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Tag Archives: Melbourne

Making A Living – professional writing for speculative fiction authors

Being a professional writer is not an easy career path for most of us, according to Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi and George Ivanoff in a discussion at AussieCon4 in Melbourne.

George Ivanoff

George Ivanoff

George advised the audience that to write for a wide range of genres can help create opportunities. He said the education market can be well paid, if you have the interest and knowledge.

John Scalzi

John Scalzi

John is a freelance writer and uses his skills for both fiction and non-fiction. He added that the corporate market can be a great balance for a creative writer, especially as his creativity is “about three hours a day”. His two streams of work for Tor and Subterranean are complementary rather than “either/or”.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

Cory describes himself as a “freelance entrepreneur” rather than a writer, although his SF and speculative fiction is increasingly well-known and award-winning. Some advice to budding writers is that trade publishing is not profitable to many except the big stars, so a well-paid job may be a better option while a writer enjoys a part-time craft.

Piracy was considered “small-time” by Cory. The three big players – Sony, Apple and Amazon – over time will become almost universally accepted, he said, and all easier to use than torrents.

AussieCon4 was the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Melbourne, Australia, Sept 2nd-6th 2010. The panel discussions included SF, fantasy, speculative fiction, steampunk, movies, comics and fandom.

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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Fandom, Publishing, Social Media, Writing

 

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We’re All Connected, All The Time – blogs and social networking in the world of YA spec fic

This was my favourite panel discussion of AussieCon4. There were plenty of other interesting and worthy ones, but Bec Kavanagh, Lili Wlkinson, Megan Burke and Mif Farquharson brought enthusiasm and, in some senses, hope to the book publishing industry.

Lili Wilkinson

Lili Wilkinson

Lili explained that the participatory opportunities of social media are being well used by the Young Adult audience, whether readers, writers or publishers. One example was the inky awards with a judging panel of 2 adults and 4 teens (details here http://bit.ly/9tT2GR) and a short list that included 5 Australian alongside 5 international works.

The way reading had become both creative and participatory impressed Lili and she noticed this was a growing trend.

Bec Kavanagh

Bec Kavanagh

Bec added that reading now has the option to be a community activity, with readers able to contact each other and also authors. This “real time” access via Twitter and Skype, etc, was seen as valuable for YA teen readers and also as an instant feedback mechanism for writers and publishers.

There is now a growing “virtual community” for genres, authors and reading clubs, and Bec mentioned the use of Q&A sessions with remote authors via Skype, plus the use of competitions to add numbers and engagement in a direct and friendly way.

Megan Burke

Megan Burke

Megan said online networks have helped create many strong and growing book-focussed and author-focussed communities.

SF fandom and fanzines were capable of similar roles in the “print era” but they lacked the attractions of almost-instant opportunities to discuss and ask questions in real time, right when a teen reader wanted to engage.

The panel mentioned a number of authors and active fans of the YA genre, including the example of Neil Gaiman who writes across many genres and is also very active with blogs and other social media.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2010 in Fandom, Publishing, Social Media, YA

 

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Fantastic Females – writers discuss feminism at WorldCon

Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger

It is perhaps no surprise to hear some excellent points of view when a panel includes Gail Carriger, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Glenda Larke, Delia Sherman, Catherynne Valente and Alaya Johnson. AussieCon4 was a great event and it is a shame panel discussions like this one did not receive wider distribution.

Alaya Johnson

Alaya Johnson

Many on the panel write and also read and review a wide range of fantasy and speculative fiction, including Young Adult (YA). Tansy summed up the frustration of noticing a lack of feminist content in many fantasy and spec fic books. Alaya had a strong interest in a female buddy theme but, more particularly, “one that worked”.

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Gail‘s approach is to use Victorian settings, and the bias of that age, alongside Isis myths as she prefers not to artificially include feminism before its time. Cat wanted to write positive but noticed it could be easier to describe sexist situations and to include sexist characters rather than create something “honest” that reflects a bisexual modern woman.

Cat summed up the views of many of the panel and the audience comments when she said she has no interest in female antagonism but wants realistic characters. Cat was concerned, also, that our culture as a whole is still at 101 while female speculative fiction and YA writers are at 501 already.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2010 in Fandom, Social Media, Writing, YA

 

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