qntm's author page

Hello. Yes, I am the qntm from qntm.org.

Things I have written

2008

2010

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Books for sale!

You can buy my complete Antimemetics Division saga in paperback and ebook:

These editions contain all of my Antimemetics-related work published to the wiki: SCP-055, the full first serial There Is No Antimemetics Division, SCP-2256 and the full second serial Five Five Five Five Five. For reasons, the second half of SCP-055 (Addendum A onwards), which is not by me, is omitted, and We Need To Talk About Fifty-Five is very lightly edited to account for this.

Other links

qntm's one weird tip for writing

"To be continued" is your enemy. Write a complete story in one chapter.

I see writers who spend much time planning lengthy, elaborate storylines in vast original universes. They write one chapter, which by itself gives readers nothing. Then they get bored or distracted and never continue. The story is left unfinished forever and all the work is for nothing. This is a net waste of everybody's time.

Limit your scope. Take your cosmic plans and pare them down to a single, shining core concept. What if you had to make this about one character, about one pivotal moment in their existence? What if this was the only chapter of this you were ever going to be able to write (which it might well be)? What's the most important single thing you want to express? What's the most effective way to express it?

Starting things doesn't count. You've got to get to the end.

P.S.: It's okay for a story to be short. Word count is a fake idea. It just has to be complete. Maybe the best you can manage is a haiku? That's okay. A haiku is a complete work!

Thoughts on self-publishing

If you are an SCP wiki contributor and you are considering self-publishing your SCP wiki contributions like I have, here are some basic thoughts.

Certain aspects of There Is No Antimemetics Division made it easier to self-publish

It is, aside from some very small fragments, entirely my own original work. This made it practical for me to make a book out of my work, name myself as author of it, and publish it solo. If it was a heavily collaborative work or intersected heavily with other wiki contributors' stories, this would have been much more difficult, due to questions like copyright ownership and division of royalties.

Aside from a few special cases, it's pretty much a plain text work. Colourful CSS, images and complex interactive JavaScript are a very bad fit for ebook or paperback formats.

It is a complete story, and therefore fit for publication as a standalone novel. If your SCP wiki serial is incomplete, I forbid you to just publish what you have so far, with vague intentions of completing the story in a later volume. This is disrespectful to your readers. Yes, George R. R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss are extremely bad writers by this metric. If you finish your story, you are a better writer than either of them.

Basic licencing notes

I am not a lawyer - trust the Licensing Guide, the Licensing Team, and, if you have one, your own actual lawyer over anything written below. Having said that, I believe the following to be true:

You automatically hold the copyright on work you create. This is still true even if you licence your work out to the SCP Foundation wiki by publishing your work on the wiki.

At the time of writing, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing's terms of use do not allow you to publish work for which you do not hold the copyright:

We will not accept content under copyright that is freely available on the web unless it’s provided by the owner of the copyright.

So, you cannot just publish anyone's SCP Foundation wiki contributions on Amazon. You can only publish your own work. Equally, nobody else can publish your wiki contributions on Amazon. Only you can. (Other platforms have different rules… check carefully. But Amazon is by far the biggest market.)

Your self-published ebook will have to be released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence, the same as your wiki contributions. This is because regardless of how original your work is, it undoubtedly incorporates, under the CC licence, elements from the rest of the wiki. You know, elements like the Foundation, and SCPs…

Extremely basic stuff you can do to improve your chances of book sales

You must have a good cover. This is more important than the content of the book. Pay a professional to produce something of professional quality. That professional can be a friend, a fellow wiki contributor, a stranger whose work you like the look of, it doesn't matter.

"There Is No Antimemetics Division" is, I think, a really good, eyecatching title. Compare it with Amazon's best-selling supernatural thrillers, a lot of whose titles are, shall we say, rather Series I? I think this is a place where you, an SCP wiki contributor, could really exercise some creativity and stand out from the crowd.

You also need a good blurb. This, also, is more important than the book's content (although still less important than the cover). Put some real effort into this, be brutal. Every word is crucial.

Quality content is still important though.

Permanent decisions: your author name

Once you've self-published a paperback book on Amazon, you can't remove it. You can unpublish it, which causes it to disappear from search results, and causes the book to be marked as "Out of print", with new copies no longer available for sale. But links to the original product page will continue to work.

Additionally, Amazon will not allow you to change the author name on a published paperback. The best you can do is unpublish that book and publish a new paperback with the new author name. The old book with the old author name will still be visible.

In other words, if your author name changes, this is a change which Amazon will have trouble dealing with. For this and other reasons, consider using a pen name, not your real name, as your author name.

Your Wikidot account name may make an excellent pen name, or then again it may not. I used my Wikidot name as my pen name because my initial target audience was SCP wiki contributors who know me by that name. But a "real"-sounding name might be more appealing to other potential readers.

(All of the above applies to paperback editions only. Ebooks seem to allow author name changes, at least for now.)

Amazon will not allow you to publish the same content under two different names simultaneously, because this is confusing to readers.

Manage your expectations

Do not come into this with dollar signs in your eyes, and do not give up your day job. I didn't, and I haven't. Amazon is a marketplace of literally millions of books and as such is an insanely competitive venue to try to attract a following, let alone hack out a living. Your initial customers are going to be your immediate friends and/or fellow SCP wiki contributors… and those may be your only customers. I would consider any success beyond that to be a pleasant bonus.

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