Stronger Together

Publishing is a rough business, even when writing is what you love. That’s why it’s so important for authors to reach out to other authors, and to support, encourage, nurture, mentor, boost and make friends with each other. It’s a weird way to make a living, and we’re the only ones who really understand what it’s like to deal with all those voices in our heads that become characters, so we need to stick together.

Making writer friends is good for sanity. We all have rough days, and this is a solitary way to make a living. It helps to be able to talk about the business and the life with other people who get it.

Writer friends are good for business. When we recommend each other, signal boost on social media, refer each other to resources, cover tables at cons for one another and hang out talking shop at […]

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It’s Con Time!

They’re expensive and time-consuming. You generally have to travel a long way to get to them. You’ll spend your weekend surrounded by people, some of whom you like, others not so much. You’ll ruin the healthy eating pattern you’ve spent months turning into a habit by eating in restaurants for every meal. And you know what? It’s worth it.


Yes, that’s right, this coming weekend is ConCarolinas 2015, my home con and an event I look forward to all year long. Authors, cosplayers, actors, scientists, gamers and all manner of fandom come together in Charlotte NC to celebrate the geek life. It’s sometimes one of the only chances I get to see certain people I’m fond of. I’m absolutely thrilled about it!

Some of you may be shaking your heads right now, and saying, “It’s a waste of good writing time. Why don’t you stay home and […]

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The Role of Agents in the Modern Publishing Landscape

I was asked to do a talk this past weekend on the role of agents in the modern publishing world, and it seemed like a great blog post topic as well, so I figured that since my notes were already prepared…

In many, many ways, an agent’s role hasn’t changed at all from when I first entered the business over twenty years ago. We’re still authors’ advocates—first, last and always. We’re still business managers and advisors, negotiators and networkers. But to be specific, here are some of the things we do and some of the ways in which are roles have changed and expanded.

Agents still read submissions and fall in love with books we want to champion. We still read synopses, partials and fulls for our authors, providing feedback and critique, sometimes through multiple iterations of the material, whether we’re preparing these works for submission or publication. We guide […]

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When networking and PR turn into something else entirely. Part Two.

Last time I posted it was on the benefits of networking in the business. And frankly the benefits are astounding, even for a social misfit like me. For some people networking is easy—thinking here of David, who seems to make friends like nobody’s business. It’s harder for me. It just is. Partly because I don’t remember names. (It’s a social affliction. I forgot the Hubby’s name on our honeymoon after knowing him since 8th grade and dating him for over 7 years.) Partly because of foot-in-mouth disease. But I still have made more friends as a writer than I have enemies. I hope. And a lot of them appear here regularly, and I have seen them at Cons regularly, and I plan to see them at more Cons, and I plan to do PR with them, and I really like them!

In fact, Misty Massey and David B. Coe (DB […]

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A few years ago, someone (Sherwood Smith, I think, but I might be wrong…) started posting on LiveJournal as one of the big cons approached — World Fantasy or Worldcon, I don’t remember which — saying that she wasn’t able to go, and she was bitter, listening to all her friends chatter on about the approaching event. She started hosting “Bittercon”, an online discussion about all the panels she would dream of being on, if only she could be on panels.

Spring forward a few years. Most of our MW regulars are at ConCarolinas this weekend. I, alas, am very far away from ConCarolinas. I won’t be able to join in on the panels. I won’t be able to hang out in the bar with my new and old friends. I won’t be able to put faces to so many names I love conversing with here.

I am bitter.

So, […]

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Writers For Real

Ever seen a writer in a movie? Sure you have. They wear glasses and old, cashmere sweaters. They live in fabulous wood-paneled townhouses situated in the arty part of some huge city, or remote cabins in the woods with logs burning briskly in the fireplace regardless of the season. Three out of four walls in their writing rooms are bookshelves filled to bursting with leather bound books. They generally have their groceries delivered because they’re much too busy being creative to go out on their own. The handsome young grad student who delivers the groceries always seems to be a writer himself, hoping to catch the writer’s attention one of these days and wangle an invitation to study at the writer’s feet (either that, or he’s hoping to get very lucky the next time the writer finishes a particularly intense love scene.)

Writers in movies don’t have to wait […]

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David and I (and 600 of our closest friends!) spent last weekend at Ravencon, in Virginia. It was my first time at this delightful gathering and I had a blast. I saw old friends, met new ones and made lots of good professional connections. A number of the writers and editors who were there with us will be guest bloggers this summer, right here on Magical Words, so keep your eyes peeled!

During one of my panels, I mentioned that when I was a book-crazy kid, I had trouble believing that authors were honest-to-goodness people who ate dinner and lived in houses. Somehow they had to be godlike entities who created the books I loved with a wave of their mighty hands. The audience laughed (as I hoped they would), but I have to admit that feeling has never really gone away. It’s transferred to editors and publishers instead. The […]

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