I know that all of us have their favorite regular online spots, and tend to visit them over and over. What I bravely attempt here is to point out not merely such popular hangouts but specific individuals who in my opinion are marvelous resources of one specific sort or another in the world of genre publishing.
What follows is my own personal list of indispensable person-resources, not necessarily bloggers, and your own list may be quite different. Note also that I did not include a number of seemingly obvious and high-profile individuals or high-profile bloggers (such as Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, or Susan Shwartz, etc.) because their scope is either more encompassing than the genre publishing sphere or overlaps too far beyond it to serve my purpose.
So here is my current Top 12 list, presented in alphabetical order by last name -- because I would never dare rank anyone here, it's like sorting apples and oranges.
The Top 12 Most Useful Individuals in Genre Publishing
- Tobias S. Buckell -- a cosmopolitan writer and blogger who truly is cutting-edge where others merely strive to be. Expert on many modern author concerns such as promotion and resources; conducts nuts-and-bolts business of publishing studies and polls, and dares to crunch numbers meaningfully and in an entertaining, balanced, and non-partisan fashion.
- Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss and Richard C. White -- I group them as one unit because they are the wonderful forces behind Writer Beware, the industry scam watchdog volunteer organization (and blog) that has brought so many crooks to justice. If you are ever unsure of some alleged industry professional's integrity, a good place to start your background investigation of their credentials is here.
- Ellen Datlow -- not only is she a world-class editor but she is the goddess nonpareil of all industry contacts. If I didn't know any better I would say this amazing individual knows everyone on the planet and can graciously put you in touch with -- or at least connect you to someone else who does. She's truly our social glue.
- Harlan Ellison -- a legend in his own time, this man stands alone as The Gadfly of his generation, cutting through bullshit like a hot knife through butter, and backing it up with relentless force and vigor, not to mention financial and legal resources. However you might feel about him or his positions on topics or his actions, here is a force of nature to be appreciated and watched closely.
- Rose Fox -- the most helpful person EVAR when it comes to reviewing information; seems that Rose came on the scene recently, about a year or so (I might be mistaken, so my apologies if that's the case), but as the reviews editor of science fiction at Publishers Weekly and an industry blogger (Genreville) among other things, she is a great insider to watch for good solid information for both writers and publishers on how things are run at the "other" end. I'd asked her a question once, and not only did she answer it promptly but called me up on the phone to discuss it. Now that's class!
- Esther M. Friesner -- the wonderful Queen of Hamsters and SFWA Musketeers and the bringer of heartfelt humor, she injects laughter and friendly wackiness into every situation, and can find that straight line and pounce on it before anyone. Diffuses all flame bombs and brings the Feel Good to any gathering. Oh, and boy can this woman write!
- Kristin Nelson -- everyone's dream agent, and a genuinely nice person, Kristin gives the simple inside scoop at her Pub Rants blog and has invited everyone to watch the once-arcane interior workings of a professional literary agent's daily activities -- both triumphs and concerns. She's no Miss Snark, but then, snark is not always what people need, is it? She is Ms. Straightforward Facts and Ms. Gracious Attitude, with plenty of good, open and genuinely-presented helpful information and advice, and plain old solid business sense. I've been watching her career from the beginning, since she was just a tiny blip on the radar (in 2002, I believe) and always admired her and KNEW she will end up a power agent.
- Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden -- I tend to treat them as one great spousal editorial unit, and their "blogamunity" (my term for a cross between a blog and a community) Making Light is like a 24/7 virtual SF convention; something is always happening around intelligent timely topics of discussion, and it's a great place to get in touch with others and to see fandom and prodom mix equally.
- Charlie E. Petit -- this friendly and helpful everyone's favorite legal shark sheds clarity on muddy facts. The man is sharp, witty, with plenty of teeth, and more elusive than the Scarlet Pimpernel. He can be seen to pop up in various places to give nuggets of factual legal goodness on topics such as copyright issues. Don’t go looking for him, he will find you…
- William Sanders -- he's the intellectual rebel, a maverick, never afraid to use the English language with brave integrity and attention to true nuance. He brings the non-PC, honest, and often blunt perspective; a shock jock with a brain, a critical eye, and a barrel of sharp American Indian humor to dissect and vitalize all of us -- a perfect doze of hard clarity when we get too caught up in the groupmind mentality and forget to think for ourselves. He's a genuine good guy, even when he growls.
- Sherwood Smith -- a fine writer and "community organizer" in the best Obama sense, a subtle woman of both great sense and sensibility who not only knows her literary adventure fiction and classics, but keeps an erudite "discussion of literature and writing" salon, yet manages to make it a very age-friendly and welcoming safe haven for everyone.
- Charles A. Tan -- the relatively new cutting-edge reviewer, interviewer, and Bibliophile Stalker, who has recently become indispensable, often bringing his Philippines regional perspective on the speculative genre, and a very cosmopolitan reviewer style that reaches across all borders. Bookmark his blog!
And that's my list.
I recommend them all highly and hope you add them to your regular "to be watched and observed" routine.
And now, I slink off back to work…