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Not Safe For Words

Not Safe For Words

By Crystal L. Kirkham
An opinion podcast about writing, the writing community, and how to not be an asshole author hosted by author and publisher, Crystal L. Kirkham.
All views expressed in this podcast are entirely my own, devised with the knowledge and research available to me at the time of recording. They do not represent the opinions of any other entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. However, I am human and subject to error. Gentle correction is always appreciated.
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Unpaid Anthologies: A Scam or a Foot in the Door?
"It's good exposure!" There is a phrase that every artist has heard at  least once in seriousness. When it comes to writing, there are a lot of  unpaid anthologies. Some are legitimately a foot in the door and others  aren't. You need to know the difference and understand both sides of this coin.
July 20, 2022
Free is Great, But Is It Right?
Free stories on a blog or website can be awesome. Everyone likes something for free and you're putting your work out there, but are you doing yourself and your stories a disservice?
July 06, 2022
Meet Me Outside: Calling People Out
You see that post that makes you wonder if someone is intentionally being an ass or if you might be misreading things—what do you do? This can be a hard line to toe and the wrong response might do your career as a writer a lot of damage.
June 22, 2022
When the Mask Comes Off
What to do and how to deal with those in the writing community that turn  out to be bigots, predators, or otherwise loathsome people. And what do you do if this person is someone you used to admire?
June 08, 2022
Dealing with Bitter Bastards
You made a sale! You signed a contract! Things are going well! Most  people are really damned happy for you—keyword is most. There will be  some bitter bastards always trying to drag you down. Don't let them.
May 25, 2022
Did I Ask For Your Opinion?
Unsolicited advice is one of those things that will always happen. People have opinions and far too many of them like to wave those opinions around for others to see.  Don't be that person.
May 25, 2022
Professionalism Part Deux
So, you got a bad review, a critique that hurt, sales are slagging or another rejection came back. It happens, but being publicly negative doesn't help your case.
April 27, 2022
Rejection: It's Not You, It's Me
Every author trying to go the route of traditional publishing will face  rejection. It's crushing, but it isn't the end of your writing career unless you let it be.
April 13, 2022
I Object! Where's the Objectivity?
It's all subjective, even when someone tries to be critical and objective about things. This is an art, not a science. Dealing with shit is easier when you remember that fact.
April 05, 2022
Dealing with Bad Reviews
***Sorry about the technical issues on this episode guys. My computer was fighting and freezing the entire recording!** There is no doubt that some people really do not know how to leave a review without being unreasonable or mean. As an author, it's going to happen and you need to be able to handle it. 
March 16, 2022
The Art of Leaving Reviews
Leaving a review, especially for a book that wasn't that great, isn't easy to do. Some reviewers don't seem to care about balance, but the art of a good review—even of a bad book—is balance.
March 02, 2022
Critique Group Chaos
Critique groups have their place, but there are some horror stories out  there. Cliquey, bad advice, and other writing group drama will happen.  So, is it worth your time?
February 16, 2022
Give It and Get It: Construcive Criticism
Giving and receiving constructive criticism is a careful balancing act—one that a lot of people struggle with. So, let's talk about the tightrope walk we take both when receiving and giving criticism. 
February 02, 2022
New Year, New Rants
Welcome to a whole new year of Not Safe For Words! We're going to give a bit deeper into dealing with others as a writer—including the ones you'd like to see fall off the face of the planet. From readers to reviewers to other authors. We'll cover as much as we can in the next twenty-two episodes. 
January 19, 2022
Hindsight is 2021
Looking back on the first year of Not Safe For Words. I'm glad to have  shared this journey with you. Here are a few of the lessons we learned, a  few more words of advice, and a challenge (homework if you will) as we  move forward toward a new year. I hope you join me for season two starting January 19, 2022.
December 08, 2021
It's Not A Marathon or a Race: It's Trek
How often has someone said, "It's a marathon, not a race" when talking about the long haul to becoming a published author? If you haven't heard that before, consider yourself lucky. There's only one problem with this phrase: it's not a marathon. In a marathon, the first one across the line wins. Publishing isn't a competition though. It's a  journey—a trek through the wilderness—and we are all in it together.
November 24, 2021
Writer's Block or Burnout: Know the Difference
Writer's block. It's a phrase that is thrown around a lot, but did you  know that there is something called writer's burnout too? Let's talk  about what these two things are, how to tell the difference, and what  you can do for getting through both.
November 10, 2021
Getting It Done: That Far Away Finish Line
How often do you hear others complaining about not being able to finish?  Have you complained about this too? We've all been there, but getting it finished is one of the first steps to getting it published. Okay,  but how the hell do we do that if inspiration or motivation might be lacking? Or if we are staring down the barrel of writer's block or burnout?
October 27, 2021
Fast Drafting: Permission to Suck
With all the advice to be found—my own included—you need to decide what  works for you and what doesn't. Fast drafting is a tool that not  everyone knows or understands. Including the one thing that makes fast  drafting work better for some than others.
October 13, 2021
NaNoWriMo: It's Not For Everyone
National Novel Writing Month. It's not for everyone and it may not be what you think it is. I've been doing this since 2008 and here are a few truths about NaNoWriMo to help you decide if you want to take part.
September 29, 2021
Plotting It All Out
Outlining. There are a million different ways to do this. Some people  hate planning it all out, but there are times when it is necessary.
September 15, 2021
Writing By the Seat of Your Pants
Pantsing is a term used to describe a style of writing where there is no outline, no real plan. You discover the story as you go, but can this work for you?
September 01, 2021
Try It, Don't Buy It
Experimentation can help you grow as a writer. Trying your hand at new  genres and styles can teach you things and enrich your writing.
August 18, 2021
Long Story Short
Microfiction, flash fiction, drabbles, short stories, novelettes, novellas and novels. Some of these are overlapping terms, but they are all different things and you need to know the difference.
August 06, 2021
KISS Your Manuscript Formatting
Formatting a manuscript isn't rocket science. Best advice you can follow is the KISS principle. Keep it simple.
July 29, 2021
A Thousand Paths
The journey to becoming a published author isn't going to be quick and easy. It's also going to look different for everyone.
July 21, 2021
Comparison Titles: A Necessary Evil
Be original, but tell us what books your story will remind us of. I know it seems confusing, but here's why agents and publishers ask for them, how to find them, and what it might mean for your book. 
July 07, 2021
Genre-ly Confused
You've got to know your genres to get your book into the right  hands—whether reader, agent, or publisher. If you don't nail this part,  there is a good chance things aren't going to go so smoothly. And with so many genres and sub-genres to keep track of, sometimes this is a monumental task.
June 23, 2021
The Query Conundrum
You've got your manuscript, you bled for your synopsis... now you must query the publishers and/or agent if you're aiming for more traditional publishing. This all means, you're also likely to get a lot of rejections. Resources mentioned: and
June 09, 2021
Synopsis? Oh, no!
The dreaded synopsis is something that nearly every author out there  moans and groans about. I can't promise you'll ever like writing them,  but here's some advice on how to get the right.
May 26, 2021
Pitching it on Twitter
Twitter pitch events can be an exciting whirlwind. Here's what they are,  how they work, and how to not waste your time if you decide to  participate.
May 12, 2021
Is it Ready?
You've been working on that manuscript forever—or it seems that way—but how do you know it's ready to be submitted to a publisher? Well, that is the hard question and, hopefully, I can help you find some answers.
April 28, 2021
Alpha, Beta, CP, ARC: Your Early Readers
Who are these people? How do you find them? And why you should use them? Book recommendation: Early Readers Catch the Worms by Carol Beth Anderson On a totally unrelated note, happy 42nd Anniversary to my parents. I love you and thank you for believing in me. xoxoxo
April 14, 2021
Reasonable Expectations
You're probably not going to be an international best-selling author—and you need to be okay with that.
March 31, 2021
Publishing Process in a Nutshell
From the final draft to the bookstore shelves, it's time we lay out what to expect from the publishing process. There's a whole lot of hurry up and wait going on.
March 17, 2021
Pen Name Problems
There are good reasons to use a pen name. There are even good reasons to write under an assumed gender. There are also a few things you should never do—and I don't say never lightly.
March 03, 2021
Pay to Play
When you're submitting work for genre publishers, you should never be asked to pay for anything to do with submitting—no matter how innocently it is stated.
February 21, 2021
Author Branded
People talk about building your "author brand", but what the hell does that even mean? What is an author brand?
February 17, 2021
There's only one way to grow and build a community... and it doesn't start with keeping people out.
February 16, 2021
Your Intro to Bonus Episodes
One of the things about this podcast is that you are going to find the  occasional bonus episode peppered among the regularly scheduled  programming. These short little episodes will answer your questions or respond to current issues in the writing community. If you want me to do a hot-take bonus episode about anything, let me know! Ideally, drop me a line on Twitter. I am @canuckclick
February 10, 2021
Putting the Pro in Professional
Being an author, or even an aspiring author, means having to be professional, but it seems a few people out there missed the memo. Here are a few quick tips on why it's important and how to do it.
February 03, 2021
Not Safe For Words - Your NSFW Writers Podcast
Welcome to Not Safe For Words. In this first season, we are taking a  more general approach to understand publishing, the writing community,  and how not to be an asshole author. But today, we're talking about me and how this podcast came to be.
January 20, 2021
Hey! Buy My Book!
Being an author is hard. Being a professional author or aspiring author  on social media can be so much harder. Especially when you don't know all the rules.
January 18, 2021
Dear Twitter Friend
This is just a tiny example of what sort of things you can expect to hear about in this podcast along with actual advice on what it takes to be an author.
January 15, 2021
Why should you even listen to me?
Here's a rundown of what you can expect from me, why you should even listen to me and this podcast. Not to mention, why you should damn well listen.
January 13, 2021
Expect the Unexpected - Bonus
Happy solstice friends. I wasn't planning to record this—it just happened. Consider it your Christmas bonus.
December 21, 2020