Novel Submission Update

All right readers! Update here! So, many of you may recall a few months back at the beginning of summer how I spent two weeks working on an unsolicited Halo manuscript sample? Which I fired off at the 343 folks?

Well, as of yesterday, I have an official response. They’re passing on it. In fact, they’re not even open to looking unsolicited manuscripts. Their process (mostly) is to tell their current publisher they want a book, wait for that publisher to pick an author from their internal stable, and go from there. So they automatically deny unsolicited manuscripts.

Why post about it if it’s just (effectively) a rejection? Because I know from comments that a number of you were really curious about it and looking forward to news on it. Well, I’m sorry to bring sad news to you, but the offer has been passed on. The rights holder isn’t interested, and that’s that.

Which does, sadly, mean that the sample manuscript will likely never see the light of day. Granted, I could always do the “file off the serial numbers” thing but … No. There are people that do that, simply re-purposing something written for one work and setting into another, but … I’ve got to be honest, that wouldn’t sit well with me. It’d just be an obvious mirror, and that’s not my style. Plus, writing a whole book in that mirrored style? I’m sure you guys would rather see [REDACTED] all the sooner.

So yeah, those readers that were excited by the idea of me maybe having my name on the cover of a Halo book, well … That’s publishing. At the very least, you guys have got Jungle coming this fall (look for a cover coming soon, by the way), and Fireteam Freelance plus [REDACTED] coming after that. So I hope you stay excited for those. And don’t stop reading some of those Halo books, because a lot of them are quite fun (as is the setting, part of the reason I wanted to contribute to it).

So yeah, they’re passing, which means the manuscript goes into that quiet, sunless vault of “stuff you won’t see.” At the very least, I got a fun week out of writing it and my Alpha and Beta readers got to enjoy a neat jaunt through a different setting from ColonyJungle, or Shadow of an Empire.

So, now you fans know it’s not going to happen. I’m still working on Jungle, which is definitely looking at a fall release now, as summer is almost over. This one is going to rock your minds, folks. Look for more on this one soon, and even preview material to start the hype train rolling before long.

That’s it, the news is up. Gotta get back to work on Jungle. Also, if you’re a Dusk Guard follower, note that the new chapter will be up in a few hours, since it’s Tuesday!

Why You Should Watch … Galavant

mv5bmjewndcymdk4of5bml5banbnxkftztgwndkymjm5mze40._v1_Today’s post doesn’t have much to do with reading. The title, admittedly, gives that away, but I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes even I skim over a title in my haste to read the article (and surely, I can’t be the only one?) so … Yeah, today’s post isn’t about a book. Or a series of articles.

Today’s post is about a TV show.

Now look, I promise I won’t do this often. Mine is a site dedicated first and foremost to writing and fiction.

But … sands and storms did this show never get the credit it deserved. At all. Personally, I think it had somewhat to do with the medium. Premiering on a cable network that likely had no idea what to make of it, it seemed a hard sell on an audience that is shrinking by the year (cable TV). I suspect that had Galavant shown up on some other network, like Amazon or Netflix, right off of the bat, we might have seen three, four, or even five seasons rather than the meager two it ran on ABC.

Why? Well, personally, I’m not sure execs knew what to make of Galavant. Or the general television audience. It’s … not a normal show. It’s a show that would stand out perfectly on Netflix or Amazon as a show that’s made for an audience that’s always looking forward. But for a more traditional, status-quo seeking cable network audience? It’s kind of a hard sell.

Okay, enough beating around the bush. What is Galavant? Well … are you ready? Galavant, as I would describe, is:

*Inhales* A musical, meta, fourth-wall aware, fantasy comedy. And yes, I mean musical in the sense that everyone breaks out into song and dance with astonishing regularity. Several times per episode, actually. And they’re aware they do it (see the “meta” tag). Sometimes they’re even aware that there’s been a commercial break, or that most viewers only Tivo the show for later and aren’t watching it live (fourth-wall what?).

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Never Stop Working (Even in a Drought)

Hey readers! Max here with, well, just a sort of general catch-all update post to yap about stuff with. Tomorrow I might have one of those interesting topical ones, like last week’s set of posts on MacMillan’s burning of their own market, but for today I just don’t have the time because I picked up an extra work shift and I need to get some editing done.

So this is going to be one of those news summary posts that goes over all my current projects and keeps you all appraised as to what’s going on with each one of them. Now, it’s easy to see from the stats I have on posts like these that they aren’t as popular as other posts … but hey, that’s drama-free news for you. And some of you do read these, which means you like being informed about my progress and what I’ve been up to. Plus, I like writing them because, well, lets face it, a long period of time can pass in writing without you readers seeing much coming of it until a book pops out of ether, and this does show that “Yes, I’m accountable for these projects, here’s how they’re going, etc, etc.” Which I think you guys like.

So, the quick of it? Yesterday I added about 5500 words to my quota, between editing on Jungle and writing. Then I’m writing today before taking an extra work shift, and well … Basically I’m keeping super busy guys. Good old 10-12 hour days are back again.

With that said, let’s get to the talking about what I’m doing with all that work, starting with Axtara: Banking and Finance.

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Are Libraries Bad for Authors? Part 2: Overdrive Fires Back!

It’s time for round two, folks, and Overdrive has come out swinging and swinging hard!

So, remember yesterday’s post on MacMillan? Who are, by the way, the owners of Tor (whoops as I actually missed that fact), the folks who last year decided to ban new releases of their books from libraries as libraries, they felt were the equivalent of piracy and book theft.

Yeah … Anyway, yesterday’s post on MacMillan’s announcement (and claims) was read by a many of you, if the site stats are any indication. Well, in that post, I called MacMillan’s numbers into question (mostly by bringing up the ridiculous price they’ve set for ebooks, and them being a market leader despite that, yet somehow claiming they can’t afford to pay their authors, and then attempting to blame libraries for that fact).

Today, it looks like I’m not the only one. You ready to read a verbal smackdown?

What am I saying. Of course you are.

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Are Libraries Bad for Authors?

Before we stumble into a cliche-filled moment of drama where inferences are made off of the title, I’ll be blunt: No, I don’t think so.

Let me say that again. Are libraries bad for authors? No, I don’t think so.

MacMillan, on the other hand (one of the larger book publishers), does.

Remember about … I want to say eight months or so ago, but it may have been longer, when Tor went ahead and decided that libraries were a threat to their business, since they let people check out books “for free” (the library pays for the book at a high price, mind). And therefore, they were going to be barring libraries from purchasing new copies of their books until a set time after release so that readers would be forced to buy them, rather than reading them at a library?

Well. apparently this idea is catching. MacMillan is the latest publisher to jump on this train. Now normally I’d sort of shake my head at this and move on, because this is just more book drama with publishers trying to recoup a market that’s slowly and steadily slipping away from them, but then in the news release, something else caught my eye. Something that really said a lot to me, personally, about how MacMillan is seeing things.

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News Post!

Okay guys, it’s time for a news post! Your update on all things Max Florschutz! Regarding writing-related things, anyway.

Okay, first up, the elephant in the room. Or should I say, in the Jungle? Yeah, it’s time we talk about how the Jungle Alpha is coming along.


Quite well, actually. Currently half of the Alpha Readers have already finished it, and I’m on track to move it into Beta in August. Which means … still on track for that early fall release. Unless something wild comes up. There’s still a chance that there could be a wildcard out there somewhere.

But the Alpha has also said good things for Jungle so far. The other day I had the pleasure of waking up to an e-mail in my inbox that basically said ‘AAAAAAHHH! I just hit X plot point and I’m freaking out!’

Obviously that’s not what they said exactly. For starters, the “AAHHH!” was a lot bigger and longer. And the rest of the message would involve major spoilers that you’re just going to have to read to find out.

With the Alpha moving along to, I can also give you guys a much more concrete word count. Even though there is going to be some more trimming here and there, it’s not a large amount. Which means that moving into Beta, Jungle is likely going to be around 450,000 words.

For the record, Colony was 334,000 words. Jungle is a third again as long as Colony. Conversely, Colony is 3/4 the length of Jungle.

How does this stack up against other popular books? Well, Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings was around 387,000 words. The Lord of the Rings (all three books) was about 473,000. A Game of Thrones was 298,000 words.

Yeah, Jungle is thick. But packed. Seriously, this is one ride you’re not going to want to miss.

Speaking of which, while Colony isn’t as long as Jungle is, it’s still a behemoth. Which means if you were waiting for Jungle to get close to pick up Colony and finally start the adventure, now would be a good time to get started! You can grab it here!

Now, on to more news!

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You’ve Got to Be Careful with User Reviews …

Hey readers. Got a bit of an interesting one for you today. How well do you look at user  reviews when you’re examining a product?

Okay, now to be clear, most of us know that reviews, with the advent of the internet, have sort of become a giant free-for-all. Sands, I remember when One Drink had just come out, and I was young and innocent and looking for ways to get my book out there. I was astounded and disappointed with the amount of paid review services out there.

And oh yeah, that’s not allowed. But despite a lot of online companies’ best efforts (such as Amazon) the process continues. I recall, when looking out there for One Drink, being shocked at how easy some of these places made it seem. Why wait for real reviews when a company in China could simply give you several hundred reviews for a few hundred dollars, all from “guaranteed different accounts” with a “guaranteed variance” so that while you’d end up with the 4 or 5 star rating you chose (no joke) you could still have a wide range of reviews that averaged there, so that Amazon’s automated systems wouldn’t pick it up. Again, guaranteed. All you had to do was pay them and gift them a copy of your item for every review you wanted.

Now, while Amazon and other places have worked at closing down loopholes, they’re still there. I remember another site, a book review blog that seemed fairly popular (though that isn’t my sphere, so it’s hard to say) that would freely take any book sent to them … but pointed out very overtly in their “review request” section that they wouldn’t look at it without a “donation” and that said donation would have a lot to do with how much attention they gave your book.

I wish I were joking, but I’m not. If memory serves correctly, a “donation” of $500 meant that they were “very likely” to feature your book on their banner and praise it for at least a few weeks, while further “donations” could lengthen that time.

This was years ago, and I’ve long since stopped looking, but given that sites like Amazon continue to make changes to their review policies (such as the recent Amazon change where you must be spending $50 a year on average to leave reviews) would seem to suggest that the issue is still an ongoing battle.

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