Ditch Diggers #32: Michael J. Martinez Says “F YOU, Dust!”

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s jazz house with special guest co-host Michael J. Martinez
  • On the subject of “free hugs” and hugging strangers in general at conventions
  • Mike talks about his first hardcover book release, his fantasy Cold War mash-up MJ-12: INCEPTION, which has a dust jacket and everything (“Michael J. Martinez, saying ‘fuck you’ to dust since 2016!”
  • Mike talks openly and honestly about the disintegration of his first publisher, Night Shade Books, and how it affected his and others’ career, and what the status is now.
  • How Mike started his writing career, and how you go from one book to thinking about and planning for a career in fiction publishing.
  • The Ditch Diggers delve into Mike’s former career in journalism, and how he balances writing with his new career in finance.
  • Retirement planning for authors. Mike talks about how he views writing full-time as a realistic goal, and what it takes to reach that goal.
  • Q&A from Twitter, including unread questions from Matt’s mom, and having your work optioned for film/TV.

Mike’s website: michaeljmartinez.net
Mike on Twitter: @mikemartinez72
Borderlands: https://borderlands-books.com/
MJ-12: Inception: https://amzn.com/1597808776


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Ditch Diggers #31: The Godparents Episode with Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler

For the first time we have Matt and Mur, and the godparents of Ditch Diggers Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler, in the same room together!

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s hotel room, into which they’ve totally been invited and did NOT in any way break and enter, and welcome special guest co-hosts, best-selling author Gail Carriger and creator of the Schlock Mercenary comic series, Howard Tayler!
  • Also, it’s the Wednesday of WorldCon 74 in Kansas City, MO.
  • Mur is the words, Gail is the style. Howard has won awards for talking out of his meat hole.
  • Mur explains how Gail and Howard are the godmother and godfather of the Ditch Diggers podcast.
  • There will be many references, without context, to fisting throughout the episode.
    The foursome discuss novellas in today’s market, and the different approaches to using shorter/serialized content to build and maintain an audience and maximize your revenue stream.
  • Authors and Patreon, pros, cons, misunderstandings, misuses, and maximizing value.
  • Gail and Howard share war stories, victories and losses, of working the publishers booth at conventions, and the value (or lack thereof) of having a table.
  • Ditch Diggers achieve a four F-bomb minute while Matt, Mur, Gail, and Howard discuss keeping it clean for marketing purposes.
  • There is no Q&A because Matt forgot his phone.
  • Gail and Howard shill shamelessly for each other.
  • One last reference, again without context, to fisting meatholes, plus a ten F-bomb minute to close.

Gail on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailcarriger
Howard on Twitter: https://twitter.com/howardtayler
Gail’s website: http://gailcarriger.com/
Howard’s Schlock Mercenary: http://www.schlockmercenary.com/


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Ditch Diggers #30: Networking, With Natalie Metzger

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s slightly better lawn furniture, which they’re actually sharing live and in-person in front of a small audience, slightly inebriated (Matt, Mur, the audience, or all three? Who knows!)
  • Even during Ditch Diggers, a podcast about rolling up your sleeves and doing the job of writing, people are catching Pokemon while we record.
  • Matt and Mur are joined by their special guest co-host, illustrator Natalie Metzger.
  • The Ditch Diggers discuss the moistness of the environment.
  • Networking! Matt and Mur talk to Natalie about how networking led to her landing a gig illustrating SFF titan John Scalzi’s short story collection, Miniatures.
  • Subterranean Press, specialty books, and goats.
  • Natalie talks about the networking “long game,” participating in fandom, and just plain getting to know people over a long period of time.
  • Networking while dealing with shyness, introversion, anxiety, and other socially limiting conditions, and how to work with them rather than “overcome” them.
  • Natalie sums up her philosophy on networking: “Give, don’t take.”
  • Matt explains the Glengarry Leads.
  • The Ditch Diggers take questions from the audience, including dealing with anxiety and shyness at cons, and how George RR Martin does NOT in any way frequent prostitutes.

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Ditch Diggers WorldCon Wrapup

Matt and I had a great live Ditch Diggers at WorldCon! The room was full, the agents were entertaining, and we killed many clients during the Agent D&D adventure through the Dark Forest of Publishing. (Poor Sam Morgan had two of his four clients die – they lost clients instead of hit points – and he had enough clients at the recording that two came up to throw themselves at his feet, dead.)

Special thanks to my agent, Jen Udden, and agents Sam Morgan and Connor Goldsmith!

On Hugo night, we have to admit it, we were wondering if we were going to be on the long list. The Fucker Puppies had dominated the Best Fancast and Best Related Works categories, so we didn’t know where we stood till we saw the long list after the Hugos. We found ourselves at number 11 of 15 in nominations, which isn’t that bad. Matt points out that if none of the puppies were there at all, we would have been #6. Maybe next year.

We looked damn good on Hugo night, regardless.

It was a great con, for inside-baseball reasons that had to do with meetings and connections, seeing both of our agents, and spending time with my husband & daughter, Matt’s love-of-his-life, and good friends.

Next, the bad news – the recording was corrupted and we didn’t save any of it. I’ve spent a a great deal of time kicking myself, even playing Sherlock Holmes on  my phone to find any possible places it could be hiding.

But it was awesome. You can ask people.

See y’all in Helsinki.

Ditch Diggers #29: Birthday Extravaganza

Travel and excitement has us posting this late – both Matt and Mur have their birthdays on July 25, and, both of us being attention whores, we celebrate as much as possible.

  • Mur and Matt (mostly Matt) explain how and why Morgan Freeman has balls for us all (okay, it’s all Matt).
  • Mur and Matt share a birthday! They are both Children of the 25th, and this is Ditch Diggers’ 2016 Birthday Spectacular!
  • Mur talks about Netflix optioning her novel, the announcement coming two years after the deal, and excitement fatigue.
  • Why the Honda Fit is sexier than the Ford Fiesta, but NOT as sexy as the Mini Cooper.
  • The optioning process, and how much control authors have over their optioned properties.
  • Expecting the worst as a publishing author.
  • Mur talks about her big career developments over the past year, including Bookburners and writing Star Wars.
  • Mur closes her yearly recap by talking about survivor’s guilt in 2016, and she admits Matt is wise.
  • Matt begins his recap by talking about not getting optioned for film/TV, and the lessons he learned from getting caught up in the process of trying to turn his books into TV series.
  • Matt and Mur discuss varying levels of involvement in the film/TV side of your books and the perils and pitfalls involved.
  • Matt talks about refocusing on writing and selling books, and the leverage it ultimately gives you.
  • Matt talks about how his reasons for wanting to do well in his career have changed for the better.
  • Ditch Diggers Birthday Spectacular Q&A via email and Twitter!

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Ditch Diggers #28: Fran Wilde rolls with it

  • Coming to you live from Morgan Freeman’s server farm with special guest co-host Fran Wilde, who wants to know if servers can be milked.
  • Fran talks about her experience winning the Compton Crook and Andre Norton Awards (and not winning a Nebula) and Matt theorizes on what happens if and when all Andre Norton Awards are brought together.
  • Matt and Mur discuss the children’s and YA genres with Fran, and how adult authors staying in-touch with younger readers is essential both creatively and professionally.
  • Personal space is discussed. It’s a digression from the main topic, but always one worth taking.
  • Matt, Mur, and Fran take email and Twitter questions. Topics include awards voting, coding, and Matt ranting against writing that relies too heavily on pop reference.

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Ditch Diggers #27: Madeline Ashby talks futurism

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s nature walk with special guest co-host, Madeline Ashby!
  • Matt on how, technically, anywhere you walk outside is Morgan Freeman’s nature walk.
  • Madeline talks about her new futuristic novel COMPANY TOWN, its themes and inspiration.
  • Cannibalism, and the appropriate amount thereof in all things, is discussed.
  • Matt and Mur talk with Madeline about her work as a foresight consultant, and how she utilizes her skills as an SFF author in that field, and vice versa.
  • What it takes to become a professional foresight consultant.
  • Madeline talks about working on transmedia projects and comics.
  • The illiteracy of the film industry.
  • Ditch Diggers Q&A, which covers, among many things, the joys of marrying a union plumber (NOT to be confused with a freelance plumber).

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Ditch Diggers #26: Agent/Author Relations, with Kameron Hurley and Hannah Bowman

Matt and Mur come to you live, connected via Skype, between Morgan Freeman’s haberdashery and Morgan Freeman’s Tomb of the Youngsters, with special guest go-hosts, multi-Hugo Award-winning author Kameron Hurley and her agent, Hannah Bowman!

  • Matt and Mur argue the nature of ad-libs.
  • Matt pronounces Hannah’s name incorrectly (it’s Han-ah, like Han Solo).
  • This fearsome foursome discuss authors, agents, and booze.
  • Hurley discusses how she came to sign with her agent, and Hannah discusses why she chose to sign her client, Hurley.
  • Tips for authors vetting potential agents.
  • Hurley and Hannah talk about their author/agent process when it comes to planning, executing, and editing books (which basically consists of having no set process).
  • Hurley talks about how her new essay collection, THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION came about, and Hannah’s role in it.
  • Hurley and Hannah field questions from the Ditch Diggers audience, including agenting debut novels, agents editing vs. editors editing, and absolutely nothing about woodchucks chucking wood (you’ll see/hear).

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Ditch Diggers #25: The Absolute Guide to Failure 2, Electric Boogaloo

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s doll hospital, and spend way too much time talking about doll hospitals in general and Morgan’s doll hospital in particular.
  • The Ditch Diggers bring you up-to-date on their professional lives. Mur starts over. Matt needs to write faster.
  • Mur experiments with delayed segues.
  • Neither Matt nor Mur have touched best-selling authors in inappropriate ways, they swear.
  • The Ditch Diggers’ Guide to Absolute Failure returns!
  • Matt and Mur read Guide contributions from listeners, including a former literary agent intern.
  • Matt doesn’t know how to use “shutes” properly, and a certain percentage of the food you eat is bugs and plastic.
  • Mur on “negging” in author interactions, and her new best friend.
  • Writing is easy, and the internet doesn’t really exist.
  • The second installment of The DD Guide to Absolute Failure concludes.
  • Email/Twitter questions and answers!
  • Guide to Literary Agents 2016: http://amzn.com/1599639408

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(Aside- dammit, Six Wakes has a cover, and it’s awesome, and Amazon hasn’t put it on the site yet…)

Ditch Diggers #24: TV Writing with Margaret Dunlap

We welcome Emmy-winning writer Margaret Dunlap, writer for The Middleman, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, and the serial Bookburners.

Show notes!

  • Coming to you live from Morgan Freeman’s tornado shelter with special guest co-host Margaret Dunlap!
  • Margaret is the bomb at calculus, yet cannot derivate a function to save her life (or anyone else’s).
  • On the tradition of passing the Campbell Award winner’s tiara which is actually a diadem.
  • Margaret talks about breaking into television writing, and how useless it is to ask the question, “How do you break into TV writing?”
  • On being a TV writers assistant, “freelance” scripts, and the power of getting coffee.
  • Hollywood as a cronyism town vs. a nepotism town (and why that’s a good thing for new writers).
  • Celebrating small victories, and how sushi, beer, and ice cream are scaleable.
  • TV writing vs. webseries writing
  • Margaret is adapting Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books for television with John Rogers’ Kung Fu Monkey Productions! (And the glacial pace of writing projects.)
  • Mur and Margaret talk about Bookburners, and the structure of TV writing meeting fiction books.
  • Q&A with Twitter.
  • Obligatory shilling of Matt’s books and the fact Ditch Diggers is STILL eligible for Best Fancast in the Hugo Awards.
  • Margaret’s website: http://www.margaretdunlap.com/
  • Margaret’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/spyscribe
  • Bookburners: https://www.serialbox.com/serials/555d1163ada6e26d95b9e785
  • Producteev Task Management Software: https://www.producteev.com/

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