Once upon a time, you got to be in the in crowd by writing short stories and selling them to the big SF magazines: Amazing Stories, Astounding SF, Galaxy, F&SF and Asimov’s. Once you made a name for yourself, then presumably you could get an agent and go on to publish SF novels. Now things are working the other way around. The way to be part of the in crowd it to be a successful novelist first. If magazine and anthology editors recognize your name (and your fan base), then you’re much more likely to have a story accepted for a magazine or anthology, or even to be invited to submit one.

FeatherPenClipArtThis makes the editors, as well as the writers, lazy. Plus, it subjects a lot of original and interesting stories to rejection through the slush pile because the magazine or anthology is already pre-packed with writers the editors are calculating will increase their sales. This is true to an extent in all publishing, but I think it’s worse the higher up you go. The up-and-coming magazines and editors are more likely to read the slush pile and to take chances on writers that aren’t already their friends.

I don’t mean to say that all publishing is like this, but you know how it goes. Being part of the in crowd never hurts your career.

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