Outlaw Galaxy Novels
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Just the FAQs
Galaxy is swashbuckling space fantasy at its
It is a universe of larger-than-life heroes, starship battles, and fantastic adventure on distant worlds. Spanning billions of settled systems, Outlaw Galaxy features a multitude of strange alien species, amazing technology and wondrous magic. The galaxy is a dangerous place, fragmented into countless interplanetary nation-states and simmering with rivalries and conflict.
It is a universe where adventure awaits in every starport and city, where the next jump into hyperspace might bring you face-to-face with forgotten wonders of the ancient past...or pirates determined to seize your ship and dump you out the airlock.
these stories aren't
of tea. Some people prefer rigorously scientific "hard sci-fi"
or the angst-ridden New Wave sensibilities of the 1960s.
Galaxy is traditional star-spanning space fantasy bursting with
blasters, aliens and epic battles.
is the stuff you loved as a
kid and -- admit it -- you still love
these types of stories.
After all, you did rush out
to see Revenge of the
Sith on opening weekend, didn't you?
being polite. You're really
thinking, "If your books were any good, wouldn’t you be
published by a real publisher?"
It’s a fair question.
stories and judge
Today's publishing industry works for only a small number of authors. Lots of very good books end up in the trash before they have a chance to be discovered by readers.
I go with a "big, famous
my books must sell 50,000 or 100,000 copies or I'm not
worth their time. (Okay, I have
sold those kinds of numbers because I was fortunate enough to be
allowed to write some Star Wars
books.) But realistically, very few books sell those kinds of
myself, I don't need to sell 100,000 copies of every book. I can get
along just fine by selling a couple of thousand copies of each tale.
publishing myself, I
can write exactly the stories I want
to write. I am free to reach readers directly.
complete works are available at a moment's
notice to people around the world. And by selling directly to you, I
can keep my prices affordable.
not alone --
look at efforts by Mike Stackpole, Cory Doctorow, Scott Sigler, Mur
Lafferty, Charlie Stross, John Scalzi and on and on. Baen Books
(encouraged by author Eric Flint) embraced online distribution and
quickly proved that it works.
Now other publishers like Tor are waking up to the possibilities of
I truly believe online distribution and embracing the "do it yourself" Indie ethic are the future of publishing.
it's a lot more fun
do it this way.
Famous Self-Publishers. I’m not alone in publishing my own works. Here’s a short list of other do-it-yourselfers or people who've used online distribution to reach their audience. Perhaps you've heard of a few of them:
people" -- meaning many
major publishing companies and authors who feel threatened by this
movement -- argue that self-publishing is
the refuge of untalented hacks.
I look at the above list and smile. After all, I'm in good company.
to see a steady stream of Outlaw
Galaxy stories and books. I'm just getting started and the galaxy
is a big
up for the FREE
Newsletter so you can find out about the latest Outlaw Galaxy stories and other
news from this humble publisher.
Right now, Outlaw Galaxy books and ebooks are
available exclusively through this website. For
By self-publishing and selling direct to you, I can offer my books at a very economical price.
to begin? My first loves are the original Star Wars novelization (ghost
written by Alan Dean Foster) and the Brian Daley Han Solo novels.
From the Bantam era, I greatly enjoyed Mike Stackpole's
phenomenal X-wing novels, Timothy Zahn's Star Wars
novels and A.C. Crispin's young Han
With the new Del Rey line, James Luceno and Matthew Stover have written novels that I believe truly captured the spirit of Star Wars. I've generally enjoyed the Clone Wars-era books because it's an area where there's plenty of new terrain to explore.
Dark Horse Comics is publishing some pretty good comics these days. Still, I have a deep fondness for the best of the old Marvel Star Wars comics -- the Shira Brie storyline, the Tarkin, the Tagge saga, the Wheel, Vance the bounty hunter and so on.
Sorry, but I cannot read or
original story ideas from readers. There are icky legal issues
involved. More importantly, it's your idea -- you should be
the one to bring it to life! You are the best and only
person to put your creative vision on the printed page.
is not easy, but it's
the effort. Quit talking about how "someday" you'll write a story or
novel. Sit down and get started. Right now.
be glad you did it.
Del Rey Books is the official publisher of all Star Wars novels. Competition for those publishing slots is very keen and Del Rey works only with established, previously published authors. You have to prove yourself by selling original science fiction stories and novels to publishers before getting a crack at Star Wars.
Another avenue is the world of fan fiction. Many Star Wars oriented websites publish original stories written by fans -- TheForce.net has an outstanding fan fiction community. While they don't offer payment, these sites offer authors an outstanding opportunity to share their work with other fans and many of the stories are truly professional quality.
No. I cannot read or critique your stories for legal and professional reasons, nor do I plan to publish other authors' books.
There are some good ways to get feedback on your own stories. You could join a local writers' group but be sure to find a group that suits your personality.
There are plenty of online writers' forums, especially if you write science fiction, fantasy or horror stories. You may want to submit your stories to fan fiction websites, magazines and publishers. Be sure to read and follow their guidelines before doing so.
may want to set up your own personal website or blog to publish your
Domain names and website hosting are very affordable these days -- I
use NameCheap.com for
registering my domain names. There are many quality but low-cost
providers like HostGator.com
and HostICan.com. You can design
a decent, basic site with free programs like Nvu. Many services like Blogger.com offer free hosting.
John Scalzi, Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow have done a masterful job
of using their
online presence to build a large audience and turn that into tremendous
Just about everywhere.
Whether the setting is a distant planet, Europe in the Middle Ages, or your "boring" hometown "where nothing ever happens," stories are still fundamentally about people and how they deal with the challenges in their lives. The same themes run throughout the history of storytelling even if the scenery and costumes are vastly different.
What separates a great story from a forgettable one is how the story is told. The author's job is to make the reader care about the characters.
My best advice: Write what you are called to write. Don't write for the market or just follow what's hot right now. Write what you love. I’m drawn to tales of high adventure and fantastic settings, so that’s what I write.
you write the stories you'll love, you'll have the perseverance to
finish what you start. Not only that, writing what you love will help
you find your own voice and enable you to build an audience of readers
who "get" you.
If you want to learn about the craft of writing, here are some helpful books on the subject:
There are also many books on how to write for specific genres like science fiction and fantasy.
to write, you have
to believe in yourself. In my experience, persistence and determination
are just as important as
ability. Most of all, if you believe in yourself and keep at it, you
will keep on trying even when it seems hopeless -- which it always does
somewhere around the "halfway done the first draft" stage.
my experience, every
writing project involves "hitting the wall." You start to think "I'm
tired of this. I want to quit."
you're serious about being a
writer, you'll keep writing.
You'll put your head down and keep on going -- one word, one sentence,
one paragraph at a time.
You'll do this because paragraphs lead to pages and pages become chapters. And even though your internal editor is screaming "This is crap!" while you're writing, after you're done, you'll look back at what you've created and, more often than not, you'll realize, "Hey, this isn't half-bad. Not perfect...but I can fix this."
what writing is all about.
Your favorite authors are famous because they were talented...but also because they were stubborn and dedicated. Many accrued a mountain of rejection slips before they made their first sales. They believed in themselves even when others didn’t.
Writing is not a "special gift" that only a chosen few have. Most people are born with some degree of writing ability. Successful authors have actively worked to improve their skills and craft, just as professional athletes are always working to improve their game skills.
Good Writing Habits. Write as often as possible. There is no way around putting in the "seat time."
to strike" will only waste an awful lot of precious writing time.
So will surfing the web, reading books on writing, and most other forms
Dedicated writers sit down and get the job done even when writing is the last thing they want to be doing.
Read other authors with a critical eye to see how they do things. Learn from them. Analyze their work to see how you can improve your own skills -- study how they handle scene transitions, plot, characterization, dialogue and all of the other elements of good storytelling.
Silence The Inner Critic. Silence that "internal critic" who tries to stop you from being successful. That's the voice that says your writing is terrible, that you'll never be successful, that writing is a waste of time...whatever your preferred flavor of self-doubt happens to be.
I've often had the experience of my inner critic try to convince me that what I was working on at the moment was terrible...yet when I went back and read the story days or weeks later, I realized, "Hey, this isn't half bad." Believe in yourself.
First drafts are supposed to suck.
Don't "get it right," just "get it down" on the page. You never get it right the first time. Instead, just write the words that come into your head.
As you're writing your first draft, remind yourself, "There's nothing in here that can't be fixed in editing."
Let the words flow, even if you think they're nothing but garbage. All the while, your inner critic will be screaming, "This story sucks!"
That's why they're first drafts. So relax; have some fun. Give yourself permission to be a bad, terrible, awful, hideous writer and just get the words out on the page.
The important thing is to write that first draft -- finish it.
Can Always Fix It
in Editing. You never
get it right the first time. No, you scribble out that awful first
draft, filled with mistakes and errors and wrong turns...and then the
real work begins.
my fifteen years of doing
this, I have found that
it's a lot
easier to revise a bad first draft than it is to struggle with trying
together a perfect first draft.
Scratch that. It's impossible to get it right the first time.
of the first draft as a
skeleton. To add all of the other details that make a story work -- all
things that will be added in later drafts -- you
a skeleton to hang them on.
with a first draft,
no matter how bad, when you sit down to start editing, it starts to click. Yes, you still see
all of the terrible things that need to be fixed -- but now you have
something to work with.
Oh, yeah, sure, the spelling's terrible and the dialogue's awful and I need to go back and completely rewrite that battle scene and oh, I forgot to put in this subplot, so I need to write a bunch of other scenes...but buried in all of those flaws, you get a glimpse of your story's potential.
to love editing and revising: it's a chance to make a story great. You'll look forward to
rolling up your sleeves and rewriting, making changes, adding
details, deleting the fluff...in transforming your idea into a real
people are unaware of this
they only see the finished product. Let me assure you: Every
outstanding book involves a trail of
flawed drafts, false starts and revisions.
for Anne Rice. She
says she gets it perfect the very first time through. I don't believe
her for a second.)
Enjoy the freedom of the creative writing process. Give yourself permission to be really, really bad at it...but have fun doing it. Then, go back and fix your stories.
If you struggle with this, I'd strongly encourage you to read a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's a truly marvelous book for anyone who wants to create.
Use the shortcuts that work for you. Many new authors obsess about "how it's supposed to be done," as if there's some magic formula that guarantees your story's success.
is an intensely
individual process; everyone does it differently. The "right"
is the one that works for you.
authors do incredibly
detailed outlines; others don't even scribble a page of notes
start writing. Some authors write only at a keyboard while others write
drafts by hand and then type them in. (I do both, depending upon my
mood. I find writing by hand liberating...but it's also frustratingly
slow. Writing at the keyboard can be
exhilerating when it works...but
more often than not, I find the flow of ink across
paper is what's needed to get the words tumbling out of me.)
Some authors fixate on getting the first draft perfect while others, like me, just shrug and let the first draft be an unwieldy beast, figuring that it can be fixed in editing.
Do what works for you.
A couple of shortcuts I use:
Parenthetical references: When I hit a stumbling block, I just put in a parenthetical reference along the lines of:
(((FIX THIS--In this scene, the hero should do this.)))
And then I skip on ahead to finish the section, knowing that I've told myself what's supposed to go there eventually.
See? Wasn't that a lot easier than hitting a wall and spending hours stewing over something which invariably turns out to be pretty trivial? Now, go ahead and finish the other sections. That problem spot will be perculating in your subconscious while you move on to something else. When you least expect it, the solution will come to you in a "Eureka!" moment. Once you've reasoned it out, you can come back to this section to finish it off.
When I write a first draft, rather than
stopping every few lines to stew over a new character or place name, I
X1, X2, etc. and keep a master list of "The Xs." (e.g. x24 might be the
main character's home planet.)
point -- normally after the first draft is done -- I go back and select
and then just do a simple "search and replace."
Often, actually having a name for character X4 will inspire a lot more detail, which I can just add in later drafts -- but by using x1, x2, etc., my first draft writing can plow ahead at full speed instead of constantly hitting speed bumps because I feel I have to stop to name everything along the way.
Now Get Writing! Writing is a lot of hard work and at times it can be terribly, terribly frustrating, but someone is going to write the next Harry Potter or Star Wars...it could be you.
clear night sky full of
live in a small town and almost every night, at around three or four
A.M. my older poodle needs to go out. Those middle
of the night walks are some of my favorite moments of each day.
Each night I look up and see all of those stars in the sky. For every star that I can see, there are thousands, millions -- billions -- more in our galaxy. And there are millions of galaxies out there. And each one of those stars might have planets just like our little speck of blue-green.
what inspires me.
also something that infuses my personal faith. I find both organized
religions' rigid dogma and science's materialism without spiritually to
be deeply unsatisfying. But looking up at the night sky? Yeah, that's a
spiritual experience if ever there was one.)
Of course, I also find inspiration in blasters and aliens, robots and starships, space battles and bounty hunters, and...well, you get the idea.
Sure, I may be an adult on the outside, but deep down inside, I'm still that little kid that fell in love with Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica in elementary school.
My Mom got me hooked on Star Trek early in life (about 4-5 years old) and then I discovered Land of the Lost. A few years later, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica captured my heart. I spent many, many afternoons in school drawing Vipers and X-wings and coming up with new adventures for Han Solo and his trusty sidekick, Luke Skywalker.
I eventually discovered the works that were the ancestors of my favorites: things like Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Forbidden Planet and John Carter's adventures on Barsoom. I plunged into the wonderful books of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and E.E. "Doc" Smith.
In eighth grade, I stumbled across role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, Star Frontiers, and Traveller, and soon started writing adventures for my friends. I fell in love with the Marvel Star Wars comics written by Archie Goodwin and David Micheline, and soon after that I started collecting Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman and all the rest -- you know, back in the days when kids could still afford comics and comic book companies put more effort into making great comics than licensing action figures.
These works gave me hours of entertainment and led to a professional writing career. These things still inspire me. Every day I wake up and I am excited about what I'm going to work on.
my favorites don't stray
original interests. I still love science fiction and fantasy in its
many forms, whether
it's Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry
Babylon 5, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville
and Farscape. I love spending afternoons at Borders
catching up on the latest comics or browsing for cool sci-fi, fantasy
and horror novels. After thirty years, I still love this stuff.
Outlaw Galaxy carries on a century-old tradition of fantastic space adventure. My goal is to write fast-paced adventure stories that span an entire galaxy and evoke the "Sense of Wonder" that, to me, is the essence of science fiction.
I hope you enjoy reading the Outlaw Galaxy books as much as I enjoy writing them!
On request, I will autograph any book ordered through this site.
If you would like me to autograph your copy of any book I’ve written, you may send it but you MUST include RETURN POSTAGE.
Bill Smith Books
PO Box 124
Malone, NY 12953