Nick Mamatas

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Was looking to purchase your latest novel, found it being displayed at my local library in Mississauga, Canada. What is your quick online fix for stress relief? Your twitter being mine.

Wow, I forgot I had this. I listen to ASMR videos, especially whispered readings, on YouTube.

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Why a play?

I subscribe to a magazine called Belle SF that runs nudes and local profiles, and it has a story every issue. The last issue was in the form of a play, which made me think "I should do that one day." No other reason, really, though once I got started my play took on a pretty different form. I was torn between making a play that should be staged, and often, and one that could never be.

Why does Stephen Elliott need to be called out?

Seems like everyone in the Bay Area has some story of him basically playing a power-game or trying to top from the bottom.

i just got a $100 b&n giftcard, which of your books should i buy? and if u got anyone else to rec I'm all ears.

HANZAI JAPAN, my most recent dayjob anthology. As it is part of my salaried position, I don't receive royalties for it, but I love the stories within so much and want people to read them. I recently blurbed the book THE PLEASURE MERCHANT by Molly Tanzer, which comes out next week, so check it out.

Are publishers encouraging first time authors to break their novel into multiple parts for marketing purposes? Examples being the team of Nick Sagan, Vaughn Heppner, and the team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

I don't think you listed any first-time authors there, but occasionally a very long book just runs up against the physical limits of inexpensive bindery and it makes more sense to cut it into two. You also get two paydays out of it as a publisher. It's a practice of longstanding—a lot of the Victorian novels we read today in a single volume were published as three volumes when first put into book form.

What's a xenomarxist? Is it better than a Xenumarxist?

Not sure—I suppose it's someone who believes that we can only asymptotically approach #fullcommunism, hashtag and all? It has to be better than a Xenumarxist.

Though it's a little heavy-handed and guilty of employing some typical Hollywood BS, I really liked the 2010 Ginsberg biopic HOWL. Did you see it? Thoughts? Thanks.

I did see it. My friend arranged for me to see it along with Gerald Nicosia and other local Beat experts. I liked it, but felt that sticking with the court transcripts robbed the censorship issue of some needed context.
The animation was very hit or miss, but the Moloch sequence was fantastic, I thought.

I'm currently polishing a book draft that feels complete at 52k words. I've heard the lower-end for novels is 60k, but I think I'd seen you mention somewhere that most of yours were lower than that. Are shorter novels harder sells for agents and publishers?

It depends on the genre, really. Tons of crime novels and literary novels are around 50k. SF/F tends to be longer, as fans are uncritical—it doesn't matter if the food is good so long as the portions are large for dumpsterbrains.
Short novels are a harder sell: you'll note that all my books are published by independent presses such as Soft Skull, ChiZine, PM Press, and Dark Horse. The two Skyhorse books coming out in 2016 (THE LAST WEEKEND and I AM PROVIDENCE) are a smidge longer/"mainstream" at 70K.

Ever think about writing a wrestling book? (whatever that might actually mean taken broadly)

Yup, but at book length NIGHT AND THE CITY did all that could be done. My story "Work, Shoot, Hook, Rip" in NIGHTMARE CARNIVAL took more than a decade of contemplations, so that'll be it from me for now.

What are your thoughts on wattpad and Amazon WriteOn? Great place for new writers to get feedback on early drafts of novels and build readership? Or great way to ruin any chance of traditional publishing once something is posted on one of these sites?

I'd say that the ratio of successes to wastes of time are about the same as with normal publishing, except that with Wattpad and WriteOn you don't know if you're losing because there is always some level of squeeee-style positive feedback. So I'd stick with rejection city.

I'm stupid & have submitted the wrong story to a (quite high-profile) editor. Do I 'fess up & withdraw the story, take it on the chin then send them something they might like by return of E-mail or do I keep schtum, swallow the fear & sit on my hands for six months until I can submit to them again?

Wait the six months.

Actual words. I know, right? But the publication is otherwise respectable and my instinct is that the clip is worth something. Very torn.

There will be other clips.

I'm an inexperienced writer doing a review for a literary magazine, and the editor wants to insert an awkward "spoiler alert" in my review because I discussed the plot. Should I fight it and risk having the piece pulled? Or capitulate and have a published piece under my name that makes me cringe?

"Spolier Alert"? Those actual words? In a literary magazine? PULL IT.

I've recently read some good horror/fantasy stuff (The Primal Screamer, Zod Wallop, Anthony Shriek, Strange Toys). Can you recommend any other good quality novels in a similar vein to these? (Cisco's The Narrator I already have.) Cheers!

Adam Brelsford
Wow, you have named some of my favorite novels already! Let's see:
KINK by Kathe Koja
BAD MAGIC by Stephan Zielinski
HAVOC AFTER DARK by Robert Fleming (short stories)

Longest time you spent in a non-coastal state ?

Depending on the strictness of your definition of coastal, I lived in Vermont for eighteen months (two states away from the coast!) or if you really mean "on neither the West Coast nor East" two weeks kicking around Illinois and Wisconsin.

I might have accidentally ended up at the helm of a very small monthly magazine. Any advice?

Plan ahead with evergreen features and fiction, but keep some of the feature well open for new exciting things. If you're acquiring fiction, don't just get "the best", get stories that are novel in some way even if not quite as good as more traditional stories from traditional authors.
But most importantly, run the magazine for the readers, not to get writers to like you.

Are organisations like SFWA or HWA worth joining just to have access to the online forums? Would joining have any benefits for an already-published novelist with a few books under their belt?

Do you enjoy treating strangers to analingus online? Then you can get a Nebula or a Stoker out of the deal. (It's not the only way to win an award, mind you, but it helps.)

Ask.fm doesn't let me ask questions without an account anymore, so I made one because I wanted to keep asking terrible questions. Does this make me a Trufan?

Well, did you ever buy any of my books?

How willing are magazine editors (real ones) to buy feature articles from nobodies if the pitch is right?

Generally, very. With non-fiction, you work your way up. Start with small venues to get some clips, to demonstrate that you can write and make deadlines and not lie or get sued for libel, and with that clip and a good pitch you head up to the next level, etc.
The trick is the right pitch: everyone is doing hot takes and pop culture outrage. You want a leg up? Promise some shoeleather journalism.

So I bought On an Odd Note and The Narrator on your recommendation and they're great! You got anything else to rec? Thanks.

One book I really enjoyed recently is Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge. I'm not normally much of a YA reader, but I got this one and was impressed.


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