Tag: guest posts

Annual Reminder on Guest Post Policy

Because the requests keep coming here is my annual reminder on my guest post policy. I’ll keep it simple and make it red just to call it out:

If I didn’t ask you specifically for a guest post, you can safely assume that I don’t want one from you. Put another way: If you have to ask, the answer is no.

Why not?

  • Because this blog is my hobby and I enjoy writing for it. I don’t “provide content”, whatever that means. I sit down, and I write. I’m perfectly capable of doing it without unsolicited guest posts.
  • Because I think I know my audience better than you, and I’m 99.9% certain that your “content” will not be something my audience is interested in. Just because I wrote a post on toilets a year or so ago does not mean this is something I write about regularly, or that my readers want to read about regularly.

But other people have written guest posts on this blog!

  • Yes, this is true. But keep in mind the following:
  • Out of 6,538 posts published here over the last 16 years, 4 have been guest posts.
  • I personally requested each of those 4 guest posts. Not one of those writers solicited to put one here.

Many of the requests I get point out how they love my blog, or they loved a specific post. A few even say they checked my site for my guest post policy but couldn’t find one. Which is really strange since I link to the policy on every single post. Just take a look over there on the right-hand side of the screen and you’ll see the Site Policy box with the link. (Of course, if you are reading this post via email, or some RSS reader, you won’t see it, but trust me, it’s there.)

This year, I am adding one important caveat: If we know each other in the real world, or we’ve known each other online for a long time, and you think you might have something interesting you want me to share here–a book release, blog tour–reach out to me. Outside of that, unless I ask for something, I hereby pass in advance.

I realize that posts like this won’t stop the requests from coming in, but it does my heart good to make them, especially when the bulk of the unread messages in my inbox are requests to provide “informative articles” for my blog.

Guest Post Requests Get Meta

For years I have had a set of site policies about things like guest posts and advertising (tl;dr: I don’t accept unsolicited guest posts or any advertising). Occasionally, I post a reminder, but I still get requests. The one I got today deserves to be shared because (1) it shows where automation/AI can fail, and (b) it is so meta that it’s funny. Here is an image of the text of the message (links are not clickable in the image):

A few thoughts:

  1. The article the writer enjoyed where I talk about guest posts is this post, which is a reminder that I don’t accept unsolicited guest posts, advertising, or link exchanges.
  2. They enjoyed it so much, that they added my site policy page to their Flipboard.
  3. Last month (December 2019, presumably), they wrote a 7,000 word guide on the best guest post sites for 2017! Would I consider linking to it? I wouldn’t link to it if it was a 7,000 word guide for the best guest post sites for 2019, let alone 2017. How many of those sites no longer exist in 2020?
  4. Then comes the request for a link exchange (which I explicitly say I don’t do in the article my correspondent enjoyed so much). If I modify my site policy to include a link to the best Guest Posting Sites for 2017, they will include my blog in their post on the Best Blogs to Follow in 2017.

I am reminded of that Groucho Marx quote about not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member. I didn’t reply to this message, of course. I rarely do, and when I do, it’s usually to point the correspondent to my site policies. But if I did reply, I’d have to wonder about getting on a list of Best Blogs to Follow that requires some kind of quid pro quo to make it onto the list in the first place.

I have been writing this blog for a long time, and what I have found is that it is good writing, and interesting posts, and not link exchanges and guest posts that helps to build and maintain an audience. If anyone out there is thinking about starting a blog, and looking for tips, here’s one: don’t do what my correspondent did.

Guest Post: Mike Dariano, Finding Good Things

This is a guest post by Mike Dariano who runs the 27 Good Things blog. Three times a week, Mike asks three different people to list 3 good things to read, watch, and use. Thus, the “27” good things. It’s a great blog and I urge you to check it out and follow @27GoodThings on Twitter. And now, here’s Mike:

I’ve always been someone looking for good things to read.  I used to wander bookstores and libraries, perusing the shelves for books that sat adjacent to other books I read.  I know that the Dewey Decimal 150 books are good for a scan and that the staff picks might have a few gems. My browsing habits changed once I got a smartphone and I could add books to my Amazon Wishlist.  My list went from a paper in my pocket to a list on the internet.  As this changed so did my browsing habits.  I would find a blog that shared a good book and added the text to my list.  My Amazon Wishlist of things to read, watch, and use grew to include hundreds of items.  While I didn’t get around to many of them, the ones I did find were great.  To feed my growing curiosity, I started looking for a site that featured good stuff all in one place.  Not finding one, I decided to make one.

I had never made anything other than a personal blog before and what a joy the experience has been.  Not only the process and the people – which have both been great, but the good things they’ve shared.  Here are some personal favorites from running the site.

I always watch at least part of the TED Talks that are shared.  The ideas shared in the talks – even if they don’t interest me or align with my views – are well conceived and make me question things.

Breaking Bad is the the most popular show on the site but I’ve only watched part of season one.  What strikes me is that people from all walks of life have common ground they tread upon. It reminds me that we are more similar than different.

Evernote is the most frequently shared thing to use and something I regularly gain insight about.  I’m always excited to see what people say about Evernote because I view this digital tool like a real one.  When I get a tangible tool it takes time to figure out how best to use it and what to use it for. It’s the same with my digital tools, one of which is Evernote.

Besides these online things I was surprised at the frequency of offline things that were shared.  People like to watch people, watch clouds, and be outside using their bodies. They like using their cast-iron skillet and this roll up waterbottle.  I like these things too, but I thought the site would focus on things with pages or plugs..  I’m glad it’s not.

The site has been a special treat for me and I feel incredibly lucky that people like it.  I better wrap this post up, I need to get back to my reading list.  As a result of running the site, it’s gotten rather long.

Mike Dariano (@mikedariano) blogs at MikeDariano.net, features good people at 27GoodThings.com, and takes notes at BusinessPodClass.com.

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I’m today’s Guest Author over at Janice Hardy’s “The Other Side of the Story”

Janice Hardy invited me to be a guest author over at her wonderful ongoing series, “The Other Side of the Story” and today, my post appears. I write about the struggle I some times have with all of the writing advice out there: getting out of my head. Click on over to The Other Side of the Story to check it out.

A big thank you to Janice Hardy for having me over, and thank you to Juliette Wade for putting in the good word.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt: Space battle and action scenes in science fiction (a dialog)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is on a blog tour for his newest novel, The Returning, a sequel to his debut novel The Worker Prince. On the blog tour for his first novel, Bryan stopped by to discuss how golden age science fiction influenced him. Since then, Bryan has not only written another novel, but he also edited the Space Battles anthology. This time around, Bryan and I discuss space battles in golden age science fiction, as well as action scenes in general through all of science fiction. It was a fun discussion and I was delighted that Bryan had the chance to stop by. You can read our discussion below.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt: So Jamie, good to talk pulps again. I always enjoy our conversations. You mentioned, after seeing Space Battles, the anthology I edited, that you had wondered about my take on space battles in the history of science fiction. And I must admit, as a kid who fell in love with sci-fi because of Star Wars and Star Trek (both original series, ahem) that space battles and science fiction have always been almost hand-in-hand in my mind. I love action. Even now, action movies are always my favorites. I like drama, I like comedy, and a good mix of those is great as long as there’s good action. So that’s what I try and write with the Davi Rhii books and the feel I most wanted to capture was that Golden Age feel as we’ve discussed in the past. So getting started, what’s your sense of the place space battles have science fiction for you? You’ve read a lot more pulp than I have, at least recently. What draws you to science fiction stories? Does action play a part?

Jamie Todd Rubin: Well, I can appreciate the fondness for movies like Star Wars, and shows (and movies) like Star Trek, but I must admit that I’m one of those rare breed of science fiction writers who is generally uninterested in media-SF. I like written stuff, and that is where most of my influence comes from. Star Wars probably took space battles to a level never achieved before 1977. But space battles have been a part of the literature from almost the beginning and in those early days of the Golden Age and just before, they were portrayed about as realistically as what we see inStar Wars. While lasers in space makes for an exciting story, it doesn’t seem to be an optimal weapon. Willy Ley pointed this out in a rather remarkable article in the August 1939 issue of Astounding called “Space War.” In that article, he made a very closely reasoned case for why bullets would still be superior weapons to lasers in a real space battle. Someone took this to heart, because I recall seeing just such a weapon used in the second-coming of Battlestar Galactica.

I tend to be more connected to space battle stories when it is the battle that is secondary to the story itself. There is a rather remarkable space battle in the fourth Foundation story, “The Big and the Little.” Foundation stories are often criticized for being mostly dialog and that is true, but people seem to forget the battle that takes place at the end, and the clever tactics used to surprise the enemy fleet. I tend to be turned off by the galaxy-wide, planet hurling battles you get from someone like E. E. “Doc” Smith in his Lensman stories. I prefer the smaller, somewhat more realistic battles you get from someone like Malcolm Jameson in his “Bullard” stories of the 1940s; or the kind you find in Joe Haldeman’s stories of the 1970s.

But you edited an entire anthology of space battles, Bryan. What worked for you? What is it about a space battle story that makes it a good story?

BTS: Well, the Foundation stories were very much more intellectual action than physical action. The ideas explored and examined are amazing and it’s done with great depth, but yes, they are not “action” stories in the typical sense, and that’s okay. John C. Wright’s “Count To A Trillion” last year was very much like that and, to some degree, so are Michael Flynn’s TOR series Spiral Arm. So I don’t think action is the sole element of space opera. Certainly political and personal scheming and lots of twists and turns in plotting are common elements as well as larger-than-life characters and a sense of good v. evil and epic scope. But in many ways, it’s the action pace that makes the stories so popular because it’s really good escapism. We all have an inner hero who dreams of saving the day, I think. And we can live vicariously through those stories and have those laser battles and starship dogfights in our mind that won’t likely happen in our real lives and that, in many ways, are more exciting and interesting than our everyday lives. I think that’s a big part of the appeal. So if you have a fast pace, fun gadgets and ships, an interesting, imaginative setting that evokes the creativity of readers, and add interesting characters, especially with fun banter, fans tend to enjoy that. All elements which Star TrekStar WarsBSG etc. had and which many of the Space Battles stories employed. I also used it in my Davi Rhii books.

And I think the realistic nature in regards to space battles is one area where readers and even writers tend to fudge and it’s acceptable to do so. Mess up things like gravity, planetary set up, solar systems, geology, etc., and you’re much more likely to get criticized but everyone enjoys blasters and starfighter duels. It’s the same way that FTL, although scientifically impossible as far as we can see, is still used as a trope widely.

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My first guest book review column for InterGalactic Medicine Show is now online

Remember, I am pinch hitting the book review column in June and July for Alethea Kontis, who has been on her book tour to promote her new novel, Enchanted. My first guest book review column is now online. In it, I take a look at the Million Writer Awards anthology by Jason Sanford, and 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. Head on over to InterGalactic Medicine Show to check it out.

I’m part of today’s Mind Meld over at SF Signal

Looking for recommendations on some of the best SF/F in 2011? Check out today’s Mind Meld at SF Signal: Our favorite SF/F media consumed during 2011. In addition to me there are recommendations by Jessica Strider, Charles Tan, Patrick Hester, Fred Kiesche, Jeff Patterson, Andrew Liptak, Larry Ketchersid, Karen Burnham, and Jay Garmon.

A couple more guest posts are online

In this recent frenzy of guest-posting, I’ve got two more posts up today of possible interest to folks:

  1. Over at The Parking Lot Confessional, I’ve my post, “Taking a Swing at Those Writing Slumps” is now online. I was asked to write something that fit in with their theme this week, which centers around when the writing isn’t going so well.
  2. 40k Books is celebrating #ShortFictionWeek by enlisting its authors to write posts about short fiction. I was asked to write a post recommending some short fiction to read and I ended up writing “Seven Short Fiction Recommendations Spanning Seven Decades.” Head on over there to check out what I’ve recommended.

I also nearly forgot to mention that the reprint of Episode 2 of my Vacation in the Golden Age is up over at AmazingStoriesMag.com.

And with those posts, I believe that is all I currently have in the pipeline for guest posts, which means that I can return to writing some fiction. As it happens, my small writers group is meeting today and one of the stories up for critique is a short one of mine that I hope to send out soon.

A recap of my recent posts around the Interwebs; plus one new one!

So in case you’ve missed it, I’ve been a busy boy the last few days with various guest posts and things seemingly all over the place. Here is a recap in case there’s anything you missed:

  1. Over at John Mierau’s Serving Worlds, I have a guest post on my interpretation of a famous science fiction quote. Go check out Jamie Todd Rubin: “All Major Changes…”
  2. My latest Wayward Time Traveler column is up at SF Signal. This is the first of a 4-part arc that is, well, a little different from what I normally do there. Go have a look at “A Correspondent to the Past: 1939
  3. If you missed it, Bryan Thomas Schmidt stopped by yesterday as part of his blog tour and we discussed his book, The Worker Prince and the influence of the Golden Age on his writing.

But wait, there’s more:

  • I participated in SF Signal’s most recent Mind Meld: “The Most Interesting Societies in SF/F.” See what Sam Sykes, Mark Newton, Jay Lake, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Ari Marmell, and I have to say on the topic.

And if that is not enough, there are at least two more pieces of mine coming soon to a website near you. Stay-tuned. I’ll let you know when they’ve been posted.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt: How Golden Age SF Influenced Me (A Dialogue)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is in the midst of a month-long blog tour promoting his debut novel, The Worker Prince. Bryan and I had a fascinating discussion about his book, writing, and the Golden Age of science fiction. You can read our discussion below.

Worker Prince front.jpg

Bryan Thomas Schmidt: Well, Jamie, thanks for inviting me to your blog. I am a big fan of Golden Age Science Fiction, as are you, and I enjoy your updates as you take your nostalgic trip back through the pulp zines of old. In particular, I am a huge Leigh Brackett fan, but, of course, I’ve also been influenced by Robert Silverberg, who started out in the pulps, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Henry Kuttner, Edward Hamilton…so many. So much so, in fact, that when I wrote my space opera novel, I wanted to capture some of the magic feel I found in the pulp stories. Good v. evil, with clear cut bad guys, larger than life heroes, sidekicks, interesting aliens, space guns, space fighters, and also that good clean family fun. So many of those stories were meant to be read by fans of any age, and I wanted the same for The Worker Prince. If people can get lost in my world and escape into some fun for a bit, I’d feel very successful with it.

Jamie Todd Rubin: Let’s see, I’ve encountered Brackett, Asimov and Kuttner so far in my Vacation, but of course, I’ve read Silverberg, Blish and Bradbury elsewhere. One of the things that I find interesting is that these writers were, for the most part, at the beginnings of their careers. I’ve read 2 Brackett stories so far, and they haven’t been great, but over time you can actually see the improvement. You talk about stories that are meant to be read by fans of any age, and “good clean family fun.” I’ve often thought that at its heart, science fiction needs to entertain first and foremost, because how else can you expect to do anything else if you aren’t entertaining your reader? I’ve been criticized for this, but I still think it’s true and it sounds like that is what you are going for in The Worker Prince; something that anyone can pick up, start reading, and enjoy. That is not as common today as it was 70 years ago. There are some writers still doing this, but a lot of science fiction and fantasy writers are writing darker pieces, perhaps reflecting the time. I’ve listened to you interviewed and I know that The Worker Prince is more than just entertainment value. I wonder if you see part of it as a reaction to some of the darker fiction being published today?

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