Moesta and Anderson “Pay It Forward”

Writing collaborators Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson explained professionalism and other challenges of the writing life to participants and alumni of the Writer’s Two-Day Intensive Workshop on Friday afternoon. The workshop, taught by Jody Lynn Nye, features guest lecturers who speak on various topics of concern to emerging writers.

Anderson stressed the importance of a professional attitude and that you must rely on connections made to become a writer with a successful, full-time career. He said that the writers present should be allies and not competitors, quoting the maxim that “a rising tide raises all boats.” As an example, to earn the favor of enlisting beta reader, you must first be a beta reader. He did so himself with “a bunch of no-name writers” who became publishing stars, including Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dave Wolverton/Dave Farland, and Robert Sawyer.

Turning to publication topics, Moesta mentioned that it is not an editor’s job to read your entire, unsolicited manuscript but that it is your job, as a writer, to catch their attention. She added that rejection is part of the job and that you must remember that editors are not rejecting you personally. A million reasons exist for rejecting a story besides that the author is not a good writer. Anderson said that getting rejected gives you realistic expectations.

After more discussion of issues facing professional writers and fielding questions from the workshop students and alumni, Anderson and Nye ended by sharing that they loved to pay it forward by teaching writing classes.

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at