Tag Archives: Kristine Kathryn Rusch

More Signs of a Fun New Era for Writers

A writer friend of mine, R. G. Hart, did a blog post about his favorite memory of Halloween and listed his favorite movies and stories. Then at the end of the post he put together a collage of ebook covers in different sizes. Many of the writers in the collage are both traditionally and indie published, some have won awards, some have hit the bestseller lists on the Kindle or Barnes & Noble, and all of them are having a wonderful time experimenting with indie projects. I’m in the collage as well, but it’s the sight of so many talented writers getting to experiment that makes me smile.

Oddball and niche projects that are unappealing to traditional publishers don’t have to sit in a drawer anymore. And yet that oddball project can be the perfect opportunity to take risks and grow as a writer. Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks about the importance of this in her latest blog post today, Believe in Yourself.

Terrific posts by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and David Byrne

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a terrific post this week on the business changes happening at light speed right now, “Writing Like It’s 1999.” Publishing contracts are changing FAST and it’s important to be aware of what is going on if you want to make a living in this industry.

Also, I found out from a comment by LP King on her post, that David Byrne did a great article back in 2007 on changes in the music industry entitled “Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists–and Megastars”. Considering that the music industry technology shift happened about eight years before it started in publishing, this is a terrific article to help get a feel for what might happen or be possible for writers. I made a cup of tea during a work break and read it in one sitting. Great stuff to ponder.

The Value of Seeking Out Editor Rejections

It used to be that the short stories I submitted for publication got nothing but form rejection letters back.  But in the last three months that’s been changing–the letters are coming back at times with personal comments from the editors.  Considering how little free time editors have, if this happens to you, celebrate it, because it means you’ve gotten good enough in your writing that they want to encourage you.   Editors are continually swamped with manuscripts and work–to take a few precious minutes out of their schedule to say something personal to you is a big deal.

And a few days ago, I got a letter of the “we really like this novelette, but it’s too long for us” variety from a major science fiction publication.  Again, this is a milestone to celebrate if it happens to you.  It means that story was good enough to sell.

So, I took those stories, found new markets to submit them to, and mailed them off.    Why not just self-publish them?

Two reasons:  1) Quality control, and 2) audience.

Like any other writer, I am unable to be objective about my own abilities.  So I like to submit my work for traditional publication to editors because it tells me how I’m doing as far as skill level.   I want to know if I’m reaching “pro” level or not in my stories.    If a story isn’t at a “pro” level, I’d rather it sat in drawer than self-publish it.   However, if it was good enough to get a personal letter from an editor, but a hard sell due to length (such as novelette and novella), chances are that once I ran out of traditional markets, I’d look into self-publishing it.

The other reason to consider traditional publishing for a short story is the available audience.  Think about it.   If you get a short story in THE NEW YORKER, you’ve just reached a huge potential reading audience.  Even the smaller periodicals will give you exposure to hundreds, even thousands, of readers who might not hear of you otherwise.

There’s two chapters in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Freelancer’s Guide that also tend to haunt me whenever I get impatient with the slow pace of submitting my work.   Check out Giving Up On Yourself Part One, and Part Two.


If you haven’t been reading Kristine Kathyrn Rusch’s FREELANCER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, you’ve been missing out on a great series of online essays. As well as making her living as a fiction writer, Rusch has also been involved with a variety of small business ventures over the years.   The diversity of her experience gives her essays on freelancing both depth and width in their insights.

For example, she devotes seven essays alone to the topic of “Money,” instead of just briefly breezing through it like some other books on freelancing I’ve read.    Which is terrific, since finances so often make or break a small business.    There are also unique essays on topics like “Failure,” “When to Return to Your Day Job,” and “Burnout.”

Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction on why Rusch decided to do this guide online:

I’ve been planning to write a book about the business of freelancing for more than a decade now. The normal way to write such books is to write a proposal (maybe some sample chapters), then query publishers to see if they’re interested. If they are, they’ll draft a contract, pay an advance, and set a deadline for the book. A year after the book gets turned in, it’ll see print.

The entire process can take as much as two years. By then, I hope, this crisis will be a thing of the past. Yes, some people will still be out of work. But most of the people who have lost their jobs in this recession will have new employ, and most first-time freelancers will have run screaming back to the nine-to-five world.

The moment for this project will have passed long before the book ever gets finished, let alone before it sees print.

So what I’m going to do is write a guide for freelancers and I’m going to post it, section by section, on my website.

At this point, the guide is quite long, so it might be wise to just read an essay or two each day.   Once the guide is finished, there will also be a complete pdf version emailed to those who made a donation.

Kristine Kathyrn Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s blogs: Learning the Business Side of Writing

I’ve discovered that Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith are blogging about the business side of fiction writing.

Go read what they have to say. Take notes. They’ve worked in and survived this business for over twenty-five years as writers, editors (Kristine earned a Hugo for Best Editor), and former publishers of  Pulphouse Publishing (started and run by them in the early 1990s).   They know all about contracts, agents, working through slumps and blocks, recognizing scams, and running a successful freelance business.

I was fortunate enough to take a class with them back when SouthWest Writers had an annual conference, and liked their bluntness about the business side of fiction writing.   I learned even more from them by going to one of their workshops in Oregon.   There’s a lot they can teach you about the business side of publishing, and it’ll save you much grief if you listen to them.