DragonCon report 2016, The Secrets of NY Times Bestselling Authors

This panel lacked truth in advertising.

Bestsellers don’t come easy. Writers share tips about breaking the barrier of the NYT Bestseller lists.

It had a collection of people who were on the Bestseller list, but nothing really about getting books sold was mentioned.

This one was interesting, mostly for the people on the panel. And by people, I mostly mean Jim Butcher and Kevin J. Anderson.

Mercedes Lackey was also there, but even she wasn’t entirely certain why. She was just recently number one on the bestseller list first time in 30 years. She also tried to cite rapist and child molestor Marion Zimmer Bradley, at which point, I tuned out Lackey for the rest of the panel to the best of my ability.

Kevin J. Anderson noted that he has written 140 books and 55 of them were bestsellers. He was actually denied the number one slot for Star Wars: Dark Apprentice, even though it sold THREE TIMES more books than the next best seller down the list, because, after all, one can’t have Star Wars as Number one on the NYTimes Bestseller list, now can we? Schmucks.


When asked about what they hate the most, KJA said, “I had when I order a beer first, but someone else is served …. in writing? I hate when I’m told that I just got lucky.  Funny that, the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Jim Butcher said, “I hate when I work six to nine months on a book, then someone comes up to me at the signing for that book and asked me when’s the next one. Personally, I hate when I autograph pages the whole day, then I go and lift weights, injuring myself. Hate that. Though, speaking of things people hate, I had one scene in Skin Game where I had a love scene between two characters, and it turned out to be a dream. The only reactions I got from my beta readers were gifs of people flipping tables.”

Jim went on to discuss his next book, Peace Talks. “People keep asking when it’s going to come out. The publisher insists that it should come out only after it’s finished.” It’s been particularly hard for Butcher considering that he’s between houses for the first time in his life, and he has no space to work, and he has no dog. His last dog died, and “he was the brains of the operation.”  He currently has cats, though. His significant other, Kitty, and he agreed to get one cat, and they now have three. Cats, however, are not really helping his process, since they have no problem sitting on the keyboard and giving him three pages of Ms.

Part of the reason he’s between houses has to do with construction on his new house. The contractors are so far behind, that he and Kitty went over to have a talk with them. They had planned out in advance that they would do good cop, bad cop. She would be bad cop, and he would be calm, reassuring, reasonable cop.

Then they got there, and the plan suddenly went to “good cop, insane cop. Which turned out to be just as effective.”

While you’re waiting for Peace Talks to come out, you might wish to try out my Sad Puppy and Dragon Award Nominated Novel Honor at Stake by clicking this link.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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2 Responses to DragonCon report 2016, The Secrets of NY Times Bestselling Authors

  1. masgramondou says:

    She also tried to cite rapist and child molestor Marion Zimmer Bradley, at which point, I tuned out Lackey for the rest of the panel to the best of my ability.

    From the context I’m assuming you mean cited in a positive way and without mentioning the molestation. That kind of surprises me given that Lackey seems to have abused children as a standard element in her books


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