Speculative.Work: A Science Fiction Author Diary
SW 017 - Use Your Hobby to Strengthen Your Writing

SW 017 - Use Your Hobby to Strengthen Your Writing

May 11, 2019

I've been working on Eve of Destruction (kickass cover, right?) for six months now, which is like GRRM time in indie publishing. In the midst of grinding through edits, I've been working on several other hobby projects as well. While Steven Pressfield might call this resistance, it got me thinking about the benefits of allowing your mind to wander, absorb and learn from your hobbies, and how you can fold those skills into your writing. I'm a DIY nerd, so my hobbies are building things, but the points I talk about could easily apply to team sports, travel or any other hobby.

Other notes:

Create If Writing with Kirsten Oliphant

Self Publishing Journeys by Paul Teague

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The Awkward Thoughts of Kamau Bell

On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee

AuthorLife by J Thorn

Thanks for listening!

SW 016 - Abundance Mentality for Authors

SW 016 - Abundance Mentality for Authors

April 19, 2019

In this episode I talk about some changes in the SF short fiction market, new opportunities for short fiction in Kindle Unlimited anthologies, and how to push yourself to grow as an author by saying yes... but also having a plan so you don't get overwhelmed.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Tim Ferris Interviews Neal Gaiman

Thanks for listening!


SW - 015 An Interview with Josh Hayes of Keystroke Medium

SW - 015 An Interview with Josh Hayes of Keystroke Medium

April 8, 2019

In this episode, Josh Hayes jumps in for the first Speculative Work Interview. This wide-ranging conversation covers Josh's transition from a career in law enforcement to writing full-time, his philosophy about building teams like Keystroke Medium, and what he hopes to accomplish in this next exciting phase of his author career.

Bio: Josh Hayes is the author of three novels: Terra Nova, Bloodlines and Wings of Redemption, co-written with Richard Fox, with publication in many anthologies, including Chris Kennedy's Four Horsemen Universe. Josh served six years in the Air Force before leaving for a second career in law enforcement. He recently left service as a police officer to write full time, and since then, his publishing company slash podcast slash community Keystroke Medium has gone into high gear, producing a massive amount of content from podcasts and events to anthologies. On top of all that, he's a husband and the father of four young children.

For more information on Josh and his writing, please visit his webpage: www.joshhayeswriter.com

Josh is also the co-host of Keystroke Medium, with Scott Moon, Ralph Kern and Chuck Manley For the best author interviews, news and craft discussion, visit www.keystrokemedium.com. Their live shows broadcast every Monday night at 8pm CST at www.youtube.com/c/keystrokemedium

SW 014 - My Favorite Podcasts (2019)

SW 014 - My Favorite Podcasts (2019)

March 26, 2019

Today I share the current list of podcasts I'm listening to and why they're worth your time.

Mentioned in today's episode:

Thanks for listening!

SW 13 - Accentuate the Positive

SW 13 - Accentuate the Positive

March 12, 2019

Whoa now, what happens when you have a terrible couple of weeks where you don't meet your goals? Well, I try to figure that out.

But I did sell a short story!

Books discussed this episode: 

The Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft

Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard

SW 012 - Damn You Streak, WizardCon for Authors, Nebula Award Thoughts

SW 012 - Damn You Streak, WizardCon for Authors, Nebula Award Thoughts

March 1, 2019

In this episode I talk about what a sad sack I am because I finished a short story, was feeling good about myself, and then didn't write for a week. . . so the universe sent me a snow storm and a three day power outage so I could think about my sins...

...while not writing. 

So I talk about getting back on the horse after a break. I also share some thoughts about what looked like successful author tables at the Portland Wizard Con event, and then some thoughts on the current Nebula Award dust-up and where I'm choosing to focus as an author, while also wishing the best for my friends caught up in all this. 

Thanks for listening, and shoot me an email at james@jamesaaron.net with any thoughts or feedback.

SW 011 - Refurbishing a Short Story for a New Market

SW 011 - Refurbishing a Short Story for a New Market

February 11, 2019

In this episode I talk about how I take an old short story with bones that I like and update it for a new anthology market.

I touch on the lessons I've learned about genre alignment since I wrote the story back in 2016 and how I address the various issues to make it fresh. And if the story doesn't get picked up by the new market? I've got other options as well.

(I also lament the writing time I've lost to Far Cry 5, but I did blow up a lot of virtual stuff.)

SW 10 - What Author Info Should You Trust?

SW 10 - What Author Info Should You Trust?

February 5, 2019

In this episode I talk about places to find info on indie publishing, and how to vet the info you find. There's a tsunami out there, and things are changing all the time, so how do you determine what's relevant to your books? 

Mentioned in this episode:

AI Superpowers by Kai Fu Lee

The Revolt of the Public by Martin Guri


Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast

The Career Author Podcast

Creative Penn Podcast

20Booksto50k on Facebook

Question: How do you sort through the chaos of info out there to find what works for you?

SW 009 - Should You Choose SF Trad or Indie?

SW 009 - Should You Choose SF Trad or Indie?

January 28, 2019

In this episode I talk about why you might want to pursue a traditional publishing deal, starting with short stories in magazines, (and SF has many opportunities to get published in magazines) or develop a following as an indie publisher.

I think the main takeaway is that you don't have to choose one or the other. You're going to write more than one book in your career, and each new project is a new decision on the best path forward.

I'm doing my best to understand how these markets are different, how readers consume them, and what the future might hold.

Also, what does all this mean for the "field" of science fiction when established taste-makers don't seem to acknowledge that the indie market exists and is rapidly outpacing the traditional market?

Mentioned in this episode:

Blackfish City by Sam Miller

AI Superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee

Thanks for listening!

SW 008 - Are you a Dinosaur Author?

SW 008 - Are you a Dinosaur Author?

January 23, 2019

In this episode I riff off some thoughts Michael Sullivan posted in /r/fantasy on Reddit:

"People are quick to note that traditional publishing doesn’t have a good track record with regards to innovation. But can’t the same be said about the traditionally published AUTHOR who keeps operating as they always have (signing contract after contract even though the pay is less and there are other avenues that produce more income)? This seems like dinosaur behavior to me."


I do my best not to rant here or specifically call people out. I'm talking about behaviors I've seen in writers as they try to navigate a very confusing time of transition in the publishing industry.

One thing I forgot to mention is that having a clear idea of your goals as a writer will help you determine what path you want to take... but being open to all this change will help you recognize opportunities when they arise -- and they will.

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