I tend to shy away from blog posts like this, but sometimes I just have a bunch of stuff to say or do, and this is one of those times. On to the random business, in no particular order:


My Writers Digest University webinar “How to Sell Your Science Fiction and Fantasy to Editor and Agents” went extremely well. We had 43 people sign up, and they had smart, insightful questions for me. WDU will be following up this week with those PDFs I promised, as well as written answers to all the questions.

This was my first webinar, and it was quite an unusual experience. I’ve been doing convention seminars on this topic and others for a decade and a half, so it wasn’t my first turn around the dance floor, but doing it online definitely presented some new challenges. When you’re in front of a live audience, you can gauge the audience’s reactions as you go. Are they laughing at my jokes? Do they look bored? Has the same guy been holding his hand up for the last twenty minutes? But on this webinar, I could neither see nor hear anyone. I saw questions come through in text form and had a chat box open with the WDU people, so there was just that bit of feedback. Otherwise, it was just me talking into my phone for a little over an hour and a half. A very weird experience, actually, but I’d do it again.


Are you following me on Twitter? If not, now’s the time to start. I’m running another Twitter contest, and this is a big one: When I hit 1000 followers (as I write this I’m at 737) I will send one random follower a signed copy of every single one of my published books—that’s eleven in all. Find me at @PhilAthans today!


I’ve been sending out press releases to announce that my consulting firm, Athans & Associates Creative Consulting is now representing French video game studio Némopolis. Here’s the press release:

Athans & Associates to bring Némopolis Games and Books to America

Seattle, Washington, July 18, 2011—Athans & Associates Creative Consulting has signed an agreement to represent French video game studio Némopolis in the English language book trade. Némopolis has developed a range of games for the PC and Nintendo DS that bring French and American history to life in engaging mysteries for kids. As agent in the United States and UK/Commonwealth territories, Athans & Associates will be concentrating on distribution of Némopolis products in book retail, and establishing strategic partnerships with licensee publishers for a series of children’s books based on these outstanding games.

“American families are playing more and more video games together,” Philip Athans, founding partner of Athans & Associates Creative Consulting said, “and Némopolis is ready to fill the growing need for parent- and educator-friendly games that combine fun game play with a robust and engaging curriculum.” For sale in France for six years, games like Marie-Antoinette and the Independence War: The Brotherhood of the Wolf take kids ages 8-12 on a journey into the shared experience of French and American revolutionaries.

Athans & Associates Creative Consulting works with creative intellectual property studios to bring publishing to their suite of products. Founding partner Philip Athans is a 25-year veteran of the book business, and himself a New York Times best-selling author.

Némopolis is the leader in historical adventure video games. The “Travels in Time” collection has entertained more than 55,000 families by allowing them to experience key moments in European and American history.

# # #

Children’s book editors, be prepared to hear from me very soon.


I’m currently putting together notes for a couple of articles that will appear here or elsewhere. If you have a strong opinion and direct experience in these subjects, leave a comment here.

Subject #1: Self-published e-books are losing readers due to bad editing. Yes? No? Solutions to this problem?

Subject #2: The “e-book revolution” is creating a wealth of new small press/niche publishers. True? False? If so, who and where are they? Are they doing well? What’s it like out there?

Subject #3: Let’s come together on a standard, finally. Is it: e-book, ebook, eBook, E-book, or Ebook? I tend to use e-book, but have seen it every which way.


Who of the Where??

Hmm. I wonder if this is some new writing project I’ve undertaken with my friend Mel Odom? Could that be it? There’s almost no way to be sure. . . .


Last week I mailed in the paperwork that will begin the lengthy process of establishing a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called The National Buy a Book Day Foundation. The foundation will encourage everyone to set aside September 7th of each year to go buy a book, any book. This started last year as an off-the-top-of-my-head plea for an increased awareness of the struggling bookselling business, and in the last year that’s only become more poignant. I’m hoping that the foundation and web site, etc. will be up and running by this September 7th, but that might not be possible. If not, buy a book on September 7th anyway, and donate a couple dollars next year!


This deserves a bigger, longer, more heartfelt post and that will happen in the weeks ahead as we watch a once-great bookstore chain wither to dust before our very eyes. I shop at the Borders in Redmond Town Center in Redmond, Washington on an almost weekly basis and have for years. I’ve bought a lot of books, magazines, comic books, CDs, DVDs, blank journals, coffee, and snacks there over the years, and can’t help feeling some twinge of personal responsibility, as though I didn’t buy enough. When I pretty much stopped buying DVDs entirely in favor of On Demand and other sources, went basically 100% iTunes and stopped buying CDs . . . was that it? Did that do it? It might have been. Me, and everybody else, anyway.


The publishing business itself, despite what’s happening on the retail front, continues to grow at a very healthy pace, with triple-digit growth in e-book sales bringing new readers and new money into the business. The e-book is, in fact, the best thing to happen to publishing in a very, very, long time—maybe centuries. It’s a win-win proposition for everyone except three groups: book collectors, brick-and-mortar bookstores, and print shops. Everybody else is doing the same thing we always have—as writers, we are content providers, remember that—just now we get to actually make a profit doing it.

People are reading!

—Philip Athans

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. fantasywriter12 says:

    I don’t think Amazon is losing ebook readers. Badly edited books still sell like crazy. And Amazon sells more ebooks than print books.

  2. I don’t think badly edited books make a difference to many readers, because it seems that many non-writer readers either don’t understand or don’t care about the rules of grammar and punctuation. I can’t figure out if this is a good situation or not.

    That said, it makes a difference to ME and I’ll drop a book in a heartbeat if it’s full of typos and recurring errors. To me, and (in theory) to most other writers, who well a book is edited makes a huge difference. But I suspect those of us who care about such things are in a minority when we’re talking about the millions upon millions who buy ebooks.

    The solution? I can’t think of one aside from an independent proofreading body with the authority to approve or decline your book as self-publishable… and who the heck wants THAT? The world would come to a grinding halt! But, perhaps an independent proofreading body that assigns star ratings or seals of approval to correctly edited books? A service that authors can pay for — and let’s face it, only serious authors would pay for such a thing, so the seal of approval would work great.

    Oh, and I just go with “ebook” as opposed to the other variations. Same with “email” and “website” and so on. I go for simplicity.

  3. Brian says:

    Educating prospective e-book authors on the impact bad editing has on their ability to sell books based on reader reviews may have an impact. I read e-book reviews all the time, and editing is frequently brought up. I’ve read plenty of poorly edited stories that were otherwise four or five star books, and either couldn’t bring myself to rate them poorly based on editing so skipped writing the review at all, or deducted a star based solely on editing. When enough reviewers rate a book based on its editing, the likelihood of the books success goes down.

    Another possibility would be to put pressure on e-book retailers to expand their rating system. Amazon, for instance, allows you to rate a book as a whole, why the book was rated in a particular fashion is left for the reviewer to explain in the review. If the rating method was expanded to include different aspects of the book, or even if just a second rating category on editing could be made, it would push aspiring and existing indie book authors and publishers to take editing more seriously or risk having their books dismissed as childish scribble from the get go.

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