Kameron Hurley: Did “Being a Writer” Ever Mean… Just Writing?

From the August 2017 issue of Locus Magazine

I have spent an inordinate amount of time this year Being a Writer, and far less of it doing the writing part. Oh, the words get done. In fits and starts and large binge sessions, I squeeze out stories in a few days and large swaths of whatever novel is in progress over a week at a time.

But an increasing amount ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Story Isn’t Just “Stuff Happens”

I brought my dogs to a new dog park this weekend, one frequented by experienced dog owners who enjoyed socializing their dogs. The park I usually go to is less frequented, with fewer dogs, and the owners are all worried and anxious sorts. Their dogs tend to be unsocialized, which contributes to their own fear about their dog’s potential behavior, and then their anxiety gets to the dogs, too, making ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: How to Write a Book in a Month

From the April 2017 issue of Locus Magazine

We all want to learn how to write books faster. The pace of the news cycle today has heated up to such an extent that for those of us who aren’t in the 1% of writers, if we don’t come out with a book a year, it feels like the world has forgotten us amid the buzz of ever more intensifying world ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley:If You Want to Level Up, Get Back to the Basics

From the February 2017 issue of Locus Magazine

 

There are few things, for me, that are as equally depressing and energiz­ing as reading a really great book. Great books are why I got into this business in the first place, which is why I’m often so shocked when I hear from other professional writers that they don’t read anymore. Try ask­ing a panel of professional writers at your next ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: There Have Always Been Times Like These

From the December 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

‘‘Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom.’’

–Ursula K. Le Guin

Change is the only constant in our ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Mission-Driven Writing Career

From the October 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

Most writers quit. Many aspiring writers get angry when I say discouraging things like this, but sometimes the truth is discouraging. Most writers quit because they achieve what they set out to do – publish a book, or a short story, or simply finish one – and realize they are staring at the same blank, purposeless future that they started with. ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: When to Quit Your Day Job

From the August 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

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 ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Hard Publishing Truths: Relationships Matter

From the June 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

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. ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: Cultivating Inspiration on Deadline

From the April 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

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 ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: The Sad Economics of Writing Short Fiction

From the February 2016 issue of Locus Magazine

 

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 ...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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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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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 ...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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Kameron Hurley: Making Excuses for Science Fiction

From the December 2013 issue of Locus Magazine

Telling people who don’t read science fiction and fantasy that I write it is still awkward. My mom used to tell people I wrote ‘‘novels like Stephen King,’’ even though I can’t watch a movie more supernaturally terrify­ing than Ghostbusters without enduring fierce nightmares, insomnia, and night sweats. I prefer corporeal, knife-wielding villains I can hit in the face.

But as a ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: “Everybody Already Knows”:How Silence About the Realities of Publishing Hurts Authors

 

From the October 2013 issue of Locus Magazine

Families are full of secrets. Publishing is no different.

There are the ho-hum secrets – the affairs, the folks who stole money from now-dead relatives, the folks who aren’t paying their taxes. There are also bigger secrets. These are the secrets that matter, the ones that could help others in the family if they were shared. These are things like mental ...Read More

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