Publishing Advice

I remember (and have recently re-read) the post where I wrote that I knew I needed to get published and that I should be writing and that I had no idea how to do those things. Trial and error teaches a lot–at least to some people.

Recently I explained that “life long learner” means I have to keep re-learning the same things in different ways. 🙂

That said, there was a good post on the CHE about what publishing means for a lot of places. Even though I am not in one of those places and do not want to be, I know that I am behind in publishing and presenting. Certainly if you use the metrics of the post I am behind (as in, I never got there).

While it does not apply to me per se, there are many nuggets of wisdom hidden in the carefully sifted advice. (Now I am thinking of chocolate chips and brownies for some reason.) Without further ado, advice from the brilliant at the CHE:

You have a special challenge in that you need to keep up a publication record as if you were at an R1 while coping with a heavy teaching load.  The model I was taught to aim for was 2-2-4: two articles and two smaller pieces every year, and a book every four years.  Now, I actually think most people fall short of that.  But if you want to move, you’d want to aim for an equivalent of that, in the most streamlined and efficient way.  The first advice I’d give is to drop the second “2” — the smaller pieces (generally book reviews, can also be encyclopedia entries or whatnot).  Those are a luxury.  The articles and books are the most important.  So here are the rules as I see them:

1. Piggyback your current research on your last research.  Use the same kind of materials, but viewed from a different angle or expanded.  You can see the prolific scholars doing this already.  For instance, the first book will be about Lincoln’s White House staff, using the appropriate archives.  The second book will be about women in Lincoln’s White House, using the same archives.  The third book will be about Lincoln’s ideas of hierarchy, using the same archives. In every case, pick only an idea that’s interesting to you, but pick strategically.  Also pick something in which you don’t have to embark on a whole new set of secondary reading.

2. Don’t put every single thing you learn and think on the subject in the book.  Save self-contained nuggets of findings for separate articles.  For my last book, I finished the book and then wrote a spin-off article in three days. I had all the quotations right in front of me and knew the material so thoroughly that it just flew onto the page. If you can get four or five extra articles out of your book, that would be excellent.  Don’t feel the need to jam it all in; use this to plant articles in good journals.

3. Make every piece of writing earn its keep.  Don’t publish in edited collections; they count for less on the CV. Submit every article to a top-tier journal and work your way down the food chain. Position your book for the top presses.  Don’t make my mistake and give your book to lower-tier presses just because they ask for it and you think, “Phew! Someone will publish this!”  Try all the top-tier presses first.

4. Find the CVs of the top people in your field and keep tabs on them. Keep track of how you measure up. 

5. Minimize the busywork your job asks for as much as possible.  Where possible, give assignments that are swift to grade; streamline teaching prep; keep extensive records so you don’t have to redesign your classes every year. 
Then try to get in 90 minutes of academic writing every workday; 45 minutes should be your minimum.  Don’t save it all up for a long weekend stint, which may or may not be possible when the time comes.  The research shows that the most prolific people write for shorter periods and often.

6. Take Sundays off; ideally Saturdays too.  Do not stay up working till midnight.  Burning yourself out won’t get the job done and also makes the job not worth doing.  Your goal is to work smart, not exhaustively.

Best of luck!

hegemony. “Re: Posting Hall of Fame–Reply 2409.”,9 March 2011,,30991.2400.html.

Waiting to Hear

One of the hardest things as a professor is waiting to hear whether or not someone is going to accept our work.

We’ve written it. We’ve wrestled with it, struggled with it, carried it up and down metaphorical (and sometimes actual) mountains, and then we’ve sent it off to someone else. After waiting hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, we hear back.

With one chapter, which had a return deadline of Jan. 15, I was nervous. I spent the time I should have also been working on an R&R to get that chapter done on time. I didn’t hear anything by Jan. 15. Then by the end of January I was too nervous to wait. I wrote the editor and said, basically, “Well?” When I hadn’t heard anything in two weeks, I decided, this is awkward. Now when I see that wonderful woman, I’ll want to hide because my work was so poor that she is embarrassed to tell me it wasn’t accepted. (You’d think with dozens–two is dozens–of publications, I’d be a little more sure of myself, perhaps.) Then around Valentine’s Day the editor emailed that, like most of us, life had gotten ahead of her and her very ambitious–even I thought so and I can be the queen of turbo mode–schedule had broken down entirely. She told me it might be as much as another month before she is able to get back to me on my chapter. And I totally understand.

Tonight I went online to check on the status of a submission–a submission that took me two years to get up to doing, even though I’d done most of the work already; a submission that actually was even better than I thought it would be, by the time I finished filling out all the paperwork that went along with it. It’s still in review, though there is not a reviewer listed as reviewing it. In my profile, I’ve agreed to be a reviewer, though, of course, not of my own work. But they haven’t asked me to review anything and I wonder if they have submissions besides my own or if they’ve got so many that they don’t need reviews right now because they already have the texts for the next three or four issues.

Finally, there’s another article out. Technically it’s in R&R. They got back to me in a miraculously short period of time, a month, but I was up to my neck in reading for the chapter two paragraphs above. They asked if I intended to do the R&R and I said yes. My plan was to do it over the Christmas break. That, of course, was before my life went topsy turvy and I ended up with four family members in town rather than three.

I’ve got to get out two abstracts this week–both of which I’ve worked on a bit. And I have a paper to finish in the next two weeks, for a presentation. But I also would like to get to that R&R because I’m not the only one waiting to hear on articles. The editor of that journal is also waiting to hear…

It may not all get done by Saturday, since I have two big projects culminating on Saturday, but I hope to finish the revision by Tuesday, March 3. That’s my goal anyway.

Even if I’m still waiting to hear on the others, I can get that one moving again.

Academic Publishing

Hybrid Pedagogy begins its discussion of the digital humanities and the future of academic publishing by saying:

It is not enough to write monographs. It is not enough to publish. Today, scholars must understand what happens when our research is distributed, and we must write, not for rarified audiences, but for unexpected ones. New-form scholarly publishing requires new-form scholarly (digital) writing. Digital academic publishing may on the surface appear as a lateral move from print to screen, but in fact it brings with it new questions about copyright, data analysis, multimodality, curation, archiving, and how scholarly work finds an audience. The promise of digital publishing is one that begins with the entrance of the written, and one that concludes with distribution, reuse, revision, remixing — and finally, redistribution.

Digital publishing is a field worthy of rigorous research and deep discourse. In a post-print environment, for example, social media — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, or Tumblr — have supplanted the static page as the primary metaphors for how we talk about the dissemination of information. Digitized words have code and algorithms behind them, and are not arrested upon the page; rather they are restive there.

The most fascinating part of the article, and the one I really want to spend some time dwelling on at some point = “Traditional academic publishing is aimed at a scholarly process that is private and gradual, deliberate and uninterrupted by the memes and news of the day. Digital publishing is public work, packaged and poised for ready distribution.”

Writing for Journal Publication

One of my colleagues has requested that several of us come to a graduate class and talk about our experiences with getting published in journals.

To prepare for that, I went back through this blog to look for relevant posts. This post contains some distilled information, some links, and some ruminations based on the discussion in the class.

In November 2009, about a year after I started trying to get published, I wrote a post on my publication/rejection record for my most recent work.
5 papers submitted, 2 accepted, 2 rejected, 1 pending
I try to be very careful in placing my work where it is most likely to get accepted. Even with that, my acceptance rate was a 2:3 ratio. (There were also numbers for creative pieces included in the original post.)

From my CV (and old CVs):
11 journal articles published
6 book reviews
2 chapters (2 others were accepted and not published)
(3 encyclopedia articles accepted but never published–Based on my experience, then, encyclopedia articles are not worth doing.)

At one point I wanted to include on my CV a section labeled “Not Published Due to Recession.”

My experience:
In the last 15 months…
Writing about Writing
Publications and Research
Working on a Revision
4 Ways to Write a Paper in a Hurry

Successful academic writing information:
Good Advice for Successful Academic Research and Writing
Style in Academic Writing
Don’t Get Too Attached

Good advice:
On Publishing
On Writing Book Reviews

Relevant links:
330-word guide to writing book proposals
the down-and-dirty article

Sources for CFPs:

I have also written 2 other articles I didn’t submit. One would probably have been published, but the other probably would not have been. Why didn’t I submit either one?

The first one was on a topic I was (at the time) thinking I needed to quit working on. I should still have submitted the article. I eventually revised the work and submitted it to a journal. If I had sent it in at the time, however, it would already be published, whereas right now it is in the submission process.

The second one was written for a presentation and the possibility of publication. However, for it to have been worth being published I would have had to have done a lot more work on it and it was a “niche” topic that was interesting to the convention I presented at, but less likely to be publishable. It also wouldn’t advance the work I want/need to do, so I am letting that go.

The work I have already put in on the second possibility is not worthless, however, because the process of considering how I could get it done in the limited time available to me (and researching what work I needed to do to make it “complete”) gave me ideas and resources for work that is within the purview of my interests and area.

I have written at least 17 other full articles that were not accepted. Unlike what I should have done, what my colleagues said to do, I have not looked for other places for those to be accepted and gone full-bore forward with the work. Having sat in on the class, I will go back through those works and consider if there is potential in the works–both are other publication sites possibilities and will this work that I’ve already done serve to advance the work I am already doing and will continue to do as I have narrowed my interests/focus.

I hope that this post offers a window into writing as academics because writing is such a large part of the work.

CFP: Star Trek at 50

SFFTV Special Issue: “Star Trek at 50”
full name / name of organization:
Science Fiction Film and Television
contact email:
Science Fiction Film and Television seeks submissions for a special issue on “Star Trek at 50.”

Since its premiere on September 8, 1966, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek has become shorthand for liberal optimism about the future, even as the franchise’s later entries have moved towards increasingly dark depictions of aging (ST II-VII), war (DS9), lifeboat ethics (VOY), and post-9/11 securitization (ENT). This internal tension has now culminated in the rebooted “Abramsverse” depiction that — while nominally directed towards reinvigorating the franchise by returning it to its youthful origins— has seen the Spock’s home planet of Vulcan destroyed by terrorists (ST) and the Federation itself corrupted by a coup from its black-ops intelligence wing (STID).

SFFTV invites fresh approaches to Star Trek media in the context of its amazing longevity and continued popularity, with possible emphases on:

* revivals, retcons, and reboots

* canon and canonicity

* Star Trek and/as “franchise”

* fan cultures, fan productions, and fan sequels

* Star Trek ephemera and paratexts

* lost episodes and unproduced scripts

* parody and pastiche (Galaxy Quest, Star Trek XXX, “The Wrath of Farrakhan,” etc.)

* spinoff media like video games and comics

* Star Trek and politics

* Star Trek and science/technology/invention

* Star Trek and race

* Star Trek, sex, gender, and orientation

* Star Trek and disability

* Star Trek and aesthetics

* Star Trek and aging

* Star Trek’s influence on other works or on the culture at large

* Star Trek and other Roddenberry productions (The Questor Tapes, Earth: Final Conflict, Andromeda)

Articles of 6,000-9,000 words should be formatted using MLA style and according to the submission guidelines available on our website. Submissions should be made via our online system at Articles not selected for the special issue will be considered for future issues of SFFTV.

Any questions should be directed to the editors, Mark Bould (, Sherryl Vint (, and Gerry Canavan (

The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2015, with anticipated publication in Star Trek’s 50th anniversary year.


Science Fiction Film and Television is a biannual, peer-reviewed journal published by Liverpool University Press. Edited by Mark Bould (UWE), Sherryl Vint (Brock University), and Gerry Canavan (Marquette University), with an international board of advisory editors, it encourages dialogue among the scholarly and intellectual communities of film studies, sf studies and television studies. We invite submissions on all areas of sf film and television, from Hollywood productions to Korean or Turkish sf film, from Sci-Fi Channel productions to the origins of SF TV in Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers or The Quatermass Experiment. We encourage papers which consider neglected texts, propose innovative ways of looking at canonical texts, or explore the tensions and synergies that emerge from the interaction of genre and medium. We publish articles (6000-8000 words), book and DVD reviews (1000-2000 words) and review essays (up to 5000 words), as well as archive entries (up to 5000 words) on theorists (which introduce the work of key and emergent figures in sf studies, television studies or film studies) and texts (which describe and analyse little-known or unduly neglected films or television series). Science Fiction Film and Television is hosted online by Metapress and is accessible at Online access is free to existing subscribers.

from UPenn

Content and Form: Writing SFF in non-Western Modes

LONCON3_logoAmal El-Mohtar M—edit Goblin Fruit, journal of poetry
Aliette de Bodard—France, mother from Vietnam, destroy sff on regular basis
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz—writer from Philippines, breaking status code
JY Yang– editor of short fiction, write short forms
Nick Wood—Zambia born, South African naturalized

First question, what do you think of as distinctly Western forms and structures?

JF Yang—wondering what forms talking about
In terms of storytelling, idea of 3-4 act structure, must have a protagonist.

Nick—emphasis tends to be on individual
individualistically based mode
character development, not community or variety of stories and characters

Amal—Pacific Rim He wanted the Yaegers. Important to see them operated by teams. Every part of film is about directing team.

Wesley Grimm has a double beginning.

Questions: 3 act structure and indiv thrust—do these have something to do with each other?

JF Yang—would not say 3 act structure and individualistic style of storytelling … Can have a 3-act structure, without focusing on single character. Wonder if stories that get told in Western culture are all individualistic? Historical/cultural bias.

Nick—with compression of time in history, Western tradition focus on nuclear identity and lone identity…

Questions: In your own riding have you ever come up against Western forms as obstacle? Has it informed markets?

Rochita—sff way established, white male narrative
how to undermine the trope? change the center of the storytelling
Have somewhere else be the center.

??Will just changing the locale change the story fundamentally?
Rochita—Think in some way, yes. Change content. Mindset of story. Writing of separate language.
Need to change way look at story.

Aliette—talking about difficulties of placing writing
how to get across a lot of world building in as few worlds as possible
otherwise it is very medieval tropes, Westernized genre
dealing with Vietnamese culture, more important to be scholar than knight
knights had horrible reputation. They were the flunk outs of scholarship.
Have to describe, otherwise readers’ culture will assume primary place.

Amal—mother sacrificing herself might be described by white feminism may be read very differently, not understanding what is at stake

Nick–African lit is more community focused.
Grew up with fairy tales about communities. When moved to South Africa, that went away. Stories from South Africa had no black stories. Stories have started to flow through since apartheid.

Hillborough—surviving in former white suburb of Johannesburg
Kgebtly Moele –The Book of the Dead—first narrator is suffering from AIDS, second narrator is an AIDS virus

examples from own writing or elsewhere, felt you needed to change structure of story. Are you ever explicitly challenging Western norms? Moments where after the fact, you realize something else was challenging to the readers?

tribal literature, grew up in mountains, storytelling told through trance, single person and a chorus—who respond/develop…
more you go back into indigenous writing/work, you come to work that is different
Working now on experimental work that draws narrative (narrative from native language), very different from how I write in English. Someone said I distance in the English-language story.
in indigenous language my work is closer.

Questions: Speaking/reading in more than one language. What you read will reflect what you write?

JF Yang—national library has Read Singapore every year. Translate it into Mandarin Chinese. Took “xx Menagerie”… I was reading the translated version. Written in simple language. But in Chinese, very dense, poetic. In Chinese, simple translation, it read like someone’s grade school composition.

Sometimes there are some things that translate well, but often not.

English style is not the same as Chinese.

Aliette—had same experience. Translated my work from English into French. Odd. For translating Vietnamese poetry, most untranslatable thing, tones in Vietnamese writing impossible to show. Language has set nuance.

Amal—in Arabic there is a pronoun for 2 people, one for 2 women and one for 2 men. Plural = 3+

You are native French speaker, but you only write in English. Do you write in French?
Aliette—Whenever I try to write in French, I hear my HS teachers reprimanding.
Would have to re-learn to write.
Very weird thing about my novel translated into French. Been speaking too much in English. I don’t have the snap instinct anymore. Translating is a different job. So very bravely did not do my own translation.

Nick—Very rusty Afrikaans, a little of 2 other languages.

??Have you ever read stories in a different story?
struggling with Afrikaans.looking for an English link. Sometimes the Afrikaans word is unique. A overlap and nuances that are hard to pin down.

Another question:
Do you think possible for Westerners to write non-Western SFF well?

Friend … editors said “couldn’t connect to the story” She finds that shocking.

Rochita—Western writer would need to decolonize. Those who come from history of empire need to throw off colonial mindset.
Problem with pushback against stories that are completely different, have someone who is subtle-y Western. Non-Western readers would say that they could identify with it.

Necessity as well for everyone to decolonize.

Don’t see non-Western modes as shiny, new.

Amal—less appropriative, more ordering of mind

Aliette—very similar, not sure what I could add
You have to … What I have seen I authors who think they have read their research… But they will still perpetuate the clichéd Asian…
That is annoying.

Of course the writers feel like they have done your job.

Have to see from within the culture, because otherwise won’t recognize what should be different.

Just slipping cultural tags in, you aren’t structuring non-Western…
Western paradigm is dominant.
People who exist within that paradigm are rarely challenged. If you look at it as a paradigm,

Amal–Think of people as aggregations of stories. WE are talking about changing our own internal structures.

Nick—leave them to the imagination. Bring up fact that I was part of empire. When writing, used white characters for fear of stereotyping, etc.
Looking at it seriously. This is a partake mentality… Black characters need to be in the study too.
Have readers who help me with the cultural aspect.

Amal—give me examples of moments where you felt yourself needing to challenge in your won work

Rochita—shift when I decided to present myself as Philippine sf author
what is truly my own?
Looing for own voice outside the Western story-telling
Constantly trying to push and find
How far can you push the genre?
Seen sf as genre of possibilities.
Constantly trying to find border.
Stories think succeeded most are ones which did not get published.

JF Yang—Singapore, colonialism left 50 years ago
grew up thinking I couldn’t write about Singapore because not cool enough
partially language comes into this, English different
took me quite a while, in my 20s, late 20s, I run into issues of language. Writing in proper English. Then when I write dialogue that is Singaporian…
Doesn’t exactly fit with the prose.
Ongoing problem for me.
Want to try at some point—stabbed at it—trying to write stories in Singlish. But I don’t know if there is one with non- standard narrative structure and in Singlish.

Aliette—space fairy internet culture
can’t igure out how to edit
one character chased by soldier court, space station will be cut off by Emperor—This is not working.
My brain realized that I was working with Western story endings. I want my two main characters to discuss and decide to go with flow.
Took me about a year to get that ending written.

Nick—parts and monkeys story
hard to pin together
corrective rape in South Africa
issue was around trying to think of story that manages theme and plot arc
read stories from Zambian stories, “Heart of a Monkey” is a cross-African variation… Monkey been tricked to lose his heart. “I actually let my heart at home. Left it in the trees.” Tricks them into taking him home.
Had narrator narrate as a frame story
Would like to develop the same structure
resonance of old stories in a postapocalyptic future

oral traditions and how they interact…
Storytelling oral = community
reader to page is individual
Mode of communication changes the content of the stories.
Does this effect your writing?

Rochita—been thinking about htat
one thing interesting is how to combine Western and Eastern sound
Eastern are also bound to certain story telling traditions
told a Philippino tale. Tried to replicate experience of chorus telling story…
Already so much of a mindset, makes harder for folks to read. Reviewers said “oral tradition” and hard to connect in my stories.
Mine things connected to self and heritage.

You inhabit your story as a writer.
When can make use of tradition, you are putting your own skin into the story.

tradition of praise singing, call and response, oral tradition

Audience Questions

2 questions: JF Yang—how Singlish different? Mostly English. Has elements from Chinese, Malay, dialect of Chinese that was spoken by immigrants. Grammar different.
“Could you not do that?” = “Not any hard to that?”
phrases and words not being used when I was a kid are being use now
not proper English, but is what we speak regularly

For entire panel, modes that dispense with suspence?

Amal–Comics. Are about experiencing.
This One Summer.
Nothing suspenseful there.
Friendship between two girls who meet and grow up going to lake every summer and knowing each other only there.
One narrative. No hooking and suspending you.

Nick—man’s relationship with whale and with woman and the conflict between the woman and the whale
no suspense

JF Yang—entire sort of manga “slice of life”
just looking at. No main conflict.
Some people do have difficulty understanding this story. Different way of telling story.

Got story published. 2 halves of story. First was first person POV. She is connected to a building and has to work for state talking for the building.
Talked about her day. When she went home.
–didn’t understand second half of the story, but second half is a response to first half
Her life is different from how she is being used.

Amal—short story must do something
stories are like a sculpture
still stories
not about moving parts, but having eye following structure of story
nothing happened in your story

Rochita—not everyone able to accept
“Where’s the conflict?”

Amal—notion of crucial conflict is also Western.

To what extent do you consider audience? Like to read, but get disconnected.

JF Yang—Do write specifically for 2 separate markets. I write for Singapore public presses. Also write stories for Western markets. Both written in English.
For local, dive straight into the story. Layer in cultural references.
For Western, treat Singapore as if it were an alien planet. You have to weave the details into an explanation.

Aliette—when I turned in draft, all critiques were lost
1.5x volume to explain cultural references
Let’s think of this as if alien culture.
–example of family relationships. Address with Vietnamese pronouns. Lots of people thought they were related. (big sister = older friend)

Rochita—must be a terribly lazy writer
Never bother to explain anything.
Maybe I am just rebellious. I am writing the story. I didn’t have to understand the story reading Western culture stories.
I am writing this story. My background is mountain Philippino. That’s how I write story. Accept it or not.

novella written with Nigerian
editor said to make sure names are recognizable to Western audience
southeast mountains are commonly name as Dragon’s Mountains in Afrikaans—but original term not recognizable. So used translation of Zulu “barrier of spears”

story must do something, like an automaton—Western (story with moving parts)
Describing difference in Western mind between prose and poetry.
Distinction is true.

Amal–Do any of you write poetry? do the same questions and structure apply within poetry?
“Better World Building through Poetry” panel yesterday
density of attention—switch that takes place

Aliette—wrote a short story about a scholar who is reluctantly at head of revolution
writes poetry about important points of her life
interspersed into 3rd person narrative
The poems had to be culturally relevant to her and had to sound like poetry in English. Had to get very creative.
Interestingly when translated into Chinese, they asked for the “actual Chinese poems” that were the inspiration.

Nick—struggle with poetry

JF Yang—don’t write poetry
terrified of literature
told not good enough to write literature
poetry is literary
Reading your (Amal’s) poetry makes me want to right.

Rochita—my first successful story came from an experimental form of poetry
love poetry
not always successful at writing it

Agent Hunting

LONCON3_logoPeter Newman—podcaster, debut author, taking notes at this time last year doing this—Got it all this year! Juliette XXX

Francis Knight—published with Orbit. 3 books pub. another book next year. Couple of years ago I was close to giving up. Alex Fielder.

Martin Owton—been agented for 7 years. Don’t have a deal.

Wesley Chu—Angry Robot and Tor. Debuted in May. Signed 3rd deal this year. Russell Gaylin.

Advice—marry Emma.
Started writing years back. Joined a writing group. Practicing. Then writing furiously every day and writing lots of stuff that folks won’t ever see.
When you finish your book, you want to get it out there. I didn’t get it out there. Was told to wait a while. Come back to the book and look at it.
Maybe your first book isn’t the one you want to send to an agent. I sent my fourth book out.
Hard to get an agent. Get gazillion submissions.
The fact that you are here is you’re in the top 25%. Your odds are a lot better.
Quite impatient. Submitted to publishers and agents at the same time. If I got a publisher, I would get an agent. … [Everyone else is saying cons.] It worked. I got an offer from a publisher. At same time had agents who were interested. I picked the agent that I wanted and
Literary Rejections online site. List all the agents that are currently accepting and the kinds of things they are interested in.
Always follow the guidelines.
Follow the instructions. It’s a test. Can you follow instructions? Are you going to be easy to work with?
Some agents stand out for some reasons.
Proactive looking at the agents’ websites, etc.
#askagent on Twitter
ask all the dumb questions

Godward_The_Old_Old_Story_1903 love romance WC pdFrancis—published romance author
Don’t need an agent in romance. Just submit. Did that. Sold five. Didn’t want to be writing romance.
Looked for agents. Sent out three queries. “fantasy noir” agent is who I was hoping for. Two weeks later got an agent. Eight weeks later I had an offer from Orbit.
That was the second or third book I started but the seventh I finished.
You can learn a lot from a smaller press—as long as it is reputable.

Angrila Books had a ? in March
Got 945 submissions. Asked for query and 3 chapters.
Asked for 65 fulls.
25 made it to editorials.
5 received deals.

Between 25 editorial I queried 6 agents. My agent interviewed me. Got an agent.
Two months later, got the deal.
Russ is one of top 2 agents in world—career that I want to follow. John Scalzi’s agent is Ethan Ellenberg.
Russ represents Phillip K. Dick, JK Rowling, etc…

In the last year, I like to hear about agents “they’d be good for me.”
Not just any agent will do.

I caused gasps of horror among writers because I have never met my agent and only talked over the phone.

Agents wear different hats and do different things.
Hand holders, they will encourage you at every single step. A lot of debuts need.
Lawyers, all about the wording of the contract.
Sharks and businessmen, those who only chase the deal.
Editorial, edit the crap out of you.
Keep that in mind. Writers are insecure people. You might not get the emotional support you want from your agent. Find the personality of the agent that works for you.

my agent was so enthusiastic. He really liked the book.
He is good at showing enthusiastic.

Do not fixate on a particular agent.
They might not be the person you can work with.
Took me 7 years to find an agent. Sent out 100 queries. Got 6 whole book reads.

lots of reasons to be rejected from publishers.

Serusier's 1892 The Grammar woman writing book pub domPeter:
Don’t send to multiple agents in an agency—unless they allow it.
Will be specified in the guidelines.

How are you going to find that out?

UK agents:
Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook—general and not always up to date
You can usually call a UK agency. You might get straight to the agent.

Standard submission:
first 3 chapters
1,000 word synopsis

Every US agent has website. Check guidelines. Some will want only query letter.
5-10 pages, 50 pages, 3 chapters

Albert Anker 1865 children writing pub domMartin:
Don’t send the prologue.

Don’t write a prologue.

short cover letter

Send queries out and follow query tracker and difference is 3 days and weeks.
Agents will farm out their reading. If you accept it, give me a summary.

[Got rejection from Wesley Chu’s agent in 15 minutes.]

often not what they are doing 9-5
Nearly everybody knows everybody.
Even if you get a rejection, don’t reply. Don’t write about it. Don’t Tweet it. No matter how they hurt you, don’t…
Posted all her rejections and was snarky.

People at WorkWesley:
Think it depends on a reply.
Don’t be an a**hole.
All authors know each other. We all talk.
If they send a rejection, you don’t need to reply.
If it is a personal letter, you should send a thank you. –Can I submit something else to you? (If they wrote “liked this, lost me here.”)
Depends on specific reply.
There are some where it seems like they were on the fence… I have requested a rejected rewrite/reread, I got one.

If you got something specific, they’ve read it. That’s not their standard. Boilerplate is their standard.
Personalized rejections say something about your book, about your individual characters…
When they say, “do please think of me with your next submission,” they mean it.

Agents with mature lists don’t have that many places for new writers.
Maybe 3 a year.

One of your best options is if you spot a new agent. Editor who left publisher and went with an agency. Or newly finished intern whose an agent.

Keep an eye on the BookSeller. “So and so has joined this agency.”

Look on QueryTracker.

Coppo_di_Marcovaldo,_Inferno canto 34 c1301 mosaic Hell devil WC pdQueryLetterHell is brutal. But helpful.

who is central character?
what do they want? what are the obstacles?

what is different about your work?
focus on action of character

QueryShark blog
Read the whole of that. Read the whole archive.
She rips them apart.

Writing a query is a dark art, completely different from writing a novel.

specific art
once in industry, never have to write again

If vague, send a query letter and first 5 pages.

Worth paying attention.
They want an email that’s a quick hello and response.

15% didn’t follow guidelines, so automatic rejection

9Worlds 2014 wonder woman crew-6198Wesley:
literally reading directions, but there are other things that I found invaluable.
WorldCon is one of them.
Take advantage of conventions.
WorldCon (WorldFantasy) has high

directions, my ability to read and pay attention was very different.
Have a responsible adult check before each step.

With manuscript, wait.
Get some other people to read it and get response.

You mess it up once.
New editor from Tor KoffeeKlatch.
Miriam Wineberg. Reps Victoria Schwab who wrote Vicious.

People at WorkWesley:
Get elevator pitch ready.
Ginjer Buchanan, editorial director of Ace.
She asked me what my book was about.
Rambled for 2 minutes.
You need solid in 45 seconds.
At the end, she said, “It’s got a nice title.”

Dealer’s Room
Editors and agents are standing behind their books.
Marcus and Gillian Langus

Koffeeklatch’s are critical.
There you can talk to them about what you are doing.
Book it and do it.
Book in with writers. How did you do it?

Caution strongly about approaching editors and agents with intent to pitch.
They are here to work but also hang out.
Last thing they want is to be swarmed. Don’t pitch unless asked. Introduce yourself. Be friendly on a non-professional letter. At end of conversation, ask if you can give them a card, can I query you?
Good possibility he will then ask you. “What’s your book about?” then answer it fast.
But be wary about asking.

Err on the side of caution.
You know these guys are inundated.
It is an art when you do this in person. It is about getting to know them.

Pretty good at seeing the desperation.

questioning??Synopsis for a series:
“This book has series potential.”
Agent will ask… What else are you working on? What else have you got?

While you are submitting, keep writing. Write on something else.

Don’t write the sequel to your book.

How much query letter differ from 30-second pitch?

after a demonic apocalypse, man with humanity’s last hope, taking it where it needs to go, with a baby and a goat

boy surrounded by question marksQuestion:
Write across genres?

Publishing is inherently conservative. Guidelines you want to follow.
Don’t make first book too long.
Identify a genre to be in.
Expect to have to write another book in that genre.

If publisher rejects you, agent will say I can’t take this back there.
It’s a risk.
Flip side, if you got a deal, you’ll get a choice of agents.

But when you have a deal in hand, you might receive offers from agents to negotiate that contract only. BE CAREFUL OF THAT.

With a deal in hand, the agents didn’t want to sign me.

boy surrounded by question marksQuestion:
What is process for agent?

contract—sff only specified

How quickly do they communicate back?—You want to know they’ll answer soon.

There are bad agents.

No agent is better than a bad agent. But was with a reputable agency initially.
Check the agent online.

If they want to charge you for reading your book or sell you editing services, those are scams.

student_question hand raisedQuestion:
Talking to agent.
Query + 5 pages, then full mss
What might I do to mess it up?

As long as you are polite, should be fine.

if trading emails, they are trying to figure out how malleable you are, …
I didn’t make big enough changes at his request, so I was rejected.
Angry Robots wanted 3 small things. I rewrote 60% of the book in a month. Make big changes in response.
If it’s really a small change, they will sign you.
If they want to see the change first, then it is significant. Need to see how it impacts whole work.

If sell in my language, is that a plus?

No. You might have great career in native country. May or may not write well in English.

Do I approach in a different way as a non-native speaker?


green and orange booksQuestion:
Does it still help to have a portfolio of short stuff published?

Not really.

Agents are readers first and foremost.
A short story success does help you acquire an agent.
I know several authors who did really well in short story market and agent approached them to see novels.

If you love writing short stories and novels, then go that route.
If you don’t love them, then don’t write short stories.

Your novel will sell your novel.

An Anthology of One’s Own: SF Anthologies

LONCON3_logoJulio Rios M
Jeanne Gomoll
Alisa Krasnostein
Alex Dally MacFarlane
Ann Vandermeer

memory of anthologies
Aurora anthology
XX Wonder series edited by Pam ?—republished in XXX during WisCon 20
introductions and histories of where we come from
tell people this is not a brand new event—need for the education and reminder hasn’t changed
hopeful new renaissance of anthologies will help other people realize they are part of a tradition and give role models
need to keep alive because it is still necessary to combat idea that

more than just women writing sf
women writing in all genres: horror, surrealism, etc
doing Weird Anthology discovered interesting things—people thinking that in early 1900s women weren’t reading and writing it—but there were a lot of women loving that stuff early on—Weird Tales Club 40% were women
Frances Stevens, huge influence on Lovecraft (woman pseudonym)
trying to look at women always doing this throughout tiem, tho called diff things

anthology looks at more recent work by women, mostly since 2000
partly because my interest and “most recent” pushes the boundaries
Not suggesting this is the first time that interesting things are happening.
Did not originally intend this, but it grew in such a way that I was looking at more recent work.
excited by more and more fiction that includes queer character (has happened before) but more and more interest from publishers, diversity
personal preference for narrative styles of how people write sff today—don’t particularly
Margaret Cavendish Blazing World subverted language and grammar in the book

Twelve Planets project came out of conversation in Australia, women not making short lists for awards
What would happen if we just published a whole heap of women publishing in one year?
Evolved into bigger than that.
These authors knew they could get their works published. Novellas can get published.
This has changed the conversation in Australia.

history source: The Battle of the Sexes (dissertation for PhD) in Science Fiction
Daughters of Earth collection of stories form 1920s to 2000, w article for each about context etc.

Jeanne—where they successful for rewriting history?
3 books
Women of Wonder—30s and 40s
More Women of Wonder—50s and 60s
New Women of Wonder—70s
putting fiction into context—extremely important for Pamela Sargent?, edited the books as historical narratives, this is what the future and transforming the future looked like to women of the time—historical, exciting
At that time, significant idea was the idea that women could have equal influence. Easiest way to get there was apocalyptic. Now, however, closer set to our own reality; not necessary to wipe the slate clean anymore.
We are going to continue to change as individuals and women’s movement evolves.

Ann—weird fiction
willingness to change? You and Jeff have been a major force for weird fiction into 21st century.
Lots of glass walls shattered, but still more to do.
People still have prejudices and we still have a ways to go.
for every submission from a woman, getting 10-12 from men, for Weird Tales
not getting enough submissions, Weird Tales over 90 years, only second female editor, now it is all male staff again
Lovecraft is not the end all and be all. They are taking away from the other writers who are doing more interesting things than he does.
Nowadays when you look at a TOC in an anthology, more balanced.
10 years from now, won’t have to think about women in the TOC, LGBT will be normal/accepted in 10 years

looking forward to SF anthology where I don’t have to count women in it

Julio—women in anthologies, when we fill it with just women, does it help solve problem?

don’t know
Definitely a danger to ongoing body of work to say “oh I’ve done that.”
Would hope that is not something I would do.
edited an anthology on aliens with 50-50%, hope I would do that again
Hope eventually I can stop keeping count. Hard to say though.
How much are these projects preaching to the choir?
“You’re really into that sort of thing.”
going to be those who marginalize, some who say “great,” some who perhaps interesting
hope part of a wider discussion about gender in genres
We’ve got a lot of work by women out there.
Don’t think collecting it is the only thing we can do. Keep talking about it.
Part of a much bigger conversation.

Everyone being in story and being able to publish stories …
diversity of theme and diversity of author—need a balance where writers are also having from multiple backgrounds
That is definitely happening in publishing right now. Diversity of author being developed.
Rose Limber, editor of Stone Telling (a poetry journal) and a bunch of other things

started publishing with women for a year, now doing Kaleidescope with a different diversity mission—What did you expect and what did you encounter?
expected a bigger fight than I encountered
as woman, interested in women stories, stories about how future will effect women
more diversity—kind of surprised by how many of my own biases I had to deconstruct and have a look at, mostly about what is a good story
awards select to stories chosen by editors
Just because I don’t engage with the character, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.
Needed to learn to look at reading that wasn’t about me and still see a good book.
Australia small group—take writers, encouraging them
Being a cheerleader. Getting people to finish and submit.

men have more confidence in their work. It has been my experience as a magazine editor, I get submissions from young men who think they are wonderful. They seem to have a lot more confidence in their work than women with the same level of awesomeness.
Have to work a lot harder with some of those women.

Going to be a long journey –convincing women to listen to themselves and be confident
Ursula LeGuin Always Coming Home Certain allowable stories and they always started with man versus something. (fix the character analysis …)
Molly Gloss has explored the idea of generation ship, exciting things happening, but people are focused on their own lives.
You don’t have to just write the stories that have been written before.
Women in sf world are helping other people enlarge their space too (color, sexual orientation).
More we talk about our real selves.

what we all thought sf was
sf and feminism go together so well
Don’t think we are close, but the more we enlarge the possibilities of subject matter in stories…

stories at more organic level
Stories that stand out to me are the ones that aren’t equal.
Strange to see sf where things are not equal, because sf always has it that way.
submissions in-box, lots of stories with armies in future all men—Where are the women? How is this happening? Didn’t read further than the front page of the story because there were no women.

Ann said Men are more likely to think they are more confident. This is social conditioning.
As a society we teach boys that they are going to go out and do well. We teach girls they are going to go out and care.

Men are rewarded for going out there and being confident. Women are not rewarded for going out there.

submit everywhere
If you aren’t getting rejected, you are not trying hard enough.

in math in school, boys got bad grade, teachers said “need to buckle down” when I flunked “you don’t need it anywhere”

Audience Questions:
I run a small indep publishing house, themed anthology. Do % thing. But don’t say anything in my calls. Suggestion for wording to encourage diversity without saying you are only open?

Ann—contact writers whose work you want. Spread the word that way. People in the industry recommend the right writers.
Open calls are great, but not how to fill your space.

Alex—open to all genders, all backgrounds…
If you contact the writers individually, then they will see interest and send it.
Encourage open guidelines. LightSpeed has one.
But also endorse reaching out to people individually.
How do you develop editorial taste and what is the process of discovering new writers?

Ann—years of reading for editorial taste, but also have to consider indiv project and who is your audience—you want the widest audience possible, that’s your job
New writers? Totally excited each time I find them. Teaching—I teach and discover new writers. Promote the next generation.

Alex—Agree with what Alisa said about many ways to tell story. May not connect with stories due to norms of narrative.
Read widely. Reading intentionally. If something editor hasn’t done before, read specifically in that area. If you are bouncing, why? Yes, some bad, but others that make you think. Grow your sense of what a narrative is.
Know one person who when bought book by man, bought by woman. Think you should do that to diversity in other areas.

Julio—thinking about this, small exercise this, take a year’s work from free online magazines and choose your own list
make a list of best by gender, by POC, by xxx
Realize how it balances against what you are reading.

editing and reading are not passive acts

Going back to history, first woman’s anthology wasn’t book mentioned Women of Wonder. But had more emphasis and in direct conversation with other things.
Is there an attempt to provoke further discussion?
LightSpeed did xxx because there was a review that said “women need to be quiet like Barbie Dolls” in the SF Writers Association
“women are destroying our genre”
invited all the women we know and asked for pieces about destroying SF

first time we had award, “feminist cabal”
We thought that was cool. We did space women cabal tattoos.
Response to backlash in 80s from the 70s women writing.
Tremendously depressed when I saw that men were taking the forefront again.
Pat Murphy came with TipTree Award (originally a joke) but shows that we are interested. Offering space and reward, so it came back.
Authors wrote stories specifically to be submitted for the Award.
One needed proof that she was a valuable person and won two awards for her novel Ammonite.

Working on Research: Practical Idea

When you’ve been working on a topic for a while, over time and across multiple stops and starts for teaching and service and life in general, you can lose the focus of your topic. If you’re like me, you may find that you have already done the work you have started to re-do. Sometimes you will find them too late; you have finished the project and sent it off and then discover that you had more/better/more complete information that did not end up in the submitted project.

Now, when I am working on a project, I go through relevant and related folders and look at what is in them so that I’m not repeating work that I have already done or missing work that I should have repeated.

It’s a habit I hope to cultivate and would like to encourage in others.

Last week I sent off a project that I think is fairly well done and I hope that it will be accepted or at least receive an R&R in a few months time. And this morning, working on my next project, I discovered information that I intended to put in that particular project. So now I have a new file, in the folder where the final copy sent out as a submission rests, that reads “Use on XX if R&Red.”

YA Books 2

Young Adult Books (part 2)
FenCon10 Notes

Part of YA job is inspirational.
Show a world you would want to be in…
Heroine… Girl who gets to say it’s “not okay to pressure me”
Didn’t let folks say their value was conditional.

When folks choose to do something, they shouldn’t be shamed.

Have someone stand up for what’s right, so the readers understand you can say no.

All write fantastic fiction.
We get to deal with big decisions of good and bad…
Love the quote from Harry Potter about choosing between the good and the easy.

Evil will triumph if folks do nothing.

Power has consequences.
I want consequences in YA.

Part of middle grade and YA fiction–Do we need to have a moral?
Character has to have a moral compass.
Moralizing versus what-if world that might exist.
Sometimes the choices are bad or worse.

Tell an entertaining story.
Someone having to make choices.
You need to be aware of conflict.
Conflict is the point.

Males as want to be… are boys really boys?
SF for years created women as men because their characterization sucked.
Let’s not do this the other way.

YA v non-YA
Did you approach the writing differently?
No. Writing process is the same.

Compare middle grade to YA.
Sex none, but hormones working in middle grade.

Don’t talk down to the readers.
Editor made me take out some things. For example, the grounds keeper wasn’t allowed to smoke on the school grounds, because the kids would see that as permission for them to smoke.
Have to be more mindful.
I wanted to inspire with science not fight about a pipe. So I took it out.

YA = one big genre, except at Barnes and Noble.

Where’s the teen erotica? In New Adult.