Category Archives: Events

VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№39): That Went Well, Didn't It?

Gracious me, that was fun! VCon, I mean! What’s that? You weren’t there? You didn’t LIVE THE EXCITEMENT!?!

VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)
VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)

Okay, no sarcasm: this really was a fun event. The energy level was really good this year, after last year’s slightly tetchy mood of grumbly “why can’t I find the room my panel is in and why are all these people ahead of me in a line-​​up for something I’m not sure I’m even interested in?” Not that last year was a disaster; far from it! Just that there seemed to be a general air of muttering around many areas (or, possibly, around areas in which I manoeuvred).

Certainly this year I enjoyed  myself more than last year,  for whatever reason that was.

Particularly fun were the panels I got to participate in.

The one which I dreaded the most was “Are You Prepared to be Published?” with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing brainchild Brian Hades. Given the panel was set for 11 PM – Midnight, was concurrent with the dance, and a Saturday night infamous for its room parties, we anticipated an audience of three, all of whom hadn’t seen the outside world in the eight years it has taken to complete their 16-​​volume saga about space-​​exploring cats with ray-​​guns, all sitting in the front row, staring unblinking at us with intense expressions of “answer my question or I will follow you home and eat your entire garden.” Thankfully, instead we had a room of 25 people who all asked reasonably intelligent questions and were interested in the discussion without being scary enough to make me want to run screaming for my life at any point.

A happy addition to the panel was Barbara Gordon (no, not that one; the one who’s a mostly unpublished author living in Victoria). Providing the author’s perspective about the process of submitting to a publisher was a welcome one, and also something which made the variety of content more interesting. Granted, both she and her boy are a bundle of laughs, so it was good to have the warmth of them attending the panel in the first place, but dragging her up on the platform to help out was a brilliant idea and I’m glad Brian had it.

 After stumbling home – completely sober, mind you – at 1:30 AM, I then next appeared almost entirely awake at a panel the next morning at 10:00 AM called “Listen to This! Listen to This!” for which I was entirely un-​​prepared. To begin with, I hadn’t any real idea about the format of the thi9ng, for Programming never replied to my eMail asking for clarification of how much material to bring, or the degree of specificity of SF & F content desired. The three books I considered selecting material from – including Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and an early scene in the “Gormenghast” trilogy – would have required a goodly chunk of time due to their sheer length of material, as well as a section of text either side to provide framing material for the passage. I explained the latter point to the few people there, including the white-​​haired gentleman sitting directly in front of me in the first row. He looks a tad familiar, I thought to myself, and wondering if he was in fact… and then he sat back up from putting his back-​​pack on the chair next to him, his name tag straightened out on his chest and declared that, yes indeed, I had just explained to Larry Niven that I was a complete loss when it came time to proper participation in the panel he had taken the time to attend. At one point I noticed him staring at my chest to see my name tag, then glancing into the souvenir programme’s section of biographies of those on panels, no doubt memorizing the name of the complete nit-​​wit sitting in front of him, swearing he will avoid all things connected with me henceforth.

Then again, apparently he’s got a bit of a hearing problem, so perhaps he wasn’t able to pick-​​up the conversation at that point so he decided to review the listing for the next panel.

 
British Fantasy Awards

Yes, sadly, the two categories that Atomic Fez was short-​​listed in went to other people: both the “Best Novella (2010)” and the “Best Small Press” awards. That said, getting that far with things in the first year one even qualifies for the awards is pretty dang good: long list in all of the categories but one that apply, and short-​​listing in two, is hardly something to sneeze at.

Thus, while no shiny “WINNER!” graphic gets to be placed on the site, there’s no shame being felt or soul-​​crushing disappointment hanging over the mighty laboratories of Atomic Fez Publishing.

After all, there’s always next year…

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

The Vendors Hall at VCon 36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№38): This Week-End, the Cons are On!

Conventions, that is. FantasyCon 2011 is all about the fun, including – and especially – the Burlesque event which features Theatro Proberto performing both Corruption and Blood on Satan’s Claw (A Pantomime) in one glorious evening of ridiculous insanity! Learn more about that from the man behind this lunacy: John Llewellyn Probert. FantasyCon also has a bunch of extra Guests of Honour and things than originally expected, so head over to the FantasyCon 2011 site by clicking their name above.

I heartily encourage anyone attending the convention to go to anything involving either Mr. Probert or anyone of his retinue. Also recommended is placing a pint in the hand of Christopher Teague in the Dealers Room downstairs. While you’re doing that, why not hand him some money and purchase a copy of one of the splendid Atomic Fez titles on offer? You know it’s right…

The other event of note is the British Fantasy Awards which get announced on Sunday afternoon (which is around 8 AM in the Pacific Time zone). There’s two categories in which Atomic Fez figures: “Best Novella (2010)” has Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine among the five possible recipients, as well as Atomic Fez itself considered along with four UK publishers for “Best Small Press (2010)”. ‘Fingers crossed…’, and all that.

Poster for VCon №36 uses art by Artist Guest of Honour Jean-Pierre Normand
Poster for VCon №36 uses art by Artist Guest of Honour Jean-​​Pierre Normand

But the Publisher /​ Proprietor will be at VCon №36 in scenic Richmond, BC! This year’s VCon theme: “Visions of the Future; Imagining Tomorrow from the Past to the Present”

Those attending will not only have the chance to rub elbows with Guests of Honour Larry Niven (well-​​known for the “Ringworld” series, as well as other works employing solid science in its fiction), the artist Jean-​​Pierre Normand, and the film editor Lisa Lassek (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, etc.); you’ll also have the opportunity to meet me!

Further down the post you’ll see a floor plan of the Vendor Hall for the event, so that you can more easily rush to the Atomic Fez table and hand over all of your dough discover just how wonderful all the books are.  Plus – prior to their official publication date – copies of Terribilis and Dirk Danger Loves Life will be available for purchase for ready money! Copies sold directly, however, will not qualify for the “Pre-​​Order & Win!” competition, which will continue until the official publishing date of about a fortnight from now.

Remember: pre-​​order a copy of either – or both – of those two brand-​​new titles through this site, and your copy might be one of the four which are personally signed and dedicated to you by the author(s)!

Plus, if you live in North America, you’ll be able to win one of the two copies of the hardback edition of Terribilis, which is not available in your area in that binding! Additionally, you’ll only pay for the Trade Paperback edition, so it’s like a double-​​win!

The Vendors Hall at VCon №36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)
The Vendors Hall at VCon №36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)

But let’s get back to VCon №36, shall we…?

VCon is the oldest general-​​interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver, BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, games, etc.

VCon is organized by a subcommittee of the West Coast Science Fiction Association–a non-​​profit organization dedicated to the advancement and understanding of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs. VCon is not, nor will it ever be, owned by a big business or corporation. For now, and for as long as efforts continue, VCon will be a convention built “For the Fans, By the Fans”.

If you’re interested in more about the history of VCon and its events this year, their official Media Release can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Thus, as is fitting an event which celebrates the genre itself, topics of discussion on panels are rife with ways to better explore the books, art, movies, and games inspired by SF & F style of story-​​telling! Here’s four panel discussions which specifically interest me, as I’m going to be a part of them (while I’m doing that, the table will be taken care of by two able-​​bodied former educators):

Panelling for VCon [full schedule grid here]

First Page Idol Are You Prepared to be Published?
Description: Find out how to hook a reader from the very first page. Anonymously submit your novel manuscript’s first page to be read aloud by a guest of honour and critiqued by a panel of pros. Description: What do authors need to know before they are published? Publishers are here to tell you.
When: Friday, 8 – 9 PM When: Saturday, 11 PM – Midnight
Room: Cedarbridge Room: Cedarbridge
Panellists: Phoebe Kitanidis, Moderator
Brian Hades
Stephanie Johanson
Ian Alexander Martin
Marcie Tentchoff
Panellists: Brian Hades
Ian Alexander Martin
 

 
Listen to This! Listen to This! Page 189
Description: Pros read brief bursts of excellent SF & F by writers well-​​known and obscure (not including their own humble selves). Description: You be the judge. Listen to a short excerpt from Page 189 of unknown works, then vote on whether you would read the book before learning what it is and who wrote it. You may be in for some surprises…
When: Sunday, 10 – 11 AM When: Sunday, 1 – 2 PM
Room: Richmond D Room: Richmond D
Panellists: Ian Alexander Martin, Moderator
Toren Atkinson
Casey June Wolf
Panellists: Ian Alexander Martin, Moderator
Jaymie Matthews
Sandra Wickham
Casey June Wolf

 Yes, it’ll be one action-​​packed, excitement-​​filled experience after another, Kids! Come on along!

…especially for the one on Saturday which I expect will be attended by the two panellists, three drunken louts, and every poetry-​​writing 68-​​year-​​old woman desperate to get their name on the front of a book before they die of anonymity.

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

Works Progress Administration poster

This Week's Fish Wrap (№37): VCon & FCon Anon!

With the autumnal period comes a return to school, a return to the day-​​to-​​day routine of the office drones, and the excitement of the literary conventions organized by the British Fantasy Society and the West Coast Science Fiction Association. Hooray!

’40s-era Works Progress Administration poster
40s-​​era Works Progress Administration poster

This year creates a bit of a problem for Atomic Fez, as both of those organizations have rather inconsiderately scheduled their events on the same week-​​end. As much as we prize our forward-​​thinking, new-​​frontier located technology around here, it’s not yet possible to be in two places at the same time, and travel from Brighton (in the UK) to Richmond (in Canada) isn’t possible under about eleven hours, at least when using commercial air travel.

Thus, while the books Atomic Fez publishes will be available in the Dealers’ Room at FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton, the brains behind Atomic Fez will not be. Instead, the Proprietor /​ Publisher will be spreading the joy of all things “Eclectic and Genre-​​Busting” at VCon №36, held at the beautiful Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, in exciting Richmond, BC, from Friday, September 30th – Sunday, October 2nd. You can find him in the gigantic Dealers’ Room at the mighty Table 502 (just on your left as you come in the door), or possibly taking part in a panel discussion and explaining to everyone JUST HOW WRONG THEY ALL ARE!

The additional reason that it would be so nice to be beside the sea-​​side is that the prestigious British Fantasy Awards Ceremony is held on Sunday 2nd October 2011 after the fabulous FantasyCon 2011 Banquet. Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine is nominated in the “Best Novella (2010)” category, and Atomic Fez is the sole non-​​UK house among those on the “Best Small Press (2010)” short-​​list. The best of luck to everyone on the short-​​list, including that “Steve King” fellah, whoever he might be (but frankly, I think he’s trying to get into the literary game by grabbing his son’s coat-​​tails).

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to get you in the mood for the Richmond event, here are three of them.

September is “Science Fiction and Fantasy month” at the Vancouver Public Library, and VCon is partnering with the VPL’s Downtown Branch (350 West Georgia) in three events: “Fantastic Art” on September 19th; a “Vogon Poetry Slam and “Vog-​​Off” on September 22nd; and a panel discussion, “Page to Screen”, on September 27th. All three events are free, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Alice MacKay Room (on the library’s lower level).

Fantastic Art

 Tonight, September 19th, come to hear George Metzger (“Moondog”) and Tarol Hunt (“Goblins”) discuss Fantastic Art, with an emphasis on sequential art and graphic novels. Then join in some audience-​​participation fun with previews of two VCon favourites: “Pencils at High Noon” and “SF Pictionary”. Both are quick-​​draw competitions that depend more on wit and imagination than artistic ability. On view will be examples of art from VCon-​​s past.

 Vogon Poetry Slam

The (Second Annual) Vogon Poetry Slam and Vog-​​Off is on Thursday, September 22nd. Stormtroopers from The 501st Garrison will be on hand to keep order as contestants vie for cash prizes by reciting their worst possible poems. There’s even a $42 prize for the worst poem by someone under 14. See details at the VPL’s website: Vancouver Public Library – News & Press Releases

Page to Screen

The third event is “Page to Screen”, a discussion of how well – or badly – science fiction works have been adapted for the screen. That’s on Tuesday, September 27th.

By next week details of which panels at VCon №36 the Proprietor /​ Publisher will be participating in, during which time the table in the Dealers’ Room will be ably taken care of by whichever passing gypsies or miscreants have the misfortune to be passing by shortly before the discussion commences. It’s also possible that the site will look a fair bit different at that point, but those sorts of things have a habit of throwing complexities at one when one least expects it, so let’s not get our hopes up for that. A fortnight from now, however, all should look more exciting and the site be easier navigate one’s way around in.

In the meantime, become a “job creator” by buying some books – shipping’s free after $5035 – and then give them to someone who could use some entertainment in these economically challenging times.

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

This Week's Fish Wrap (№28)

This evening’s Shebeen Club event in Vancouver with Stephen Quinn causes me to think about a book read some time ago Flat Earth News, by Nick Davies. The things that become this week’s fish-​​wrap may have been last week’s news, but they seem to acquire the the first mentioned state far more quickly these days, and one has to wonder why that is.

While Mr. Quinn is not a newspaper man, he is – first and foremost – a journalist. The book by Mr. Davies is about journalism, and the dearth of it in the papers found principally in London, but not exclusively so. Being a regular writer for The Guardian, his expertise lies in the output of Fleet Street rather than elsewhere, and thus he devotes much of his book to the state of British journalism in its newspapers as well as the BBC News web-​​site. It’s a fascinating read and highly recommended for people who think.

First, however, let’s have one thing clear from the outset: this is not about how some minority group or secret committee is controlling the world and /​ or the media. While there may be decisions made about things by groups we know nothing about (that’s why they’re ‘secret groups’ after all), it’s all too easy to shuffle off one’s responsibility for not doing anything to change things by blaming an anonymous ‘powerful individuals’. Here’s an H.L. Menken quote included in the book (p. 395) which goes some way to explain how this sort of thinking can be rubbish:

…the central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his rights and true deserts … [He] ascribes all his failures to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street or some other such den of infamy.

This book is specifically about how there are few, if any, people in control of the media. While many reporters and editors find all too frequently that they aren’t able to do the fact-​​checking they wish to — and are frustrated at the situation’s stasis — they aren’t the cause of it through lack of initiative; they simply haven’t the time. According to the staggeringly persuasive argument of author Nick Davies, the newspapers of the UK are essentially now all owned by people who have little interest in publishing newspapers containing journalism. What these individuals are principally concerned with is simply ‘selling copies of the paper each and every day, and the more the better.’ This quantity over quality approach is why they are termed “the Grocers” by Mr. Davies.

Cover art of “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davies
Cover art of “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davies

Certainly, any business must be operated with an eye to profit v. loss. However, there is so much an avoidance of idealism towards the media’s content, that the readers are being under-​​served to the point of unconscionable delivery of falsity on the part of the various persons responsible for the media outlets’ content.

While the book focuses much of its time upon the newspapers of London – including entire chapters each devoted to the Sunday Times, the Observer, and both the Daily and Sunday Mail newspapers – the problems and trends can all be recognized as being world-​​wide in scope. The newspapers of North America are, thankfully, prevented from out-​​right lying about individuals in print, owing to a reversal of the onus of proof in legal arguments here, when compared to the UK. That said, the habit of reporting quickly and loudly, then correcting slowly and quietly, is one which no legal or regulatory procedure can effectively prevent.

The other worrisome trend is the one first identified in the book: things being simply repeated from the texts of Media Releases without any effort to confirm that there is any validity within them, or even if they contain amplified – or ‘sexed up’, to use the UK Government’s term about the Iraqi WMD reports – versions of the truth which is then responsible for a snowball effect of panic about the subject in question; which then is fed-​​back into (EG: Iranian Elections get dropped to cover Michael Jackson’s death) or someone is able to stop the thing by explaining that it’s simply not true in the slightest and we can all relax now (EG: the nullification of the principle of habeas corpus in the USA is only applied to the cases of those naughty terrorists).

The fact that this book doesn’t cover is the recent development of newspapers closing due to financial decisions by their owners, despite any budget restraints they may have imposed prior to the shut-​​down. It would be fascinating to know what Mr. Davies’ views of the ‘new media platform’ might do to return journalists to the forefront of the delivery of facts. He suggests late in the book that an over-​​haul of newspapers is required, with the probable method of delivery being some sort of display screen.

Read this book, not to begin seeing some Secret Star-​​Chamber Cabal controlling the World’s fate, but in order to see that there is an ordinary group of men frantically pulling levers behind the curtain so as to continue making the Great Oz of the Media just as impressive and seemingly required as ever before.

Flat Earth News: An Award-​​Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media by Nick Davies; PP 420 (including index), ISBN: 9780099512684; 2nd Edition published in 2009 by Vintage, an imprint of Random House, London, SW1V

All TALKING! All THINKING! ALL HOUR LONG!

Hear the Publisher's Voice!

This Week’s Fish-​​Wrap is preempted, owing to just about anything covered by that that being easily covered in tomorrow’s event, exciting details of which are below.

All TALKING! All THINKING! ALL HOUR LONG!
All TALKING! All THINKING! ALL HOUR LONG!

Tomorrow at 17:00 PDT (or 20:00 EDT, or barely into Wednesday at 00:00 GMT) I’ll be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio with Wayne Herlbert. In addition to the possibility I’ll mention an up-​​coming title or two, here’s what he’s claiming I’ll talk about:

Independent book publisher and President of Atomic Fez Publishing, Ian Alexander Martin, shares his views on current and future trends in the publishing industry. Ian describes the challenges facing publishers in the current economy and with the rapid changes taking place in the publishing industry. Ian shares his thoughts on genre busting fiction, developing a niche market for specific titles, and how an author can get published in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Ian also offers some advice for successful online book marketing including some very unique and unexpected tactics for which Atomic Fez has become famous.

Frankly, I’m not so sure about the belief that “Atomic Fez Publishing has become famous”, but I’m hardly going to dissuade him at this point.

The interview is an hour long, so I’ll have to work at being briefer than normal. More than likely, about half-​​way through we’ll get far off the subject and start debating the various advantages of tea-​​making techniques. Also possible is comparing of the cinematic visions of  Akira Kurosawa v. Francis Ford Coppola or Terry Gilliam v. Orson Welles.

It’s also entirely likely that we’ll talk about books. You never know.

  • STREAMING LIVE: Tuesday, May 31st at 5PM Pacific /​ 8PM Eastern /​ 00:00 GMT (Midnight at the start of Wednesday): CLICK HERE

UPDATED: and we’re done! For those of you who missed it, head TO THIS PAGE and click the little button on the player to start the 66 minute babble. Or, if you’re into that sort of thing and would rather download it and play it as a podcast, HERE’S A LINK FOR THAT.

The mighty “Triple R: Read, Rate, Review” logo!

SATURDAY: Get to Know Me!

On this coming Saturday, April the 9th, the delightful book blog Triple R: Read, Rate, Review will be featuring an interview with me. Following the interview, the post will be open for questions throughout the day, which I will respond to! Imagine: your very own direct connection to a publisher, seemingly unfettered by any filtration!

The mighty “Triple R: Read, Rate, Review” logo!
The mighty “Triple R: Read, Rate, Review” logo!

I do warn you, however, that this will be the day after my birthday, so my replies may be coming to you through the haze of massive brain death caused by a hangover.

None the less, it should be fun (even if only in that “train wreck” sense of the thing).

Head over to Triple R: Read, Rate, Review and have a look around now, then once again on Saturday.

…did I mention that Friday is my birthday, by the way?

UPDATE: to read the post and participate in the fun, CLICK HERE

Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)

Clearing the Desk of 2010's Odds & Sods (Part III)

We’ve looked backwards during the last two posts, examining reviews and what was accomplished in 2010. So, now let us point our noses in the direction of 2011; TO THE FUTURE!! In other words, about 48 hours from now.

Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)
Popular Mechanics, December 1941 (click to enlarge or close)

What’s Atomic Fez got on the horizon for then, eh? Anything you need to know about?

To start with, there’ll be books.

More than this I’m not going to say, as actual announcements and details will be made shortly before their publishing dates, as this is the way to make everyone more comfortable with the small press in general. Too many times people hear about such-​​and-​​such a book being published ‘very soon’ or ‘in the fall’ and then no more about it thereafter. They might have even ordered and paid for a copy in advance. Sadly, occasionally things do not go as intended and the title is either cancelled or the publishing house itself is absorbed in to another one or fades altogether. Additionally, there’s always the chance that the author suddenly wants to have another go through the book before it’s released, or the publishing house finds that it needs to delay things for the want of cash-​​flow, and both of those can’t be done due to the embarrassment of not keeping to an already announced schedule. None of this is to happen with Atomic Fez, and the way to encourage that understanding is by saying things like “Atomic Fez is publishing such-​​and-​​such a title… and here it is!” Everyone’s happier this way.

The plan at the moment is to have four new titles available in 2011: all of them novels. Three of them could easily be seen as ‘mysteries’, three with goodly dollops of ‘humour’, two of them as having solid ‘horror’ content, and one of them as a kind of ‘lad lit’. Two of the four are the first novels for the authors, two of the four are authors previously published by Atomic Fez, two of the four are Canadians, and one of the four is female. Some of the four fall into several of the categories, a couple of them fewer.

Mysterious enough for you? Well, let’s get on to some certainties and cease this wicked teasing of mine.

Atomic Fez will continue to release books in both printed and electronic formats simultaneously. Both markets are filled with people who like to read, and as long as they want words for their eyes, we aim to provide them on paper or on screens.

Atomic Fez will be attending at least one event this year: the British Fantasy Society’s “FantasyCon”, to be held in Brighton on the October 1st week-​​end. During that event, the BFS Awards for works published in 2010 will be announced, and Atomic Fez Authors will be seen filling the photo of the assembled winners. Shortly after that event, the Proprietor will be found outside the building letting out a very large sigh of relief.

Throughout the year, Mondays will continue to see posts here on the site giving a quick run-​​through of publishing industry news fitting the category “Things You May Have Missed Last Week”. Fridays will continue to be the day that your direction is pointed in the direction of the people frequently responsible for those things, in the category of “People to Give Your Attention To”. Newsletters from Atomic Fez will continue to go out, and if you’d like to subscribe to those e-​​mails, put your address in the little box at the top right of the page.

It is hoped that the economy – especially in the United Kingdom – is on the mend, as one of the areas hit has been the publishing industry. Large and small, we’re feeling the pinch, no matter how we’re approaching the changing word marketplace.

While the ground has shifted away from the Large Publishers acting as a sort of ‘cultural worth filtration device’, we are not yet in the happy land of ‘letting people vote for what they want with their money’. Just last week I was reminded that geography-​​based publishing rights are still very much alive, no matter that the market for intellectual properties of every sort know no national borders; if I want to buy a song by someone in India, I can do so, no matter that their record label is based in Mumbai. Oddly, publishers still work on the basis of what country someone’s head office is in, ignoring the fact that people in New Zealand who want to read a book don’t understand statements like “we haven’t negotiated anything past the North American and UK rights yet”. Once the Commercial Publishers work that part of the market out, then we’ll start making some progress.

No doubt in the coming year, we will all be discussing these issues, and so very much more as well. Here’s to success, happiness, and peace above all, for all, during it all.

All together now… HOORAY!

Author on left, giving directions to complete stranger on right (click to enlarge or close)

Clearing the Desk of 2010's Odds & Sods, Part II

Yesterday’s post [READ THAT HERE] mentioned a couple of reviews for books not previously celebrated. We all shouted HOORAY! It was quite enjoyable.

Today, let’s review what sort of Big Things were accomplished in 2010 by Atomic Fez Publishing, shall we? It’ll give us the opportunity to shout HOORAY! again, if nothing else.

Author on left, giving directions to complete stranger on right (click to enlarge or close)
Author on left, giving directions to complete stranger on right (click to enlarge or close)

First, let’s look at some numbers and statistics.

  • Total number of different titles published: 5
  • Total number of differing binding formats: 3
    • Titles in electronic bindings: 5 (IE: all of them)
    • Titles in hardcover bindings: 2
    • Titles in paperback bindings: 3
  • Number of titles already entered 2nd printing (UK only): 1
  • Number of titles already entered 2nd printing(NA only): 3
  • Number of titles already entered 3rd printing: 1
  • Number of launch events which happened to involve an author giving directions whilst wearing a rubber penguin mask [image right]: 1
  • Total number of reviews (all titles): 19
    • Number of titles reviewed by Publishers Weekly: 4
    • Number of titles reviewed by Black Static: 4
    • Number of titles reviewed by the ALA’s Booklist: 2
  • Number of conventions attended: 3
    • Number of conventions held in England: 2
    • Number of conventions held in Proprietor’s home area of Metro Vancouver: 1
    • Number of panels Proprietor participated in: 7
    • Number of panels Proprietor moderated: 2
    • Number of Guests of Honor on panels above: 2
    • Number of times a Guest of Honor used the phrase “A brother gotta eat!”: 1
  • Months during which books were physically in existence: 9

Not bad, eh? Atomic Fez is already able to hold its head up high with justification. But there’s more!

Early in December, Atomic Fez Publishing gained a distributor, meaning that people can purchase Atomic Fez books through Chapters/​Indigo or Amazon.com along with the usual places like their favourite book dealers, or directly through this site. For those of you who aren’t in the publishing industry, this is akin to an actor or athlete getting an agent; tough to accomplish, but the stamp of ‘professionalism’ that sets things in motion on a new level.

All Atomic Fez Publishing titles have been made available as electronic books through both this site directly and Amazon’s Kindle Stores–Amazon.comCLICK HERE to view Atomic Fez books in the USA Kindle Store (new tab or window) or Amazon.co.uk–as well as Kobo Books (previously called “Shortcovers”; and yes, Atomic Fez was with them that early). No matter where they are purchased, electronic books are DRM-​​free; ensuring no future surprises when moving from one device to another, or upgrading of software.

All in all, a damned good show for a start-​​up, especially for having only had actual products available for 34 of a year. Pride goeth before a fall, so let’s just say that Atomic Fez is “quite happy so far” just to be safe.

TOMORROW: A look ahead to 2011, without getting too detailed so as to avoid any ‘spoliers’.

UK Launch Event for Ponthe Oldenguine

For those of you of the Norfolk persuasion (or those willing to go there), there is an event celebrating the launch of Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine.

It will be held on Sunday, October 24th, between 2PM and 4PM, at the Norwich Playhouse (in the “Playroom”), which is located at  42 – 58 St. Georges Street, Norwich, NR3 1AB, in the United Kingdom.

Copies of the book will be made available at a discounted price during the event, because the author has unkindly scribbled in the front of the copies and logically no-​​one is expected to pay full price for these vandalized editions.

  • For details on Facebook about the event itself, CLICK HERE
  • For a map to the location, CLICK HERE.
  • For more information about the book, HEAD HERE.
  • For the official page about the legendary media artist Ponthe Oldenguine, HEAD HERE.

So as to aid people in the recognition of their host, please see the end of the post for the the image taken by Martin Roberts.

[NB: attendees must bring own cake]

The Author (and fan of Godard, apparently), taken by Martin Roberts

Marriott Airport Hotel, Richmond (exterior)

Proprietor Participates in Plenitude of VCon Panels!

Vancouver's Convention of Science Fiction and FantasyHuzzah! The schedule of events for the up-​​coming 35th version of VCon (Vancouver’s Convention of Science Fiction and Fantasy) is now public! If you’re seeking the words of wisdom of the proprietor on the week-​​end of October 1 – 3 2010, here’s the times and places you can do that (other than when he’s in the Dealer’s Room selling or lying in an open space on the floor somewhere near the bar, that is):

  • The Future of Electronic Publishing — Friday 2pm (Grouse room)
    Dave Duncan, Tarol Hunt, Ian Alexander Martin, Lynda Williams
    Is the Kindle the beginning of the end for paper books? Is E-​​publishing just a fad? Come hear what our panel of experts have to say.
  • Lesson Learned — Friday 3pm (Baker room)
    Tarol Hunt, Ian Alexander Martin, Ira Nayman, Lynda Williams
    Our panel shares some wisdom regarding things they wish they’d been told when they started in the writing business.
  • “You Suck!” “No You Suck!” — Saturday 10am (Seymour/​Whistler room)
    Eileen Kernaghan, Eric Lanoix, Ian Alexander Martin, Marcie Tentchoff, Sandra Wickham
    Often giving and receiving writing feedback can lead to tumultuous situations. What skills and techniques are needed to provide constructive criticism? How should you deal with criticism of your own work? What are the pros, cons and considerations when starting your own critique group?
  • Marriott Airport Hotel, Richmond (exterior)How Did That Get on My Book Cover? — Saturday 2pm; (Grouse room)
    James Beveridge (GoH), Dave Duncan, Eileen Kernaghan, Ian Alexander Martin (moderator), Cherie Priest (GoH), Edward Willett
    Authors discuss book cover art that didn’t speak to them or had nothing to do with the book. And a little insight from our Art Guest of Honour as to what the artists are told.
  • Modern Technology & the Destruction of the English Language — Sunday 2pm (Baker room)
    Geoff Cole, Ian Alexander Martin, Ira Nayman, Robert Luis Rabello
    R u a txtr? Do u rite compleet sentnces in emales? R speling n gramer ignord? Lets tawk.
  • Promotion in the Age of Twitter — Sunday 4pm (Baker room)
    Tarol Hunt, Ian Alexander Martin, Donna Prior, Lynda Williams
    What’s the best way to promote yourself these days, surrounded by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and whatever’s coming next?

All of this is subject to change, obviously, so check the schedule grid you get in your registration pack when you check in.