Nick Mamatas

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.

Latest answers from Nick Mamatas

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.

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.

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