Notifications
Clear all

What level is considered professional?

 
LambentTyto
(@lambenttyto)
Active Member
Posts: 23

I've gotten HMs and a Silver HM in the final quarter of 2020, and was wondering at what level is your story considered "professional quality" despite not placing?

Rejections: 1
HMs: 2
SHM: 1

Quote
Topic starter Posted : March 14, 2021 1:46 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 746

That’s not really something that can be judged objectively, at least not easily. WotF is one market, but several people have sold HMs or even flat rejections for pro rates. Different editors have different needs and judgements and priorities, so what one market rejects another may buy. The only way to know is to send the stories out.

Technically (generally?) the definition of professional in spec fic is when you get the SFWA pro rate for the story - currently $.08/word. The more basic definition is if someone pays you for your words, you’re a professional author. Markets (again, in spec fic) tend to be broken down by no pay, token pay (less than one cent per word), semi-pro pay (payment per word less than $.08/word), and pro pay.

Hope that helps.

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: F, SHM, P, P
Available for critiques - PM for availability.
www.rebeccaetreasure.com

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 14, 2021 1:50 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

I've gotten HMs and a Silver HM in the final quarter of 2020, and was wondering at what level is your story considered "professional quality" despite not placing?

The only way you know is when a respectable market buys it, and even then I shake my head at times. But finalist should be considered at pro level here—it was good enough to be considered for inclusion in a bestselling anthology. Many semifinalists must be there as well, as Preston Dennet proved when someone bowed out and his semifinalist was put in the mix and won. I know of another that happened to as well.

Another way to find out is to hire an editor that actually has pro sales to edit your story. If they can find little to improve, you’ve done your job right. They’ll tell you if it’s there or not. I know I do—it’s the only way to help.

A friend with pro sales might be able to advise, but they’ve got a vested interest in keeping your friendship, so I’ve found they’re often softer in their analysis.

Keep sending it out to respectable markets and go write your next. That is the mark of a pro. wotf009

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 16, 2021 7:15 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1114

I have a hard time quantifying whether one of my own stories is pro level or not unless it sells, especially because every market has their own interests and standards. Based on Dave and Kary's feedback, I've been under the impression that there have been a lot of good stories in WotF lately--an SHM might have the quality of an SF or F, but there's just plain not enough room.

Oddly enough, I've only sold one of my SFs/Fs, and the sale was to a semi-pro magazine. I don't actually think I've sold any of my SHMs yet, either, although I don't have time to check that at the moment. I've written stories that never made it to WotF, but sold to other anthologies or magazines (and a few of those sold on their first submission). I've revised flat Rs and HMs into stories that sold at other publications.

Technically (generally?) the definition of professional in spec fic is when you get the SFWA pro rate for the story - currently $.08/word. The more basic definition is if someone pays you for your words, you’re a professional author. Markets (again, in spec fic) tend to be broken down by no pay, token pay (less than one cent per word), semi-pro pay (payment per word less than $.08/word), and pro pay.

Truth! Also, useful info.

A friend with pro sales might be able to advise, but they’ve got a vested interest in keeping your friendship, so I’ve found they’re often softer in their analysis.

Depends on the friends, in my experience--I have a few people who I can trust to give me fairly solid feedback on the regular, and our rapport has actually helped us be more honest with each other over time. I've had a massive spike in sales since I started sharing stories with that group, and a large part of that is definitely due to the feedback I received from them.

I will admit, we try not to be harsh--but we're always truthful with each other. We also workshop solutions, share and discuss writing tips, and help each other stay motivated when the going gets tough. I'd argue the key to going this route successfully is finding friends who build you up while simultaneously helping you see where you can improve. It's important to know what you're doing right as well as what you're doing wrong (and how to do better regardless).

Keep sending it out to respectable markets and go write your next. That is the mark of a pro. wotf009

This, I agree with whole-heartedly. wotf007

EDIT: No idea why BBC isn't working for this post. *flips table*

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 17, 2021 3:42 am
Sarah-Jane Moldenhauer
(@roastiebean)
Active Member
Posts: 6

I really think there is not right answer to this question.

I personally, love a story to be emotional. The next person might look for a story that is clever, or at least, challenges their mind like an unsolved puzzle. You cannot write for every person out there, so, perhaps choose your audience and see what sells. If your audience is teenagers, believe me, make the reading too difficult and you will lose them in a second. Kids in their teens are simple creatures of habits, wants and needs. This may sound redundant, but researching your target market and reading books of people who are actually successful, not success based on social media crap or because a million other people recommended it, no, based more on how people found the book. Like, was it easy to read? Did the person enjoy the story? Was the story expected and normal, but still good by making the characters appeal to the reader? The same way I find coders overcomplicate design which is wholly unnecessary, I find sometimes, that writers do the same. I am actually too complicated with my writing style. Let that sink in for a moment. To you, or others, I may write normal, basic, uninteresting. However, it took me working in a marketing department at a college here in the UK, to realise how complicated I was actually sounding. It was a humbling experience when I realised kids between the ages of 16 and 25, wanted wording that is simple and straightforward. More humbling, when I had my interviews handed to me time and time again, asking me to write more plainly and in 'easy-to-understand- language. Kids/teenagers and young adults do not get metaphors, they do not engage with reading like people my age once did in our younger years, and they certainly do not understand simple human interaction any more. Heck, based on my own experiences and coming from a different country, I realised very quickly how different some people were and the expectations they had about behaviour and interaction. It was interesting. Later, I did a course on a platform created by the civil service. That is when it dawned on me- just write plainly and simply. Do not go overboard. Do not even go overboard in describing rooms, events or situations. Unless you have a job where adequate description is wanted and needed, like a health and safety officer that is filling a form, do not get too complicated with wording. Instead, tell a darn good story. Inspire, help someone laugh, and sometimes cry. Then your work as an author- is done! Smile

ReplyQuote
Posted : April 21, 2021 5:18 pm
Share: