THE EDITOR'S WORK

by Mike Resnick

 

Welcome to the twenty-ninth issue of Galaxy’s Edge. New stories featured in this issue are by new and newer writers Dan Koboldt, Eric Leif Davin, Sandra M. Odell, Steve Pantazis, Daniel J. Davis, David L. Hebert, Larry Hodges, and French superstar Jean-Claude Dunyach. We’ve also got some older stories by old friends Mercedes Lackey, Kevin J. Anderson, Nancy Kress, and Barry N. Malzberg, as well as another segment of Joan Slonczewski’s serialized novel, Daughter of Elysium. We’ve got our regular columnists, as always—Bill Fawcett and Jody Lynn Nye on books, Gregory Benford on science, and Robert J. Sawyer on literature. And this month’s Joy Ward interview is with Nebula winner and bestseller Jack McDevitt.

In other words, welcome to another typical issue of Galaxy’s Edge.

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There was a time, and not so long ago, when the standard advice to new writers and wannabes was: Go to Worldcon. Meet editors. Listen to panels on how to break in. Hit the parties at night and see who was buying for anthologies. If you had a couple of other free weekends on your calendar and could afford it, do the same thing at World Fantasy Con and Nebula Weekend. That way you’ll cover the whole field, meet everybody who’s anybody. It’s worked for more than the first half-century of Worldcon and lesser lifespans of the other two; no reason why it shouldn’t continue to work.

And, in 1989, or 1995, there was no reason why it shouldn’t continue to work.

Welcome to 2017, where there are one hell of a lot of reasons why that advice isn’t still valid.

Oh, it’s valid as far as it goes…but it stops at just about the point where reality intrudes.

Consider: there have been seventy-five Worldcons, starting in 1939. Not one has drawn as many at ten thousand attendees. Most, even recently, average less than half of that.

Now consider Dragon Con. When I started going a dozen years ago, it drew about thirty thousand. Each year it gets more popular.

This year it drew over eighty thousand.

And they weren’t all just readers.

There were a lot of writers there, as usual (and they pull more each year). A convention that was disdained by publishers a decade ago now draws them. Same with artists, and editors, and just about everyone else connected with the field.

Are you a new writer who wants to meet your fans, perhaps by doing a reading or sitting on a panel? You can do it at a traditional convention, or you can do it at Dragon Con. The only (enormous) difference is the size of your audience.

Now, I’m not shilling for Dragon Con. I’m mentioning it simply because I was there two weeks before writing these words and it’s still fresh in my mind.

But cons that do not disdain games and comics and costumes and movies and all the related aspects of the science-fiction field are not limited to Dragon Con. Hell, Comic-Con in San Diego regularly pulls well over a hundred thousand. Indiana’s Gen Con is no slouch, pulling considerably more than fifty thousand. I was invited to a convention in Dallas a couple of years ago that was devoted entirely to anime (except for one track of science fiction programming, which was what I’d been invited for) that drew well over ten thousand, at least half of them not old enough to drink or vote.

Does this mean that I’ll stop going to Worldcon, or stop recommending it? No.

But it does mean that I recognize our little world is changing, and that there is more than one way to skin a cat—or make a contact, or sell a book.