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Harborfields Library, Heinlein's Law, and You

Last night, I got together with the fabulous Bianca D’Arc and Jen McAndrews to give a talk at the Harborfields Library in Huntington/Greenlawn, NY.  Our topic: how to get published.  Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:

*Getting published is part of a larger writer’s journey that is different for everybody.  There is no one way to “get published,” and publication is simply one (very important) feature in a writer’s life.  As I put it, getting published is like finding your way to Oz — all the cool stuff keeps happening after you arrive.

*A lot of romance authors made their initial breakthrough in the e-pub market.  And there is a new generation of SFF writers who are making a name for themselves in the online short story market these days.  We talked a great deal about how to vet potential markets online, and how important it is for a writer to learn everything they can about how to sell their fiction effectively, the industry in general, and the other writers who are traveling the same terrain.

*I found Heinlein’s rules for writers over at Dean Wesley Smith’s place.  In case you have not seen them before, here they are:

1) You must write.
2) You must finish what you write.
3) You must not rewrite unless to editorial demand.
4) You must mail your work to someone who can buy it.
5) You must keep the work in the mail until someone buys it.

(whups…I see that I combined rules 4 and 5 in our discussion.  Argh — well, I got the gist pretty well :) )

We talked about all of these rules at length.  I got a question about frequency of writing and rule 1.  Writing every day is the goal, and I know plenty of writers who walk that walk.  With little kids running especially rampant through my life right now, this is something I can only aspire to for the moment.  I used to beat myself up about this reality, but I have learned that I can obey this rule by maintaining my intimacy with my writing.  As long as writing and I are more like lovers separated by fate than casual acquaintainces meeting for coffee once in awhile, it’s okay if I don’t actually get pages every day.  But by summer, I’m getting my daily pages back…mark my words.

I had a total blast on this panel — it was wonderful to see Jen and Bianca again, and Myra and Robin of LIRW too.  And I really enjoyed meeting with everybody who came out to hear us speak!

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