Staying informed about the writing community

I am not a perfect author, and I have a lot to learn and a lot of benchmarks I haven’t met. That said, one of the things I have become fairly good at over the past few years is self-education and staying informed about resources for writers. Part of this, I’ll confess, is because I spend a lot of time on writing Twitter, which is the place to be if you want to learn about the writing community and new opportunities arising therein. Part of this is just because I have spent six years of my life trying to learn about what it takes to be a successful author and a good writer (not the same thing) which is a lot of years. Something is probably going to rub off in all that time.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some Twitter accounts, websites, and generally informative paraphernalia for the writing-inclined. These links are mostly targeted towards fantasy and science fiction writers.

Websites

If you want to be a writer of science fiction and fantasy, your first stop should probably be at Science Fiction Writers of America. It maybe should be a continual stop, actually. Bookmark this website is what I’m saying.

SFWA provides various resources for writers, both members and non-members. Membership is only possible once you’ve achieved certain benchmarks in your career, but SFWA understands that a lot of prospective writers won’t even get there without a roadmap. They maintain a Resources page that offers a high level overview of some of the information available on their site, and they also have a really great thing going on over at Writer Beware, which provides some information about predatory businesses and practices seeking to target writers.

Another great source of warnings for writers is the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Take comments on these forums with a grain of salt and do further research, but this is a good place to look for hints that all is not as it should be with a particular agent or publishing house.

But how do you even get to the point where you are worried about whether your agent is on the up and up? You have to query, of course. For one of the best resources on querying and tips and tricks, try QueryShark. Though no longer providing new posts, the QueryShark archives provide valuable critiques of hundreds of queries. Reading examples of good and bad queries is a great way to level up your agent search.

To find agents and editors, you can look several ways. Twitter is an option, and grabbing a Writer’s Market from the store is another. However, if you are looking for a single website that has a lot of information about what agents and editors are looking for, you may want to visit Manuscript Wishlist (MSWL). Please remember to verify the information with a secondary search of the agent or editor or by checking out their website directly.

Helpful Authors

I’ve mentioned I spend a lot of time on Twitter, but it’s not only to build my platform. It’s also to learn. There are some great, helpful accounts on Twitter, specifically other authors who are offering a lot of advice for free.

First of all, Chuck Wendig has made a name for himself for his off-color writing advice. He’s got several books out if that’s more your speed, but you can find a lot of that information in the archives of Terribleminds, his personal website and blog. His advice is mostly geared towards the craft of writing itself.

On Twitter itself, one of my favorite authors to follow is Delilah S. Dawson. She does periodic posts geared towards new and upcoming writers about the traditional publishing process. They provide helpful insight into her process and the way she has managed to get where she is.

Author Kameron Hurley tweets a lot about various parts of her writing career, but especially about work-life balance or the lack thereof. She also talks a lot about money. This is a really important bit of advice for writers that often gets overlooked. The Authors Guild recently published this survey of income for authors and writers at all levels, which shows that it can be really hard to make it as a writer even once you get published. Hurley is very open about her monetary issues and what she makes off of her writing, and it’s helped me to have realistic expectations and strategies for my longterm career.

Self-Publishing

There are several resources out there for self-published authors, and that deserves a whole other post. But one place you can start is the 20Booksto50k Group on Facebook. Be sure the read the FAQs before you ask any questions!

I hope these resources have been helpful for you. If there’s something you think is missing, chime in in the comments!


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Upcoming events!

I wanted to go ahead and let everyone know what events I will be at this year so far.

Roanoke Regional Writers Conference (tentative), January 25-26

I don’t have any panels lined up, and this will largely be a networking conference for me. If you’re interested in the craft and business of writing and want to meet other writers in the area, this is a good conference to attend!

MystiCon, February 22-24

MystiCon is a fan convention, and I’ve already got my schedule for the year. Feel free to come by and check out any of my panels, or come buy a book! I’ll also have free stuff to give away.

  • Balancing the Geek Life with Mundane Adulting,Saturday, 11 am
  • Signing Table, Saturday, 4 pm
  • Let’s Take Flight, Saturday, 9pm
  • Ghosts, Witches, Wizards, Magic: Shakespeare and the Supernatural, Saturday, 10 pm
  • Beyond Western Europe – Other World Cultures for Fantasy (M), Sunday, 2pm

Roanoke Author Invasion, April 6th

This is the annual signing and book sale. I haven’t figured out exactly what all I will be bringing to this event yet, but I should have more information before April!

Hope to see you there!


Like my work? You can find out more about my books or check out my Patreon!

It’s movie time!

Guys, I’m starting to get excited about movies in 2019. I haven’t felt excited for any movie releases for months, keep in mind. Then I saw this:

How did I not know?

If there were two people in this world more worthy of taking up the mantle of MIB, I cannot think of them. The movie is coming out in June, and I think it’s going on my most anticipated films of the year list already. I’m hoping it has everything I like about Thor: Ragnarok

Also a thing I’m looking forward to? You probably don’t have to guess. This trailer dropped a few weeks ago and…. I’m cautiously hopeful?

Like admittedly I’m only hopeful because the narrative weight seems to be being placed on Iron Man and the Cap/Black Widow duo (my favorite Avengers movie is actually Captain America: Winter Soldier, followed by Ragnarok, followed by all the Iron Man movies because I can’t pick one? But Natasha and Steve play so well, I love them.) I’m a little nervous about what they’re going to do with Thor because honestly I feel like he ranked as the Most Shafted Character in terms of overall development in Infinity War. Also have I mentioned that if that’s really how they killed Loki I’m never going to forgive anyone?

I am slightly less excited about Captain Marvel mostly because I am just…Marveled out. The continued introduction of new heroes is exhausting. I need them to chill. That said, I will definitely be in the theater for a woman-led superhero movie. I do not like the actress’ voice, though, and I hope that it will grow on me.

Other movies I am probably going to keep an eye on, though I haven’t decided if I will see them yet, include the Terminator Reboot, Charlie’s Angels, Zombieland 2, Aladdin, and Dark Phoenix.

The New Mutants is the last movie on my tentative list. I’ve not been seeing most of the recent X-Men titles in theaters, mostly because I’m just not that excited about them. But this seems like an example of taking a franchise idea and doing an original spinoff with it, so I will see how future trailers go, despite the rumors about delays. It looks a lot more horror focused, which is not my usual cup of tea for movies, but the premise seems really interesting. Plus a couple of the actors are ones I like.

Are there any movies you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments! If you want to read my previous movie reviews and analysis, you can do that at the Movies tag.


Want to support this blog? Buy books, make a Paypal donation, or subscribe to my Patreon.

Goals for 2019

And just like that, we’re in a new year.

I’m kind of at a crossroads this year, as I’ve alluded to in previous posts. Writing a book takes up so much time, and there are so many projects in the wings that I would like to be working on. Just off the top of my head I can think of three or four books that I have partially outlined and begun research on. Only one of those will get written this year, if I’m lucky. I don’t have any specific contractual obligations to guide me as to which one I should pick.

Last year I wrote two novellas and rewrote part of a novel. You can estimate that I probably wrote about 60-75 thousand words in that process, not counting my blog time, etc. That is barely a book. Really in speculative fiction I need about 90,000 words to make a book, at least. So you can see, easily, that writing a book is a minimum of a one year commitment. That’s assuming I work on nothing else, which is not how writing works. There’s still editing and submissions and everything else.

So, with all that said, I wanted to be very intentional about my goals this year. 

1. Focus on my edits and submissions

I have written a lot of stuff, and some of it is very good, and some of it I have self-published. But I have realized after five years as a self-published author that my writing speed and my lifestyle mean that I’m probably better suited to being a traditionally published author, or at least a mix of the two. I can’t keep writing things and not putting them out there, not trying to move towards that eventual goal. So while I will be writing new work this year, my number one goal will be to improve some of my existing stories and submit them to agents and publishers and magazines. Accordingly, I want to accrue fifty rejections or an acceptance by the end of the year. That’s a little under one per week, so I’m going to have to work hard.

2. Give myself permission to work on something new

There is nothing more frustrating than having to pick from amongst these ideas clamoring in my head. I want the time to do them all. I want to be able to write you so many books, so many worlds. But I only have so much time – a few hours of the week that I snatch greedily for my work. That’s all I have.

So this year I am going to pick the story that’s been shouting the loudest, and go for it. I’m not going to think about the market or if I can sell it. I’m just going to do it. I’m going to write the story I hope I can get out before I die, every time. After that, we’ll see. So my goal is to have a new project picked out soon. Once that happens, I hope to write 30,000 words on it before the end of the year.

3. Continue my Patreon

For self-publishing projects, I have my Patreon, and I plan to keep that up. It’s been a somewhat stable source of income, unlike most of my other work, and I would like to see it grow. Unfortunately, there’s little I can do to control the growth of pledges besides talking about my Patreon, so the goal here is to talk about my Patreon projects regularly. This means at least once a week there should be something up on Twitter or Instagram about Patreon. I’m already doing some of this, so the goal will be to keep it up.

Final Thoughts

This year already feels like a trust-fall exercise. Accordingly, I’m going to reassess these goals a few months in and see how I feel. If things feel comfortable, or the right kind of scary, I’ll leave things where they are. But if I feel like I need more definition, I’ll address it then. You may see me in April totally redefining everything here. I give myself permission to do that, if that’s what is needed.

I want to keep making lovely stories for you, but I also want to write for myself. And that means I have some hard choices I need to make about where I see myself. Thanks in advance for supporting me in this process.


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