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Once Upon A Time …

It has been gently pointed out that I have told the tale of how Raconteur Press got it’s start, but that I haven’t written it down.

Well, that just won’t stand.

So. In 2021, a friend of mine named Robert Bruce MacIntyre asked the question: “If Germany had done the Intelligent Thing, and sent the force which invaded Crete to Malta instead, where would the best landing sites be?”

As I am proud of my birth-place, this simple question led to me writing a fairly lengthy Facebook post about how that would have been a Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Idea on 16 SEP 21.

In it is a brief vignette involving some ghosts of previous invaders of the island watching the German troops having a bad time of it. People latched onto that little scene and started prodding me to expand it into a book. More folks read it, and starting pinging me about how they’d like to write in that world.

I honestly didn’t think they were serious, and kept poo-pooing the idea, until 22 SEP 21, when I took Jonna Hayden to the local cafe, and she dared me to do a Facebook post asking for authors who wanted to write in a Malta anthology to speak up. She further asked me not to look at the post until we had finished lunch.

I did so, and when I looked at the post 30 minutes later, I had 59 responses. While this freaked me out a bit, I figure that one or two out of ten would actually send me a story, so I just kind of batted the idea around for a bit; using the excuse of not wanting to fool with royalty splitting, tax stuff, and editing the whole thing.

Meanwhile Cedar Sanderson and I did Taskforce CHIWEENIE on 10 NOV 21, followed by her snagging me for her anthology Can’t Go Home Again on 19 NOV 21 — both of which used PubShare for royalty disbursements and tax documents.

After Can’t Go Home Again went live, someone brought up the Malta anthology at the shop, and I mentioned that I would inevitably screw up paying people. Cedar looked at me gently, and in that very Cedar way sweetly pointed out that I had used PubShare twice already for her, and there was no reason I couldn’t use it on my own.

Well, that was two out of my three arguments excuses done for, but I held out on the editing part.

At which point, Jonna cut my legs out from under me by mentioning she had a roommate who had Done This Sort Of Thing Before. That got Kortnee Bryant on-board. And I was out of excuses.

The first week of January 2022 we opened for submissions for Ghosts of Malta. I was still expecting to have less than ten stories.

We got four times that. And they were good stories. After I calmed down, Rita and I were having supper, and I said that I guessed I was a publisher now, but I had no idea what to call the press. Rita looked at me over the chicken pasta, and said, “You’re a storyteller. A raconteur. It’s Raconteur Press.”

Ghosts of Malta went live on 20 APR 22 under Raconteur Press. Followed by Knights of Malta on 29 AUG 22, and Saints of Malta on 25 DEC 22.

I had said that I would be done once the Malta stories ran out, but during FoolzCon of ’22, Jonna, Tully Roberts, Tom Rogneby, and Wayne Whisnand conspired to get me very, very drunk; and took advantage of my weakened state to get me to agree to an antho involving “Cow- hic -boys in space!”

Space Cowboys and Space Cowboys 2 followed (23 FEB 23 and 08 MAR 23, respectively) Saints of Malta, and I had pretty much (privately) given up on fighting the inevitable, but then TulKon came along.

Oh, my tap-dancing gods. The (now-infamous) book launch/room party. I think we still have books on deck that I agreed to after imbibing way too much really good liquor by way of Scott Richardson. (ps: Oilfire is Teh Debbil. Just saying.)

I gave up and filed a Doing Business As in October of 2023, and followed up by filing as an LLC in February of 2024.

So. There you go. The tale of the start of Raconteur Press.

LawDog

It’s live! LLIIVVEE!!

Direct link.

Looks like Kortnee may have beaten the Amazon elves into submission — our anthology with Guest Editor James Young went live a day early.

We are really, really happy with this one, and I think y’all will be, too.

Go! Read! Review! Tell everyone! Support starving authors! (And small starving publishers!)

Didn’t Cedar knock that cover out of the park? Wow.

LawDog

Amazon

This is a way past due post, and one that is meant for authors out there.

If you are on Amazon, you need to have an Amazon author’s page. You do this by going to Amazon Author Central and creating an Author page. Once you have done that, there will be a hyperlink on any book you have claimed. Folks can click on that hyperlink and be taken to your Author page, where other books you have claimed will be listed — and fairly importantly — the ‘Follow’ button is located.

I say ‘fairly importantly’ because if your Gentle Readers have clicked that ‘Follow’ button, Amazon will — allegedly — send them notifications when you upload a new book. You can see how this could be helpful.

I also seem to have been remiss in telling new authors that they really should claim any of our anthologies they’ve been in.

To do this, go to your Amazon Author Central page, click on ‘Books’ on the tab-line across the top, and then click ‘add it now’, and follow the instructions.

Amazon is a little squirrely on the number of authors they’ll let claim a book, but we’re usually under their max limit. If you find you can’t claim one you’re published in, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. No promises — it IS Amazon, after all.

Please remember to go forth and have your family, friends, fans, followers, and random folks on the subway ‘Follow’ your Amazon page, and Amazon page of any other author they like — it helps you, and it helps us.

Thank you.

LawDog

 

Robots!

This Friday (09 FEB 24) we will be launching the first of a couple of series with Guest Editor James L. Young.

I’m really kind of chuffed about this one — it’s an anthology centered around giant robots/mecha, and James brought in some stellar talent:

I’m serious, folks, some of the names that submitted stories had my inner BattleTech fanboy squeeing.

As usual for us we got enough stories that there will be a second volume of giant robot stories coming out later on.

All that being said, I’d like to ask our Gentle Readers to do me a solid: I’d like Giant Freakin’ Robots to launch high enough that we impress James and the authors that he has brought with him. Impress them enough that we can keep bringing this level of talent and entertainment to our fans. Buy this book. Talk about this book. Recommend it to your families, friends, and random people on the subway.

And — as always — leave ratings and reviews.

I’d certainly appreciate it.

LawDog

Whoof.

I am holding the Official Company Record Book for Raconteur Press.

It is where we have stored the Company Charter, the Certificate of Formation, the Acknowledgement of Filing, and other such legal paperwork as required for the formation of a Limited Liability Company in the State of Texas, and the United States of America.

Whoof. It’s real. That mild look of panic you see on my face is pretty genuine.

Like I said in my previous post — it’s going to be an interesting year, and this is where it really kicks off.

LawDog

Changes afoot

Hoo boy, does 2024 have some interesting times coming for this little publishing house.

First off, we start 2024 by getting the Orange Tag of Happiness on our first release for the year:

Direct link is here.

We have also welcomed Intern Steve to the madhouse. He’s actually named Nick Nethery, and he comes to us by way of the Department of Defense’s Skillbridge Program. He attended MarsCON to meet us, and fits in perfectly. As long as he’s good with getting paid in cheese sandwiches and abuse for the foreseeable future, I fully intend on offering him a job when his internship is complete.

Speaking of Raconteur’s “Hey, does this hankie smell like chloroform to you” hiring process, we also met up with Mike Burke of the Alpha Mercs at MarsCON, and promptly shangai’d him, too.

So, if anyone asks: Yes, Nick and Mike are honest-to-god Raconteur Press staff; and as with all of my people, both of them have my complete confidence and trust.

As both of them are retired/retiring US military veterans, they bring a certain grip upon the subject of Mil-SciFi that the ladies might lack a bit of, and will start by handling the Space Marine anthos, as well as “… other duties as assigned”.

We accomplished many, many things at MarsCON — a lot of which will be revealed as the year moves along — not the least involving no small amount of time with a lawyer and a CPA as we set up Raconteur Press as a Real Company.

There is an actual website in the works, which we will launch in due course, and take Raconteur Press off of my blog.

While our dance card for 2024 is full up, I have started filling anthology slots for 2025, as well as black-bagging my first Guest Editor for that year. (Insert evil laugh here.) Until the website launches, click on the Raconteur Press tab on the task-bar above to keep abreast of anthology calls, closing dates, contract dates, and pub dates.

I’d like to remind everyone that Moggies In Space 3, a Galaxy Fur, Fur Away closes this weekend — get your stories in — and Space Marines 3 contracts go out on Saturday 03 FEB 24.

Busy, busy, busy.

LawDog

Yog’s Law

I have stated multiple times that authors are some of the most parasitised organisms on this little green dirtball. Once you start writing you quickly discover that there are freeloaders and sponges lined up around the corner waiting for the opportunity to milk you dry of every last bit of money and work that you have created.

This happens at every level — someone needs to explain to me just exactly why traditional publishing hasn’t been the subject of multiple rounds of RICO investigations — but of particular interest to me are independent authors and vanity presses.

A “vanity press” for the purposes of this conversation is a company where you — the author — pay them to publish your work. If you send your publisher a cheque along with your manuscript: They’re a vanity press. And they’re a parasite.

Author James D. Macdonald has long had a case of the hips at vanity presses, and coined what is referred to as “Yog’s Law”, which is simply: “Money flows toward the writer.”

Clear, concise, simple, and true. Any publisher should make their money as a share of the profits from selling your book. Your brain-sweat goes into writing the book, their brain-sweat goes into editing and marketing your book; and y’all split the proceeds.

In response to the growing backlash against vanity presses, a lot of the little barnacles have restyled themselves as “hybrid presses”; and they say  that the authors aren’t paying for publishing, they’re paying for “a la carte” services.

In other words, you’re not “paying for publishing”, you’re paying for editing. You’re paying for a cover.

Some folks feel this is fair. 

As far as I’m concerned, as a small publisher: It’s still bushwa. They’re still parasitic little vanity presses. They want to milk each and every author of as much money as possible, without taking the risk of actually having to work to sell the books.

If you have sent your publisher money, then they’ve made their money. They don’t give two hoots in hell about your book — they’ve already made a profit. And it really, really annoys me.

Other folks in the industry feel that the “hybrid press” “a la carte” model is actually a fair and viable system.

It isn’t, but that’s just my feeling on the matter.

As such, and to give some guidance as to distinguishing between a vanity press and a genuine “hybrid press” author Dan Thompson offered the “Self Publishing Corollary to Yog’s Law”: “Money and rights are controlled by the author.”

If you’ve decided that a “hybrid press” is right for you, and you’re okay with giving them money along with your manuscript, I ask only that you check one more thing: do they want the rights to your work?

In other words, are you paying them to take your rights? Are you paying them to take your intellectual property?

If so, they’re a vanity press; they’re a parasite, and you have a duty to starve the little bastards out of existence.

That is all.

LawDog