Kameron Hurley: The Mission-Driven Writing Career

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Cory Doctorow: The Privacy Wars Are About to Get a Whole Lot Worse

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field. ...Read More Read more

Kameron Hurley: When to Quit Your Day Job

The best writing career advice I ever received wasn’t ‘‘write every day’’ (because I certainly don’t), but, ‘‘Don’t quit your day job.’’

Clearly, not all of us have a choice in this matter, as steady day jobs continue to be eradicated and the ‘‘gig economy’’ becomes the norm. I’ve been laid off from at least half a dozen jobs in my adult life, and I’m not even 40. Many of ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Peak Indifference

Ever since the first days of public access to the Internet, activ­ists like me have been making dire warnings about the privacy implications of leaving data-trails behind you when you engage in everyday activity. We hoped that people would think forward to the potential risks of disclosures down the road – that the individually harmless crumbs of personal in­formation could be painstakingly, disastrously aggregated by crimi­nals, or repressive governments, or ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Hard Publishing Truths: Relationships Matter

One of my favorite publishing stories is from an established short story writer who tweeted that a story of his had been rejected from a magazine. Within a few minutes of sharing that, the editor of the publication e-mailed them and apologized for the rejection. ‘‘Our new slush reader didn’t rec­ognize your name,’’ the editor said, and promptly bought the story.

The myth of the meritocracy runs deep in publishing. ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Peace In Our Time

E-books are game-changers, but not in the way we all thought they would be. Far from taking over print, e-book sales have stagnated at less than a quarter of print sales and show every sign of staying there or declining for the foreseeable future.

But e-books continue to be a source of bitter controversy that divides publishers from two of their most potentially useful allies: writers’ groups and libraries.

Below, ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Cultivating Inspiration on Deadline

Like most people trying to stay above water in this tricky economy, I’ve been looking into ways to use my time more effectively. I have a bushel of novel and short story deadlines, a busy day job, and I’m feeling increasing pressure to sell more work now while the getting is good.

To get even this far, I’ve given up a lot of things. It’s been my policy to play ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Wealth Inequality Is Even Worsein Reputation Economies

I need to confess something: ‘‘Whuffie’’ would make a terrible cur­rency.

In 2003, I published my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, in which all society’s scarcities, even death and energy, have been overcome, and where conflicts over resources – notably, who gets to run Walt Dis­ney World and what they get to do there – are apportioned using a virtual currency called ‘‘Whuffie.’’ Unlike other ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Sad Economics of Writing Short Fiction

The abysmally low payment terms for science fiction and fantasy short story markets have been a sad topic of conversation among writers for de­cades. Gone are the days when writing and selling a short story would pay your rent (unless you’re selling to Tor.com).

Rates for writing short fiction are even lower than those for modern magazines and newspapers, which may be hard to wrap one’s head around, but having ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Wicked Problems: Resilience Through Sensing

A problem is said to be ‘‘wicked’’ when the various parties engaged with it can’t even agree what the problem is, let alone the solution. As the name implies, wicked problems are hard to deal with.

More than a decade ago, the Federal Communica­tions Commission got its first inkling of a wicked problem on its horizon.

Here’s the problem: around the world, we chop up the electromagnetic spectrum into dedicated-use ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: When the Writing Sprint Goes Wrong

From the December 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

 

Talk to any career writer, and you’ll hear a lot of anxious worry about sales, about events, about what to say or not to say online, about bad reviews or no reviews, about sexism and table placement and pub­lishers who don’t invest enough in their authors’ careers. You’ll hear about health concerns, about checks that don’t come on time or don’t ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: On Career-Building: The Marathon in the Desert

From the August 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

I had a conversation with my spouse the other day about how ‘‘bor­ing’’ my life had become the last few years, ever since I got a real professional job and stopped moving house all the time. My life had become a long marathon in an exhausting desert, and could no longer be carved up into amusing scenes and anecdotes.

That meant that ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: What If People Were Sensors, Not Things to be Sensed?

The Internet of Things is starting to emerge. You can tell it’s just starting, because we’re still using the ungainly name ‘‘Internet of Things.’’ It’s one of those coinages that tells you that we don’t know what a thing is or what it’s for, like ‘‘horseless carriage’’ or ‘‘3D printer.’’

But there’s one thing we do know about the IoT: it involves a lot of sensing. The IoT is what ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Your Author Meltdown Will Be Live-Tweeted

From the August 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

While standing in line with my spouse to get onto the Book Expo America (BEA) show floor, we started up a conversation about how eas­ily the plain paper badges could be forged. All you need is a good color copier. As we bantered back and forth, the woman in front of us kept looking at us sideways. The third time she did ...Read More

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Cory Doctorow: Skynet Ascendant

As I’ve written here before, science fiction is terrible at predicting the future, but it’s great at predicting the present. SF writers imagine all the futures they can, and these futures are processed by a huge, dynamic system consisting of editors, booksellers, and readers. The futures that attain popular and commercial success tell us what fears and aspirations for technology and society are bubbling in our collective imaginations.

When you ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley:Money, Fame, Notoriety: What Are We Self-Publishing For?

From the June 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

Like a lot of new writers, I got through years and years of rejection slips by believing I was simply misunderstood.

I suppose you could chalk a lot of this up to being young. But I also knew very little about writing, or publishing, or how to tell a good story. That trifecta of ignorance led me to invest in a lot ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Who Are We Writing For?On Knowing When to Listen to the Haters, and When to Laugh

From the April 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

I’m asked, often, what I feel about ‘‘the haters’’ or ‘‘the detractors’’ who don’t like me or my work, and I think it’s an odd question, because, to be blunt – I don’t care what those people think. Spewing unrestrained and unabashed vitriol across a page or in a public forum has always been a great way to call attention to oneself, ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Privilege to Publish; the Power to Persevere

From the February 2015 issue of Locus Magazine

There are two very broad schools of thought when it comes to teaching new writers the ropes: one is the kinder, gentler ‘‘you’re a special, beautiful snowflake of win’’ school of teaching. Writing and publishing are difficult enough, the thought goes; exercises in bruised ego and disappointment. Why discourage so many up front when plenty will be discouraged later? We should nurture ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Publishing’s Not Dying, It’s Diversifying (And You Should Too)

From the December 2014 issue of Locus Magazine

In conversation with my agent about a potential project a few weeks ago, I said something to the effect of, ‘‘But what can they give me besides a cover and copyedit? They don’t have a strong distribution platform for this kind of fiction, and they don’t have a strong structural editing team. I have a large enough following online now that I ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley:The Status Quo Is Not a Neutral Position: Fiction and Politics

From the October 2014 issue of Locus Magazine

I often find myself getting asked tricky questions from new writers, but the trickiest of all is this: they want to know how I’ve managed to have a career while speaking so publicly about my beliefs and values online.

I’ve been writing on the internet since 2004, and publishing in more traditional venues since 1996. And I have a distinct set of ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: People Don’t Buy Books They Don’t Know About (Even Great Ones)

From the August 2014 issue of Locus Magazine

I get into perennial discussions with other authors about whether or not blog posts, or bookmarks, or reviews, or carrier pigeons, or flash mobs sell books. The cold reality is that any of these tactics, when done as a one-off, probably doesn’t sell more than a book or two, un­less the person convinced to buy a book during that breakdancing skit at ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Busting Down the Romantic Myth of Writing Fiction, and Mitigating Author Burnout

From the June 2014 issue of Locus Magazine

One of the most interesting parts of working toward being a career novelist is watching how many of your peers stay in the game. My first real brush with the death of the dream was after I attended Clarion in 2001. By the end of the workshop, we already had several folks who’d come into it with the expectation that they were ...Read More

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