Success!

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Patty
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Re: Success!

Postby Patty » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:46 am

Gwendolyn,

You hit on #1 reason I no longer work in science: it's a lifestyle, not a job. You chase your tail all day, and in the end all you do as a research scientist is keeping other people in work so that they can do the stuff you would like to do. What you do instead is write proposals to get funding and write up the results your students collect for you.

Many scientists are bad at putting their thoughts into words. You can't blame them, because they have never learned.

Apart from the fact that I wrote when I was at school, my interest in writing was rekindled when someone gave a course at our lab about how to make scientific writing more legible. That was when I realised I really wanted to be a writer.
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Re: Success!

Postby wswingley » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:41 am

Gwendolyn Clare wrote:
Sam Hidaka wrote:Most people trained in the sciences can't write fiction very well.


I think it would be more accurate to say that most people trained in the sciences don't have the time or inclination to learn how to write well.


BIngo. As a scientist myself I have to agree with just about everything Gwen and Patty said. Science can be very cultish in the expectations of "living your work." I have never been the type to work in the lab until 10 pm, which has given me time to pursue my hobbies. Sorry Harvard, you'll never have us :-)

That being said, I have to say that science writing HAS trained me as a writer. I've learned how to sit down and write, how to take criticism and objectively edit my work, and how to take rejection... arguably three of the most important factors to being a writer, aside from all that writing stuff.
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Re: Success!

Postby Jeff » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:57 am

From the engineering side of the equation, I think a lot of them work until 10pm because they like engineering and would rather be doing that than going home, and the rest work until 10pm because of simple peer pressure. I leave on time most days because I have to pick my son up from daycare, and I get frowns from people as I leave.

On the other hand, many engineers actually have hobbies, so maybe I'm not alone as a writing engineer. I seem to be the only one in my company, though we have two or three musicians.

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Re: Success!

Postby MJNL » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:06 pm

Jeff wrote:
On the other hand, many engineers actually have hobbies, so maybe I'm not alone as a writing engineer. I seem to be the only one in my company, though we have two or three musicians.


My fiancé is also a writing engineer :D But he often works 80+ hour weeks, so that doesn't leave time for much else. He's taking a month off for our wedding/honeymoon and I told him if he wants to spend the whole time writing I'd support it.

oh, and congrats, Patty! Somehow I missed your initial post.
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Re: Success!

Postby Jeff » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:32 pm

ehm, hrm, humpf. If I tried to take my whole wedding/honeymoon time writing, I suspect my wife would have soundly thumped me. Granted she's not a writer and mearely tolerates my hobby when it doesn't get in the way, but there were other things going on during that whole wedding/honeymoon thing. :-)

Congrats on being engaged, and for him getting a month off. My wife and I both only finagled a Friday, followed by the whole next week for the honeymoon.

And yes, big congratulations, Patty.

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Re: Success!

Postby MJNL » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:06 pm

Lol, I expect he won't spend the entire time writing, but perhaps we'll give up a few walks on the beach.

At his company vacation-time rolls over from year to year if you don't use it, and he's accumulated quite a bit. He also went a full year without a paycheck when starting the company, so he's definitely earned it.
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Re: Success!

Postby M.O.Muriel » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:26 pm

Nobody's born with the Magic Writer Gene. Everyone who wants to write has to put in the time to learn how. Scientists are just less likely to spend their time on that.



I completely agree; this is something I firmly believe. In my experience, someone can truly be born with a tallent for ideas, but the craft of translating those ideas in a meaningful way to an audience--even a small one--via the written word, is a skill that must be learned, many times through trial-and-error, no matter what we've been 'taught.' Some can have a greater aptitude for learning the craft of writing, but I hear over and over again, that generally the most persistant and dogheaded of us are the ones who finally get out there with fiction. Ultimately, busy scientist or not, its the most passionate about storytelling who make it their business to learn the craft. And learn it well.


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Re: Success!

Postby Gwendolyn Clare » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:37 pm

M.O.Muriel wrote:someone can truly be born with a tallent for ideas,

Indeed. Idea-generation is something that my hindbrain does pretty much all the time -- I think as a result of spending lots of conscious attention on reading and writing -- and the hard part is figuring out how to turn the idea-soup provided by my subconscious into a decent piece of prose. I'm always really puzzled when people who aren't writers get fixated on the "where do you get your ideas?" question, 'cause the ideas are so not a challenge compared to all the rest of the writing process.

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Re: Success!

Postby Alex Kane » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:40 am

Just signed my second e-contract, for my story "The Darkling Door," which sold to the Library of Horror Press anthology Made You Flinch: Horror Stories to Unnerve, Disturb, and Freak You Out.
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Re: Success!

Postby JSHill » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:12 am

I sold my first short story a while back and the magazine is now out. After button humping the refresh button, I finally got to see a preview of the cover. At first my name wasn't listed in the small pic preview, but later when they posted a PDF preview it was there. I was excited, my first story in print and my name would be on the cover.

Here is the dilema. So I got copies in the mail yesterday, and I was stoked as I opened the box and come to find out my name didn't appear on the cover. The author who has the cover story was listed twice. My name should have been in the small list of authors instead of his twice. (no offense to him of course) Seems like a mistake to me. It stole a bit of my thunder being able to show friends and relatives, but still cool.

Am I being too nit picky? I did ask the editor if it was a mistake, but have not heard back from them yet.

Oh, and the magazine is Encounters Magazine #4, "The Black Grave"

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Re: Success!

Postby katsincommand » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:16 am

I'd be disappointed too. You earned the right to have your name on the cover. :( I wonder if they're going to try and make this up to you.
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Patty
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Re: Success!

Postby Patty » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:46 pm

JSHill wrote:I sold my first short story a while back and the magazine is now out. After button humping the refresh button, I finally got to see a preview of the cover. At first my name wasn't listed in the small pic preview, but later when they posted a PDF preview it was there. I was excited, my first story in print and my name would be on the cover.

Here is the dilema. So I got copies in the mail yesterday, and I was stoked as I opened the box and come to find out my name didn't appear on the cover. The author who has the cover story was listed twice. My name should have been in the small list of authors instead of his twice. (no offense to him of course) Seems like a mistake to me. It stole a bit of my thunder being able to show friends and relatives, but still cool.

Am I being too nit picky? I did ask the editor if it was a mistake, but have not heard back from them yet.

Oh, and the magazine is Encounters Magazine #4, "The Black Grave"

JSHill


I am ashamed to say that some time last year, when I felt dark and lonely, after having sent out 100 submissions for 0 sales (all to top-range magazines), I flung out a bundle of submissions to paying-but-low-profile magazines. The fantasy predecessor of Encounters, Realms, was one of them. I sold all those stories. Not long after I submitted these stories (but I hadn't heard back from most of them), John Scalzi went into his rant against low-pay magazines, and I went into discussion with him. I think low-pay magazines have a function, and some are well-respected, but... but...

Which ones?

Some small, peanuts-pay magazines are great. I recommend New Zealand's only SF magazine, Semaphore, and M-Brane SF, but I've had problems with all the others I sold to. Beyond Centauri printed my story without *any* editing. There were some stupid typos in the story. Ack. To date, they haven't paid me (and I've emailed them about it). Martian Wave (same publisher) paid only after I reminded them. This story wasn't edited either. Realms sent me the copies of the magazine, but when I asked if I was going to be paid, the editor reneged on it, citing that 'it costs too much to write overseas cheques'. Hellooo, dude, have you ever heard of Paypal?

Seriously. But instead of whining about bad small magazines, I thought I'd come up with a list of good ones, which I put on a permanent tab on my blog here: http://pattyjansen.wordpress.com/the-whitelist/
Feel free to add to it.
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MJNL
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Re: Success!

Postby MJNL » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:15 pm

Congrats to both Alex and JSHill!

JSHill~ I think it's perfectly fine to ask about the mistake. However, if it's a one-time print issue, there's probably nothing the publisher can do about it.

Patty~ It's great you have a thumbs-up small press list. I haven't gotten far enough into my subs to consider small presses yet, but I'll definitely check it out and keep them in mind for when I inevitably exhaust my other pro and semi options.
~Marina

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Patty
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Re: Success!

Postby Patty » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:07 pm

Marina,

This is a problem we all run into, especially when you submit a lot. When a story has been rejected by all the top-tier magazines that are suitable, what do you do with it? I think last year I was more in favour of trying to sell them regardless. In the last few months, though, I trunked a lot of stories. They're not bad, and I may take them out of retirement if an anthology happens to come along that fits the story, or if someone I know asks me for a story. Actually, most of them are pretty decent stories. Soon there will be a WOTF finalist amongst them. It's just that no one had room for them. I think the trunk is useful because you can pull out a story at the drop of a hat, and you can cannibalise ideas.
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Re: Success!

Postby izanobu » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:36 pm

I've decided that after a story is rejected by all pro markets and the semi-pro markets I like, I'm just going to format it and put it up on amazon and smashwords. My literary work (which I put up as an experiment) has been selling 2-5 copies a month, which isn't much money at .35 a pop, but so far looks like in a year's worth of sales will add up to more than a token market would pay. And I can put together my own collections later when I have enough stories that have either reverted to me or made the submission rounds. With the e-pub world taking off as it is, I don't see a reason to ever trunk a story.

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Re: Success!

Postby klaatu » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:41 pm

izanobu wrote:With the e-pub world taking off as it is, I don't see a reason to ever trunk a story.


I kind of look at the Pro and Semi markets as a filter. And personally, I've set that as my benchmark. I've read some of the writers who publish everything they write - and I've stopped. The quality varies greatly. I was really disappointed at having a couple of my 'better' stories rejected. They came close, with personal rejections and holds, but not quite. I thought about sending em off to token markets, but I wanted the stories to be the best they could be. I currently have a mentor and he's workshopped those stories with me. And I can now see why they didn't quite make it. They're much better stories for the rewrites. Expect to be able to read at least one of them soonish.... (fingers crossed lol)

As a Beatles freak, I love listening to their albums. I also collect their outtakes and leftovers. And while I 'study' them in the context of their canon, I also understand why they weren't released. I also tend not to listen to them for pleasure. (Only a masochist can bear over an hour of "I've got a Feeling being rehearsed" on anything like a regular basis.)

Lennon and McCartney were each other's filters. Once they split, McCartney started releasing everthing he wrote and thought it was all brilliant - hence we have crap like "Dance tonight".

During the Tug of War recording session, so the story goes, (George Martin producing) someone approached Martin and asked how many songs McCartney had for the new album. Martin replied, "Fourteen." The person then said, "How many real songs?" A little abashed, Martin said, "Four."

I'm fussy as to which markets I'll submit. I also see plenty of reasons to trunk stories. I don't want to be McCartney..... ;)


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Re: Success!

Postby izanobu » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:35 pm

If a story gets a (nice) personal rejection from a pro or prestigious semi-pro market, you can pretty much bet it is good enough to be published. Editors don't take time to comment on stories that suck. The way I see it, if a story gets personal rejections then it's good enough and there's no reason to trunk it. Rejections come for all sorts of reasons (doesn't fit, too close to something they already bought, etc), so a story not selling to a pro market means only that hey, that story didn't sell to a pro market. Nothing more, nothing less :)

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Re: Success!

Postby AMcCarter » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:30 am

Dean Wesley Smith recently made a post about using publishers as a filter. Kind of interesting.
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Re: Success!

Postby Jackie B. » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:44 am

I sold a story to Daily Science Fiction!! It was flash, so total payment isn't life changing, but still, $.08/word! If that counts as pro, that's my first :D
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Re: Success!

Postby Dame » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:05 pm

Hey well done! They are turning out to be a great market.
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izanobu
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Re: Success!

Postby izanobu » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:19 pm

W00t! .08 cents is more than minium pro rates. I imagine that in a year Daily SF will be SFWA qualified anyway. Grats! :)

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Re: Success!

Postby Jackie B. » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:21 pm

Thanks guys!!
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izanobu
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Re: Success!

Postby izanobu » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:38 pm

By the way, my story "No Spaceships Go" is up on the Daily SF site now: http://dailysciencefiction.com/story/no-spaceships-go

I got the check in the mail just before Christmas. I keep meaning to deposit it, but I get giddy every time I look at it. Tomorrow, I'll deposit it tomorrow... :)

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Re: Success!

Postby MJNL » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:17 pm

Yay! Off to read it... :D
~Marina

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Re: Success!

Postby Jackie B. » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:33 pm

Awesome story, izanobu!!
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Re: Success!

Postby katsincommand » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:42 pm

izanobu wrote:By the way, my story "No Spaceships Go" is up on the Daily SF site now: http://dailysciencefiction.com/story/no-spaceships-go

I got the check in the mail just before Christmas. I keep meaning to deposit it, but I get giddy every time I look at it. Tomorrow, I'll deposit it tomorrow... :)


Just don't leave it on your fridge for six months. :)
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Re: Success!

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:48 am

My most recent success was a personal rejection of "we almost published this poem" from a prestigious spec fic magazine. I was really excited even to be considered, and the head editor opened dialog with me in the emails. It was extremely nice of him.

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Re: Success!

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:49 am

izanobu wrote:By the way, my story "No Spaceships Go" is up on the Daily SF site now: http://dailysciencefiction.com/story/no-spaceships-go

I got the check in the mail just before Christmas. I keep meaning to deposit it, but I get giddy every time I look at it. Tomorrow, I'll deposit it tomorrow... :)


Nicely done!

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Patty
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Re: Success!

Postby Patty » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:39 pm

Oh yay!

I've sold Party, with Echoes, the story I entered (and withdrew) from the third quarter to Redstone SF!
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Re: Success!

Postby izanobu » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:37 pm

Yay, Patty! Congrats!


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