Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, and the forthcoming School for Sidekicks — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star — part of an NSF-funded science curriculum — and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited — funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+, ello

Friday Cat Blogging

March 28, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

I hate sitting for formal portraits, but duties of state…

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I iz more noble and more snide.

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I prefer to go for lugubrious.

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Aloof, cats are supposed to be aloof.

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Here, watch me loof!

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Self Promotion, Lyda’s Question, and Confirmation Bias

March 26, 2015 in Publishing, Reblogging Project, Writing

In a post on the Wyrdsmiths blog, my colleague Lyda Morehouse posed the following question about self-promotion:

But it does seem to work for some people on some level, and I always end up wondering by what magic is that done?

I think it’s pretty straightforward actually, and it all comes down to that word seem. Here’s how I think it works (all numbers made up).

If fifty percent of all authors do self-promotion, and a random six percent of all authors cross over into best-sellerdom than three percent of authors who do lots of self-promotion are going to cross over into best-sellerdom purely by chance. Then, at least some of those authors are going to figure that it was self-promotion which made the difference whether it had anything to do with it or not. See also: confirmation bias.

Likewise, if you’re watching from the outside, you might think the only thing that differentiates them from the herd is  self-promotion, and then leap to the same conclusion. For that matter, I will even concede that some particularly clever bit of self-promotion that hasn’t already been done a bunch of times might catch the mood and go viral, but I think that’s as much a form of luck as having the book do the same thing.

Great books with tons of self-promotion die. Barely adequate books that get very little push become best sellers. Most of the difference there is luck in hitting the right literary kink for the moment.

We want the industry to make sense, so we tell ourselves stories–we’re authors, telling stories is what we do. That book did so well because the author came up with the really awesome book trailer. That one did poorly because the cover sucked. This one over here is a best-seller simply because it’s that good.

But the truth is, nobody knows what’s going to make a book take off. If there was a real answer, there’s be a publisher somewhere that didn’t sell anything but best sellers.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 22 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

March 25, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Not looking at you!

Totally looking at you! Where my fud?

I’m ready for my closeupzzzzzzzz…

I’z cutness personif… puzin… its own self!

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 18 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

March 24, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

I iz teh mysterious!

Must go to the light…

Mighty hunter stalks the fluffball

Dude, turn out the light!

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 11 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Authorial Constructs

March 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Friday Cat Blogging

March 20, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

The spiders made me this very fancy hat. The spiders love me.

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Eeeeeeeew!

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Not loooooooking.

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Spiders are delicious, I catching one now!

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With my little eye I spy…der! Heh, it’s pun, get it?

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I do not get cats, not even a little bit.

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Retro Friday Cat Blogging: Sun Cats

March 19, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Shh, is sunny, I napping

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Shh, is sunny, I napping

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Shh, is sunny, I napping

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Shh, is sunny, I napping

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All together now: Shh, is sunny, I napping (4 cats in the sun)
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Bonus kitty is napping too, just not in sun

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Retro Friday Cat Blogging

March 18, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Readings and Signings

Mug shots are such a pain. I need to get arrested less often.

Sometimes lazer eyez need kickstart

Not paranoid, the aliens really are out to get me.

Told ya I could see over my belly, now help me outta here!

Marge, pass me the remote, wouldja.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog January 28 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

March 17, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Neil Gaiman, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

My feets, I hugs dem!

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No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.

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I playz dead gud, even got the bloating thing nailed

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I command you to bring me a…zzzzzzzz

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BONUS CATS*

My proud lion pose, you take pixure, yes?

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All shall love me and despair!

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(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog January 21 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging: Lame Catptions Edition

March 16, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Don’t take my picture, Dude. Can’t you see I’ve been drinking?

Somewhere over the rainbow…

It’s not the camera, I really am blurry!

Wide-load cat, is wide.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog January 14 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)