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POINT OF VIEW: The Art of Self-Reinvention

Transformation / Reinvention

I’m in the midst of a transition as a writer, the likes of which I have never attempted before, and TBH, it scares the crap out of me.

I came into publishinh via MM romance. It wasn’t my first love – I’ve always been a huge sci fi freak, since I was a little kid – but the door was open, and I walked through it.

I don’t regret that decision – it brought me some amazing friends, a great community of writers and readers, and even some book sales along the way. But my heart was always in sci fi.

So I am taking a leap, and moving into the mainstream science fiction market.

I’ve gotten the rights back to my sci fi novels, and am rereleasing them one a month through December. After that, I’ll start putting new material aimed toward the mainstream sci fi/fantasy market, but don’t worry – my work will always be grounded in queer characters. I just won’t be writing romance anymore, per se.

Some of my friends would argue that I never really did, or that at best, I added a romantic element to my books. it’s true – the Oberon Cycle always was more sci fi with a helping of romance.

To be fair, I do have a few unabashedly romantic tales out there – “Translation”, “Slow Thaw”, and “Flames” come to mind – and these will always be near and dear to my heart. And who knows? I may feel the need to pen another someday.

But for now, I am going all-in on sci fi.

As Kellan Sparza reminded me on a panel at Nebula Con, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all your supposed failures – things that you see happening for others that aren’t (yet) happening for you. But it’s important to stop and take a look backward every now and then to see how far you have actually come.

Seven years ago, I had no published works. No one knew who I was. Queer Sci Fi was just a dream. Now I have almost 40 published stories, and people know who I am. I have fans who adore my work, and yes, I treasure every one of you.

I’ve made great strides on my reinvention too, getting published not once but twice in a mainstream spec fic magazine, and getting into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and making it up to full membership.

And today I’m a third of the way through my rereleases, with the publication of my own version of “The Rising Tide.”

So here’s where the scary comes in.

What if my rereleases don’t sell?

What if I go out on this limb, and it breaks off behind me? There’s no safety net.

These six books have been out for anywhere between a year and three, and have had their day in the sun. What makes me think I can just slap a new cover on them and sell them again?

My imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, and the fears pile up and threaten to overwhelm me.

So I close my eyes and take a deep breath, and remember:

  • I believe in myself.
  • I believe in my talent as a writer.
  • I believe in my ability to learn new things.
  • I am surrounded by friends who believe in me too.
  • I’m in this for the long haul, not a quick payout (though if the lottery gods are listening, I wouldn’t mind a quick #10 million :P).
  • And most of all – I can do this.

I might fail. It’s happened to me enough times before. But failure is a good teacher. Failure is how we learn not to do the things that broke us, and how to try things that might work better the next time.

So for now, I have a plan, a pathway to reinvention. It’s not perfect, but with every rerelease it will get a little better.

And if it doesn’t kill me first, I’ll get where I’m going.

To my writer friends, have you ever reinvented yourself? Any lessons from how you finally got there?