shelley Frier, had read the manuscript and had problems with how I'd presented my female protagonist, but there was never anything in writing.
If it's not in writing, it doesn't count.
Eventually I refused to put up with any more delays, and told Russ to withdraw the book, on the grounds that Avon was in breach of contract for not having given a written response within sixty days. (It was over a hundred days by this point.)
So Nightside City was officially withdrawn, and sent to Shelly Shapiro at Del Rey, who accepted it in about ten days, and had a revision letter in the mail to me within a fortnight. (Thank you, Shelly!) Del Rey paid me a couple of grand more for it than Avon had contracted for, too.
I happened to be in New York when the final act of this farce came. I visited Russ' office at SMLA the day Del Rey accepted Nightside City -- I'd gotten the news that morning by phone, but when I arrived at his office Russ had a surprise for me that had come in that morning's mail: The acceptance check from Avon.
Which we returned. We had a better deal from Del Rey, and besides, at that point it wasn't about the money. It was about that revision letter I never got. I couldn't work on anything else until I got Nightside City out of my head, and if I was going to revise it... well, I hadn't been getting any writing done waiting for that damned letter.
If they'd just said they'd accept it in the first place, that would have been fine, but they kept telling me a revision letter was coming...
- The Chromosomal Code (May 1984)
- Shining Steel (June 1986)
- Denner's Wreck (April 1988; Science Fiction Book Club, June 1988)
In the late 1980s I was trying to diversify. I wasn't entirely happy with how things were going at Del Rey after Judy-Lynn's death, and I was resisting the idea of being purely a fantasy author, and there were things happening that I wanted to get in on, such as the boom in horror.
In fact, I definitely wanted to write horror. It was an interesting challenge, it suited my mood at the time, the market was huge... and Del Rey didn't have a horror line, so no one there could object if I sold a horror novel elsewhere.
So I wrote a proposal for The Nightmare People, and my agent, Russ Galen, put it up for auction.
It did not generate huge enthusiasm. My timing was off; the horror wave had already crested, sales had passed their peak, and publishers were no longer expanding horror lines with gay abandon. It garnered a few bids, but no counter-bids -- the publishers not making the highest initial bid did not come back with higher bids, but instead shrugged and said, "Okay."
The winning bid came from John Silbersack, editor of SF, fantasy, and horror for New American Library and its various imprints, and he was pretty blatant about the fact that he was not really all that interested in publishing horror novels I might write, but in establishing a relationship so that when I left Del Rey, as everyone seemed to assume I eventually would, I'd bring my fantasy work to NAL.
I had no objection to him thinking that, even though my actual intention at the time was that if I left Del Rey I'd go to Bantam or Tor. Hey, if things went well at NAL, who knew what might happen?
So we made a deal for The Nightmare People with the agreement that it would be a Signet title, Signet being big in the horror field at the time. I also sold them a proposal for an anthology called Newer York -- I mean, as long as I had a publisher trying to ingratiate itself, why not? Editing an anthology looked like fun.
But then I had to actually write the novel, which took some time, and by the time I'd completed it the market had shifted. The horror boom was over, Signet had cut back on horror, and the novel was instead published by Onyx, an imprint I'd never heard of that mostly did romance but had a small horror line -- a horror line that was cancelled a month or so after The Nightmare People was published.
NAL had been bought by Penguin by then, and was being reorganized. SF and fantasy were being moved to a new imprint called Roc, carrying on Penguin's bird theme. Newer York was published under the brand-new imprint. I wasn't happy about the Onyx thing, but the Roc name was fine with me.
And that was that. It wasn't that I deliberately left NAL/Penguin; it's that after those two books I didn't have anything else I particularly wanted to sell them, and they made no effort to buy anything more from me. I'd made my final three-book deal with Del Rey around then, which kept me busy. Neither The Nightmare People nor Newer York sold amazingly well; they did okay, but no more than that. So more or less by mutual consent, that was all I wrote or edited for them.
I admit that things might have gone differently if I'd been really happy with the way NAL/Penguin treated me, but I wasn't. The imprint switch to Onyx annoyed me. I found John Silbersack unpleasant -- he struck me as smarmy and untrustworthy, which may well be completely unfair on my part, but it's the truth. There were minor issues with the cover art and marketing on both books, and they were two of the three worst copy-editing nightmares of my career. We parted with no regrets.
I was a published author before Tor Books existed, though only by a few months. While I was happy at Del Rey throughout the 1980s, I watched Tor's rise with interest.
But I had no intention of doing anything about it until I wrote "The Final Folly of Captain Dancy." I wrote the story on a whim, with no particular market in mind, and no clear idea how long it would be, and was rather dismayed to find myself with a 20,000-word fantasy novella. I started looking around for somewhere that might want to publish such a thing.
And right about then I saw a market listing for the Tor Doubles, saying they wanted SF or fantasy stories from 20,000 to 60,000 words. Perfect!
(For those of you who aren't familiar with them, Tor Doubles were a revival of the old Ace Doubles -- books with two front covers and no back, with two novellas/short novels back-to-back. Very popular with certain fans, and roundly detested by booksellers who can't agree on how to catalogue or display them.)
So I sent the story off, and to my delight Tor bought it, and scheduled it as part of Tor Double #37, to be paired with Esther Friesner's Yesterday We Saw Mermaids.
Unfortunately, right about this time the big bookstore chains informed Tor that they would not carry any more Doubles; they hated the format. Books with two stories by the same author, those were okay, but these two-author books were right out. So Tor Double #36 was the last, and Tor was stuck with a novella of mine and nowhere to publish it. They asked me if I could write something else to make up a complete book.
So I did, in the form of a short novel called The Rebirth of Wonder, and they published it as a paperback original, and all was hunky-dory, and I now had an editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, should I have anything else to sell them.
That got me thinking. I've always been interested in demonstrating my versatility as a writer, and one thing I hadn't done up to that point was publish a collaborative novel, and when I'd seen the proposed cover for Tor Double #37 I'd thought that pairing me with Esther Friesner was a good idea. One thing led to another, and we wrote Split Heirs, and since it was a Tor Double that inspired it, Tor published it.
And that was that for the moment, but then Del Rey and I came to a parting of the ways, and I needed a new primary publisher, and Tor was by this time clearly the dominant publisher in the field. When Del Rey turned down Touched by the Gods I took it to Tor, and they bought it, and Tor became my primary publisher for the next decade and a half.
I went through six editors there. Patrick realized fairly quickly that he wasn't the right editor for my work and handed me off to Jenna Felice; I liked Jenna a lot, but she died suddenly, and I was handed over to Jim Minz. Del Rey lured Jim away (and then fired him not long thereafter; as of this writing he's at Baen), and Tor assigned me to Brian Thomsen. I loved Brian -- he was my second-favorite editor after Deborah Hogan -- but he died suddenly of a heart attack, and I was turned over to Paul Stevens. He and I did not seem to have similar tastes or interests, and I never sold him anything. After he left Tor my existing titles were assigned to Christopher Morgan, about whom I know next to nothing. I haven't sold him anything.
We'll see what happens there in the future.
- The Rebirth of Wonder (October 1992)
- Split Heirs (in collaboration with Esther Friesner) (July 1993; Science Fiction Book Club, October 1993; paperback, June 1994)
- Touched by the Gods (hardcover, November 1997; paperback, November 1998)
- Dragon Weather (hardcover, October 1999; paperback, December 2000; trade paperback, January 2014) The Obsidian Chronicles, Volume One
- Night of Madness (hardcover, November 2000; paperback, January 2002) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Dragon Society (hardcover, December 2001; paperback, March 2003) The Obsidian Chronicles, Volume Two
- Ithanalin's Restoration (hardcover, December 2002; paperback, October 2003) A Legend of Ethshar
- Dragon Venom (hardcover, October 2003; paperback, November 2004) The Obsidian Chronicles, Volume Three
- The Wizard Lord (hardcover, March 2006; paperback, April 2007; trade paperback, May 2014) The Annals of the Chosen, Volume One
- The Ninth Talisman (hardcover, May 2007; paperback, May 2008; trade paperback, October 2014) The Annals of the Chosen, Volume Two
- The Summer Palace (hardcover, June 2008; paperback, August 2009; trade paperback, March 2015) The Annals of the Chosen, Volume Three
- A Young Man Without Magic (hardcover, November 2009; ebook April 2010; trade paperback December 2013) A novel of The Bound Lands: Part One of the Fall of the Sorcerers
- Above His Proper Station (hardcover & ebook, November 2010; paperback March 2017) A novel of The Bound Lands: Part Two of the Fall of the Sorcerers
I don't actually remember how I first got involved with John Betancourt's Wildside Press. I met John at a science fiction convention back in the 1980s, when we were both Avon authors, and he bought a couple of stories from me when he was an editor at Byron Preiss Visual Productions, but how that led to Wildside doing a signed-and-numbered limited hardcover edition of The Rebirth of Wonder I do not recall.
Back then Wildside was a traditional small press, doing short print-runs of specialty books; John had started the company in 1989 as a hobby.
At the very end of the twentieth century, though, print-on-demand technology became available, and John immediately saw possibilities that most publishers either missed, or didn't think would work yet. Wildside switched most of its output to print-on-demand and started putting out hundreds of new titles -- mostly reprinting public domain material, but also picking up various odd titles that were still under copyright, but out of print. Since print-on-demand books require no inventory or storage space, each title only needed to sell a handful of copies to break even, and John figured the way to make money was to have thousands of titles, most of which would break even by selling maybe half a dozen copies or earn a few cents, but a few of which would take off and bring in a decent income.
Some of the books he reprinted were mine. He started with The Nightmare People -- I figured that was never going to be worth anything in the traditional reprint market, so I let him have it to try out the system.
It worked pretty well; it sold a few copies, brought in a few dollars for John and a few dollars for me, and I was able to tell readers that yes, it was back in print. I was satisfied.
(One reason Wildside books made decent money for me was that Wildside licensed e-book editions; those often brought in as much money as the print-on-demand editions.)
I had let FoxAcre Press reprint Crosstime Traffic at about the same time Wildside got The Nightmare People, with the idea that whichever publisher did a better job would get first crack at reprinting most of my other out-of-print titles. Wildside did better, I thought, so FoxAcre got Nightside City, but Wildside got fourteen reprint titles -- I more or less decided that FoxAcre would get my SF, and Wildside would get fantasy and horror. These print-on-demand reprints were re-edited, and often included added new material -- appendices, short story reprints, etc.
John's business plan worked; Wildside made good money, and has continued to expand, even buying up other small presses. They're now a mid-sized publisher, doing regular trade editions as well as the print-on-demand titles and ebooks.
A couple of my Ethshar books were included in the mass-market Cosmos line, and got into the big bookstores; I'm pleased about that.
All in all, while Wildside has had some problems along the way, due mostly to John trying to do too much at once and discovering there aren't enough hours in the day for it all, my association with them has been a positive thing, and I expect it to continue.
- The Rebirth of Wonder (limited signed and numbered hardcover edition, June 1992) (There are minor textual differences in the title story between this and the Tor edition, and the Wildside edition has an author's note that's not in the Tor book.)
- The Nightmare People (2000)
- The Misenchanted Sword (Wildside trade paperback, December 2000; Cosmos mass-market edition, January 2008) A Legend of Ethshar
- With A Single Spell (Wildside trade paperback, February 2001; Cosmos mass-market edition, April 2008) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Unwilling Warlord (March 2001) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Blood of a Dragon (2001) A Legend of Ethshar
- Taking Flight (May 2001) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Spell of the Black Dagger (May 2001) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Lure of the Basilisk (January 2002) The Lords of Dus, Volume One
- The Seven Altars of Dusarra (2002) The Lords of Dus, Volume Two
- The Sword of Bheleu (June 2002) The Lords of Dus, Volume Three
- The Book of Silence (July 2002) The Lords of Dus, Volume Four
- The Lords of Dus (March 2003) hardcover omnibus collecting all four volumes
- Worlds of Shadow (February 2003) hardcover omnibus collecting all three volumes
- Out of This World (October 2004) Worlds of Shadow, Volume One
- In the Empire of Shadow (November 2005) Worlds of Shadow, Volume Two
- The Reign of the Brown Magician (December 2004) Worlds of Shadow, Volume Three
- The Spartacus File (in collaboration with Carl Parlagreco) (simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback, October 2005)
- The Spriggan Mirror (trade paperback, January 2007) A Legend of Ethshar (first draft written as an online serial, completed October 2005.)
- The Vondish Ambassador (Misenchanted Press/Wildside co-production limited trade paperback January 2008; Wildside hardcover & ebook November 2008; trade paperback January 2009) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Unwelcome Warlock (January 2012) A Legend of Ethshar
- Tales of Ethshar (trade paperback March 2012; ebook April 2012) short story collection, Ethshar
- Split Heirs (August 2012) collaboration with Esther M. Friesner
- Mind Candy (trade paperback, February 2013, ebook, August 2013) non-fiction; essay collection
- The Sorcerer's Widow (ebook July 2013; trade paperback, October 2013) A Legend of Ethshar
- Ithanalin's Restoration (trade paperback June 2014; ebook July 2014) A Legend of Ethshar
- Relics of War (December 2014) A Legend of Ethshar
- The Lawrence Watt-Evans Fantasy Megapack (March 2017) short story collection
- Stone Unturned (January 2018) A Legend of Ethshar
I've known Roger MacBride Allen for more than twenty years; we first met not long after I moved to Maryland in 1986, and we've been hanging out together on occasion ever since. When Roger started his own small press it was hardly surprising that I became one of his authors.
Roger isn't much of a fantasy fan, but he loves science fiction, so he wanted to reprint my novel Nightside City, which he didn't think had gotten the attention it deserved. For my part, I like short story collections, so the first book of mine from FoxAcre was an expanded edition of Crosstime Traffic, updating the Del Rey edition. Then came Nightside City.
Neither of those made either of us rich, but I was satisfied with how Roger handled them, and I'd accumulated lots more short fiction, so we added another collection, Celestial Debris.
Then Roger's wife got shipped off to Germany for a couple of years by her employer, and Roger went along, and FoxAcre got sidelined for awhile. When they got back to the States Roger was busy with their two kids and some home construction projects, so it took awhile before publishing came back to the forefront, but eventually it did, and FoxAcre reprinted Shining Steel and Denner's Wreck. He talked me into writing a sequel to Nightside City, and we're proceeding from there.
- Crosstime Traffic (reprint, 2000) short story collection
- Nightside City (reprint, 2001)
- Celestial Debris (2002) short story collection
- Among the Powers (retitled from Denner's Wreck, December 2008)
- Shining Steel (May 2009)
- Realms of Light (November 2010)
- The Final Folly of Captain Dancy & Other Pseudo-Historical Fantasies (July 2011) short story collection
Early in 2003 (or possibly in 2002, I'm not entirely sure) I got an invitation from some guy I'd never heard of, who gave his name as Glenn Yeffeth, to write an essay for a collection of essays about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." He was offering ten cents a word, which was respectable pay, and it looked fun and easy, so I said sure, and wrote "Matchmaking on the Hellmouth," speculating on Buffy's romantic prospects. Got myself a quick $300. Didn't think much about it.
Except that then Glenn came back and asked if I'd be interested in writing more such essays. Specifically, one about the TV series "Firefly." Same terms. So I wrote that, and one about "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and...
By this time, BenBella Books had grown considerably, and these anthologies had become an ongoing series called "Smart Pop." I wasn't just writing quick little throwaways for Glenn Yeffeth anymore; I was dealing with a growing publisher. Actually, I think I dealt more with Leah Wilson than with Glenn, who was too busy with running the company now to do much hands-on editing. Smart Pop anthologies were being planned in annual batches of half a dozen or so, and while I was turning down a lot of them (I didn't feel I had anything to say about, say, "Battlestar Galactica" or "House"), I was also writing a lot.
A couple of times I started one and then backed out; I don't like doing that, as it feels unprofessional, but my essays on King Kong and Batman were just not working, and I'd rather back out than send in something I considered truly lame. As it is, there were one or two I wrote (I won't specify which) that I thought were sub-par, and eventually I decided that the essays were no longer worth the time and effort for what they paid, so I stopped.
At least for now; if I get an invitation for some irresistible topic, I'll probably accept.
Anyway, I wrote fifteen of these things, fourteen of which were published -- the book about Wonder Woman got postponed indefinitely when the Joss Whedon/Wonder Woman movie deal fell apart -- and was startled when Glenn and Leah informed me that this was more than any other author. Glenn really liked some of them, too. In fact, he asked if I'd be interested in writing an entire book for them.
I like trying new things, and writing a non-fiction book about pop culture had been on my list of "Things I'd like to do someday" for about twenty years at that point, so we talked it over. Glenn shot down my first few suggested topics, and then we hit on Terry Pratchett's Discworld, and that resulted in The Turtle Moves!
The book turned out to be far more work than I expected, and I blew the original deadline pretty badly, so I don't know whether I'd ever do it again, but I did get it done eventually and am reasonably pleased with the result.
- The Turtle Moves! Discworld's Story Unauthorized, nonfiction about Terry Pratchett's Discworld (BenBella Books, August 2008)
When I did my second online serial, The Vondish Ambassador, I had promised that anyone who donated $25.00 or more would receive a copy of the book in finished form as soon as possible. I had expected Wildside to pick it up and publish a trade paperback edition fairly quickly.
Wildside didn't. Trade edition sales of The Spriggan Mirror had been disappointing. John Betancourt said he wanted to do a mass-market edition of The Vondish Ambassador eventually, but not a trade edition.
I didn't want to deal with yet another publisher, so I decided to self-publish a trade edition, just four hundred copies, for donors and people who couldn't wait for the paperback. Wildside was perfectly willing to help with that, as long as they weren't sharing the financial risk, so we created a joint venture, Misenchanted Press, where I handled the financing and editorial end, and Wildside handled production.
Then Wildside went ahead and published a trade paperback (and a hardover and ebook, but not the mass-market edition, because their paperback distributor went bust) anyway.
After that, though, I had the name and some of the mechanisms in place, so when I got into self-publishing with One-Eyed Jack I revived Misenchanted Press and turned it into a real micro-publisher, with three (so far) authors on our list: Me, Stuart Hopen, and Christina Briley/Ruth Evans. I've also acted as publisher for a friend who wanted his own imprint but had no idea how to go about it. No idea how long it'll last, or where I'll go with it, but now that I'm my own publisher, I know anything I write can get into print. It's allowed me to publish short stories as stand-alone ebooks, for example (though I'm not listing those here), and reprint some of my older work the way I want it.
- The Vondish Ambassador (January 2008) A Legend of Ethshar (first draft written as an online serial, completed March 2007.)
- One-Eyed Jack (September 2011)
- In the Blood (November 2011) short story collection, vampires
- The Rebirth of Wonder (November 2012) reprint
- Touched by the Gods (November 2012) reprint
- The Chromosomal Code (November 2012) reprint
- Warp Angel, by Stuart Hopen (September 2013)
- Vika's Avenger (October 2013)
- The Raven Coronet, by Christina Briley (October 2014)
- Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship (November 2014)
- Twirling Jennies, by Ruth Evans (with Charles Worsley) (September 2015)
- Hazmat & Other Toxic Stories (May 2016) short story collection
- Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror (July 2017)
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: