Quick Tip Tuesday: A Challenge to All — Time to Take the Plunge!

How many of you have complete manuscripts that you have yet to send out for publication? A lot of you, I’d wager. For some of you it might be a novel that you’ve finished but want to revise one more time. Or maybe two more times . . . For others it might be a short story, or several. All of them are finished, but none of them feels quite ready. You can’t imagine showing them to an editor, at least not yet. One more pass. Just a little more revising and polishing.

And you may be right. The works in question might need a bit more work. Or they might not. For all you know, they’re ready now. For all you know, the only thing standing between you and that first sale, is your reluctance to let go of your work.

I see this a lot with aspiring writers. […]

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On Publishing: Five Things About the Business that Surprised Me

Eighteen years ago this month, I received a call from an editor at Tor Books asking me if I could please send his way all the completed chapters and outlines of what would become my first published novel, Children of Amarid. It took a while to get the contract settled, another fourteen months passed before I turned in the completed first draft of the book, and it took two years after that (revisions, polishing, production issues) to get the book out in stores. But still, this is the eighteenth anniversary of what I think of as the beginning of my writing career.

In the time since, I have published eleven more books and several short stories. I have two more books in production and several others written and still looking for a home. My career has seen high points, low points and everything in between, and I have learned a […]

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Writing Life — An Aspiring Writer’s Guide to Conventions and Conferences

Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s humongous science fiction and fantasy convention, takes place this coming weekend, and many of us MW-types are planning to attend. I’ll be on several panels and will also be doing a reading and book signings. My (still incomplete) schedule can be found here. Faith, Misty, A.J., and Kalayna are on the program as well, as are big names from the worlds of television, movies, science, and literature. It should be a blast, and we hope to see many of you there.

This struck me as a good time to return once more to the subject of conventions and conferences. Over the next two months I will be attending not only Dragon*Con, but also the annual conference of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, and World Fantasy Convention, which takes place this year out in San Diego. Each of these events, as well as other conventions I attend during the […]

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Back to Basics, part VI: Submitting Our Work

A couple of weeks ago, when I posted my contribution to the “Success and Failure” discussion we’ve been having here on MW, Lyn Nichols, loyal MW reader and commenter extraordinaire, mentioned that knowing our markets can be helpful in avoiding the sort of rejections we were talking about. At the time, I already had it mind to post a “Back to Basics” essay about how to handle submissions, and so I thought I would offer that this week, to follow up on both my last post and Lyn’s excellent comment.

As I mentioned in that last post, submitting work in and of itself should be seen as a success. Taking that step — putting one’s ego on the line by sending out work to book publishers or short story markets — is not at all easy to do. If you’re in the process of submitting work for the first time, […]

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Writing Your Book, part XIII: Anatomy of a Book Contract

Last week, in our continuing “Writing Your Book” series, we found ourselves an agent and, at long last, received a viable offer for our book. Yay, us! This week we are going to take a closer look at book contracts and what they do and don’t say by breaking down a typical contract section by section. I have to admit that I find myself somewhat disturbed by the fact that we’re doing this in installment 13 of the series (and that the contract I’ll be breaking down is for the Thieftaker series), but there’s little to be done about it. Fates be damned; full speed ahead!

Book contracts, while not huge, are fairly significant pieces of legalese, typically running in the neighborhood of fifteen pages or so. Most of the time, particularly for new writers, agents and publishers work off what is called a boilerplate contract. A boilerplate is a […]

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Writing Your Book, part XII: Stepping Into the Business

If you’ve been following my “Writing Your Book” series from the beginning, then you know that our book is finished, we have gone through our rewrites, and when we left off, we had gone to a couple of conventions to market ourselves and make some connections with editors and agents who might help us get our book book published. Well, today we’re going to talk a bit about the business realities that face the beginning writer when those offers finally start coming.

Let’s say that the networking we did at MagicalWordsCon has paid off and we have not just one, but two agents interested in representing us. One of them is a young agent from the Big Name Agency in New York City. The second is an older agent from his own agency — Friendly Agency in, say, Ann Arbor, Michigan. How do you decide which of the two is […]

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2010: A Writing Year To Remember

Like A.J., I begin 2010 feeling optimistic about my writing and about the publishing market in general. Yes, I know that things have been doom and gloom in the writing business for some time now. But the economy is on the upswing, publishers that have been tightening their belts for the past year and a half will soon find themselves hungry for new books to publish, and Kindles, Nooks, and electronic readers of all other sorts are going to sell in greater and greater numbers and they’re going to need content. That’s my opinion, anyway, based on pretty much nothing except my own thoughts and hopes. And so I believe that this is a great time for aspiring writers to start looking at how they can advance their careers.

With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to offer a few suggestions of things you can resolve to […]

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