How many times have I heard someone gushing over their own prose? It’s vomit inducing and leaves me self conscious for most of my day.
I’m not talking about jealousy of another writer’s work, no, I am talking about the real envy that comes when someone seems to enjoy writing. I always took a small measure of comfort in the belief that all writers are masochists.
Setting aside personal time, staring at the blank screen then counting the number of blinks the cursor makes before you type in the next vowel felt necessary.
Then, all of a sudden, I’m confronted with johnny types-a-lot whose sparkling grin,stretched ear to ear, becomes the ultimate slap to all my masochistic endeavors. This wasn’t a tormented soul that gets up every morning, resurrected, to hoist themselves on that black and white cross.
Confronting that early in life sort of gave me the writing jitters. I clammed up at the keyboard, wondering if my pursuits were flawed, or if I was working against something that was innate in others.
Could I be doing this all for the wrong reason? Was I addicted to an aesthetic, a lifestyle of the sagacious old writer in twill concentrated on each pen stroke?
I hate twill, however, I love to be “tormented.” I sought that tortured artist motif and used it as a crutch to avoid my responsibility as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I am unfettered from the struggle of writing, but at least I identified the thing that keeps me from producing. It is so easy to give in to the thrill of production and a day or nights work with actual atrocity. I could be alone in this, but if by some chance you feel this way, I’d advise taking a stronger look at the way you approach coming to the keyboard.
Can mitigating martyrdom help eak out a few more paragraphs? I have been approaching the whole thing in measures. I always want to get a certain number of words for each sitting. If I go over or under, then that is not a loss of my time. The real loss is when I sit on my hands and bemoan my own tortured time plugging away at my latest edition of “Zach, tortured auteur.” Now, I use a simple mantra, “find my time, find my place, find my mindset then write.
“I think it would be therapeutic for me to write a post for our blog where I tear the shit out of movie x.” Zach said.
I smiled and nodded, happy he planned to contribute to our NAWG blog.
“But would a negative post benefit our blog in the long run?” I wondered.
Another group member and I resolved we would keep our blog a positive constructive place. Then again, Zach is our resident curmudgeon, if anyone can get away with a grouchy post, it’s him.
As I‘ve been viewing more content, I keep coming back to wondering if critical content is part of a healthy blogging habit. And if “negative” or “rant” content has a place, what’s the correct ratio to add it into a blog? Should ever blog or blogger share all opinions whether negative or positive? Am I as positive as. I portray, or is that a persona shown for approval? Even in some of my perky posts, on the edges lingers this acknowledgement of themes I don’t like.
Today there will be no dodging the question. Should we blog critical, negative, snarky, or tea spilling posts?
-Being seen as petty/mean/opinionated/loud/aggressive/bossy
-Being seen as a person who views writing as a competition and your review as a way to tear down the competition
-Risk of hurting the feelings of another human being
-Burning through the community’s goodwill for you
-Bringing you own work forward for scrutiny as you’ve scrutinized others
-Making an error or oversight in your analysis could cause you being on the end of critical content. Or you may see your own oversight, go to adjust your post and learn you’ve created an audience not open to evolving opinions.
-Negative attention is still attention and if a book/technique is damaging, you may choose not to mention them at all so you don’t accidentally drive sales to something you don’t support
-Closing venues for conversation and becoming a place to come bash an idea
-Crossing the line and getting personal in an attack (and this is NEVER) good.
-Depending on what you don’t like, risking the chance you’ll stand in the company of other opinions you find offensive or wrong
-People love drama/controversy. There is a reason videos and posts labeled “spilling the tea” or “throwing shade” rank so high and it’s because everyone loves to watch a fight.
-As Zach said, rants are therapeutic
-Sometimes critical or negative reviews are a person’s truth and I believe authenticity is more important than being nice.
-Others can misinterpret silence as approval and I don’t want to support something I didn’t like.
-Bringing critical opinions forward presents a whole and balanced person. Not someone full of eternal praise
-A negative element of an otherwise good work should be called out. A person can love something that isn’t perfect and acknowledging flaws is part of a full discussion
-The things I didn’t like may help a crowd of people who like those elements find a new favorite. What I didn’t like might be something you love about a book
This conversation is more personal than the other #bebold articles because I present as a positive person. Get to know me better and I’ll spin out into a rant on X or Y and I like to think it’s funny. People laugh, whether from the shock of me going from sunshine to dark in a blink of an eye or because I have a strong delivery, is hard to tell. The thing is, I like to read a room before sharing, and you can’t read a room in the internet.
Unlike the “silence is approval school” I’m from the “if you have nothingnice to say, then say nothing” school. I’m sensitive to even small gestures of disapproval in others and worry over their reactions if they find out I don’t enjoy their favorite show. In the past, I’ve compromised under the guise of kindness. I post all reviews to Goodreads but don’t make blogs from bad books. Recently I’d considered writing a bottom 5 books of 2018 and dismissed the idea. Three of the books were from a single author and it struck me as excessively mean spirited to single out an author this way.
I’m dipping my toes into critical reviews while blogging. First, I wrote a post on why I stopped reading Daily Science Fiction. It’s not mean, but it expresses that I didn’t like the site or most of the stories on offer. My 2018 book year in review shares both positive and negative thoughts on books. Even then, most of my critical feedback revolves around non-fiction books that present bad/dangerous science. I feel like giving them lower scores is a public service. Do your research world!
I wrote a critical review on a writing class I took. There I spoke out because I’d paid money for the class. If it had been free, there would be no post. The posts gathered the low end of average views.
Currently I’m brainstorming a series of posts called “Writing Cliches” where I discuss overused techniques in genres and why they bother me/what else you can do. I think it will be snarky fun with a goal of helping writers avoid played out scenarios and offering other ways to move the story.
Should you write a critical post? I don’t really know.
I love reading critical posts where the writer explores what worked, where they suggest how idea x could come across better, or where they pitch a “better” story. Occasionally, I even enjoy a certain level of mean snark. That said, I’m not comfortable with the format. Even as I enjoy consuming some of this style of content, I prefer to create the helpful, glass half full kinds of posts. More than the other posts discussed in this #BeBold series, I suggest moderation. A few critical posts go a long way after all.
Welcome to January’s resolution time! Two weeks is enough time to reflect on 2018 and decide what you might want in 2019 right? That’s right, I’m talking writers’ goals! It’s that fun and dreaded time to commit to completing story X, writing Y amount of words a day, seeking and learning from critical feedback, improving weakness C in your writing, ect. What’s your writing resolution(s)?
It’s been a year since the North Alabama Writers’ Group posted in this blog, and I opened our first post with New Year’s Resolutions. It seems fitting that 365 days later, I offer a reminder that a writers’s group can help you reach those goals.
Why Join a Writers’ Group?
People join writing groups, classes, and programs for many reasons. I think the two primary reasons to join/meet is:
-Improve writing. We are looking for someone to suggest skills and styles we don‘t have. We may need proofreading. We are looking for others to help us past writer’s block. Or maybe we just need another person to tell us we’ve “jumped the shark” or lost reader’s interest.
-Motivate us to keep writing. A constant struggle whether a hobby or full-time is to keep writing and maintain commitment to the one project. We may love that work as we’ve loved nothing else in our lives, but it is difficult to keep working on it and striving for completion. Whether you struggle in the first draft or the second, there is a point where you think “I can‘t do this, no one will see what I’ve done as I do and that‘s the best gift I could give my creation”. A group either through feedback or encouragement helps us get through this struggle of sorrow and ambivalence. They help push us.
A third, perhaps lesser reason to join a writers’ group is to become part of a community. Writing is a lonely journey. It’s nice to get together and speak to others who have the same struggles and maybe the same thought process.
Are There Different Writers’ Groups?
Yes. Some exist to work together on group projects. Other’s give out weekly assignments, like a class, and they ask everyone to produce something from a related theme. Still others are more open and each writer pursues their own project, sharing as they are ready. In some writing groups, no one shares any work at all, they gather to commiserate over the process and perhaps hold brainstorm sessions for each other.
Can one writers’ group accommodate all these different goals?
Maybe? In the North Alabama Writers’ Group we struggle to balance differing expectations of our growing group. It’s hard because all writers go through periods of low creativity. Writers also have varying temperaments and accommodating everyone at one meeting can be a challenge.
To help with some conflicting desires, sometimes it’s good if a larger group breaks out into sub groups. We do this at meetings when those who would like to take part in our blitz round robin break off from other writers who would prefer to discuss their own ongoing works. We always allow time for those who want to read their recent works aloud to share, but we force no one to read out loud.
We have multiple online spaces. Google document sharing happens between writers looking for more structured commentary. This blog is a space for general writing conversations and topics we may not always explore in the face-to-face meetings. Our Facebook group allows for link sharing in a less formal format.
That’s great, but this post should tell me how a Writers’ Group helps me reach my goals!
A good writers group wants to support each of their writers goals and ambitions whether it’s a hobby or it’s something the person is seeking to pursue professionally. While balancing different levels of expectation and production is difficult, it’s important you take the time to get to know the people in a group and see if what they are offering will help you in your process.
Do you leave filled with creative energy and the desire to write? Does the group’s feedback present new avenues for you in your story or future re-writes? Are you able to co-author works with your group or perform a writing exercise at your meeting that helps get your process started? Does the group link you out to other writers, editors and publishers and can you grow through networking and differing perspectives?
I can‘t promise that all writers’ groups will help a writer. And I won’t promise that the North Alabama Writers’ Group is a good fit for everyone, but I would encourage all writers to find a group/person that supports and drives them forward. You may have to create the content in solitude, but you don’t have to travel through the whole journey alone.
2018 was a wonderful reading year. I beat my goal of 36 books by about 10. 17 of these books were nonfiction and not eligible to make this list. Out of 30 books, these are the top five fiction reads. Starting from least favorite to most treasured read. For an in-depth look at my 2018 reading check out Books Read in 2018.
5. Traitorborn– Has everything I like about “Hunger Games” in it but tells the story in a fresh, compelling way. My favorite aspect of this series is that there are not “good” characters (at least from my perspective). Most of the characters, our hero included, have a piece of the solution for their dystopian society and they are also holding on to part of the problem. It’s refreshing to have a complex group of characters I can empathize with some times and despise other times. Where so much conversations happening around me are polarizing, it’s nice to read a book that reaches for full open conversation and understanding, without surrendering one’s agency. For more on this series check out my Kindle Unlimited post.
4.Dragon Ridden– Don’t let the cover fool you, this was just fun and well written. There isn’t any messaging in it, it’s just an immersive fantasy read and sometimes that’s enough. Pure escapism, a well-developed fantasy world distinct from earth, and a cast of well-rounded characters. It’s enough. For more on this series check out my Kindle Unlimited post.
3. End of Days– Dark, thoughtful work with a great balance of action and tense “waiting”. Left me wondering about the conclusion all the way to the end and it leaves just the right amount open ambiguity to make me think about it for days afterward but still find satisfaction with the close given to us. I’m sorry “Traitorborn” is on its second book while “End of Days” is a complete series because I think if I could compare the conclusions of both books, it may flip their positions on this list. Still both books are wonderful. Sold to young adults but they hold positives for all age groups.
2. Card of Chaos– Complex, excellent execution, everything I look for in the retelling of classic fairytale/folklore. It begins with humor and ends in affection. I like how the author draws the reader in and connects us with this strange if familiar world. Loved the beautiful scenes, the deep philosophy and the language. It may be my second favorite book of the year, but it’s my first recommendation to others.
1.The Book of Etta– Enjoyed every second. I know this is a polarizing book because it explores gender roles, what gender is, and whether sex and gender can be two separate things. The beauty of this book: it can explore the internal struggle being genderqueer/trans/gay/bi ect often brings and ignore all the political bullshit that’s happening in our own world. Here we can enjoy a human vs self moment. We can see all the factors in the book which exacerbate the struggle and rail against them without hating our own culture. Sometimes the call to action in a book can cut short a person’s thoughtful introspection, but The Book of Etta lacks this baggage and I’m beyond grateful. Where the first book took a premise, I didn’t feel was true but expounded on it in a way that pushed me to read on, Etta felt right from the first words. I knew Etta, I’d been Etta, and I sometimes still am Etta. I knew Flora and have been her too. Heck, there was a part of me that felt like I’d been Alma before and that I knew her. The beauty of this book is that it allowed me to feel and it allowed me to celebrate so many aspects of who I am as a person. Everyone will have a different time reading it. But, it’s the jewel of my 2018 reading list.
Happy New Year! What were your five favorite reads of 2018? Was your reading list similar? Do you have any recommendations for me? What are your reading goals for 2019?
Grump Old Gods: 3,000-4,000 words “We’re looking for stories about mythical Gods who are waning, reborn, retired, or otherwise AWOL from their assigned post.” speculative fiction pay is royalties
Electric Spec: 250 and 7000 words “speculative fiction elements. We prefer science fiction, fantasy, and the macabre, but we’re willing to push the limits of traditional forms of these genres” pay is $20
Would But Time Wait (New England Anthology): 4,000-6,000 words “Ulthar Press is seeking original, unpublished short stories for an anthology of folk horror with New England ties, scheduled for release at Necronomicon-Providence in 2019. For the purposes of this project, we are defining folk horror as horror literature in which the present (in the story, not necessarily current day) collides with the history, folklore, traditions, and psychogeography of a region. The term “folk horror” came to prominence in describing a subgenre of film represented best by the “unholy trinity” of Witchfinder General (1968), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973). In general, themes include:” pay is $75 flat
Slice Magazine: up to 5,000 words “The theme is “Birth.” All submissions during that time will be considered for Issue 25, which will be released fall 2019.” pay is $250
Outlook Springs: Flash and short stories “Send us your weird, wobbly wordwork: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. See genres for specific submission guidelines,”pay is $10 for flash and $25 for short stories
Superior Shores Press: 1,500-5,ooo words “The Best Laid Plans, which will include stories of mystery and suspense with an overarching theme of “the best laid plans” pay is$25 flat fee
War of the Worlds : Absolute War: 4,000-20,ooo words a lot of details on this but basically looking for same universe as “War of the Worlds” a different take on the invasion or prep for the invasion pay is 5% gross profit
Enchanted Conversation: Fairytale, Folktales & Myths: up to 2,000 words “explore the different aspects of love set within the fairy tale, folktale, or mythic templates. Work can either be re-tellings of established stories or use original characters. Be bold, traditional, lyrical, or experimental in your storytelling and enchant us with stories set in a variety of locations around the world and time periods from ancient to modern.” $10 flat rate
Monsters Out of the Closet-Gothic: length varies “From haunted manors, repressed secrets, and horrifying leaps of science and faith—this episode celebrates the tradition of Gothic literature and film.” pay varies based on length but is at least $.01 a word
Our Write Side: Steampunk short stories: 3,500-10,000 words “Steampunk began as a literary genre loosely inspired by the real or imagined cultures, events, and technologies of the Industrial Era. It can take various forms, from an alternative history, to a dystopian future, to a complete fantasy world untethered to our sense of time and space. In more recent times, Steampunk has leaped from the pages of books and into people’s lives in the form of special events, elaborate costumes, and dedicated “sports.”” pays a percentage of sales
This year the members of the North Alabama Writers’ Group made huge strides in our writing life and I’d like to have one post celebrating our successes.
As a group we broke ground in creating this blog and a Twitter account to promote it! Our audience is consistent and seem most interested in reading our original fiction. Our group self-published our first writing round robin, and we published Halloween flash stories.
We have 6 new members. This doubles our group size (but don’t worry, we‘re never a huge crowd, our biggest meeting had 5 of us in attendance at any one time, getting writers to do anything, including meet is hard work). Personal Accomplishments:
-Caleb Darnell shared light satire pieces with our writing group while outlining his latest series. He has a detailed map of his new world and many world building notes and plot points worked out.
-Jessica Donegan worked on 8 stories. She has four short stories she’s seeking publication for. She self-published two works to this blog. Most of her time dedicated to maintaining an active blog presence she has a little over 80 blog posts this year.
-Patrick O’Kelly worked on 7 stories this year. One got traditionally published while one was self-published to our blog.
-Christopher M. Palmer worked on 18 stories this year. Of those 18, Chris completed eleven works. He had two were chosen for published and two were self-published on our blog. Christopher was also instrumental in keeping up our blog. He took part in the comments, shared our posts with his friends, and offered articles of his own.
-Ashley Sanders worked on something super secret this year we await the opportunity to share more details. She was a busy rock star, you must take our word on it.
-Zachariah Stanfield has 5 stories he worked on this year and two older stories published.
Happy 2018! Does anyone have accomplishments they want to share with us? Comment below, and thanks for hanging out with us this year. I hope to see you all next year!
Creative writers often debate the wisdom of publishing fiction and short stories to their blogs or posting a creation process behind their creations. In this post, I will explore the “pros” and “cons” of content. The topic includes posting short works to a blog or through another site for free, posting spin off works, and posting a “how I made story x”style posts. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m in favor of all these style posts and my bias shows. Please consider checking out part one in my Be Bold Series regarding posting site metrics on my personal blog
-You are wasting a story you could have gotten published for profit
-The story you post may be stolen by an unscrupulous person and they may get it published for profit or collect credit on their better known site
-You may have held onto the story, continued to work on it and come up a longer, more complete story instead of the short work you published
-Offering work for free reduces the market for paid work. Why pay money when you can get writing for free?
-Your work may be and the work of your peers may be devalued. Some believe that free writing is bad writing. There’s a further idea that free blog writing is writing that could not have been “legitimately” published so they released it “on the cheap.”
-There are concerns around formatting and presentation of fictional works posted to a blog, just as there are formatting challenges through epub.
-You as a writer offer readers a sample of your style and theme so they can make a better informed decision if they want to commit to a longer work. The works I’ve published highlight elements in writing I specialize in and may help me find the right audience home.
-Alternatively, you may have a one off story that doesn’t fit your genre and still wish to share it. I have a drama piece that‘s out of place with my over all portfolio I‘d one day like to publish. I don’t want to learn all the ins and outs of the drama genre for one piece, a simple answer may be to publish it through a blog.
-You’ve written a work for fun. Our writing group exercises often fall in this category. We were challenging ourselves and just want to share the results.
-You want more direct interaction with your audience. One thing I love about publishing to a blog is that readers post their thoughts and I enjoy that. Yes I can get feedback via a review on a work, but reviews are for other readers. A comment is for both the author and other readers. It’s nice to have an open conversation with my readers.
-Your shorts may be companion pieces to a longer work. For example: I have a “Downtown Huntsville Tourist Trap” book written from the perspective of the characters from “Follow Me: Tattered Veils”. I also have a drink recipe guide and a tarot guide, all a possible collections for people who enjoy my novel and want more from the voices of these characters. I have deleted scenes I may publish to add to the novel hype when I launch the book. Here, I’m selling my novel but adding free bonus material because giving away some writing doesn’t mean I don‘t charge for other works.
Since I have posted flash fiction and short fiction, it’s obvious I’m in favor of releasing my writing through blog posts. However, I will add that it comes down to a case of audience or career. I accept that writing can never be a career for me (for many reasons). My writers’ goals include finding and keeping the largest audience the themes and style of my writing will allow. Is that ten people or a million: I’m not sure. Adding short stories, blogging, and a social media presence are all tactics I’m incorporating to find out.
I’ve never been shy regarding posting my stories. There are a few I regret sharing, but those are from a long buried high school account. Even then, it’s more about the cringe factor than the “missed opportunity” or “devalued work”.
What do you think? Do you read short stories from blogs and free sites? Do you post your own stories for free? Is there a situation where you would give away content? Are there situations where you would never give away content? Share any thoughts you have on getting published for free or reading work that’s been published for free.
It has been a while since starting one of these recommend blogs. In reviewing the others, it seems I always pick up a book with hesitation. Tree of Ages is no different. While I was fascinated with the idea a tree becomes human (I have a love for plant stories and non-traditional sentience), I was worried it would be one of those “chosen one with amnesia stories.” We’d find out it wasn’t a tree becoming human but a human who became a tree and then returned human for— reasons. It’s a fantasy trope.
And Tree of Ages is about a human-ish character who became a tree returning to her original form with amnesia. So, if what I feared is true, why did I enjoy the series? First, because tree girl insists for the first third of the story arc she IS a tree and if she is not a tree, she prefers being a tree. It explores all the tree sentience vs human sentience desired, plus readers get to hear about tree superiority. I enjoy stories where human forms are not the default “best” choice. Through fantasy speculation of this variety, I think we invite conversations about different levels of humanity, and observing what may be just different instead of better or worse. It also creates compassion and likeness to the rest of nature.
Tree of Ages has a HUGE ensemble cast and all of them are developed with story arcs. There are fifteen characters I can think of just off the top of my head who connect with readers. Granted Sara C. Roethle has five books to make these connections, but she starts strong in book one with eight characters and she keeps adding.
I appreciated that the story in these pages was about characters. Yes, a bunch of action happens around the characters, but the action never drives the story, the characters decisions/desires/weaknesses move the plot forward. It’s refreshing to have a solid sense of place, history, and change while also allowing the characters to use personality to move forward.
Is the series perfect? No. I have conflicted feelings on how gay and bi characters were represented. Kudos to Roethle for including diversity of gender and sexuality. I loved how women were portrayed, but there are flaws in her portrayals of gay and bi characters. All of her gay/bi characters start off or remain villains. The one bi character is first portrayed as a lesbian and she falls in love with a male character as she “lightens” and becomes more of a good guy. I don‘t know this was intentional, but I recoiled from that effect.
A gay sailor dies in pain from poison in the swamps and he dies cursing the protagonist. This is sad because his death did not reflect his life. While we, the readers, had minimal interaction, it was clear he had longstanding relationships with two of the cast and he was developing a friendship with Finn, our lead. The bitterness he displayed in death didn‘t match his tone in life.
Aed’s daughter (whose name I can’t recall) appears to be a lesbian (she uses sexuality on both genders but her attraction seems to be fore women), and she is the antagonist for most the series. Even when she‘s not the antagonist, we have sympathy for her without ever liking her. She has a superiority complex and manipulates family and lovers in ways I find abusive.
Belinda, is the lesbian lover of Aed’s daughter and part of her guard. Her arc feels glossed over and rushed in the book, like Roethle couldn‘t figure out her motivations or place within the story. She becomes Finn‘s friend with ease, but she never connects with the crew on any side of the skirmish. She has the opportunity to form lasting relationships with five of the characters and never does, which leaves her an odd and floating in space character.
I’d overlook some of these messed up relationships but the straight counter parts are more healthy. There‘s the ever present annoying love triangle and there is a lot of unhealthy baggage with it. So much, I thought the characters would end up in a threesome (and note to writers, just add the threesome if that‘s what you want, don’t dance around it with a love triangle where everyone respects each other and is friends afterward). Having deep relationships with both people at the same time feels a little like exploiting each person since it lacks an open conversation, but each relationship makes sense and appears to have the right give and take. There‘s a marriage where the development seemed abrupt but over all healthy. The bi character‘s straight relationship is healing for her (which portrays straight relationships as a positive WHILE implying that gay relationships result from trauma so double bad). Even the villainous pair end up in what appears to be a loving straight relationship.
Overall, I recommend the series. It’s a series where the goals change as characters learn more and evolve, but where readers are always rooting for their favorites. I like that no one person’s destiny seems carved in stone and the cast changes rolls as the novels progress. I wish the inclusion of gay/bisexual characters was handled more mindfully, but there‘s so much unique going on in the series, I can still recommend it as a whole work.
Take Aways from Sara C. Roethle’s Success:
1. Women have a place in high fantasy and you do not have to make them special or otherwise justify their presence. Let male and female characters exist as they are without an exposition dump. (this applies to any “minority” character in any genre)
2. While a strong sense of place and world building is necessary to creating memorable and lasting fantasy environments, it does not have to drive the plot. Set the story, let it present options, but don‘t fight if your characters pick a third path the setting doesn‘t seem to offer.
3. Make your story about the character relationships. It’s not “wishy washy” for characters to change their minds, become heroes/villains in their own right, or to decide something they never would consider 100 pages back. So long as the change develops during those 100 pages it becomes a compelling full study of the decision along with the results that come from making certain choices. Write a complete story with a beginning, middle, and an ending. Be confident in your characters and larger world building. People will read more because they like what you wrote not because you left them on a cliffhanger.
4. Relationships can develop without a lot of angst or sexual tension. While there are problems with how Roethle portrays relationships like some of the people who end up together show what I consider friendship without the push to romance (this is bad because it perpetuates the idea that close relationships=sexual elements and that’s NOT true in real life or in fiction), she does a wonderful job creating loyalty and tenderness in her characters. As someone who skips sex scenes and rolls my eyes when there’s too much “attraction” build up in a story, I appreciated that she chose to skip it.
2. I race through Submittable. It’s a sloppy hunt, but I do my best to include EVERYTHING out in the world that meets my criteria
3. I order all the open calls by due date for an easy calendar style view, next I provide a word count so writers can best decide if they can create something that length in the time allotted. Then I the story’s theme, if there is a response timeline, I add that, and I close with the pay.
4. I only include publications that include $.01 word pay out or a royalty pay out.
5. I stick open calls I believe will interest my writers’ group. Poetry, venues looking for the writers to represent a subgroup other than white male (though I do sometimes include women, queer, disabled calls as we have group members who qualify), some genre requests, and erotica calls are omitted.
That’s it. Over this year, it became an organized system I’m proud of, but it does take a long time to find the information and copy it all into the blog. Hours across days go into what looks like a very simple post. I hope it helps people and while you’re here go look at my December Round Up to see if anything appeals.
Enough about me, I want to hear from you.
Are there other elements or organizations I should include? Do you like how I organize the calls and the information necessary to submit? How do you decide who to submit to? Do you submit to publications that pay less than $.01 a word and if so tell me a little about why/what you believe you gain.
Once Upon a Future Time: up to 15,000 words a scifi story that incorporates a fairy tale or folklore. ALL AUTHORS RECEIVE FEEDBACK on their writing. pay is $50 and royalties plus a copy of the book
Arsenika: up to 1,000 words all flash and micro flash or poetry. They respond in 14 days of submission pay is $60 for flash and $30 for poetry
Matter Press: ???words suggests short? looking for anything that deals with the idea of compression. Response time is 1-3 days and the pay is $50
Smoking Gun Press: 1,200-6,000 words “We welcome stories involving all types of supernatural beings… witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts, werewolves and other were-creatures, demons, and anything else we’ve left out! Mixing and matching of different types of beings in the same story is acceptable” all genres are acceptable pay is $20 and a copy of the anthology
Iridium Press: up to 5,000 words any story so long as it has QUILTBAG+ content pay is $.03 a word.
Belanger Books: 5,000-10,000 words “this collection will feature all new traditional Sherlock Holmes adventures with a science-fiction edge. Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Steampunk will feature Holmes in a futuristic Victorian setting. See him deal with airship pirates and steam powered robots. Maybe he’ll even deal with a time traveler or with alien invaders. ” pay is royalties
Selene Quarterly Magazine: up to 100 words between 101-1,000 words 1,001-1,500 words 3,000-7,500 words “Selene Quarterly Magazine publishes quality fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art that dwells in the shadows. SQM desires stories and poetry that are thrilling, reflective, and imaginative.” pay scale varies for length but all are at least $.01 a word
Ulthar Press: 2,000-5,000 words ” looking for strange, gothic, and fantastic fiction in the manner of E.T.A. Hoffmann between 2,000 – 5,000 words in length. Stories that merely graft his characters into a new story will not be accepted.” response time is 60 days and the pay is $.02 a word
Thuggish Itch: 1,000-4,000 words theme is theme park looking for horror, scifi, and speculative works. pay is $5.00 under 2,000 words and $10 over 2,000 *to make this ‘worth it’ you need to write a 500 word pieceD
Space Opera Libretti: 2,000-7,000 words “The short version of what we want: Silly, diverse sci-fi that involves music. If it’s actually about operas in space, all the better!” pay is $.06 a word
Inkling Press: up to 5,000 words “The first anthology released by Inklings Press was Tales From The Tavern – a short collection of five fantasy stories by some of the early, happy crew that thought it was time to have a go. You can still read that – it’s collected in the Tales From The Tower anthology that rounds up the first year of Inklings Press.” flat $50 pay
Vex Me No More: up to 5,000 words “We want your witch stories! Though they do not necessarily have to be female-centric, they do need to be tales of powerful, unique beings. Remember, this is a horror anthology, so while you can have elements of other genres, we want to be scared.” pay os $.02 a word
Bad Dream Entertainment: 1,500-8,000 words “Bad Dream is now accepting submissions of humorous dark fiction. Editor Brett Reistroffer is looking for original horror fiction with a strong sense of comedy, and most themes, subjects, and settings are welcome but standard genre tropes are definitely discouraged (vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.). The comedic aspect can be goofy and slapstick or black and morbid, just as long as there are equal amounts of darkness and humor” pay is $.06 a word plus split royalties
Curse the Darkness: 3,000-10,000 words “For our inaugural anthology, Curse the Darkness*, we’re throwing our doors wide open and inviting submissions on the theme of darkness. That could be the absence of light, the presence of evil, or the sinister thoughts of the afflicted. However you choose to interpret the theme, just make sure you leave us afraid to turn out the lights.” pay is $75 flat rate
Alternate Peace: up to 7,500 words “is to feature alternate history stories where the divergence from our timeline comes from some kind of peaceful change to our past. It must explore the consequences of this divergence, not simply introduce the divergence. Stories featuring more interesting historical settings and twists on the consequences of the peaceful divergence from our timeline will receive more attention than those with more standard changes to the course of history. ” response by end of Feb 2019 pay is $.06 a word
Temporally Deactivated: up to 7,5000 words “is to feature stories where the author explores what the phrase “temporally deactivated” could mean with regards to a person, place, or thing. Stories featuring more interesting takes on the twisting of time and how it is integrated into the story will receive more attention than those with more typical twisted time stories. We do NOT want to see stories where “temporal deactivation” means simply death.” response by end of Feb 3019 pay is $.06 a word
Portals: up to 7,5000 words “is to feature science fiction or fantasy stories that contain a portal opening up between two different worlds and the consequences that come from that portal. We are attempting to fill half of the anthology with science fiction stories and half with fantasy stories. ” pay is $.06 a word
Nothing Without Us: 1,000-3,500 words “All works must be fiction—fiction based on lived experiences is welcome. The lead character must be disabled, blind, Deaf, Autistic, neurodiverse, and/or live with mental illness. We do not expect all of these in one character, although we’re sure that character would be amazing. We are accepting fiction in all genres with the exception of hard-core erotica. We are also only interested in previously unpublished works. ” “We welcome writers across the disability, mental illness, developmental disabilities, neurodiversity, blind, and Deaf spectrums. We welcome those who manage invisible and visible disabilities and/or chronic conditions. We welcome those who count spoons! We’re just looking to have an entire work where we elevate the stories written by the folks in our community. We welcome the communities that intersect with the disabled, neurodiverse, mentally ill, blind, and Deaf communities, such as the LGBTQIA2 communities.” pay is $.03 a word
Allegory Online Magazine: up to 5,000 words but between 500-2,000 seems best “We specialize in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. We will consider other genres, such as humor or general interest, provided that the work possesses an original, “quirky” slant.” pay is $15
Cafe Irreal: up to 2,000 words “This fiction, which we would describe as irreal, resembles the work of writers such as Franz Kafka, Kobo Abe, Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges. As a type of fiction it rejects the tendency to portray people and places realistically and the need for a full resolution to the story; instead, it shows us a reality constantly being undermined. Therefore, we’re interested in stories by writers who write about what they don’t know, take us places we couldn’t possibly go, and don’t try to make us care about the characters.” pay is $.01 a word min $2
Crystal Lake Publishing: 500-5,000 words a non themed anthology in the dark fiction genre with fleshed out three dimensional characters pay is $.03 a word
Nexxis Fantasy: up to 15,000 words “Nexxis Fantasy has a twice a year publication. Our goal is to publish an exquisite science fiction anthology filled with the greatest works from across the galaxy.” the upcoming theme is “Lost” pay is $1 per 100 words