A Den of Literary Lions

Ideas stand on their own, they are not tainted by the individual who happens to produce them.  McRapey may be a creepy little gamma male who can’t argue his way out of a paper bag or produce an original idea for a book to save his life, but he is an unusually talented self-promoter from whom better writers can draw useful examples.

One thing that I initially liked was his Big Idea series, in which McRapey permits various authors to market their books to the Whatever warren.  I’d even considered doing something similar a few years ago, but the problem is that most of the Big Ideas I’d read, conceived as they were by modern SF/F writers, were trite, obvious, derivative, and sometimes downright embarrassing.

“I thought, you know, I should just TOTALLY make this female protagonist, only she’d be, like, strong and independent and she wouldn’t take ANY crap from ANYBODY.  And she’d be just SOOO snarky, you know, and like, she’d have this total dilemma, you know, because, like, all the men are totally in love with her, but she has to, like, choose, you know, but here’s the twist.  Instead of choosing between a white male werewolf and a white male vampire who are both in love with her, she’d be, like, forced to choose between an Asian werewolf and, like, a black FEMALE vampire!  My editor’s head just about exploded when she heard that, she was like, WHOAH, it’s like a whole new science fiction GENRE!”

Anyhow, the Ideas were anything but Big and they usually left me considerably less interested in the book than I had been before. I therefore abandoned the idea.

However, I have been receiving an increasing number of requests from various writers to read their works and comment upon them, requests I simply do not have the bandwidth to accommodate.  It occurred to me that there are both a goodly number of writers as well as well-read and sophisticated readers here.  As far as exposure goes, this blog sees about 40 percent more traffic than Whatever.  So, it should be possible to take the Big Idea concept and improve upon it in a
manner that would be both useful to the writers and entertaining for the

My thought is that every two weeks, a writer will have the opportunity to present his book via a post dedicated to it here.  That post can focus on the central idea behind the book, it can focus on a particular aspect of the book, or it can focus on something that inspired the book.  The book can be conventionally published, self-published or even a work in progress with a complete first draft.  In addition to sending me a link to the cover and the text for the post, the author will send me the epub.

When the book is posted, if the author is interested, I will ask for three volunteers to read and review the book.  I’ll provide a template which will inform us a) if they enjoyed the book, b) what they felt were its strongest technical elements, c) what they felt was a typical writing sample, and, d) if the author requests, where they felt there was room for improvement.  The reviews can be short, but they should be substantive.  Between two and three weeks after the author’s post, I will post the reviews here.

Think of it as three parts marketing and one part writer’s workshop.

The review aspect won’t be required; if an author merely wishes to publicize his work by talking about it here and doesn’t want it to be reviewed, that’s certainly fine.  But if there are those who express an interest in reviewing the book in the comments, I would encourage the authors to take advantage of the opportunity to receive some constructive criticism.  That is, after all, the best way to improve.

Anyhow, if you’re a writer, you’ve got a book to publicize or polish, and you’re interested in a slot, please let me know via email.  If you consider yourself a potential reviewer, please mention as much in the comments.  And if you’re a reader, feel free to throw out any suggestions you might have to improve the process.  And if it’s a dumb idea in which no one has any interest, then we simply won’t bother with it.