We would like to congratulate all our authors whose works will appear in the 2012 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (from Ticonderoga Publications, July 2013). In particular, three stories first published by FableCroft will be reprinted! Well done to Thoraiya Dyer (“Sleeping Beauty” from Epilogue), Faith Mudge (“Oracle’s Tower” from To Spin a Darker Stair) and Tansy Rayner Roberts (“What Books Survive” from Epilogue). Lovely news!
Speaking of news, we’ve started a new page on this website called “FableCroft Books in Review“, where we link to online reviews of our books – check it out to see what reviewers have been saying about us!
We sometimes like to keep things under our hats here at FableCroft. This year we have a couple of very cool projects in the works, which we’re keeping secret until we can make big announcements. Like this one!
Tansy Rayner Roberts has been a FableCroft author since our first book, Worlds Next Door, and it’s with great pleasure we celebrate the re-release of her very first novel (first published in 1998), Splashdance Silver (book 1 of the Mocklore Chronicles)!
This is very exciting for us, as not only is the book fantastic fun to read, but it is the first step in a new direction for FableCroft. We look forward to sharing more of our projects with you!
You can read more about Splashdance Silver at Tansy’s blog here.
You can get your copy of Splashdance Silver for just $3.99 (USD) from Amazon, Wizard’s Tower Books or Weightless Books.
I’ve invited a number of people who have published in indie press and gone on to become professionals in the field to write about their experiences. Here, Tansy Rayner Roberts shares her experience.
Indie press caught me when I fell.
We didn’t call it indie press so much back then, in the early days of the new millennium. Before a firm rebranding, it was small press and proud. But after my first professionally published novels sank, crashed and burned and I found myself having to reassess whether I was a writer or not, it was small press that gave me a community to belong to while I built my skills up to the next level.
I embraced the short story, and wrote a bunch of them, mostly published in tiny little ‘zines that few people had heard of then, let alone now. I also joined the Andromeda Spaceways collective and learned about publishing a magazine from the ground up (spoiler: it’s really hard work). Later I edited YA e-zine Shiny and played in the New Ceres paddling pool, two projects that were integral to the launch of (World Fantasy Award nominated) Alisa Krasnostein’s indie publishing house, Twelfth Planet Press. My goals kept shifting: I wanted to make sure I had something published somewhere, every year, and then it was all about getting that novel career back, and one of the things that had to be sacrificed was my involvement in making small press happen for other people.
Also, there were babies. Actual babies that needed my time and attention. (spoiler: they are hard work too. Who knew?)
Then, finally, the novel career came back, and contracts were signed. Deadlines. Real books with actual distribution and publicists and that sort of thing. I was playing in the Big Kids Playground again.
But just because I had promised myself not to get involved in the making of small or indie press again didn’t mean that some of my work didn’t have a place there. As Alisa built up Twelfth Planet Press into something that was attracting global attention, my stories found a home there, one after the other, until I realised that what with all my novel deadlines and baby juggling, I was pretty much only writing short fiction when Alisa asked me to. And it seemed, I had finally got good at it – after years of writing short fiction that sank without a trace, the stories I sent to Twelfth Planet Press started to get attention. Award nominations. Positive reviews. When you haven’t had those things for a long time, they make you giddy!
I wrote a story I loved, “Siren Beat”, for a friend’s charity anthology project, and when that didn’t get picked up by a publisher, Alisa gave “Siren Beat” a home. It won me my first international award. When she asked me to produce a four story collection for her Twelve Planets project, I knew that I had to do it, even if it meant taking a chunk of precious time out of my novel deadlines, which had become a little bit deadlier upon the birth of my second daughter.
Without the existence of Twelfth Planet Press, I wouldn’t have written those stories, into which I poured all of my love and obsessions and annoyances with Roman history, the other career path that I had been passionate about, a decade ago. Love and Romanpunk is a beautiful book, and one that has absolutely no place with a big pro publisher. It also gave me a breath between big fat fantasy novels, and serves as a wonderful introduction to the kind of work I write, for those people who are likely to balk at a big fat fantasy novel or three.
I get so irritated that the current wave of self-publishing has taken on the label ‘indie’ and devalued it. To me, indie publishing involves a publisher who finds the work that will appeal to a niche audience, the editor who hones it and makes it better, the cover artist and designer, the proof readers. And sure, some of those are the same people, and it’s very likely none of them are getting paid for their work (yet) but it’s a business that contributes some amazing work to the field. To me, indie publishing is the field that brought me the gorgeous restaurant novels by Poppy Z Brite, the collections of Kelly Link, Glitter Rose by Marianne de Pierres, and the WisCon Chronicles. Maybe I’m just some grumpy old pedant railing against the internet, but I don’t see why self-publishing needs to take terminology that means something else, not when the stigma is peeling away from the self-publishing process in big wet chunks.
Self publishing is hot right now. But it’s not indie publishing, to me.
All this is not to say I haven’t had my dramas and disasters with indie publishing. Contracts to e-publish with no end clause, and a publisher who refused to negotiate any detail of said contract, forcing me to remove the work for publication. A publisher who dropped out of contact more than half a decade ago and yet still think they have the rights to put my work on the Kindle. Publishers who never produce the actual product, editors who don’t understand how the editing process works, and on one particularly awful occasion, a friendship lost because the author-publisher relationship became so deeply damaged.
But it’s a rare author who has a career longer than a decade and hasn’t picked up some horror stories along the way, and I can tell you that I have quite a few traumas attached to my experiences with pro publishers too (though not, thank goodness, recently).
Indie press doesn’t offer the big money, and it doesn’t offer major distribution, especially not in Australia. But for those works that are never going to appeal to the big business side of major publishing, it can lead to beautiful books, and the promotion of work that helps to build a writer’s reputation. For me, at a time when my pro novels are still confined to Australian and NZ territories, it’s rather glorious to have a little book that can fly to every corner of the world. Also, it’s purple.
I love Harper Voyager for everything they have done to relaunch my career, putting my heart and soul (and falling naked men, and frocks, and shapechanging animals, and magical cities) on bookshelves around the country, but they never gave me purple.
Tansy Rayner Roberts is the author of the Creature Court trilogy (HarperCollins Voyager) and short story collection Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press). In the last year she has won the Washington SF Association Small Press Short Fiction Award, the Ditmar for Best Novel, the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism and Review, and the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, among other awards. It’s been that kind of year. Tansy blogs at http://tansyrr.com and can be found on Twitter at @tansyrr. You can hear her every fortnight on the Galactic Suburbia podcast.
The thoroughly delightful, ridiculously talented Tansy Rayner Roberts shares her thoughts on the difference between male and female fantasy writers.
Tehani is totally trying to trap me into saying something controversial, by requesting a post about the difference between male and female writing in fantasy.
Since I first started reading Proper Grownup Fantasy at the age of thirteen, I noticed women writers and sought them out. Not necessarily because their writing offered something that male writing didn’t, but because – well. Maybe it did. I find myself drawn to female voices, though a book has to offer me far more than just a female byline to capture my attention.
Warrior women photograph Some rights reserved by Ran Yaniv Hartstein
As a reader, I particularly love deep characterisation and unusual takes on gender roles, and frocks, and humour, and smutty bits, and strange magic, and to be honest I’m far more interested in the stories that happen inside the castle walls than outside of them. None of those things are exclusive to women’s writing, but why shouldn’t I seek it out there? Why shouldn’t I assume that I’m more likely to find what I want in a book by a woman than a book by a man?
After all, it seems pretty clear that there are a huge number of readers who only seek out what they think they want in a novel from books with a male name on the cover. And I think that’s very depressing. Also, as a woman who occasionally reviews books, I do think it’s very important for me to single out and discuss books by women – or rather, as someone who reads a lot of women, I think it’s important that I keep reviewing books, as my small attempt to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
The truth is that we all filter our reading, before we even pick up a book. We use all manner of filters: what we know of that author already, what we’ve heard about their work, what we think of the cover. Gender bias often plays a part in that too. I do tend to assume that with a male fantasy author, I’m more likely to get an abundance of fight scenes, and not enough chatting over breakfast scenes, but that’s a completely unfair assumption. (look at David Eddings, his books were PRACTICALLY ALL BREAKFAST CHATTING, remember Breakfast of Magicians? It was between Queen of Elevenses and Tower of Gossip and Stew).
Some of my favourite books ever involving swords are by women: Jennifer Roberson, Ellen Kushner, Tamora Pierce. Some of my favourite books involving witty dialogue, smutty bits and pretty clothes are written by men: Simon R Green, Kim Newman, Neil Gaiman. Some books (the best books ever) have both of these things! I certainly don’t assume that a woman is going to automatically produce all the things I love best in books.
Around the fire photograph Some rights reserved by Jane Starz
But on the other hand: female voices, I am drawn to them. I seek them out, I tend to enjoy books which have them far more than books which don’t, and I choose not to feel guilty about that.
Tansy Rayner Roberts is the author of Power and Majesty (Creature Court Book One) and The Shattered City (Creature Court Book Two, April 2011) with
Reign of Beasts (Creature Court Book Three, coming in November 2011) hot on its tail. Her short story collection Love and Romanpunk will be published as part of the Twelfth Planet Press “Twelve Planets” series in May.
This post comes to you as part of Tansy’s Mighty Slapdash Blog Tour, and comes with a cookie fragment of new release The Shattered City:
Roast goat. Someone had said something about roast goat. Velody followed her nose to the spit, where two lads were slashing strips off the beast, layering them up on platters for the crowd. She found a dish of the rarest slices, oozing blood, and ate ravenously, licking her fingers. “Love a demme with an appetite,” leered one of the goat lads.
Velody wiped a smear of blood from her chin. “Don’t we all?”
Fresh meat was a rare extravagance, and her body thrummed with it as she turned back to face the crowd. The music slid under her skin, and she could feel Ashiol’s presence nearby. She could not see him in the crowd, but his animor sparked against her own, bringing mixed sensations of security and lust. You don’t want him, she told herself sternly. It’s the meat making you crazy.