Mike Resnick spoke to writers at Jody Lynn Nye’s Writer’s Intensive Workshop on Friday. Resnick’s topics were announced by Nye: “Long careers and short stories.” The legendary Resnick is the all-time leading award winner for short science fiction and has won a Nebula, five Hugos (nominated 37 times), and other major awards in six countries. He reminded his rapt listeners that your writing is “art until you write the end; then it becomes a business.”
Resnick advised the workshoppers and alumni “to write good stories” that are saleable and know where to sell them. He also recommended attending genre conventions where you can meet editors at parties and learn who is buying and what they’re looking for. Although some magazines have a legitimate backlog there are semi-pro-zines paying two to three cents a word for short stories, pro venues paying five to seven cents per word, and some which even pay a quarter a word.
Addressing longer fiction, Resnick, the author of 76 novels, suggested Tor for fantasy submissions and Baen for military and hard science fiction. He also advised learning foreign markets, stating that you can make significant additional income, up to 75% of US sales, from foreign sales. He talked about his popularity overseas and said that he had been going to conventions in China recently. He warned, however, that not all themes featured in American science fiction would be understood in China. He mentioned his novel The Branch (about the Jewish messiah) as something he would not send to China.
Resnick talked about his efforts to pay forward the help he received in his own six-decade-spanning career. He edits Galaxy’s Edge magazine which showcases new writers. Resnick commented that he buys their stories and introduces them to agents and editors, referring to them as “Mike’s Writer Children.” He also spoke proudly of his daughter Laura Resnick, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author.
Resnick answered additional questions about agents, workshops, and screenwriting with anecdotes drawn from his adventures in bookland.