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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A panorama of the spec-fi industry for aspirng authors
THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING SCIENCE FICTION contains neither instruction on how to register a title with Bowker nor issues to consider when preparing a book for print. The title is actually ambiguous. Rather than detailing procedures for selecting and distributing genre material, it provides a broad range of excellent and inspiring advice for aspiring...
Published on 14 Feb 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction | Review
I’m confused - I’ve always heard good things about Cory Doctorow’s writing, but this is the second of two books of his that I’ve read, and both of them have left me feeling disappointed. Here, he promises to “help you meld the creative with the practical and make some extra cash in the process.”

The problem is that it’s...
Published 4 months ago by SocialBookshelves.com


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A panorama of the spec-fi industry for aspirng authors, 14 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Paperback)
THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING SCIENCE FICTION contains neither instruction on how to register a title with Bowker nor issues to consider when preparing a book for print. The title is actually ambiguous. Rather than detailing procedures for selecting and distributing genre material, it provides a broad range of excellent and inspiring advice for aspiring speculative fiction writers.
The use of the term "science fiction" is a catch-all for all of the spec-fi genres, which includes science fiction, fantasy, horror/gothic, or any story that has some sort of "fantastic" element. Some of the topics authors Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder include are the history of the genre, conventions, writers' workshops, tips on the craft, submission, marketing, awards, agents, electronic publishing, contracts, taxes, and associations. It is a survey of just about everything the writer encounters regarding the craft of producing spec-fi for the print media.
Dealing with so many subjects in one volume limits their depth. For instance, as someone who's been heavily involved with writers' workshops, I noticed a couple of types the authors missed were those at conventions and others led by selling professionals. These are the only exceptions where it's usually worth paying a fee. Frankly, though, this reviewer is a little more knowledgeable on that particular subject than this book's intended audience. The advice it gives in locating a writers workshop, what it's all about, and how to deal with the criticism is obviously coming from people who have been there and have a rational perspective. Most of the points they raise, especially how important it is to critique other people's work, come from experiences common to many writers.
Likewise with the other subjects of the book. Of timely concern is the background on "e-rights," which has risen to controversial levels in the whole writing community during the past decade. Doctorow and Schroeder basically state this is an emerging field where a lot of the bumps they elaborate are still being worked out, thus making clear that any further research done on the issue can be valuable.
The information they impart on agents, associations, contracts, and even conventions just makes good sense. However, they're also quick to admit that the market is in a perpetual state of flux, that some of their information can turn obsolete by the time their camera-ready copy goes to press, meaning if the publisher keeps this book in print very long it will require revisions every few years to update the data it supplies, especially its contact information.
THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING SCIENCE FICTION serves as an excellent springboard for newcomers to the spec-fi print industry. It whets the appetite for information on the topics it covers and encourages the reader to look for more. Members of Chicon 2000 and Millennium Philcon, the 58th and 59th World Science Fiction Conventions (a.k.a. Worldcons 58 and 59) respectively, ought to consider nominating this title for the Best Related Book Hugo in 2001. It will definitely be recommended reading for any workshops I coordinate in the future.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction | Review, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Paperback)
I’m confused - I’ve always heard good things about Cory Doctorow’s writing, but this is the second of two books of his that I’ve read, and both of them have left me feeling disappointed. Here, he promises to “help you meld the creative with the practical and make some extra cash in the process.”

The problem is that it’s all a little too basic, and when you feel like further advice is required, you’re prompted to contact an organisation because it’s outside the scope of the book – it really does feel like an idiot’s guide, and it’s a little demeaning in places, even if it is accidental.

It also hasn’t aged well – most of the information that the book contains is just a Google search away, and half of the agents and publications that he suggests you contact are no longer in business, having failed to adapt to the digital age. It’s only fourteen years old, but fourteen years has made a hell of a difference.

Besides, it just feels like a cheap knock-off of the ‘For Dummies‘ series – in fact, the Idiot’s Guide series has always paralleled the For Dummies series, and both of them were popularised by a book about MS-DOS. I don’t know which series launched first, but I know which one is better. I’ll give you a hint – it’s not this one.

I’m not saying that there isn’t any value to be gained from reading it, but take what you read with a pinch of salt and forge your own path through the murky world of writing and publishing – promoting your work is a skill, much like writing is, and you’ll have to develop your own techniques to suit your needs.

There’s only so much you can learn from a book, and I’m sure there are better, more up-to-date books out there for you to read. Pick this one above the others if you want to, but do so at your peril.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview, 17 Aug 2012
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Edward A. Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Paperback)
This books provides a good overview of what to consider what trying to publish your work. To some extent it is applicable to any genre as much of the writing and publishing process is the same, it is of course looked at from a science fiction perspective. Although there is the inclusion of fantasy and horror; SF has a rather broad definition anyway. One key point to note is that the book was written in 99/00, so while some of the information is timeless there are some sections that are quite dated in 2012.

There are many important topics covered such as contracts, agents and taxes. This is perhaps some of the more boring stuff that you need to do once you have written your ''masterpiece'' but it is perhaps even more important than the writing itself. The authors do a good job of presenting the information in an easy to digest and actually non-boring way. The occasional humour is also welcome.

The section near the end on promoting your material is a little bit dated when they review the electronic forms of promotion. Yes, it mentions websites but there is no mention of social media which is currently a dominant form of advertising. Facebook is obviously popular but Twitter seems to be awash with aspiring writers and their myriad spam posts to buy their wares. There are more self-publishing websites than they mentioned too, such as Lulu and now Amazon via the Kindle Direct Publishing.

I think speculative fiction will always be a strong selling genre, perhaps the authors should consider an update.
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