Go to Homepage  

The Test

Bill really believed the convention would bring him his first sale.
By the time these pixels see the light of the Internet, I will be lurking in the hallways and ballrooms of the Hyatt Regency Washington, lying in wait for fantasy editors attending World Fantasy Con 2003.

Nothing unusual about that, you say? Not so. For the first time in the history of Crescent Blues those editors will have reason to fear me…

And assistant editor Teri Smith…

And our Webmaster Stephen Smith…

And our editorial assistant Carolyn Rogers.

You see, for the first time in the history of Crescent Blues all of us will be attending World Fantasy Con with fantasy novels to pitch.

We knew it would come to this. One of the reasons we started Crescent Blues was to learn what makes a genre book great, and how you sell that great book to a publisher and the public as painlessly as possible.

Over the years Crescent Blues attracted multi-published freelancers. The staff tried to learn from them. We pored over interviews with the writers we love and tried to apply their insights. We checked into new imprints and products that purported to get the jump on the traditional submission process.

We didn't find any shortcuts; we didn't expect to. But we'd like to think all these different approaches to writing and publication adjusted our attitudes to the point where we understand more about the art, the craft and the business of writing.

World Fantasy Con 2003 will serve as a kind of test for this self-paced course of study. An exam, if you will -- but not a final, by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think I could find enough hours in the days between now and October 30 to cram for a final.

But I can handle a mid-term. I can study Writer's Market and compare the names of major fantasy editors and agents with the con guest list. I might even work up a cheat sheet with names and affiliations, noting whether or not a given publisher requires an agent for submission. (I just hope I remember where I put it in my purse.)

Maybe we'll screw up, in spite of all our preparations. Maybe our elusive prey will escape. We don't know what most of them look like, after all. (But then, they don't know what we look like either. Heh heh.)

Maybe we'll choke on our respective pitches. But ultimately it won't matter if we don't get a nibble this time around. In a real-world, open-book exam, you fail only if you never try at all.

Jean Marie Ward

Click here to share your views.