Sharing papers has been central to science for centuries now. Scientists eagerly pass their own manuscripts as well as the published work of others to each other. If a colleague asks you for a copy of a paper she doesn’t have access to, you don’t refuse. That is why many scientists were upset by the language in Macmillan’s announcement, which kept referring to the new policy as a “legitimate” way to share papers. In the release, Timo Hannay, directing manager of the Macmillan division that is developing the new read-only platform for viewing paywalled papers, said: “We know researchers are already sharing content, often in hidden corners of the Internet or using clumsy, time-consuming practices.” Nature’s new system will be “a convenient, legitimate alternative that allows researchers to access the information they need … from the definitive, original source.” The clear implication is that much of the sharing scientists do now is illegitimate.

In 1913, four years before the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II made the now-baffling claim that a writer named Teffi was the only major Russian writer. At the time, however, his endorsement made sense, because everybody in Russia, from royalty on down, read Teffi’s work and “delighted” in it. Until the revolution, at which point she was consigned to oblivion. William Grimes writes about a new collection of her stories.

"If you never judge a book by its cover, why are first impressions so important?"

Most people are not willing to open a book to read it either because they are lazy or not willing to put in the effort to learn how to. I think it’s the same with people as well. We see what we want to see and make judgments on those by first glance or by allowing others to make judgments for us without giving the person a chance or putting in an effort to understand them.

It takes more effort to see through the many layers of people and the foundation of ones soul. If we are wiling to look deeper we will discover that perhaps we’ve been wrong all along. It’s like that quote about foundations and icebergs:

“It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgments about them, their present and their past, but you’d be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often then not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul.”
― Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron

So please, don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge a person by their exterior. The more effort we put in trying to understand our friends and most importantly our enemies, the world will be a better place.

—  A friend of mine just posted this question on FB, ”If you never judge a book by its cover, why are first impressions so important?” And I had to write my thought on it. I’d really love to see what other people have to say. Free feel to add a reply to it!   - - Joanna Strafford 
I think it’s crucial for women like us to prove that small fiction presses are viable. More than any criticism about our fandom and fan fiction ties, it’s been the criticism that accuses us of not being a ‘real’ press that fires me up and makes me work harder than ever. Publishing is so stagnant right now, so consolidated – I think we need smaller venues and unexpected voices like a blood transfusion. And that’s an attitude, a mission I guess, that comes out of my entire lifetime spent needing fandom to give me stories that the mainstream couldn’t or wouldn’t.
—  Alexandra Edwards of Big Bang Press, in an interview with The New Statesman.
Considering Publishing?

Considering to get your writing published can be a big step, one filled with many confusing and complicated paths.

If you think you want to publish your story but you’re not sure where to start, here is a simple overview. You can learn more about publishing in my publishing tag, in my self-publishing tag, and on my How to Write and Publish a Novel page.


How does one get published? This is an answer that can be quite long, so I advise you to check my How to Write and Publish a Novel link above. In short, the traditional way involves getting a literary agent, signing contracts, and working with an editor. The self-publishing route involves you doing all the work.

Do I need a degree to get published in fiction? Not at all! However, having a relevant degree can be helpful in some cases. For example, if you are writing biopunk, having a degree in biology can help in your accuracy and it can reassure agents and editors that you have formal knowledge of the science in your book.

Do I need to be a certain age to get published? Yes and no. It depends on where you are and who publishes you. Some publishers will publish minors, but many self-publishing sites, such as Amazon, require that you be at least 18-years-old. In the US, a minor (someone under the age of 18) cannot legally sign a contract without a legal guardian’s signature as well, so minors will need to get their parents involved in most cases for traditional and self-publishing.

What is a literary agent? What do they do? A literary agent is someone who represents authors and their books. Agents have their own preferences for genres. Authors can contact them through a query letter. If the agent loves your manuscript, they may offer to represent you. Agents are your ticket to publishers, especially some of the larger publishers who will only work with represented authors. They can negotiate contracts, contact editors, help prepare your manuscript, and a lot more.

What is a query letter? A query letter is a preview of your story. Its goal is to make someone want to read your story. It also involves marketing information (genre, age group, word count) and credentials if applicable (previously published material, relevant education, etc.). You can learn more about query letters here.

How much does a literary agent cost? Nothing! At first, anyway. They work on commission and get paid when you get paid. If a literary agent asks for money, turn away.

How much does it cost to get published? Self-publishing can be a few thousand dollars if you pay for professional services for formatting, editing, and cover design, but it can also be fairly cheap if you do everything yourself. Traditional publishing is free with the exception of extra marketing that you set up yourself. If publishers ask you for money, turn away.

Can I have more than one agent? Yes.

What about pen names? You can use a pen name, but your legal name will need to be on legal documents and you will need to query agents and editors under your legal name. 

Do I get to design my book cover? Unfortunately, no.

How do I get paid? How much do writers make? It depends, and not much (most of the time).

How do I submit to a publisher? You can’t submit to some of the larger publishers so you need an agent to get in contact with them. Other publishers do allow direct submissions.

When should I submit my manuscript to an agent or editor? When it is as best as it can be. Do not submit your first draft. Do not submit your second draft. Do not expect agents and editors to think it can be a best seller once it gets cleaned up (it’s going to be ripped apart anyway but don’t send in anything less than your best). Do not submit a project that is not finished.

How do I find an agent or editor? Querytracker is an excellent place to start.

What is the proper protocol for contacting agents and editors? Follow the submission guidelines. Do not deviate from the guidelines. Do not think you are clever and that your unique submission will catch their attention. Do not call. Do not contact an agent or editor who does not take your genre. Do not send angry letters if they reject you (agents and editors talk to each other and they can and will blacklist you if you’re horrible enough). Follow the guidelines, submit your query/proposal, and wait. The only time you can follow up is if the agent says it’s okay to ask about your query letter or your manuscript after a certain amount of time has passed.

How long does it take to get published? For traditional publishing, from the time you sign your contract to the time your book hits shelves, 1 to 2 years could have passed. It can take months to find an agent and then another few months to find a publisher. Self-publishing depends on you.

Journal Accepts Paper Reading “Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List”

A paper that largely consists of the words “Get me off your fucking mailing list” repeated 863 times has been accepted by a journal that claims to be peer reviewed. The move might appear to offer hope to scientists struggling to get marginal work published, but really just exposes the extent of scam publications pretending to be contributing to science.

“Publish or Perish” is more than a catch-phrase for scientific researchers. With rare exceptions, such as those working for secret military projects, research scientists need to publish regularly if they hope to advance, or often just keep, their career. High impact journals such as Science and Nature help most, but getting into these is hard and even less prestigious journals can be a challenge.

This has created a market for bottom feeders with impressive sounding names and absolutely no standards. For a fee, they will publish anything. Unscrupulous, desperate or very naive scientists can pad out their CVs and hope no one notices the quality of some of the journals they list.

No one goes into science to do this kind of stuff though, so these “journals” spam email lists  in the hope the suggestion will arrive in a moment of weakness.

Dr Peter Vamplew, a computer scientist at Federation University Australia got one too many invites from the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology and hit back with the seven words repeated over and over, along with headings, pseudo-citations, a flow chart and graph.

Read more at IFLS.