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marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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marthawells

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Thanks for the suggestions on my previous post, everybody! -- I'll try to talk about some of the topic mentioned.

Food report: last night for our Doctor Who watching night, I made green chicken curry with rice and carrots, and samosas. (The samosas came from the grocery store, but I made everything else.)


Fantasy writer Saladin Ahmed is offering creative writing mentorships:

I am pleased to announce that I am currently offering a limited number of one-on-one creative writing mentorships. These mentorships will be individually tailored to the needs of the client, involving a combination of detailed manuscript critique and advice on publication and professionalization. My areas of teaching expertise include poetry and fantasy fiction.



Nick Mamatas on BookLife: Against Professionalism Professional behavior vs. professionalism.


Black Gate has a nice review of City of Bones my second fantasy novel that came out in 1995. It's still available in a reprint I did myself, on Kindle and Nook, or in a print edition on Lulu for much cheaper than Amazon's inflated price.

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I kind of wonder if the whole 'professionalism' thing is part of the whole...I don't know, rise of internet culture? The 'rules of professionalism' sound a lot like what I see people saying on places like Livejournal about their online interactions -- can't talk about this, can't say that, can't have XYZ color scheme on your LJ, etc., because you'll get such-and-such negative reaction and then no one will read your LJ (or your fic)/no one will take you seriously/people will troll you forever.

And it's not that it's not true; it kind of is, to a point. But only to a point. There are those who have decided that they must fret about these things constantly in order to be 'good' internet denizens, and there are people who don't give a shit at all, and there are people in the middle who know that some people are always going to take something wrong but you can't please everyone so don't try.

I feel like the people who fret (or the people who feel that they exist to police the internet and try to make EVERYBODY fret) are the majority. :/

It sounds a bit like editors and potential fans are being treated like that -- sure, there may be editors who see an unpublished writer's blog and write them off as a *gasp* Republican or *gasp* person who vents about rejection letters online. And there are clearly editors who don't care about any of that and only care if you can write.

And then there are the people who have nothing better to do or feel more self-worth by being the Unpublished Writers' Professionalism Police than by actually writing, who feed the paranoia.

And...yeah. It just pretty much sounds like Livejournal and, like, every other internet social network I've ever come across.

It also, incidentally, sounds like the advice given to young business professionals. Don't put drunk pictures of yourself dancing half-naked on a table on your Facebook page, because potential employers might see it and not hire you!

Which is good advice for people who want to be part of a largely conservative business culture, but how much does stuff like that apply to writers? If you're writing Christian romance novels starring chaste virginal main characters, something like being raunchy on your blog might be an issue. But, you know, if you're a good writer in a different genre who can meet deadlines, would anyone actually care?

...but on the other hand, given how obnoxious random people on the internet can be (trolls! Trolls who are wholier than thou!) I can see why some people would want to be cautious just to avoid potential harassment. But that's not relevant to the professionalism thing, I guess.

/ramble

(Ahaha, wow, that was long, sorry. Er.

Btw, your chicken curry sounds lovely. I made pad thai last night -- first time! It was good, but I used prepared sauce and I have to wonder how much better it would have been if I could have found tamarind and made the sauce myself...)

Ooh, I'd like to be able to make pad thai from scratch. The green curry is actually pretty easy. I used a green curry paste and cocoanut milk, thickened it a bit with flour and milk after it was done.

Yeah, I think the "professionalism" he's talking about has partly come out of the huge mass of bad advice and rumors for new writers that has formed on the internet like a giant tumor or something. A lot of it is directed toward self-published writers, and yes, you do have to market like a crazy person if you're self-published, but a lot of the "advice" on how to do that is wrong and bad and is about making money for some company that exists to make money off self-published writers. And the rumors like "if you blog about rejection letters editors will hate you" and "if you say you don't like someone's book you will somehow (perhaps by supernatural means!) be barred from publishing" I swear can be traced back to single incidents that are either extreme cases or just plain made up.

And like you said, there's the trolling. My LJ is pretty mild, and I still get trolled. There's just no way to avoid it. I think people who really don't mind and can ignore it or laugh it off don't understand that it really does freak some people out. (I've realized it's a trigger for me because of emotional abuse, and there's not much I can do about that.)

When people ask me about blogging in beginning writing discussions, I tell them that unless they like blogging now (in which case they're probably blogging already) they shouldn't start one just because they sold a book. Writers shouldn't use social media for advertising their books when they haven't already been using social media to talk to people and post about things or read articles and keep up with what's going on, etc. Because if you aren't doing that you probably don't understand social media very well at all, and are going to piss people off. There's nothing wrong with just having a web site that people can find when they look up your books, and staying off blogs and twitter etc if you don't like them.

And the other side of that is the weird thing that was going on a year or so ago, where suddenly all these people decided that it was bad and selfish and whatever for a writer to mention they had a new book or story coming out on their own blog. That was crazy. It's like, if I'm reading an author's blog or LJ, I want to know when they have a new book coming out and I'm going to be pissed off if they withhold that information. The only way I know about new books or movies or TV shows is if someone on the internet tells me, and I think that's true for a lot of people.


Nice review for City of Bones. It remains one of my favourites and I think the reviewer has captured all the reasons why. When I got my Kindle, the first thing I did was go looking for your books and, yay, found City of Bones! Much happiness.

Thanks! I think it's one of my favorites, too. There are some things in it that were sort of the genesis of Cloud Roads.

Are you coming back to the US anytime soon? I sure miss seeing you and Liz.

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