Sunday, 14 August 2011

Writing Diary: Sales and Manchester

A floral notebook with the caption: Polenth's Book

These are a few writing news things, delicately blended with an airport-related anecdote.

SFWA Upgrade

My third short fiction pro sale was in July (to ChiZine), so I've now upgraded to an active member of SFWA (I actually did it back in July, but I've been busy on my adventures). I'll now be able to vote for the Nebula awards. Yay!

Something I've noticed is how confused many people are about the joining requirements for SFWA. I imagine because they're relying on rumour, rather than reading the site. Myths include online markets not counting and only magazines by big publishers counting. So to add to the rumours, neither of those are true. Markets have to meet pay and readership requirements, but many on the list are online and small press/indie.


I've sold a poem to a nice place, but until I've signed the contract, that's all I'm saying. It'll be on my bibliography as soon as it's official. I've also sold a story reprint to a new ezine, Comets and Criminals. You've probably read my story, but it'll have new stuff by other people too.

Manchester Airport

Never take a connection through Manchester airport. I knew something was up when I got off the plane and there were two signs. One pointed the way for new arrivals, down a large and airy corridor. The other pointed the way for flight transfers, though a small corridor with no one else in it. Some cleaning supplies were discarded at the edges, as though it lead into a staff area. I hesitated, but it did say it was transfers, so I trusted the arrows.

The signs lead me down some narrow stairs, to some corridors that continued to look like a staff area, and through a regular-sized-door (which by then, I wondered lead into a staff room). There I waited with a few other brave souls for the bus. A bus that came every ten minutes, when my flight was boarding in fifteen minutes.

After the bus arrived, I discovered why it only came every ten minutes: it took that long to get to the transfer centre. We drove out of the main airport area, into some back streets where they stored the ground vehicles. If you're looking for a tour of the working areas of airports, Manchester transfers are the place to be.

Eventually, it stopped at the transfer centre, but it wasn't over that easily. The transfer centre's main desk was staffed by one person, who had to issue boarding cards to everyone travelling with American Airlines. The room was remarkably full of people, most appearing to have fallen asleep due to the slow processing.

With uncharacteristic boldness, due to my hatred of desks, I went to the front of the queue and said "I have a boarding card. Can I just go through?"

Initially he said no, but then he realised I was getting a domestic flight, so let me escape. The security check was strangely fast for this airport... and then it was customs. A single lady at a desk (they have a thing for desks with only one staff member). UK citizens just need their passports scanned, taking approximately two seconds. The American couple ahead of me, who'd failed to fill out their customs forms correctly, took a lot longer.

Once the couple finally figured out how pens worked, I got my passport scanned, and was deposited by another sign pointing to flight transfers. There was a moment of dread as I sprinted across the airport, that I'd have to get yet another bus. I wouldn't be on the flight if I had to wait another ten minutes. But the flight transfers signs gave way to gate number signs. Getting to a gate in the hundreds from the starting point of gate one was a fair distance, but there were at least not too many people in the way.

Always pack your hand luggage into a backpack. It makes running much easier.

I arrived late, but the flight was slightly delayed, so it all worked out in the end. If I had been travelling overseas, I never would have got my boarding card in time, even with the flight delay. And if I hadn't realised the sign was wrong about needing to wait in the queue, I might have missed the flight for no reason. The only upside is my baggage clearly had an easier time of it, and arrived without any issues at my final destination. Next time, I'm disguising myself as a suitcase.


  1. Ah, thanks for that tip about SFWA. I'd decided to self publish and so didn't have any hoping of ever joining. But maybe I can slid in under the door through short stories!

  2. Congrats on your third pro sale! Way to go!

  3. Since I hate flying, I don't like airports. Yet I like airplanes.

    Go figure.

  4. Sarah, Shorts will also help bring in readers for your self-published stuff, so it's win-win.

    fairyhedgehog, Yay!

    ralfast, I like fun flying, but the international trips are a chore.