Title: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction
Author: Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder
Page Count/Review Word Count: 360
I’m confused – I’ve always heard good things about Cory Doctorow’s writing, but this is the second of two books of his that I’ve read, and both of them have left me feeling disappointed. Here, he promises to “help you meld the creative with the practical and make some extra cash in the process.”
The problem is that it’s all a little too basic, and when you feel like further advice is required, you’re prompted to contact an organisation because it’s outside the scope of the book – it really does feel like an idiot’s guide, and it’s a little demeaning in places, even if it is accidental.
It also hasn’t aged well – most of the information that the book contains is just a Google search away, and half of the agents and publications that he suggests you contact are no longer in business, having failed to adapt to the digital age. It’s only fourteen years old, but fourteen years has made a hell of a difference.
Besides, it just feels like a cheap knock-off of the ‘For Dummies‘ series – in fact, the Idiot’s Guide series has always paralleled the For Dummies series, and both of them were popularised by a book about MS-DOS. I don’t know which series launched first, but I know which one is better. I’ll give you a hint – it’s not this one.
I’m not saying that there isn’t any value to be gained from reading it, but take what you read with a pinch of salt and forge your own path through the murky world of writing and publishing – promoting your work is a skill, much like writing is, and you’ll have to develop your own techniques to suit your needs.
There’s only so much you can learn from a book, and I’m sure there are better, more up-to-date books out there for you to read. Pick this one above the others if you want to, but do so at your peril.