Endings and beginnings …

Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day for me. I shall be handing over the reins (or even reigns) of Brighton (and Hove actually) National Novel Writing Month to my excellent successors, Fiona Wallace and Alex Allsworth. After three years I thought it was time to step aside and let somebody else have a go at running November’s novel-fest, and I shall certainly enjoy only having to write 50,000 words in thirty days, without the pressure of organising events and being coach and cheerleader to the other wrimos too. They will be great Municipal Liaisons, of that I have no doubt. But I shall miss the excitement of watching ‘my’ novelists cross the line one by one …

As far as beginnings are concerned, I intend, once the formal handover dinner is done, to write a brief outline of the science fiction novel I want to make a good start on in November. It’s been bugging me for over a year now, and Ren is still complaining that because I wrote an erotic novel last November, I haven’t tackled a piece of long sci-fi for nearly two years. So I am really quite looking forward to being Ren again for a while.

And my copy of the R D Lawrence Commemorative Anthology – Liaisons II, arrived today. There’s some wonderful work in it (and a short story by me) and I’m thrilled to have my name featured as part of a tribute to this wonderful man. That makes 22 anthologies on my bookshelf, if you include the two Smokelongs which are actually annuals – so here’s a question. Is 22 anthology publications in four years good, bad or average? I really don’t know – does anybody else have an answer?


  1. Anonymous
    30th August 2007

    Kay, do you honestly want to know or are you looking for praise? Some writers don’t send their work to anthologies at all so who are you measuring your success against?

  2. Kay Sexton
    30th August 2007

    Well, anonymous, this blog is about the life of a working writer – somebody who makes a living from writing fiction, which is a position I state regularly so; (a) I’m not looking for praise but an answer and (b) I’m measuring my success against others who make a living from fiction – ’nuff said?

  3. Anonymous
    30th August 2007

    Well, you’re in twenty two anthologies more than me, so it ain’t half bad. I’d be ecstatic 🙂

    But to put my business cap on, even with that publishing record, Kay, I would tend to say to make something above just a ‘living’ you’re going to have to get a novel out on the shelves, so good luck with the sci-fi (love to see a synopsis if you ever want to put one up).

    Mark H.

  4. Kay Sexton
    31st August 2007

    From your mouth to any passing God’s ears, Mark! I know that a novel is the bedrock of a writing career and I hope it won’t be too long before either novel one or novel two finds a home. But in any case, I shall just keep on writing …

  5. Vanessa G
    31st August 2007

    22 anthology contributions sounds fantastic going, Kay. To me, it would be just wonderful, without the rider that you want to look at it from a ‘working writer’s ‘ viewpoint.

    I gues one of the questions you need to ask is therefore, not how many books are on the shelf with your (or Ren’s or other personas) work in them… but how much the 22 contributions have earned you.

    It would be fascinating to break it down into the different genres you write in… to see which is the most profitable.

    I could hazard a guess… well written erotica probably pays the best. Anything remotely ‘literary’, the least!

    Whatever, it is a fantastic achievement.


  6. Kay Sexton
    31st August 2007

    Well, I think you already know the answer Vanessa! Five of the 22 are erotica anthologies and those five paid me about six times what I got from the science fiction and literary anthologies put together. But that’s also about the ratio I find in magazine publication, so I assume it’s relatively standard.

    As a basic rule of thumb, you can say that where a literary magazine pays £30, an erotica one will find something between £150 and £200 to fill your pockets. God bless Carmel, she pays the mortgage!

  7. Vanessa G
    1st September 2007

    Sigh… I’m just in the wrong job!


  8. SallyQ
    9th September 2007

    I think 22 anthologies in four years is very impressive, Kay, whether you earned a fortune from them or not, and I’d be happy to be as successful. Earning money from writing is great, but the thrill of having an editor rate your work and use it is just as great.


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