Great Paris Review interview with the amazing Ursula K. Le Guin. Two quick points:
Le Guin mentions getting an early boost from Ace Doubles, a series by Ace Publishing that sought to put out two short novels combined in one book. I love this idea – and what great covers they had! Worth a roam through the Internet to read about this cool series from the ’50s.
I was also struck by the helping hand Le Guin got from her father:
When you began sending your work out into the world, did you have some idea of the writer you wanted to be?
I knew by then that my main shtick was fiction, but that I would always write poetry. My first publications were all poetry, and that’s partly because of my father. He realized that sending out poetry is quite a big job. It takes method and a certain amount of diligence and a good deal of time. And he said, I could help you do that, that would be fun! He got interested in the subculture of the little magazines and realized that it is a little world, with rules all its own.
So he studied it anthropologically?
He was curious about everything! And he actually did some of the mailing-out stuff.
Most writers I know are a little overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to do around your writing. And – let’s face it – even your most supportive loved ones might scratch their heads sometimes, trying to be helpful but not knowing where to begin. And that’s if they like your work! If they don’t… well, they still have love to give, and um, sweaters, I guess.
So if that’s you – if you have a writer in your life and are in the mood for showing a little support, why not offer to take something off their hands? Handle some of the mailing, or the tweeting, or the formatting for eBooks, or the cover design, or the interactions with the editors, or the research, or the web design… well, anything that you think might be useful. (And also give them something nice they can open, of course, so you don’t feel like a little kid trying to get away with giving “chores” as a present.)