The fourth of five pieces on the writing/publication process.

Luck - The publishing world is as idiosyncratic as can be. Don't try to write what you think will sell, it's like trying to pick stocks you think will rise. Write what you feel, what you yourself would like to read.

How did I get a book accepted? Over the years I'd developed a relationship with several magazine editors. One was Sam Bellotto, editor of Perihelion Science Fiction. I wrote him around the time they published "The Expansion of Space,"--my sixth story with them--and mentioned that I really enjoyed the columns of their book reviewer Carol Kean. He said he'd pass that along to her.

The next day I got an email from Carol: "Brian, whoever you are, I love you!" I wrote back and said, well if you love me, how would you like to read a story I'm working on now. She read it and asked for more. I ended up sending her several pieces. At one point she said "Do you have a collection published?" I said "No." She said, "You need one. You write better than 90% of the authors whose books I review," and she sent me the names of several publishers to contact.

After having agonized about collections in the past (and never getting anywhere), I put this one together quickly. It would be in three parts. Magical realism stories, horror stories, and science fiction stories. And I wanted a mix of published and unpublished stories.

I sent it off to the places Carol mentioned. Some time later Rogue Star Press picked the book up. I found out later that Carol had written them on my behalf.

Was that luck--or persistence? Probably a bit of both. Sam might never have passed my note on to Carol; she could simply have filed it away in her fan folder, or had been too busy to read what I sent . . .

The point of all this is that if you develop your talents, work hard, and are persistent, eventually a publisher will notice and give you a chance.

That leads to #5 . . . {to be continued}