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Speculative.Work: A Science Fiction Author Diary

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Follow Science Fiction author James S. Aaron on his writing-publishing journey. He's seven novels into a writing career while still balancing the day job and family, including a new baby. Sleep mostly optional.

Follow Science Fiction author James S. Aaron on his writing-publishing journey. He's seven novels into a writing career while still balancing the day job and family, including a new baby. Sleep mostly optional.
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Follow Science Fiction author James S. Aaron on his writing-publishing journey. He's seven novels into a writing career while still balancing the day job and family, including a new baby. Sleep mostly optional.






SW 017 - Use Your Hobby to Strengthen Your Writing

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...


SW 016 - Abundance Mentality for Authors

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

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,...


SW 014 - My Favorite Podcasts (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: American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North AmericaDemon-Haunted WorldCalypsoJeremy Fielding on YouTubeAeon 14 PodcastSentence to ParagraphCreative Penn PodcastScience Fiction and Fantasy Marketing PodcastKeystroke MediumWriter's JourneySci-Fi ShenanigansHow do you WriteCreate If WritingSell More Books ShowThe Career Author...


SW 13 - Accentuate the Positive

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

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...


SW 011 - Refurbishing a Short Story for a New Market

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?

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 Kboards Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast The Career Author Podcast Creative Penn Podcast 20Booksto50k on Facebook Question: How do you sort through the...


SW 009 - Should You Choose SF Trad or Indie?

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...


SW 008 - Are you a Dinosaur Author?

In this episode I riff off some thoughts Michael Sullivan posted in /r/fantasy on Reddit: (https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/afmkie/some_insights_on_author_income_in_the_wake_of_the/) 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...


SW 007 - End of Year Accounting for Writers

Should you hire an accountant? Maybe not. I'm using one, but I talk about why and what questions you might ask yourself before making the decision. Resources mentioned in this episode: Revolt of the Public by Martin Gurri Blackfish City by Sam Miller Future of Violence Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Joe Solari's Youtube Channel Subscribe to my Youtube Channel so I can give it a name! (I have one subscriber... you could be number 2!) Thanks for listening.


SW 006 - Should You Join a Writing Group?

In this episode I talk about some things I wish I had known when I first joined a critique group. Should I have joined an accountability or mastermind group instead? How do critique groups work and what are some common pitfalls you might need to look out for? Mentioned in this episode: Atomic Habits by James Clear Keystroke Medium Podcast Quick Sips Reviews If you'd take a second to subscribe to my youtube channel, you'll help me get to a 100 subs so I can set a custom URL, which would...


The Speculative.Work Podcast 005 - Goals for 2019 and Atomic Habits

Everybody loves a goals show! Let's throw down the gauntlet for 2019 so I can look back and either be pleased with my progress or shed tears in my beer. I talk about production, health and financial goals for 2019, as well establishing a strong author brand. Mentioned in this podcast: Atomic Habits by James Clear Word Count Tracker (excel doc download) Thanks for listening!


The Speculative.Work Podcast - A reading from the Proteus Bridge by James S. Aaron

Here's a reading from the Proteus Bridge (2018). This is the first chapter in the novel. (Warning, a very frustrated parrot drops an F-bomb.)


The Speculative.Work Podcast 004 - 2018 Retrospective

(from The Expanse, Season 2) Episode 004 - I take a look at my writing in 2018, accomplishments and changes. I wrote about 600k words, published five books, became an admin with 20Booksto50k and my daughter arrived. That's some stuff! Books Mentioned in this episode: This is Marketing by Seth Godin The Revolt of the Public by Martin Gurri The Future of Violence by by Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday They Thought They...


Speculative.Work Episode 003 - Feeling Overwhelmed as a Creative

Episode 3 - In this episode I talk about some strategies I've used to not feel so overwhelmed when taking on a new project. I focus mostly on writing a novel, but these techniques apply to any project. As always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email at james@jamesaaron.net. Thanks for listening!


The Speculative.Work Podcast Episode 002

Episode 2 - A bit more on resistance, series plotting, character-based plots, using templates and learning from other genres. Books mentioned in the podcast: This is Marketing by Seth GodinThe Inevitable by Kevin KellyWriting the Break-Out Novel by Donald Maas


A Reading from Vesta Burning

James S. Aaron reading from the latest Legends of the Sentience Wars book, Vesta Burning, available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited (https://amzn.to/2PbPMu4)


The Speculative.Work Podcast Episode 001

Episode 1 - Getting my feet wet, talking about creative resistance, getting a jump on the new year, accomplishments for November 2018 and goals for the next week. Full notes at Speculative.Work