Monday, August 18, 2008

Confessions of a Perpetual Noob

n. Slang
One who annoys others with his inexperience. Often used as an insult by members of online gaming communities. Ex. "U R a noob." "Only noobs do that."

This is me. While I am not a stupid person, I have more than my share of stupid moments, especially during events and situations in which I've never been before. Falling out of the bleachers (while seated, no less!) before Morgan's first softball game as coach, for example. Or making a disparaging remark about homecoming queens to a new friend, only to find out moments later that she was one in high school. (She still talks to me, though!) And let's not talk about the things I said in my last job interview. I maintain I was hired for the entertainment value. And, over the years, I haven't let my workplace down.

My mom says I get it honest. I don't know about that, but the two of us together can be pretty dangerous! I used to get embarrassed and stressed out, but that only led to more bumbling. The whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing. I've surrendered to it since. I know it's coming, but I don't worry. And when it does happen, I giggle at myself, save the moments for good stories later, and move on.

That doesn't mean I go into new things all willy-nilly, though. Preparation is one of the things that has helped me attain more of a Zen attitude when it comes to habitually making an idiot of myself. So when I began to think about submitting my work, I did lots and lots of research.

There are so many resources! And there are resources to help you filter out those resources. And still more resources to help you translate both the resources and the resource filters. The publishing world seems like a huge tangled mess to a noob like me. I haven't figured out much. But I have found some great publications and websites that are helping me do just that.

Like Ralan's. This website is a comprehensive list of sf/f/h markets that range from the big professional mags like Asimov's, to small press paying markets like Aoife's Kiss, to for the love markets that pay in contributor's copies. Ralan posts his average submission times and updates the market pages regularly.

Writer Beware is an extremely valuable-to-noobs resource provided by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They report on scams, publishing fraud, give submission tips and a thumbs up/thumbs down submissions list. Predators and Editors is another website working for writers and against scams and less than ethical industry professionals. Or folks who make themselves out to be industry professionals, anyway.

A lot of burgeoning writers can't afford a subscription to Publisher's Weekly, even with an organization discount. But Publisher's Lunch is a free newsletter chock full of industry news. And, although I didn't do this, for a $20 monthly fee, you can subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace for lots more.

For the agent seeker, I found writer Karen Fox's list of agents to be really helpful. The Bookends Literary Agency blog has been particularly helpful lately because, not only does Jessica blog about the industry from the agent's point of view, but she writes about what an author can expect at various stages in the game after she gets The Call. This is something that's always seemed a bit mysterious to me.

This is a partial list of my favorite resources. Help a noob out. What are some of yours?


Savanna Kougar said...

Mel, great research. I've got check some of those out.
I don't have much to offer, except personal experience.

Both Siren Publishing and Liquid Silver Books have been good, in similiar ways and in different ways.

I'm just learning about Aspen Mountain Press where Tangerine Carnal Dreams is published. Tomorrow I'm blogging about how I missed the call on my release date, sorta...
Siren and Liquid Silver let me know my release dates, but not so with Aspen Mountain. It has definitely been a mysterious process publishing with them. Which I won't be blogging about yet.

Mel Hiers said...

That'll be interesting to hear about if you ever do blog on it. I'm really interested about the different e-publishers. I read e-books a lot, and am compiling a list of pubs to submit to based on what their authors say.

One of my writers' group buds is having issues with Renaissance publishing. The publisher passed away around the same time his book was acquired and the contract he signed doesn't reflect what they're actually doing. :-(

Savanna Kougar said...

Mel, oh no, for your friend. That's one of the unfortunate downsides to any small business. If the owner(s) have an emergency in their lives, or pass on. There have been a couple of e-pubs shut down because the owners had huge medical problems.
The new acquisitions editor at Liquid Silver, Tracey, came on board because of that, and because Liquid Silver is expanding. Siren-BookStrand is also expanding in some big ways, selling e-books from every publisher out there, as well as their own title, which I hope will continue. Diana, the owner, has laid down a good business foundation first, from everything I've seen and heard. Plus, she's stated that is her strategy.
One reason I submitted to different small pubs is because I didn't know the game, or how they operated. I did only submit to ones I thought were more solid, just from reading RT, etc.
And, I'll take a chance on the ground floor of a new pub, if I like what I see, and have a mss to submit.
Although, currently, I don't have time, given my contracts with Siren-BookStrand.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

All great resources, Mel. However, in real life, if I do something really embarrassing, like trip or fall on ice, I look around, find the nearest person and dead-pan say, "I meant to do that." They usually giggle and go, "Okay." And then I walk away. Silly, but it works. :)

However, in the real life of writing, check your sources. Just because someone claims to be an editor, an agent, or a publisher--don't take their word for granted--check them OUT! I myself was the victim of an unscrupulous editor who was going to "help" me edit my book. She single handedly did more damage to my novel and my career than everything else combined. It cost me a pretty penny but overall I escaped and lived to publish. Just be cautious. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Anitra, good advice. The school of hard knocks, no fun at all.

Mel Hiers said...

*Hugs Writer Beware and P&E* I would hate to be submitting without them!

Hmmm. I haven't tripped or fallen lately, so I'm probably due. :-P

I'm so glad you're having good experiences, Savanna! I've heard nothing but good about LQ, and Siren has that P&E Best Publisher plaque on their website. I hope Renaissance recovers from their loss soon. They're going to lose some good authors if they don't. :-(