They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Blogs O' Writing

One theme that comes up again and again on my blog and many of the ones I regularly read has to do with cites to other blogs. This is not just idle churning of URLs and empty blog-o-referencing. Since one of my concerns is in writing SF "for fun and profit", then I can use my blog for the greater good of humanity by spreading the word about other interesting bits. Or rather I can write a blog entry which (a) I can use and (b) my 2004 Clarion friends can use -- if anyone else stumbles by and finds any of this useful... bonus!

For the cynical amongst you -- and we know who you are (grin) -- all these writers blogs, editor blogs and agent blogs are just a bunch of marketing and posturing and positioning. Sure Jeff Ford's blog 14theditch touts all his stories and books and reviews and appearances -- because a lot of the people reading Jeff Ford's blog like Jeff Ford and/or like his writing, so this is informative. Fact is, being a successful SF and Fantasy writer takes a certain amount of self-promotion and a blog is an effective informal way of accomplishing that, with a minimum of overhead. So there's plenty of time to be cynical about things later.

douglascohen is the assistant editor of Realms of Fantasy and for example writes on the slush sifting process. John Joseph Adams, a.k.a. The Slush God, is the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and gives a link to Jenny Rappaport's new blog on agents.

Are all these people just flogging for business? No. They're trying to get some information out into the world, along with many others, so that new SF&F writers can figure out what the hell's going on in the business. And what mistakes to avoid and who to contact, etc. I've made close to a hundred submissions so far, but sometimes it's hard to remember how difficult putting that first submission into an envelope and sending it out in the great void really was. And not quite knowing what "the rules" were, even though I'd spent some time reading up on the whole SF writing business ahead of time.

Be as cynical as you want, but I've met some editors and pro writers and slush editors -- and they all want you to succeed. They want you to do a good job. If we joke about the red line of death -- the mythical DO NOT CROSS line that an editor would draw past which they've stopped reading your manuscript, it's because they don't have to read the whole story to know whether someone is a writer or not. Whether it's worth working with someone. Whether a particular story happens to fit a particular issue of a magazine. In other words, whether they're going to buy it, or at least pass it up the food chain to someone who can make a decision.

They say you need to "know your markets" before submitting, but "markets", whether magazines, e-sites or publishing houses, are run by people. And so you need to know something about the people who are running the markets.

At least I find it useful and interesting.

Dr. Phil

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