Erin Roberts joins us for our third installment in Brandon’s business-of-writing series. In this episode we’re covering pitfalls and common problems—including some predatory practices—for you to be on the lookout for while you develop your career as a writer.
Credits: This episode was recorded my Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Liner Notes: “Accountabilibuddy,” which is written here so Howard can remember it.
Welcome to 2021, and Season 16 of Writing Excuses. This year we’re dividing the year into “master classes” or “intensive courses.”
We’re kicking it off with Brandon’s episodes, which are all about the business of writing, and the first of those is this one!
So… your career is your business. In this episode we’ll talk about how that mindset—this is a business—informs our other activities, and how valuable it can be to get our heads in the right place early on.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard
So, you’re going to go someplace and learn something you can’t learn in any other way. Maybe it’s location research for setting. Maybe you’re off to interview an expert. Whatever you’re planning, you need to be planning it well. In this episode we discuss the field research we’ve done, how we went about it, and how we might do it differently.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
EPISODE ORDER NOTE: As of this writing, episode 14.28’s web-sized audio file isn’t ready. We’ll run it next week, and eventually swap the dates to get 14.29 and 14.28 in the right order.
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Zoraida Córdova
Zoraida Córdova, an award-winning author of urban fantasy, was born in Ecuador and grew up in Queens. She joins us to talk about what writers get wrong (and what they can get right and do well) when portraying latinas in the United States.
Credits: This episode was recorded live at FanX Salt Lake (formerly “Salt Lake Comic-Con”) by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
The comic book Howard referenced is Guardians of Infinity #3, (2016), which features a back-up story entitled “Yo Soy Groot.”
Peggy Whitson is the astronaut Mary referenced. As of this writing, she holds the record for longest single spaceflight by an American.
Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with special guest Callie Stoker
Callie Stoker joined Howard and Dan at the World Horror convention to answer our questions about hiring an editor, which is part of the process by which self-published authors build the team of people who will make the manuscript far better than they can make it by themselves.
At the Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat we premiered the Season 10 concept, and we invited our attendees to give us the questions we need this month. (They’ll also be the ones providing our questions for February, but we’ll cast our net wide for questions in March.)
Ideas are hard! Is it ever acceptable for inexperienced writers to write derivative works?
How do you keep from being discouraged when something similar to your idea comes out?
How do you know when your idea is a novel, vs. when it’s a short story?
Should you only write for themed anthologies if you already have an idea ready in that theme?
How can you practice description when your idea is set someplace completely unfamiliar to you?
When should you abandon an idea you love?
Liner Notes: We talked about novel-length vs short-story-length ideas in Season 6, Episode 10 when we covered the M.I.C.E. quotient, and again in Season 8, Episode 20, when Mary talked about short story structure. Also, the anthology into which Howard was drafted on the basis of a spur-of-the-moment idea is Shared Nightmares, and his story is called “U.I.”
Bookseller Sara Glassman joined us at the Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat to talk to us about her perspective on this industry, with an eye to the things that make it easy for her to put a book in a customer’s hands. We talk about back cover copy, covers, query letters, signings, and what booksellers look for on page one.
(Note: Brandon refers to a book of the week pitch that Sara made for us. We needed to run this episode out of order, so you’ll get Sara’s pitch for that book sometime next year.)