Blogging Au Contraire: Day Two: SpecFicNZ launch, Getting Published in NZ Panel, Why I’m Not A Bookseller

Plenty of highlights at Au Contraire today – some of which I attended, and others of which I heard about – but a diminishing level of energy to blog about them. So hey ho, let’s go.


The new Speculative Fiction Writers of New Zealand organisation, best known as SpecFicNZ, was launched this evening by Ripley Patton and other members of the SpecFicNZ team. As the organisation’s web page says,

SpecFicNZ is the association for creators, writers and editors of speculative fiction in or from New Zealand.

It was founded in March 2009 by Ripley Patton and eleven other humans passionate about promoting and encouraging the speculative fiction genre in their own country.

All their work since 2009 has paid off in an organisation that seems to be well focused on meeting the needs of NZ speculative fiction writers in general, and emerging writers in particular. There was a long queue of people joining up after Ripley’s speech, and as one of those newly-signed-up members, I’m looking forward to what happens next.

Getting Published in New Zealand

My talk on this topic, part of the excellent writers’ stream at the Convention, was on at the same time as Elizabeth Knox’s Guest of Honour speech – which was a pity, as I would have liked to attend this, and heard afterwards that she spoke very well.

Nonetheless, about 20 people attended my talk. It isn’t easy to get speculative fiction published in New Zealand, although the recent advent of an NZ speculative fiction magazine (Semaphore) and an NZ science fiction publisher (Random Static) is beginning to make a major difference.

I explained how, in various unlikely ways, I had managed to get quite a few SF stories – including Transported, a short story collection that’s between 1/3 and 1/2 SF – published by “mainstream” fiction publishers and magazines here, and suggested some strategies to follow for doing this: strategies which seemed to chime with the experience of others around the table. I’m going to write this talk up for SpecFicNZ.

Why I Am Not A Bookseller

Some people have got the knack of selling books at sales tables. I haven’t. At the Convention’s Floating Market, I shared a sales table with Pat Whitaker and Lee Pletzers. They sold books. I didn’t… until right at the end. As soon as I started to pack my books away, people came up to buy them!

So I think I have discovered the secret to successful bookselling: every ten minutes, start to pack all your books away. Then, when the purchasers lured by this move have bought their books and moved on, put all your books out again. Repeat every ten minutes, and wealth shall be yours!


… I want to catch up with lots of people I know are attending the Con, but whom I haven’t seen yet. I am moderating a panel on SF poetry with the excellent Janis Freegard and Harvey Molloy. I am doing a live Q&A with Patrick Nielsen Hayden. And, at 10am, I have to explain why “Joss Whedon Is My Master Now”. I’m going to advance the radical thesis that it’s Jed Whedon, Zack Whedon and Mo Tancharoen Whedon we should really be watching out for… sorry, Joss!

2 thoughts on “Blogging Au Contraire: Day Two: SpecFicNZ launch, Getting Published in NZ Panel, Why I’m Not A Bookseller

  1. TimI am sure All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens is stll the all-time best ever title to not sell a gazillion copies.My advice: Hardback glossy with big pictures of kittens as well. Just be warned, it is advice from me, and notf rom one of those \”successful\” people who I don't hate at all.

  2. I was looking out for you at the con, Bill (with the intention of moving towards you if I saw you, I should add) but missed your panel & didn't see you subsequently – I gather that old Y-chromosome-linked flu may have got the better of you – hope it is rapidly receding!My new novel, \”Faster Kitten, Purr! Purr!\” will be in all good discount bins by Christmas.

Comments are closed.