I was cruising around the internet this morning (all in preparation for my morning workout on the story) and I happened upon Romance University, where editor Leah Hultenschmidt, at Dorchester Publishing, had this to say about how unpublished writers can build name recognition for themselves:
Enter RWA chapter contests. Editors here often serve as judges, and contests are a fast-track to getting your work right in their hands. Some of our award-winning books and bestselling authors have been discovered through contests, including Angie Fox, Trish Albright, Susan Squires, Marjorie Liu and many others.
Um. Except I wasn’t a member of RWA when I submitted Tiger Eye, and I certainly didn’t do so through a contest. It was the slush pile, and I was totally unknown. No name recognition, many rejections beforehand. I’m not going to rule out the possibility that “being known” will get you published, because it certainly gets people jobs in the corporate world, but it’s not necessary, either. Don’t waste your time building a website, or networking, or whatever, if you take that more seriously than writing a really good book. And don’t let “not knowing the right people” be the excuse you tell yourself, either, for why you didn’t get published. That’s the easy way out. The hard road is all about the words.
I’m still not convinced, even, that RWA opens doors to being published—as an author, I’ve been tempted to drop my membership more times than I can count over the past couple years—but I will say that of all the writer organizations out there, it is one of the most organized, and incredibly focused on promoting the genre it represents. Which you’d think would be a no-brainer, but take a look at the ineptitude and inaction of SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America), and you’ll be dazzled.
I haven’t listened to this interview yet (I need to squeeze out an hour of my time for it, which isn’t going to happen for a bit), but it’s with Lee Child and Laurie R. King—two of my favorite writers—so I’m going to take a wild leap and guess that I’ll find this an interesting listen.
Also, here’s a new interview with me and Daniel Way, over at Comic Book Resources.