Tuesday, February 22, 2011

4 Steps to Advancing Your Writing Career

I'm feeling a bit odd tonight. After years and years of writing for fun, I made a decision a couple of years ago to get serious about subbing and selling my work. And lo and behold, it started to sell (imagine that!).

Getting an editor to buy your work is Step 1 in getting your spec fi writing career past scribbling in the dark. Step 2 is getting the editor of a pro market, as recognized by SFWA, to buy your work. Step 3 is getting nominated and/or winning recognized awards for your work, which opens many doors.

I have arrived at Step 3.

My story, "Kraken's Honor," published in Issue 31 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, was my first professional sale and made me eligible for the John W. Campbell last year and this year. I missed the boat last year because I had no idea I was even eligible. This year, a kind friend, Swapna Kishore, pointed it out (someone who is also eligible, bless her heart).

Thus begins Step 4 of the writing career: self aggrandizement.

This is the part every writer hates. Few people really enjoy blowing their own horn; it feels boorish and rude to be waving your hand yelling "look at me!" all the time, in exact opposition to what your mother told you when you were a kid. Not to mention that every minute you spend promoting your work is a minute you don't get to spend writing new stories. Yet, to be successful, you must get your work noticed. That means tooting ye olde horn.

So, since the Campbell award is given on the basis of votes received, I find myself now tooting my horn whenever and wherever I can. Dang it. People attending Worldcon 2011 (Renovation) are eligible both to nominate and vote for the Campbell and Hugo awards (my story "An Infinity of Moments," published in On Spec, Fall 2010, makes me eligible for the Hugo as well).

If y'all are so inclined, check them out. Then go vote if the story touches you, or check out some of the other worthy folks with stories in contention. We want you to read spec fi. So go read, and then vote.

Meantime, I'll go on trying to get the hang of this self promotion thingy.