People often have more power than they think. The easiest thing to do in the world is throw up your hands and say: “Well, what am I supposed to do about it?” and just move on and forget. The following post is designed to discourage you from doing that.
A question I often think about, but am rarely asked is: “How can I support the art of writing fiction?” Well, here are some ideas. Broken down into three areas, in no particular order:
1. Buy books from writers you enjoy
It doesn’t matter to me what format you digest your books in: an e-reader, a tablet, your smartphone, a physical book, papyrus or a stone tablet. But what does matter to me is that, at some point, you make a little contribution to the person who created the content you’re enjoying. This contribution can be $20 or $10 or even 99 cents. But it should be something.
A vibrant creative culture does not spontaneously generate, but needs support from the broader society in which it grows. Making sure artists are compensated in some form for their hard work is part of this. Sure, I would still write for free—what real writer (or artist) wouldn’t? But being on the other side, I can tell you that there’s something rewarding and validating in being paid for something you’ve created. I know this is a time of tremendous change in digital goods, but it behooves all of us to contribute something to artists so that the creative culture remains strong. To borrow from the music industry: If you like the music you hear on Spotify/Pandora/YouTube, buy the album.
2. Support the little journals
If you want to support fiction, especially the development of new writers: I suggest seeking out the smaller, harder-to-find journals. There are the big ones of course: Asimov’s, Analog and Clarkesworld to name a few. And then there are semi-pro journals (as judged by Duotrope, not me) like Apex. But there are also smaller journals. You can find a ton of them on Duotrope or Grinder, if you sign up for a basic account.
In fact, I’ll put in a little shout out here for two I have worked with and who have published my stuff. Fiction Vortex published my first story, “The Hatchlings.” They’ve come back to life after closing a couple of years ago. They recently started a new episodic series thing that’s pretty interesting. Strangelet Journal published by second story to find its way into print, “The Ghul of Yazd.” You can subscribe to that magazine or just straight up contribute to them on their Patreon page. It’s up to you.
Without small journals like these, I doubt I would have got my foot in the door and had my first stories published. These are those self-same “obscure magazines” that new writers have always submitted to and they need your support because they’re the only ones out there taking risks and publishing unheard-of and often un-published writers.
Every issue bought and subscription renewed, helps keeps the art of discovery of new writers alive. And the only ones out there doing this, that I’ve seen, are these small journals. Please consider giving them a little love. This writer certainly would appreciate it.
3. Encourage that writer friend
You know who they are. You hear them talking in the halls at work about their writing project. Or maybe they bring it up at the bar or the kids’ softball game on the weekend. Wherever it may be, go easy on them. And be patient. And if you know it’s important to them, give them a little nudge to keep them going and producing. After all, words lead to word counts which lead to first drafts which lead to second drafts which lead to finished pieces. I should know, that’s exactly how I do it.
I’m a big believer in the power of peer pressure applied in doses when appropriate…And truth be told we writers usually like a little encouragement (pressure?).
That’s it. Short and sweet today. Next time, I’ll be back with an update on my writing. I guess you could say, I’ve been keeping busy. And productive. So, I will have quite a bit to say.
See you then,