Since he vowed to become a professional SF author two years ago, Sunil Patel has published nine stories. In a two-part essay (Part One here, Part Two here), Patel explains how he wrote each of those stories and made each of those sales. For anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a science-fiction writer, Patel breaks the process down with personal lessons ranging from the unexpected (“Be on Twitter 24/7”) to the all-too-often-ignored (“Don’t be a dick”). It’s the kind of nuts-and-bolts intro to the SF marketplace that new authors almost never get. It doesn’t hurt that the author of “Sally the Psychic Alligator” has a sharp sense of humor about the whole process.

Patel works the Internet like a maestro at every stage, using online resources to come up with ideas, workshop stories, and hone in on the perfect market for sales. Would-be writers: now it’s your turn.

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