Hello and welcome to the August 2021 issue of Aphelion!
In this issue, we have our
regular run of outstanding stories -- from our 24th year of
Welcome, one and all, to another
month of the happiest accident I ever fell into, LOL! There are times
when victory is snatched from the jaws of a soul-crushing defeat.
February of 1997 turned out to be one of those times. Through a series
of unfortunate events, Dragon's Lair Webzine ceased publication.
Equally unfortunately, DL had several unfinished serialized stories
still running at the time--as well as a small backlog of accepted, but
as yet unpublished, short story submissions. It fell to me to rectify
this sad situation. And so, with the help of some friends, Aphelion
came to be. It hasn't always been easy to keep going. Sometimes we were
on the verge of pulling the plug. But with the help of friends both old
and new, we've somehow managed to keep this beautiful beast alive for
coming up on a quarter century now. I may not know how long I
personally have left to shuffle along on this mortal coil, but as long
as I am still here, so shall be Aphelion. I can only hope someone will
accept the torch when I am forced to pass it along.
Readers have come and gone. Writers
have turned pro and journeyed forth into the realms of paid
publications. Many lessons have been taught and learned along the way.
And so, the journey continues.
Becoming a writer is easy. Staying a
writer isn't always so easy. One has to face rejection slips, editing
challenges, preditorial publishing scams, hard work, long hours, and
our own fears of failure. The most glorious thing in the world is an
acceptance letter. The second most glorious thing in the world is that
deathless prose that begins "Pay To The Order Of..." I've heard it said
that the first paycheck for a story being published is the greatest
hurdle a writer ever faces. You did it, you sold a story, you got
paid--now, do it again. It's that "do it again" where some writers
fail. Not that they can't
write another story, but that the fear sets in about "what if I fail."
My answer to that is "so what?" You probably failed a few times before
the first time you succeeded. Why should the second success be any
easier? The process of doing the work involved with turning in
a good story is still the same. Doesn't matter if it is your first
published story, or your hundredth, you have to put in all
the work to get that newest story accepted.
So, what is the secret to
becoming a successful writer? Perseverance!
Never quit, never give up, never stop learning, never stop writing,
never stop submitting your work.
The path to success is to keep
working at it! Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, type those words,
tell that story, edit, rewrite, spell check, get someone to beta-read
and tell you where you lost the thread as well as tell you what you go
right. Keep going! Never stop. That stuff is the lifeblood of
being a writer. You also have to learn to put yourself out there in
social media to let people know you have something out there
that they might be willing to buy. Network with other writers. Go to
conventions, appear on writing panels, get yourself a seat on a con's
Author's Alley, if you have enough titles to justify it, get yourself a
table in the Vendor's Room... Nowadays, especially for Independent
writers and Small Press writers, you'll find that you have to be your
own publicity agent as well as a writer. Maybe you're shy and aren't
comfortable with public speaking. I am shy, but I've forced myself to
do it anyway. Another new twist nowadays is to hook up with a group of
like-minded writers and artists who are involved with online streaming
video shows or audio podcast shows. That's good training for being on a
live discussion panel at a convention. The hardest part of that is
learning how to be comfortable just being yourself, but in front of an
audience. It's not a case of sink or swim. Streaming and podcasting are
ways to learn to "dog-paddle" before you put yourself in front of a
live audience. It can be scary, but you can do it. Eventually, you can
even become comfortable doing it. We're past the age of having a story
or book being accepted being the end of a writer's involvement with
that particular work. Times have changed, the wheel has turned, and now
we have a new normal for selling a published work to our audience--as
well as growing
our audiences. This is how we engage readers now. This is how we get
the word out. This is how we encourage readers to become involved, to
want to help us succeed, to change ourselves from a byline on a story
into a personality the readers can want
to become hardcore fans of us. It's just another facet of the work we
all have to do to evolve towards being even more successful in the
pursuit of convincing readers to part with their
hard-earned cash in exchange for our
About time I quit talking and
let you get to reading!
on planet-forming wings
Courtesy: ESO / Ginski et