By Loni Cameron
In last weekend’s meeting award-winning author, Douglas Smith, led us through many of the questions authors have when it comes to selling short fiction. Douglas gave us an overview of the first few sections of his book, Playing the Short Game. He highlighted knowing the market, rates, and revising all while encouraging those present to have a healthy balance of confidence and caution.
“What kind of writer are you?” he asked. “Are you arrogant or fearful?” Douglas encouraged us to identify ourselves and accept which one we tended to sway towards. Once you know what kind of writer you are, you can move forward from there.
Smith reiterated the point that while many authors have the goal of completing novels, it is important to write short fiction at the same time. Short fiction allows a writer to hone their craft. Many of the short fiction skills (and sometimes the stories themselves) can translate into novels. Short fictions allows writers to test the waters, explore ideas, and build their resume. And a key part of building your writing portfolio is knowing when your story is ready to go. I know that I’m constantly revising and tweaking stories, hesitant to let them go—something I can strive to work on.
We also discussed the important aspect of the business of writing short fiction. Authors need to know their rights, to be able to read and understand a contract, and tell which market is for them. We also learned why we never actually “sell” our stories.
Douglas Smith’s talk was insightful and engaging, filled with useful tools for taking our stories forward and learning when to make that leap of faith. There is so much more information available in his book. I think it’s a must-read for anyone wanting to break into the short fiction market.
Next month’s workshop is The Internet and Social Media for Authors. Registration is open. Even if you are just starting out on your writing path, learning about how to use social media is a good idea if one of your goals is to eventually publish and share your stories.
The WCYR is also currently open for workshop proposals for next year. Even if your proposal didn’t get accepted for this season, you are encouraged to re-submit as the needs of our members vary from year to year.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Newsletter, which will include not only detailed information on our monthly meetings, but writer-led workshops, book fairs, reading events, writing retreats, and more.