Monday, 29 November 2010

Websites for Writers: Piers Anthony

It's Monday, so it's time for another website for writers. Today we're looking at Hi Piers, the official homepage of Piers Anthony.

In the unlikely event you haven't heard of him, Piers Anthony is a longtime author in many genres. He's most famous for the Xanth series of humorous fantasy, but he's also written science fiction, horror, and an increasing amount of erotica.

Piers has seen it all, and luckily for us tells it all. He's famous in the writing community for tangling with editors and even suing when he felt he was being wronged. Because of this, he's been blacklisted by many publishers. He says that no major house is interested in his work except for the bestselling Xanth series. To make sure his several novels a year see the light of day, he has resorted to various small presses and epublishers.

Of greatest practical use to aspiring writers is his no-holds-barred review of epublishers and vanity presses that he updates every month. Cheated writers often tell him their stories, which he then posts online, although he's always fair-handed when it appears the writer has unrealistic expectations of their publisher.

For inspiration, check out the section on books by Piers Anthony. He's published more than 140 in the past 50 years! This is what persistence and a solid work ethic will get you.

Also of interest is his newsletter, where he talks about his life, what he's reading, and his views on publishing. At times his views of the publishing industry seem to me to be overly negative, but then again he's been in this crazy business forty years more than I have, so maybe I'll feel that way some day. He's also a strong advocate of self-publishing, once being a co-owner of Xlibris. In his latest newsletter he states, "I think of mutation, wherein 99% of the changes may be deleterious, even lethal, but the 1% that survive power the forward evolution of all living things. We would not be here today without mutation. Editors reject 99%, but the 1% they accept is not necessarily the best; natural selection operates imperfectly in publishing. So yes, we need self publishing, even if it is 99% bad, for the sake of the 1% that may otherwise be lost."

Good point, but I think that for most writers self-publishing is a bad idea.

While I don't always agree with what Piers has to say, I always check out his newsletter and value his insights. It's rare to find a writer so brutally honest about the business.

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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