My first professional contract

Got my contract from Dell Magazines yesterday, the parent group of Analog Science Fiction & Fact.

Not that I ever doubted the letter Stan Schmidt sent me, but it’s nice to now see the actual legal document and hold it in my hands.

As firsts go, it feels like a mighty big first. And it also makes me remember.

This single contract alone — for a single story — is worth the better part of double what I was getting paid, twice a week, from my first steady job I held back in 1995. I was doing graves and swings back then, punching a clock for a motel. During the slow season I stole what time I could, to write on the job. Back then I still harbored delusions that it would be an easy step to publishing in the digests, with my ultimate goal being novels. At that time I figured I’d be working full-time as a novelist before I reached the age of 30.

How life and reality find a way to slap us down, when we’re young and dreaming!

But I can’t complain. I did a lot with myself in the last 15 years, and I think my writing has been helped a heap because of it. It sucked having to wait so long for these entry-level successes, but then nothing worth doing is ever easy. Or so my Dad always said, and as I’ve learned since turning 30, Dad has been right about virtually everything. And continues to be more right about more stuff, every day.

In fact, I’d dare say the long wait has made the break-in just that much more sweet. I savor it now in a way I know I’d not have savored it back then, and I just hope I’ve learned enough practical and creative lessons build on this initial success.