28 January 2012, Publication - Problems Writing Science Fiction
Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
Here is the list of ideas for advertising--there are more and I'll add to the list as we go along. I'm certainly not an expert in all these, but I've dabbled in all of them. I'll try to relate my experience and the degree of that experience to you.
1. Have a website for your novel.
2. Write a blog.
4. Literary awards.
5. Book cards.
8. Blog tours.
9. Press releases.
10. Speaking and teaching.
13. Book signings.
14. Book trailers
It isn't just history that gets a short shrift in writing novels--science gets kicked to the curb even more often than history. At least with history, even though it's totally screwed up, the world usually works according to logic and scientific principals. With science fiction, you can't be sure of that. The number of real scientists or engineers, that is people who actually know something about the science in science fiction is so low, you're lucky to get a battery hooked up correctly in a circuit. In fact, the knowledge of science is so low among most nonscience graduates from prestigious colleges that you'll be lucky if they know how the seasons change much less the slightest inkling of orbital dynamics. In fact, if they know what an orbit is, you'll be lucky--George Lucas doesn't seem to have the slightest idea what an orbit or space is like at all. The Star Wars series is pure science fantasy and not anything close to science fiction.
So, what can I tell you? If you really want to write science fiction, you need to study science, and you aren't going to get that knowledge from most modern science fiction novels. I write hard science fiction. If you want to get an idea of what real science fiction is like, you need to read my novels. My novels are based on my own work in aerospace. My undergraduate is in Chemistry. My graduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering. My Ph.D. is in Aerospace Engineering. I'm literally a rocket scientist (that's a joke). My specialty is really in low speed and transonic aerodynamics. I actually know something about science, and I write science fiction.
I don't believe you have to be a Ph.D. to write science fiction--it helps, but it's not necessary. What is necessary is some real knowledge of science. If you didn't get As in your science classes, and you don't understand what an integral is, don't even attempt to write science fiction until you really study it. At least read my books and Asimov, Clark, or Heinlein.
I'll write more about science fiction and expertise tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.