Two More Thoughts On Being Nominated For The Nebulas

1)  I realize how much Clarion changed my concept of “How publishing works” when I think about my new bio:

Nebula-nominated author Ferrett Steinmetz has been published in Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Redstone SF, and Escape Pod, among others….

See, back in the day, I was infuriated because I had a big blog audience (a lot larger than it is now, Itellyawhat) and couldn’t understand why people were rejecting my stories!  After all, I had people I could point at their website!  I had marketshare!  I mean, if my story was decent, my sheer numbers should be a tiebreaker!

What I’ve realized since is that publishing is all about this story, right here, right now.  It doesn’t matter what your credentials; if the story’s not moving you, you don’t want it in your magazine.  You might get more folks coming by, but what they’ll see is that you published a pretty mediocre story, and think poorly of you.  As an editor, Sheila Williams has rejected Nebula-winners lots of times when they don’t deliver on this collection of words.

Hence, my new author bio will make slush readers hesitate in cover letters.  They’ll raise their eyebrows and go, “This has a chance to be really good.”

From there on, though, it’s about the words I put on the goddamned page, and nothing more.

2)  It does make my Illuminati hackles go up when I realize that I know every single one of the people in my category, having either met them or interacted with them online.  Isn’t this proof of the Great Publishing Cabal?  Isn’t this just the evidence that the big awards are all about Who You Know?

Maybe ten years ago, that’d be true.  But the Internet has kind of levelled that off.

Now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook and the CODEX forums and SFWA forums, you can interact with many authors you love.  It’s not necessarily that the sci-fi world is inbred, but rather that if you go to two or three conventions, you’ll get to meet hundreds of talented people… And keep up with them using social media.  I know lots of writers who aren’t on the ballot, too, and I read a lot of short fic so I’ll follow people who’ve impressed me.  The percentages of knowing someone who’s an up-and-comer are high, once you’re sufficiently immersed.

In addition, some much-needed changes to the Nebula awards have made it so that the best stories rise to the top in a Reddit-like fashion.  There was a SFWA-members board where people who liked stories can upvote them anonymously for others’ consideration, and I know I found a couple of my favorites that way.  This is a great change that makes it more story-centered, less author-centered… Which is a good thing.

I dunno.  There’s a lot of young turks on this year’s ballot, and I feel proud to be among this new generation of writers.  It feels like being part of a new wave.  Which, I tell you, is lovely.

3 Comments

  1. Stewart
    Feb 22, 2012

    Hi Ferrett,

    Just wanted to drop by and say congrats on the Nebula nomination. I read it over in Giganotosaurus last year, shortly after it was published, and thought it was fantastic.

    Good to know I was not alone. 🙂

    • TheFerrett
      Feb 22, 2012

      Thank you, sir! I’m still so very thrilled. (As I guess I should be!)

  2. Mark
    Feb 22, 2012

    Hey Ferrett,

    Congratulations, I really like it that you are doing so well in your writing! Keep it up!

    Peace, Mark

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