Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Guest post by Susan Abel Sullivan + Giveaway

Building a Writing Career One Story and One Book at a Time

by Susan Abel Sullivan

When I joined my first writers group back in 1999, the prevailing wisdom about the road to professional publication for novelists was to rack up a slew of short story sales before submitting any novels to agents/publishers in order to establish a track record that said, “I’m a serious writer.” So that’s what I did. I needed a break from the interminable epic fantasy novel I was working on and tried my hand at short fiction and poetry.

In 2005 I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop, a premiere writers’ boot camp for spec fiction writers in New Hampshire. The director, Jeanne Cavelos, highly encouraged us to work with short stories during the six-week workshop in order to apply what we were learning in a short amount of time. Short stories contain all the elements of fiction that novels do, but in a compact form. And they can reasonably be written within a week unlike novels that can take months or even years to complete. Even though I’d been working on a novel before I attended Odyssey, I set it aside upon completing the workshop and spent the next two years writing short stories to improve my craft.

Fast forward to the present. With the advent of eBooks on devices like Kindle and Nook, and the success of indie writers like Amanda Hocking, I decided it was time to test out the waters of ePublishing. A short story collection seemed like a great way to start. It would take less time to format than a novel would, could be sold for a lower price, and would help me build a name and a fan base. I took a look at my various short pieces and split them into two groups: Adult and YA Spec Fiction. World Weaver Press was interested in the YA collection, which became CURSED: WICKEDLY FUN STORIES.

But the truth is I’m really a novelist who writes short stories, poems and songs on the side. I tend to think expansively when it comes to story and characters. But I think it’s good to be able to write in all forms even if one is drawn to one form in particular. I’m currently shopping a quirky urban fantasy novel to literary agents and publishers. And I have two other books in the works, a sequel to the urban fantasy and a completely different YA novel about a school for the supernaturally challenged.

So, like everything in our world, the rules are shifting and traditional ideas on how to build a career are being tossed out the window. I think that old adage about putting a lot of irons in the fire is great advice. Submit your short fiction to print and online publications, your short story collections to eBook publishers, and your novels to literary agents, as well as eBook and traditional publishers. Deciding to publish a collection with a brand spanking new publisher has turned out to be a good choice for me. My stories are now available to a larger readership than ever before and I honestly feel like the experience will open doors with regards to my novels. eBooks are the wave of the future and all indications are that they are not only here to stay, but will eventually replace mass market print publishing.

So, work hard, write regularly, and be ready to seize any opportunities that come your way. Build your career one story and one book at a time.

CURSED is a small package of strangeness and charm, delivered by a writer blessed with imagination and wit.” – Hugo Award Winner Allen Steele, author of THE COYOTE TRILOGY and THE COYOTE CHRONICLES

“Quirky, clever, and just a little savage, CURSED is a delightful read!” – Lane Robins, critically acclaimed author of MALEDICTE and KINGS AND ASSASSINS

Wickedly fun short stories featuring witches, werewolves, limericks that can change fate, and a sinister vine bent on murder and the destruction of Alabama! Inside quirky settings with creepy plots, characters discover new and unsettling powers as their worst fears manifest.

“Engrossing, imaginative, and funny … Susan Abel Sullivan’s debut collection of short stories will have you both laughing out loud and checking your closet for monsters.” –Kelly L. Stone, author of GRAVE SECRET and THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind.


“Quirky, clever, and just a little savage, CURSED is a delightful read!”
-- Lane Robins, critically acclaimed author of MALEDICTE and KINGS AND ASSASSINS

Wickedly fun short stories featuring witches, werewolves, limericks that can change fate, and a sinister vine bent on murder and the destruction of Alabama! Inside quirky settings with creepy plots, characters discover new and unsettling powers as their worst fears manifest.

Let these stories draw you in with their lighthearted tone -- then delight you with their wickedly sly sense of humor. You’ll laugh, you’ll shudder, you’ll think twice about taking a deal from a bucktoothed woman.

Featuring pieces previously published in such magazines as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Beyond Centauri, and AlienSkin, as well as a never before published short.

Buy it at Amazon - B&N - Smashwords

Susan Abel Sullivan lives in a Victorian house in northeastern Alabama with two dogs, way too many cats, and a ghost. When not writing she likes to get her groove on by teaching Zumba classes. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop for speculative fiction. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous online and print publications, including Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, ASIM Best of Horror: Vol II, Beyond Centauri, New Myths, AlienSkin, and Writers’ Journal. She is currently working on a YA novel about the supernaturally challenged.

Visit her website at susanabelsullivan.weebly.com or on Twitter @susan_abel.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Susan has generously offered an ebook copy of CURSED: Wickedly Fun Stories by Susan Abel Sullivan to a lucky commenter!


All you have to do is answer Susan's question and let us know: Which are you more drawn to as a writer/reader, novels or short stories? Which do you prefer to read? Why?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 24 April 2012!

Good luck!

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