The Lyons' Den

Home of author Brenna Lyons. Join Brenna as she waxes poetic...or rants and raves.

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Location: Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States

What do you get when you have a child writing seriously at the age of 7 and competing at the age of 11? A woman raised in an inner-city DMZ, weaned on too many nights of watching classic Chiller Theater until the wee hours of the morning with no parental guidance? Someone who is rumored to have picked locks to libraries to get her reads in? You end up with the Susan Lucci of e-publishing, the president of EPIC, and a driven, sleep-deprived author of fantasy and horror, straight genre through romance, dark romance, and erotica, poetry and articles. You find a woman who narrowed her college degree choices based on a comment a teacher made about her becoming "the perfect auditor or the perfect thief." And, you probably find a woman who is rumored to have once incited a accident. With degrees in accounting and computer programming, backgrounds in everything from teaching to clerking, tracking fraud suspects to working for the Air Force and the Navy as as civilian, it's strange irony that Brenna Lyons will become best known for her first love...writing. Brenna is an active member of EWAG, BroadUniverse, EPIC, WRW, ERWA and TELL.

Friday, May 13, 2005

More on LOCUS...the BS deepens...part one

"the subject of POD publishing was already so richly supplied with bunkum, hokum, eyewash, hot air, and horsefeathers that I have trouble responding with anything more polite than a groan to a further installment of same."

The quote above is from Teresa Nielsen Hayden (, a self-professed industry professional and supporter of LOCUS magazine, in her all-out attack on the rebuttal to LOCUS's article made by Paula Guran (, what I found to be (overall) a rather balanced and informed rebuttal. After reading the tripe Ms. Hayden wrote, I would counter that the bulk of the hot air and horsefeathers would fall in her flawed viewpoint, but let's look at what she has to say anyway.

Locus can't review everything.

To which I ask...who asked them to? Anyone reading my earlier post can see that I hardly expect it of them. Their obvious bias aside, LOCUS offers a service of listing releases submitted to them. THAT is all I have ever asked them to do.

I don't mean to sound callous here, but it's a waste of their resources and their readers' time for them to review POD novels from publishers who'll publish practically anything. ... Their basic take is nothing you haven't heard before: they're not going to wade through vast sloughs and floods of unreadable fiction on the off-chance that something good is buried there. The Locus staff throws those books away. There's nothing else they can do with them. The things are unsaleable, and no one will take them as a donation. (In response to my suggested alternate uses, they said that (a.) their houses are already insulated, and (b.) their back yards don't need any additional terracing.)

I HIGHLY doubt that she doesn't mean to sound callous and insulting. Her words were chosen to do just that. That much is clear. But, let's look at what she's saying.

Well, since LOCUS doesn't read the books and hasn't for quite some time, one would wonder how they could ever know the general quality coming out from small press these days. They can't. Simply put, they don't want to. Burying their heads in the sand and taking pot shots at something new seems to be much more fun for them.

If you care to read other industry-respected magazines that are not as narrow-minded as LOCUS would appear to be (if Ms. Hayden is to be believed...if she actually does sit down with the publisher and editors as she claims to and actually gets the responses from them she claims to), you will find that a large number of books from royalty-paying small press publishers actually review higher than comparable books from NY.

Let’s take Mundania Press LLC (for just a single example). I suppose if LOCUS received a book from them, they would throw it away without reading it? Well, that would be a shame and a half and a surprise to boot! If they did, I would lose all hope for LOCUS as a periodical. Why? Well, let’s take a closer look at Mundania.

Aside from Xanthe, Piers Anthony offers all of his new releases (and some of his older works) to Mundania Press. In addition, the publisher has signed on another 5 NYT Bestsellers from the 70s-90s not only for their backlist but also for their new books. They were even in negotiations with Andre Norton’s agent at the time of her death.

This is a phenomenon that apparently LOCUS and Ms. Hayden are either ignorant of or dismissing of. Many big-name NY authors are heading to small press. Some are coming in with their backlist, it’s true, since they can offer it though it’s out of print in NY. But, many are coming with new books, the books they WANT to write and their loyal readers probably want to read but NY doesn’t want to release. It’s indisputable that many NY publishers (not all) have been FOLLOWING and not LEADING for many years. They watch what works on a small scale then adapt it or acquire it for themselves. It’s simple economics, really. They don’t have the resources to take the risks until it proves out. So, authors who don’t want to wait for NY to “catch up” (or who feel pigeonholed in NY) are heading to small press with their books.

As for their assertion that no one will take small press books as donations, I challenge LOCUS to send those books to me. I know of several literacy funds who will gladly take more books for their raffle baskets. Better, the money raised would be used to help educate the NEXT generation of readers, though given another decade or two of LOCUS ignoring the growing market of small press publishers, those same readers may deem LOCUS worthless in finding the books they want to read.

I should mention that e-books from reputable royalty-paying small press publishers, which make up a large portion of the POD market when taken to print, are the largest growing book market of today. By OeBF reports, the e-book market gains approximately 65% per annum and has for the last several years.


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