Category Archives: Writing

24 Oct

Why I’m investigating contact and sales management software to help my writing (tools are found in many places)

I was talking over the struggles I was having with tracking projects through various stages (novels, relaunches, foreign editions, self publishing, potential new Kickstarters) with a friend who runs a sales business, as well as bemoaning my horrible mess of notes about contacts (reviewers, publicists, people who have asked me to do remember to send them something when it becomes available years ago).

“You need a CRM tool,” he said.

“A what?”

He quickly introduced me to some overly complex tools for lead generation and contact management that sales people use, which I’d never really looked at for a creative business.

But the concept of keeping track of people and what you’d last discussed with them, as well as status of projects, is something I’ve been using Evernote to track (crudely). I’d been keeping a giant text database with hand notes.

“Good grief, no,” he said, looking over my system. “You need something that’ll scrape your emails and calendar and integrate it all as well.”

So now I’m reading about Daylite and thinking I know what I’ll be spending my weekend doing:

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The creative side is doing creative stuff.

But on the business side, while I’ve gotten a lot accomplished with GTD and email, I’ve been lacking another layer of organization to handle the large web of obligations, communications, and project management.

Because when I’m not freaking out about trying to visualize everything I have to do, I’m able to get a lot more creative stuff done.

I’m always amazed at the way in which many writers bear their disorganization as a badge of honor, and often, sadly, then watch it cost them money and creative time as things fall apart. I’m always amazed at naturally organized people.

Browsing through the website’s stories, I see a lot of musicians and graphics creatives using this sort of software. Why not writers?

02 Oct

Check it out: Hurricane Fever Audiobook available now from Audible.com

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Hurricane Fever is now an audiobook. Audible has worked very hard on it and Arctic Rising, the narrators are amazing.

The narrator came via referral from Robin Miles, who has done Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord’s books. I think he sounds amazing and am so grateful Robin was able to help us like that.

Even more amazing is this tidbit: Robin Miles and Prentice have been working very closely with me and Audible to record the Xenowealth novels. The attention to detail, the samples I’ve heard, and the books that will be coming out, are amazing. I think Xenowealth fans will be very pleased. And I hope to rope in a whole new generation of listeners (combined with the relaunch of the Xenowealth, which is coming soon!).

I can’t stress how delighted I am to have this team around me for the audiobooks, as the accents and sounds of the books are very important to me.

17 Sep

Rocket Talk, Episode 27: now with 100% more Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell

Karen Lord and I teamed up to chat with Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review for his Rocket Talk Podcast up at Tor.com:

“In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin brings on Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell to discuss their most recent works, what they mean when they talk about Caribbean Science Fiction, and the challenge of reading western literature from a different point of view. Justin also manages to squeeze in some talk about how the two see series fiction.”

(Via Rocket Talk, Episode 27: Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell | Tor.com.)

16 Sep

The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Hurricane Fever

This review digs down deep into All the Things I’m trying to do in my fiction. Honestly, all this is why I write the things I do. I’m grateful to all reviews of my fiction, but this is one of those rare ones where I feel like the reviewer was the person I wrote the book for, as they responded to all the various things I was trying to achieve:

Science fiction’s predictive powers are debatable, but Delany’s observation on the connection between the ‘economic heft’ of the presence of substantial numbers of black writers and our encounters with racial bigotry now appears spookily prescient.  N.K. Jemisin, for example, an African American woman who in 2011 won Japan’s Sense of Gender Award and whose work has been nominated for several other major awards, has been designated by one hate-filled economic competitor as ‘illiterate’ and ‘half-savage.’

Given this background, Buckell’s consistent efforts at creating marketable novels with crossover potential can be seen as revolutionary acts, attempts to stand the genre’s financial hierarchy on its head.  Technical competence and knowledge of one’s intended audience become tools for resisting erasure.

Buckell’s earlier Xenowealth series (Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, Sly Mongoose, and Apocalypse Ocean) included quite a few tributes to science fiction’s pulpy forebears and other related genres, notably post-Romero zombie narratives, steampunk, and juvenile dive fiction.  Harnessing the power of popular appeal in Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever is mostly a matter of Buckell filling his storylines with typical spy/thriller tropes.  Using wealthy criminal masterminds, high-speed chases (on land and sea), and daring escapes, he has written books which can unquestionably be consumed as familiar, frictionless pleasures—but that’s not the only way to read them…

(Via The Shock of the New Normal | The Los Angeles Review of Books.)

If you’re curious as to why I write, or what I’m trying to do with my books, this review is about as damn close to a manifesto as I could imagine.

This response is pretty much why I write. I’m grateful.

15 Sep

Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy interview with me, Ramez Naam, and Paolo Bacigalupi

Ramez Naam, Paolo Bacigalupi, and me all bat climate change back and forth on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast:

“‘When I started writing [Arctic Rising], I called it science fiction, because I thought the idea of completely eliminating the polar ice cap was science fictional, that’s pretty wild. A lot of the people who criticize climate change are like, ‘Oh, they’re way too pessimistic.’ And I’m like, ‘These guys are way too optimistic.’ IPCC was calling for possibly ice-free summers being like the wildest thing when I started writing. And so I started out with the science fictional scenario being ‘no polar ice cap.’ And by the time the book was in copy edits, IPCC was saying that they were willing to call a completely ice-free winter as well at some point in the human future, as their worst-case scenario. And it had gone from being completely science fictional—and scientists had it off the table—to being in their projections within the time I wrote that novel, and that’s just a year and a half.’”

(Via Leading a Double Life Turned This Woman Into a Best-Selling Author | WIRED.)

28 Aug

Check out The Apocalypse Ocean’s amazing, 100% all new cover (plus PDF version)

The Apocalypse Ocean, the fourth book in the Xenowealth series, now features new cover art that puts it closely in line with the other books. It was designed by Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios, and it’s awesome. Check it in it’s full glory:

Buckell TheApocalypseOcean

In addition to the new cover being updated on this website and buy pages, I’ve updated the eBook itself on all the major services with the new cover. I’ve also added a small bit of back matter encouraging people to sign up for my newsletter. Something I should have done.

Here’s the buy page, with all the buy links (except the one I’m not listing in solidarity with Hachette authors). Note, if you buy TAO directly from me via the Gumroad link, there’s also a PDF version you have access to. People have been asking about that, so I’ve finally created a version there.

Links:

The Apocalypse Ocean

The Apocalypse Ocean

Series: The Xenowealth Series, Book 4
Humanity continues to gain control of the Forty Eight Worlds as they deorbit wormholes and join the many worlds and civilizations together. But as they do so, they must deal with the horrors of past injustices as humanity forms new societies out of the wreckage of the old. More info →
18 Jul

My London Worldcon panel schedule

I’m on some amazing panels with amazing human beings at the next Worldcon, in London:

Signing

Friday 11:00 AM

Settling the Alien World

Friday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)

Here are three star systems, each with a planet potentially habitable by humans. One is Mars-like — probably lifeless, and needs warming and water before we can live there (or we need to adapt ourselves). One is Earth-like, with similar biochemistry even (score one for panspermia theory), but so far as we can tell, no sentient organisms. And one is Earth-like but with early industrial cities. What narratives do we imagine for humans arriving in each system? How might humans be shaped by the life and landscapes they encounter? And how might questions of contact, colonisation or cohabitation be tackled in each scenario?

Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture – buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space – in creating a fantasy world?

SF: What It Is, What It Could Be

Friday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

SF as a genre is both loaded and contested, bringing with it decades of controversies, assumptions, prejudices, and possibilities. What do the genre’s various practitioners and consumers think SF is? Are we speaking the same language, or talking past each other? How do perceptions of SF – in terms of who can write it, who can consume it, and what kinds of stories can find a market – create or reinforce realities? Is ‘core’ SF still about space exploration and colonisation, or is there room for other types of stories? If SF is ‘dying’, as we’re frequently told, what does that mean and in whose interests are the preparations for its funeral?

Reading: Tobias Buckell

Saturday 20:00 – 20:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Kaffeeklatsch

Monday 12:00 – 13:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL)

07 Jul

The Del Rey UK edition of Hurricane Fever is also out

The Del Rey UK edition of Hurricane Fever launched over the weekend as well. If you’re a reader somewhere in the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, it should be available!

The Del Rey UK site has buy links and more.

A storm is coming…

When former spy Roo Jones receives an unexpected package from a dead friend, he’s yanked out of a comfortable retirement and is suddenly embroiled in a global conspiracy involving a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.

But as one of the largest hurricanes to hit the Caribbean begins to sweep through the area, Roo just may find that time is running out – not just for himself, but the whole world…

Perfect for fans of action-packed espionage, Hurricane Fever is a kinetic techno-thriller for a new generation.

I’ll be in the UK and will appear in two places to sign. I’ll be at Fantasy in the Court, at Cecil Court in London on August 12th. I’ll also be at London Worldcon (LonCon). I’m hoping to be able to sign some Del Rey UK copies at both locations!