I never met Jay Lake, and unfortunately now I never will, but I wish I had and then I could have said thank you.
If you don’t know who he was, Jay was a writer, most notably of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I became aware of Jay not through his fiction but through his blog. He blogged a lot, about his fiction, about writing, about his life and latterly about the cancer he was fighting. I found his words of wisdom when I needed them the most, I’d been writing for a while but was beginning to despair that I would never be good enough, that no one would ever buy one of my stories. It was the open manner in which Jay discussed his writing which helped me, honest, unpretentious and not a hint of arrogance. He was a writer trying to make a career out of writing and he was prepared to help others along the way with whatever tidbits he could. I can’t remember the exact advice, I just remember the feeling of comfort and strength I gained from them. The feeling that I shouldn’t give up, that I should enjoy writing, that everyone has something to learn and that by writing and writing and writing you could get better and other people may start to enjoy your stories.
Jay also helped me with his advice about marketing stories. He submitted short stories to lots and lots of magazines, small and big, and his approach helped me see that it is marketing, it’s an entirely different game to writing itself. The spreadsheet that he had used to track the submission of stories to markets, and which he posted online free for anyone to use, was a revelation. He had stats! I still use that spreadsheet now. Thanks for that Jay.
And thanks for all the advice that you gave me. You never even knew me, let alone knew how useful the advice was to me. You kept me going. Not only is the legacy that you left behind your own stories, but also mine too. I intend to make it a good legacy.