Wednesday, March 12

Hey, everybody.

I just got my first royalty check for Star Wars on Trial, making it my second US book in a row (after Revenge of the Sith) to earn out its advance. This is a positive trend, and one that I hope to encourage.

Now, it's not a big check, but any royalty check is essentially Found Money -- extra payment for work which was done long ago.

So I just wanted to say thanks to all you folks out there who were willing to shell out 18 bucks to read Brin and me bicker about Star Wars.




wintersquall said...

grats man =D well deserved imo.

Andrew Timson said...

Congratulations, amnd may you have many happy… well, returns is probably a bad noun to use there. :)

Ryan said...

It was worth it for the Stover/Mamatas cagefight.

Shehzad said...

That was excellent work, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Congrats again!

Tim said...

On an previous-novel related note, Matt, I've been wanting to find Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon for some time, but they're out of print, I guess. Have you ever heard any inkling of some kind of reprint someday? Like, if Caine Black Knife hits the NYT Best-Seller list because each of us buys at least three copies? :D

The libraries around here don't carry anything you've written before Blade, after all, so I can't even go that route.

Or are they horrible books that you don't want anyone to ever read again for fear of losing street cred with us, your devoted fanbase?

Robert said...

Congrats Matt, glad to hear it's been paying out for you. I really should pick that book up and give it a read.

Also in a "lets promote the hell out of Matt's previous novels" related trend, I cooked up a few forum sized signatures that people could start sporting around. Your approval willing of course.

Heroes Die sig

Blade of Tyshalle sig

I'm not 100% satisfied with how they came out, the Blade sig just doesn't seem to feel as attention grabbing as I'd like.


MWS said...

No one needs my permission to pimp my books. I think both of those are great, but if somebody comes up with something they like better, go for it. Do whatever works for you, or nothing at all, if you prefer. You all have my blessing, and my thanks for any efforts you might make on Caine's behalf.

As far as IRON DAWN and JERICHO MOON go, there is a plan to bring them back into print. I just have to finish LUKE SKYWALKER & THE SHADOWS OF MINDOR first. I am in the process of preparing a 2nd Edition of both the Barra & Co. novels -- kind of a Director's Cut -- that I hope to release as collector's edition hardcovers. It's all in the works, it just (like everything else) takes longer and costs more.

Aaron said...

Dude. Sell your books directly to us on the down-low. 10-20 bucks a book. Right in your pocket. I'm down with that.

Even if the lawyers are not.


Rob - great stuff man. We need some good Caine style tattoos next. I'd get one in my "special" place, if my girlfriend hadn't already vetoed that. Some bullshit about not wanting see "Stover rules" over and over again while fixing the plumbing.

I call bullshit.

Joe said...

Maybe a Barra tattoo would be better, aaron. "Nobody touches my axe!"

MWS said...

The Barra Special Editions are, by current plan, going to be print-on-demand . . . which means instead of 17 dollars going to the publisher and 3 to me, it's more like the other way around.

Barra would make a great tattoo -- check out her image on the HEART OF BRONZE omnibus, if you get a chance. Strongly reminiscent of Virginia Hey in THE ROAD WARRIOR . . .

Robert said...

Note to self...wait till the CE comes out to track down those books...

Spencer said...

Hey, just on the subject of sigs, this is the sig I've been using online for the last six months or so. I'm doing my part!

steve said...

Awesome news Matt, I'm looking for some good places to put the "Asshole Maneuver" into action.

I, too, will be looking forward to the new editions of the Barra books and will gladly lay down my money for them when they come.

songofgrayshadows said...

I bought the book, yet have not read it yet(but I will definitely). Actually, the only reason I did buy it was because you were one of the authors.

Now, I could go off on a ranting spree on how your writing changed my life, my perspective on the world, how you’re my favorite author, how I read your books over and over to death, yadda yadda, but I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of that. Therefore, I’ve decided to tell you a few things your writing has done for me that you probably haven’t heard from fans as often. You can correct me if I’m wrong, of course.

First off, you’re the man who rescued Revenge of the Sith. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of admiration and respect for George Lucas, as his stuff changed the world, and me personally, but I would be lying if I said I liked the prequels. In fact, I flat-out despise them. Especially Revenge of the Sith. The dialogue was awful, and the acting was embarrassing. I saw a review for the prequels on YouTube(I’ll provide the link later if you ever want to check it out) by a person who complained that after Anakin turned to the dark side he didn’t behave all that differently than when he didn’t turn to the dark side, as if turning to evil was the next logical step rather than the fall from grace we were promised in the first three films.

You however, gave us the fall from grace we were promised in the first three films.

Secondly, your novel for Revenge of the Sith made me see the Jedi for what they really were: fanatical, loveless charlatans who cared more for a set of rules rather than the people that serve their order, and who were so caught up in their own dogma, they deluded themselves into thinking their word was the will of the Force(I’m mainly referring to the council members by the way). I read this story to my father(yes, you heard right), and he lost all respect for the Jedi after the chapter “Politics”. We both then came to the conclusion that the Jedi needed to die. They had to go like the Republic had to go.

Shatterpoint was another novel that also helped me see Jedi hypocrisy.

Third, your writing has been a huge(note this is an embarrassingly low understatement) inspiration for a fan fiction series that I’m writing and have posted on the internet(again I will post the link later). It’s a series on virtual reality worlds that are created in a future Earth forty years from now. My main character is a mentally mature child, yet she is presumptuous and arrogant in the way that she believes the universe revolves around the way she perceives it. But as the story goes on, she begins to see the shades of gray(largely inspired by your writing)that are very difficult to understand at first. In The Phantom Menace part of the series(which I have already completed), I took upon the task of fleshing out the character Darth Maul. I won’t spoil anything major, but let me tell you right now that writing him took me on a rollercoaster that gave me a severe case of vertigo afterwards. Here are two quotes from Revenge of the Sith that helped me with developing his character.

“It is in this blazing moment that you understand the trap of the dark side. The final cruelty of the Sith. Because now your self is all you will ever have.”

“Maul had been an animal. A skilled animal, but a beast nonetheless.”

Not to mention you helped me understand how jealous the Sith are and how possession is the closest thing to love that they feel. I injected a shred of humanity in Maul, though its related to honor rather than true goodness, unlike Vader. At first I thought it would get me flamed by my reviewers when I posted it, but after my father read the chapter that introduced it, the first thing he said was “don’t change anything”.

So far I have not received any complaints for my characterization of Maul.

I can sympathize with you as a fellow writer in that its very frustrating when someone less skilled than you reaps more benefits. My first story has received fifty-three reviews, but when I looked at another author’s Star Wars story, she received over a thousand reviews for each of her stories, and her writing is complete crap in both plots and characterization. I was very indignant at first, but then my father told me about a talk between authors Barbara Cartland and Truman Capote. Capote said he wrote seven books and Cartland said with an air of smug superiority that she wrote over three-hundred books. Capote’s response was “my dear, that’s not writing, that’s typing”. It made me feel more grateful. My readers have praised me on my originality and characterization, and I know I would rather write like the way I do and receive no reviews rather than write like that other author and receive a million reviews. My fan base is small, yet loyal and wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I apologize if I’ve offended you in any way by saying this because the huge difference between you and me is that you’re doing this for money and a labor of love while I’m doing it just for the latter.

I’m starting the Attack of the Clones part of my series and have decided to model my characterization of Count Dooku off of yours, though I included one difference. You wrote that he left the Jedi Order before Qui-Gon was killed where I wrote that he left because Qui-Gon was killed. After all, the Jedi could have sent back-up for him and Obi-Wan on Naboo, yet didn’t. I also intend to flesh out the leaders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. When I get to writing the Revenge of the Sith part, I will also model my characterization of the Jedi Council off of yours. I also intend to rip them to shreds by presenting an argument as to how they’ve been hurting themselves and the galaxy.

Please don’t sue me. I’ve made sure to cite you in my story.

I will read your other books that are not Star Wars related as fans here have reported they have a life-changing impact, and I want that too. My father also told me to tell you that he’s read Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, Larry Nevin, Tanith Lee and Leguin, and you’re right up there with them.

Last, I was ecstatic when I saw you had a blog(I didn’t believe it at first, I though it was a hoax or something) where fans could post comments with you responding to them, as I’ve always wished there was some way to contact you and tell you these things. I will be posting comments from now on, but don’t worry, they won’t be nearly as long as this. Actually, I wouldn’t exactly count on that as I may submit to the temptation to go off on a ranting spree on everything I loved about Shatterpoint, Revenge of the Sith and Traitor(the others too when I finally get them).

Words cannot express my gratitude for what you have done for me.

Thank you.

For the YouTube video

For my fan fiction profile

Jaym said...

Man, somehow my post feels trivial in comparison to that last. Though one point:

"First off, you’re the man who rescued Revenge of the Sith."

I wouldn't be surprised if you don't like to hear that, Matt, but the same's true for me. You brought out the potential of that story which was, unfortunately, buried by glitzy special effects and other problems in the movie.

But that's not why I'm commenting. I've just been meaning to ask: Do you have a larger version of Doug Beekman's take on Pallas? It appears on the spine of whatever edition borders the Caine image with white, but it's far too small to really make out. It's more for curiosity's sake than anything; I don't generally use other's interpretations to form my image of a character.

You know, in Googling for that image I instead found an old post of yours, and so looked up the French edition cover. Now there's something I can never unsee.

MWS said...

Your best bet for a larger Beekman image of Pallas is on the original trade paperback edition . . . you may still be able to call up the cover on Amazon or one of the other online book sites.

I'm glad you folks liked my take on REVENGE OF THE SITH; I worked very hard on that novel, and I'm proud of how it came out.

And -- for sonofgreyshadows -- I'm not going to read your fanfic. Sorry. It's kind of frowned-upon by LFL, for legal reasons. My best advice to you:

Drop the fanfic. Write something you might eventually get paid for. I understand the impulse to participate in a world that means so much to you, and the Internet means that at least SOME people will read what you create . . . but being paid for it is better, not least because having your name on the cover of a book or the table of contents of a magazine is something you can point to and tell people, "Shut up, punk ass. I'm a real writer."

songofgrayshadows said...

Its fine if you're not going to read it. I just wanted to thank you for influencing it.

Also thanks for the advice, and I don't mean it sarcastically, I know you're not trying to put me down or anything, but I'll cut my own wrists before I drop the fan fic. Writers(at least most writers)do their thing not because they want to, but rather because they have to. You can find your calling anywhere, and if mine is fan fiction at first, then so be it. I would like to be paid for my writing in the future, but right now, I'm an eighteen-year-old college student who hasn't even declared her major yet.

Fan fiction is good practice for writing. And there's the added bonus that people tell me they're getting something out of it. Right now I could care less about money and bragging rights. Like I said before in my last comment, for me right now its just a labor of love.

MWS said...

I get it. My own first fictions were pastiches of Doc Smith and Robert E. Howard. But fanfic can take you only so far as a writer -- too much of the work is already done for you. It's a decent place to polish your prose skills, but that's about it. It's not an end in itself.

The real trick, at least in this genre, is to come up with worlds and people of your own that are just as vivid to readers as the ones you (and I both, as I'm writing a Luke Skywalker novel, after all) borrow from Mr. Lucas.

Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Pretty passionate following you have Matt. I seem to recall a quote somewhere that basically went like, "Give me 10,000 conscripts and we will hold this ground. Give me 100 soldiers who will die for the cause and the world will be ours."

Songofgreyshadow - take this to heart, having a single truly passionate reader, even if only in the brief moment that they realize, "Fuck, he's goddamn right," is far more important than having a billion fan boys willing to handjob your ego.


And if you DO get ego handjobs, take them gracefully and give your reader the reach around or something.

Aaron said...

That reminds me of a question. Matt, your work breaks traditional stereotypes - but your Caine character tells a God to fuck off and not juice him with a newer, better body.

Was this a case where logically, you knew the God would make the offer...and Caine had to deny it for the tone you wanted to set for future books? (Reading about an invincible hero might be fun for all of 30 pages, after all) - Or was it only because your vision of Caine would react exactly as he did (rather than suggesting that he just have his spine fixed, or other benefits, etc)?

Matt - How about a Matt-Verse website where we can stick a FAQ in? I'd love a little bar on the side of the page that indicates how many sales you need to write another Caine novel. I'd get a book every check or something fanatic like that.

Bret said...

A centralized MWS fansite could be invaluable. When trying to pimp the Caine books online, I can only really send out links to old reviews of the books themselves. It'd be nice to be able to link to a page that can really express what we find so awesome about the books.

Are the first two books going back into print sometime before October to generate buzz, or simultaneously with Black Knife? I ask because I'd feel more comfortable pulling the Asshole Maneuver if I could find a copy of the Acts books anywhere these days. (I think I bought the last copy of Heroes Die in the Greater Phoenix Metro area last year as a gift to a friend)

songofgrayshadows said...


That's exactly what I'm doing. In my past drafts of fan fiction, my original characters were not exactly May-Sues(thank God), but pretty straight-forward and one-dimensional. I basically abandoned those stories because the plots didn't work and I eventually found I hated the way I was writing the characters. The same goes with the first draft of The Phantom Menace part of my series. I scrapped it and started over from scratch even when I was almost done with it. And I thank God I did, because I enjoyed developing the ideas in the second draft far more than the first one.

Also in the second draft, I finally found the type of personality I like giving to my original characters. Basically I abandoned most of the stereotypical qualities I‘ve read about in a lot of books and seen in movies. The basic concepts are, they are tough and fearless(at least for themselves)in their own way, yet they're also deeply flawed, fallible human beings. Arrogant and presumptuous as I mentioned in my first post, not to mention vengeful, cruel and capable of feeling unlimited amounts of hatred.

But what's so fun about giving them these personalities is despite these not so admirable qualities, they still have a great deal of capacity for unconditional love and compassion, which of course doesn't pardon their mistakes or their flaws, yet it makes them more human. My main protagonist is a prime example for this. She’s narrow-minded, but not close-minded. Her big wake-up call is coming in Revenge of the Sith.


Nice quote. I’ll be sure to remember it.

Also in a lot of ways, I’m glad that my stories aren’t getting much attention right now. Though like any human being I love basking in praise, the last thing I would want is for it to go to my head so much that I would care more about praise than the quality of my writing. So right now I’ll take the lack of attention as a lesson in humility.

Thank you very much for the encouragement.

Aaron said...

Sorry songofgrayshadows, I come here to dialog with other fans and Matt, not to learn about, or read about, another person's writing efforts.

On a big webpage with a forum, this might change.

songofgrayshadows said...

Fine. If it bothers you so, I'll stop then.

steve said...

Trying to get your hands on your non-Star Wars books in my state (Rhode Island) is frustratingly difficult. I've been trying to locate a new copy of Heroes Die. My current copy has seen its better days, and its time has come to be retired to the "almost illegible spine due to use" shelf.

So not for lack of wanting to give you more money, it's just god damn hard to find shit in this state and I loathe shipping costs.

Meg said...

Hey Matt. I haven't actually read any of your novels yet (you were just recommended to me by my boyfriend and I have yet to make it over to the library this afternoon), but I stumbled across your blog while wasting time at work this afternoon and I like your attitude. :)

P.S. What do you think of Frank Herbert/Dune? I'm not sure I agree with his book covers calling him the "father" of the SF genre, but I've read the entire series to death over the last 10ish years. I think it's hard for anyone who reads SFF a lot to dodge at least *some* influences from him (though as much as I love the books, the dialogue in FH's books are sometimes *Terrible*).

Just curious about what you thought. I look forward to reading your stuff!

MWS said...

Herbert's publisher claims he's the FATHER OF SF? Holy Shit. He didn't even start publishing till the late 50s or early sixties, if memory serves.

If anybody's the father of SF, it's John W. Campbell. Not a great writer (though "Who Goes There?" remains a classic) but a masterful editor, who brought along such lesser lights as Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.

Herbert's main claim to legendom is that he's the first SF writer to get paid a seven-figure advance (to create GOD-EMPEROR, HERETIC and CHAPTERHOUSE, if I recall correctly).

I like DUNE. A lot. I like GOD-EMPEROR better. And that's about it.

There's lots of great writers who've worked in SF. I don't think Herbert was one of them. I think he was a very good writer who produced a couple of great books.

For comparison purposes, look at Roger Zelazny, who WAS a great writer . . . but never quite managed a great book.

Go figure.

Meg said...

I actually like Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson better as writers, versus Frank Herbert (though most devoted Dune fans would scream heresy at that). They're more readable.

Nathan said...

I find them less readable. A good deal less readable. I read their first collaboration shortly after reading the original DUNE for the third or fourth time. I remember disliking it, but I can't remember a single other thing about it. I've been adding all my books to LibraryThing, and when I got to that one, I read a few paragraphs . . . yuck. I don't know how I made it through the first time. Whereas I could probably still quote whole sequences pretty close to verbatim from Dune (as I can from, say, the Acts of Caine. . .). Oh well. De gustibus non est disputandum. And that's it for pretentious Latin bits from me for the evening.

Alex said...

It's not a huge thing, but I did my part to spread the word about the new (and old) books on the forum roleplaying site I belong to. I know there's another big fan, and I know a fair few people there read seriously, so hopefully that'll grab a few new people.

Tim said...

I personally found the Brian Herbet and KJ Anderson books to read like awful, awful fanfic. Especially the Butlerian Jihad series. Bleh.

Aud8tius said...

A question and a comment.

Comment first:

No, you can't get published doing fan fic. Anymore. Thirty years ago Somebody got her big break with a *fanfic*, and she's now a hugely popular and prolific author. If only the business hadn't changed, because although I do get the argument that fan fic is deficient in training an author to world-build...well, first of all it doesn't HAVE to be. You'd be surprised at the original worlds and characters people create in stuff that calls itself SW fan fic. There's even a Live Journal called "gonzo fan fiction" where the writers try to remove as much obvious connection to the SW universe we already know about as possible. And secondly, there are things you can do with fan fiction that just don't work as well with ANYthing else. Sad, but true.

The question: How can you keep getting published if you don't earn out your advance? To put it mildly, this just doesn't work out for most people. Your first book doesn't perform, your mighty lucky to get a contract for a second, and if your second book doesn't perform and you don't get some lucky extension like a major award nomination, you're DEAD. I've watched it happen up close and personal-like. Also sad but true.