publishing

September 7th. It’s almost here.

Magic, wisdom, community, and misbehavior.

For many people across the world, the witch is a symbol of feminine strength and complexity. Power & Magic collects fifteen original comics about queer witches of color as they master their abilities, discover their traditions, and navigate love as beings with incredible power. Featuring the work of seventeen women, demigirls, and bigender creators of color, this queer witch comics anthology is as rich an experience as womanhood itself.

Power & Magic Press is an independent comics publisher in Portland, OR. Our mission is the creative and economic empowerment of queer creators, creators of color, and creators at the intersections. 

Follow us here and on Twitter to keep up with the campaign, and subscribe to our newsletter for a chance at free and reduced shipping when you order Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology.

And of course, spread the word! <3 <3 <3

Question for Writeblr and writers

Specifically ones who aim to get published. Is it a bad idea to be sharing what are likely excerpts from my books prior to having the books published?

While I’m working on writing/rewriting/editing my series, I write short stories that are frequently scenes that would or could take place during the books; I do this as a kind of practice or stress relief to just write something short and quick. Once in a while I really like them and decide to use these as chapters or parts of chapters in the actual books. They’ll get edited a little to fit into the book, but they’re frequently pretty close to what I’ve already shared online here and on my Blogger writing blog. A bit of change, but the bulk of the scene will be similar.

That’s where my question comes in. I’ve heard that it would hurt your chance of being traditionally published if your book has already been shared on the internet because that technically counts as published. What if it’s just bits and pieces from the book that have been shared online? None of these stories/scenes are longer than about 2k words and not all of them make it into the books. I think so far it’s been two of these placed into book 1 and one into book 2, so maybe 4k words that have been posted online made its way into book 1. (Book 1 is likely to be about 100k words.) Should I stop sharing these stories/scenes? I hate to do that because being able to share something keeps me motivated and I never know in advance which I might decide to place into a book. But when I start looking into publishing a few years from now, I don’t want this to hinder my chances of getting published.

What would other writers advise? Is there a writing advice blog that would be good for asking this rather long question?

Publishing for Fun and Profit

So there was a list going around tumblr for a while that made it to my dash of literary journals that accept open submissions (and will pay!), but upon inspection about half of them were closed indefinitely, and I found quite a few other places that looked interesting through further research, so I wanted to post my own list. 

I tried to focus on things that paid professional grade (at least 6 cents per word), were friendly to speculative fiction, and specifically encouraged diversity and writing about marginalized groups.

(Please note that as of right now I have never submitted or been published with any of these, so if anyone has experience with them, good or bad, please feel free to message or reblog this with your experiences.)

Speculative Fiction

  • Strange Horizons — Speculative fiction (broadly defined) with an emphasis on diversity, unusual styles, and stories that address politics in nuanced ways. 8c per word. Up to 10,000 words, under 5,000 preferred. Responds within 40 days. LGBT+ positive.
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine — Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. 7-12c per word. Up to 25,000 words. No response times listed.
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction — Primarily sci-fi but accepts fantasy and surreal fiction, but no high fantasy/sword and sorcery. Prefers writing that is character driven. 8-10c per word. 1,000-20,000 words. Responds in about five weeks.
  • Evil Girlfriend Media — Horror and urban fantasy centered on female empowerment and defying gender stereotypes. $100 flat payment. 4,000-7,000 words. No response times given. LGBT+ friendly.
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies — Fantasy with a focus on secondary worlds and characters. 6c per word. Up to 10,000 words. Average response time 2-4 weeks.
  • Fantastic Stories — Speculative fiction with an emphasis on diversity and literary style. 15c per word. Up to 3,000 words. Responds within two weeks. LGBT+ positive.
  • Fiction Vortex — Serialized fantasy and speculative fiction. $300 for featured stories, $50 otherwise. 3,500 words or less. No response times given.
  • Shimmer — Speculative fiction with an emphasis on diversity, strong plots, vivid characters, and beautiful writing. 5c per word. 7,500 words or less (will consider longer words with query letter). Usually responds within two weeks. LGBT+ positive.
  • Clarkesworld Magazine — Sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction. 10c per word up to 5,000 words, 8c per word after. 1,000-16,000 words. Responds within days usually, gives a tracking number.
  • Apex Magazine — Speculative fiction of all kinds. 6c per word, +1c per word for podcast stories. Up to 7,500 words, all submissions over will be auto-rejected. Responds within 30 days.
  • Heliotrope Magazine — Speculative fiction of all kinds. 10c per word. Up to 5,000 words. Responds within 30 days.
  • Lightspeed Magazine — Speculative fiction of all kinds, with creativity and originality in terms of style and format encouraged. 8c per word. 1,500-10,000 words, under 5,000 preferred. LGBT+ positive. Submissions temporarily closed for their main magazine but is accepting for their People of Color Destroy Science Fiction special.

General Fiction

  • The Sun Magazine — General fiction, likes personal writing or writing of a cultural/political significance. $300-$1500 flat payment  and a one year subscription to the magazine for fiction (also accepts essays and poetry). No minimum or maximum lengths but over 7,000 words discouraged. Responds in 3-6 months. Physical submissions only.
  • One Story — Any and all varieties of fiction, “unique and interesting” stories encouraged. $500 payment plus 25 contributor copies. 3,000-8,000 words. Usually responds in 2-3 months.
  • Camera Obscura — General fiction. $1000 for featured story, $50 for “Bridge the Gap” award, no payment for other contributors. 250-8,000 words. Response time vary, running just over two months as of now.

Flash Fiction 

  • Daily Science Fiction — Speculative flash fiction (including sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream, etc.). 8c per word. Up to 1,500 words, but shorter stories given priority. Response times not listed.
  • Vestral Review — General flash fiction. 3-10c per word depending on length to a max of $25. Up to 500 words. Response within four months.
  • Flash Fiction Online — General flash fiction. $60 flat payment. 500-1,000 words. Response times not listed.

Novels/Novella

  • Riptide Publishing — Any LGBTQ manuscripts between 15,000 and 150,000 words. Currently especially interested in lesbian romances, trans stories, asexual/aromantic stories, romances with a happy ending, and genre fiction such as urban fantasy. Also has a YA branch.  LGBT+ positive.
  • Crimson Romance — Romance stories of all kinds, currently seeking LGBT+ stories with a focus on emotional connections and relationships, especially m/m romance. Novel (55,000-90,000 words) or novella (20,000-50,000 words) length.  LGBT+ positive.

Kindle Direct Publishing 

  • Kindle Direct Publishing — Allows you to set your own prices, create your own cover art, and make royalties off of each sell. Any and all genres are welcome and if you’re prolific and smart about how you’re publishing you can make pretty good money.
  • General Guide to Kindle Publishing — Gives a good rundown of the publishing process on Kindle.
  • 101 Guide to Kindle Erotica — Great guide with lots of resources about how to make money publishing erotica on Kindle.   

Publishing Comics/Graphic Novels

  • Here is a list of potential comic companies and what kind of open submissions they accept.  
  • Here is a list of literary agents who accept graphic novels. 

Okay, so, I see a lot of problems with people getting works stolen off the internet because the art is in a “public space.” While yes, that is true, the internet is public space and art is posted there, but that doesn’t make it public property, properly known as “Public Domain.”

Public Domain:

“Art becomes public domain only after 70 years after the artist who made the work has DIED, 95 years after publication, or 120 years after creation, which ever comes first”. (Source). This is why you are allowed to use famous works like Van Gogh’s “Starry Knight” or Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” freely with out copyright issues, the artist have died well over 70 years ago, thus the work they have produced is now free for the pubic to use.

Publishing:

Posting art on the internet is not considered published works. “Published works are works that are made into copies able to distribute to the public.” (Source). Posting art on a site like tumblr, deviantart, message boards, youtube, vimeo, or any other number of websites are meant for display, not for redistribution unless the artist as stated that: “This work is available for redistribution.” However, if you do not see that sentence anywhere, then that art is purely for display only and you must ask that artist permission to use that work unless you are favoriting it on deviantart, reblogging/liking on tumblr/blogspot, adding the video/song to a playlist on youtube, etc.

Intellectual Property:

Now, until the art work is under public domain, the works in question are protected under “Intellectual Property.” Where artist, inventors, writers, creators in general, are protected under the constitution and have full ownership of the works they have created from the moment it is created. (Source). Taking someone’s work that does not belong to you is considered theft and punishable by the full extent of the law. Meaning, the case can be taken to court and serious repercussions will ensue for the offender. (Source). The works are not just protected in the US, but world wide, and outlined in “article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” (Source).  

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. (Source).

TL;DR: Yes the internet is public space, but that does not mean the works on the internet is considered public domain. All works are protected by Intellectual Property until it has been 70 years after artist’s death, 95 years after publication, or 120 years after date of creation; whatever comes first. Posting works on the internet does not count as publishing.

It is safe to say, any works created now will not be free to use publicly in your lifetime unless stated otherwise by the creator them self.

Sources:

Public Domain:

Publishing:

Copyright/Intellectual Property: 

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

I’ve read thousands of “page ones.” Very often I don’t read page two.

Sometimes all I read is that first page and I make judgements based on what I see there. As an agent and a reader my practice is that if I’m not connecting with the material I move on–and quickly.

I wish I had time to give writers (and their books) more of a chance but I can tell a lot by one page: sense of dialogue, setting, pace, character, voice, and writing talent–yes, usually all from one page. Five at the most.

So how are you supposed to get us past one page?

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

1. Learn how to balance what readers need to know vs. what you, as the writer, want to tell us. I can sense a writer who is trying to show off very quickly. It really only takes one paragraph to see that. A command of language is knowing how to write for your audience, not showing off how you can set a scene with a vocabulary that your reader can’t connect with. Showing off isn’t going to win readers over. It’s going to make the decision to walk away very easy. All the reader needs to know is who has a secret (see more at point 3). This tip is all about going back and editing your first page over and over again. Polished, but not so shiny that we think we’re reading a magazine ad.

2. Learn what “start with action” really means. We’re not asking every writer to start their book with a car crash. In fact, most shouldn’t! What we’re asking is to make sure that your book starts in a place where plot is happening, not merely an introduction to the scene or characters. The longer you take to drop some hints the more confused we are and that encourages people to put down the book. Action means movement of some kind: start of a conflict, effects of a previous conflict, or dialogue about new/existing conflict.

3. Let us know who has secrets; keep the reader curious. Every character must have a secret. It is linked to their stakes and why they must achieve their goal. Don’t underestimate the power of a secret. It could be something as small as what they were embarrassed by last week or something as big as a major mistake at work. And read this PubCrawlBlog post to learn more. Remember that characters need to feel like they had a life before we entered their world via the book, and that they’ll have an interesting life afterwards too.

4. Be wary of information dumps. The number one killer of a page one: more didactic text and backstory then we could possibly need. Instead of information dumping on us (remember we’re joining you at this exact moment–so what do we need to know to enjoy this moment as it stands?) try things like dialogue instead. Dialogue is a great way to get plot moving while introducing us to your world. If you’re tempted to give us more backstory or facts than we need (I don’t need to know where your character is from, their hair colour, or their sibling order) remember that there is a reason you started your book in this place and it should relate to the fact that their life changes in this instant. No facts are needed if you start in the right place.

5. Introduce characters on a need-to-know basis. There’s nothing more confusing than reading more than 3 or 4 names on page 1. Not only is it hard to keep straight the names themselves, I’m also thoroughly confused about which name matches which voice especially in dialogue. Be careful to only mention characters we need to know at that time. That will prevent the reader from putting down your book before we’ve even begun because they feel they can’t keep up.

6. Never assume a reader is going to finish your first page, first chapter, or whole book. Free time is a luxury these days. When a reader picks up a book that’s a huge statement about how they spend their free time. Dedicating 8-10 hours to your writing should never be assumed. So if you keep that in mind as you write and edit you’ll be in great shape to keep the pace moving and stakes high.

On Editing

This was forwarded to me by a former colleague who attended a course on how to publish/edit a book. You probably already know most of these tips, but there might be something you’ll find helpful, who knows…

QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING FIRST PHASE OF EDITING

GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK (what the story is and how it is being told):

  • What is the book about? What is the driving force behind the narrative?
  • Who is the audience for this book?
  • Is it based on real experience?
  • Does the story work? Are there any parts that feel unconvincing or where the narrative drags? 
  • Are there any parts I don’t understand?
  • What is the trajectory or the shape of the story?
  • Does the story start in the right place?
  • How quickly do I become immersed in the book?
  • Are there any points where my immersion in the story is broken, or I lose interest?
  • Do I believe in what I’m reading?
  • How satisfying is the ending? Does it feel inevitable?
  • Does it feel like anything is missing?
  • Is there anything extraneous (characters, detail, unnecessary plot points)?
  • What is the narrative point of view (first person, second person, third person)? Does it change? Is it consistent? Does it work? What might be lost or gained if the story were told another way?
  • Is the tense consistent? If it changes, is it necessary?
  • Does coincidence feature as a plot device? If so, is there another way to engineer the same events?

Keep reading

How Fanfic Writing Skills Can Help You Transition to Writing Original Fiction

I’ve read so many great fanfics in my lifetime, and I am always impressed by how many talented writers are hiding out in the fandom corners of the internet. Writers of fanfiction are extremely dedicated to the stories they are telling. They’re not in it for the money, or for the fame (although most do appreciate a comment or two on what they’re writing). Writing fanfic is one of the most fun forms of writing, and it’s actually an incredible starting point for writing original fiction too. 

If you’re a fanfic writer, but you’re interested in branching out and writing some original stuff as well, I’ve put together a list of skills that will help you transition from one form of writing to another. Some of these skills are nearly impossible for writers who just jump into writing original fiction to acquire—these skills are what set fanfic writers apart and better prepare them for the business of writing.

Knowing your characters’ backgrounds.
This is something fanfic writers are extremely well-versed in. You love the characters you’re writing about, and there’s a good chance you have your own head canons about every aspect of their lives. Sure, some of those facts are based on the source material, but most of it comes from your own mind. You’ve thought so much about your favourite characters that you can answer any question about their lives. This skill translates so well to original fiction. Understanding your characters is how you write authentically. It makes everything genuine—their actions, their thoughts, their speech. This skill will take you far.

Completing intensive research.
Sometimes when writing fic, you unwillingly place your characters into situations that you know nothing about. Luckily, that’s what the internet is for! You want to make sure the situation you’re writing about is as accurate as possible—because someone, somewhere, is going to read your story and know what you’ve done wrong. These research instincts are excellent for original fiction too, because it’s just as important then to get everything right.

Expecting an emotional response.
Being part of a fandom is great because you know that when you post a new fic, you can expect an emotional response from your readers. And I’m pretty certain that some fanfic writers sit around and think about the perfect ways to make readers feel all the feels. Every new story, or every chapter, deliberately has something to create a reaction. Original fiction should work this way too. You want to make sure your readers have emotional responses to the characters and the plot. The sometimes overly dramatic and outlandish tropes in fanfiction might need to be taken down a notch in original fiction, but the sentiment is the same.

Embracing collaboration.
Some fanfiction writers work together to write stories. And beyond fanfic, some writers in fandom participate in role-play communities. These tasks require collaborating with other writers, and changing the way you approach writing to mesh well with your partner(s). Collaborating is a great skill to have—even if you’re writing original fiction entirely on your own, you will need to collaborate with many people (not just writers) in the publishing industry as your career develops.

Welcoming and analyzing feedback.
So many writers have a difficult time receiving feedback. For fanfic writers who post their work online, and allow for comments, you’re one step ahead of the game. The internet can be a cruel place, and there’s no telling whether your fic will receive positive or negative feedback. If you welcome feedback and adjust your story based on some of the better critiques, then you have a great skill in your back pocket for writing original fiction. If you decide to find an agent, or work with an editor, being able to accept criticism and integrate feedback into your revisions is an important part of the process.

Enjoying the process.
Fanfiction is all about having fun. Sometimes writers forget that writing should be enjoyable, but most fanfic writers can’t wait to sit at their desk and revisit all their favourite characters. Keeping this important fact in the back of your mind is so crucial to turning writing into more than a hobby. The fact that you turn to a creative writing outlet for fun means that you are absolutely meant to be a writer.

Good luck to you if you’re attempting to jump from fanfic to original fiction! Let me know how the process is going in the comments—and send me some fanfic recs while you’re at it.

caroclarke.com
I am your editor: submitting your novel
by Caro Clarke
By This website was designed and built by Caro Clarke

I have been in publishing for over ten years, mostly as an editor. I am the person who accepts or rejects your manuscript. Here is how I make my decisions.

I look at the envelopes I am opening as I work my way down the slush pile. Sloppy presentation is not a good sign. Neat, clearly labeled parcels give me hope. I haven’t even seen what’s inside, and already I’m making judgements.

Out come the manuscripts. I check each one for a self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage attached or with enough international postal reply coupons (if it comes from overseas). Is the SASE big enough to hold the whole MS? Or is there a letter-size SASE for my reply? Good in both cases. I keep this submission on my desk. No SASE? I put the MS to one side. Maybe I’ll read it. Probably I won’t. I’ve had writers who’ve said: ‘You won’t find an SASE here because you won’t be rejecting this novel.’ Yes, I will. He just won’t be seeing his MS again, because I won’t be paying to mail it back. I also say goodbye to submissions without return addresses and submissions from overseas with their local postage attached. If the writer makes it too difficult or costly for me to contact him, believe me, I won’t. Why would I give him more consideration than he has given me, an overworked editor? He’s not that special. I am not that into him.

The submissions with proper SASEs are sorted again. Most rejections happen right then. Why do I reject them?

Read More →

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Photographer Jean-Paul Bourdier has created a series of surreal, atmospheric portraits so strange looking that it’s hard to believe they’re shot entirely on film, with zero digital enhancement. 

Staged in nature, the images depict “the primordial human condition, vulnerable and dispossessed of material necessities in the face of our Earth and its natural elements.” Despite their expansive nature, though, Bourdier considers his work highly personal — which is why he has turned to Kickstarter to help him turn them into a book, while maintaining full creative control.

The publishing industry can look impenetrable to a young writer, but with VerbalEyze it doesn’t have to be. We’re a non-profit that exclusively publishes authors between the ages of 13-22. 

  • Have a full-length manuscript, graphic novel, or collection of poems/stories story ready for publication? Submit a query. We’ll walk you through the process!
  • Or would you rather just dip in your toes? Submit a short story to our Young Writer’s Anthology.

Once you submit your manuscript, we’ll guide you through the all the confusing aspects of publishing like the licensing agreement, royalties, the editing process, and even marketing and promotion — and all while maximizing the benefits you receive!

Still refining your craft? Check out our mini-lessons, writing tools, get connected with other writers, or start your own writer’s workshop with our curriculum!

How to Improve Written Dialogue in 6 Steps

Dialogue is often one of the clunkiest elements I read in a requested manuscript. It’s difficult to balance the nuances of real-life speech and the guidelines for written conversation, but it doesn’t take much to improve the dialogue you have already created. Here are six steps to improving written dialogue: 

Step 1: Sit at a coffee shop and listen to conversations.
Write down fragments of what you overhear. This is the best way to get real-world inspiration for your dialogue. For example, if you’re writing a book about teenagers, then listen in on a conversation between teenagers. No matter your protagonist, you can find real-world inspiration for how they talk, what they care about, and how they connect with other people through conversation. If a coffee shop doesn’t work for your research, then pick another public location. Parks, libraries, bookstores, restaurants… almost anywhere will work. 

Step 2: Avoid dialogue tags.
Dialogue tags are almost always unnecessary. If two characters in your book are having a conversation, readers don’t need to know who said what after each line. Your readers can assume that the speech is moving back and forth. Dialogue tags can make your writing look clunky and also waste your allowed word count on absolutely nothing. 

Step 3: Look up other ways to say “said”.
Even when you try to avoid them, sometimes you will need to use dialogue tags in order to let the reader know who is speaking. And when you do, occasionally find different tags than “said” to keep things interesting. 

Step 4: Remove (almost) all name mentions.
Most writers have a bad habit of including characters’ names in speech in the early drafts of a novel. People rarely call each other by name in real-world conversation. Don’t let every line of dialogue start with someone’s name because it’s unrealistic. 

Step 5: Get rid of the small talk.
Many people will tell you, when advising how to write dialogue, to make it sound as close to real-life speech as possible. This is one exception. Small talk happens a lot in real-life (how many conversations about the weather have you had in your lifetime?), but it shouldn’t be in your novel. No one wants to read small talk; readers are looking for interesting dialogue that is engaging and moves the plot forward. 

Step 6: Read all dialogue out loud.
Go ahead. Do it. Read every single line out loud. Pretend your dialogue is the script of a play and act it out. The way you’ve written it (and the words around the speech) should include hints at the emotion behind the words. Reading your dialogue out loud is the best way to catch errors, judge its compelling nature, and check that it sounds authentic.

Now go forth and write great conversations! 

So, You Want to Work in Publishing: Advice from a Chronicle Books Editor

By Ariel Richardson

When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to work in children’s literature but I had no idea how to go about doing so. What does this thing called editing actually involve? How does one get started in the industry? Where should I look for job postings? Feeling pretty lost, I spent every spare moment over the course of several months researching the answers to those questions.

Since I love chatting with people just getting started in the industry, but don’t always have the time to do so in my day-to-day, I wanted to share some resources I find valuable—and resources I regularly pass along in informational interviews.

This is a competitive industry; landing your first internship or your first job can be tough! I’m hoping these tips will help you out on your path.

What kinds of jobs?

There are SO many cool jobs within publishing. Here are just a few of the many departments: Editorial, Managing Editorial, Design, Production, Digital, Marketing, Publicity, Subrights, Sales, Web/IT, Contracts, Finance, and Operations. Do you love international travel? Perhaps Subrights is the right fit for you. Do you lust after foil covers and painted edges in the book store? Perhaps Production is where you’re meant to be.

Although this post is about working at a publishing company, I want to point out that there are so many other jobs within the book pipeline that may also be of interest: artist (writer/illustrator), agent, reviewer, blogger, bookseller/book buyer, librarian, reading specialist/teacher, and professor. Publishing wouldn’t exist without these smart and passionate partners.

Education

So often I’m asked whether you need a publishing or copyediting certificate or a masters degree to get a job in publishing. Definitely not! Publishing is a mentorship industry—the only place you can really learn the job is on the job.

But extra credentials can help your resume stand out from the pack by showing your commitment and knowledge; the other perk is that your time in a relevant educational program can be incredible for networking! When you graduate, you may suddenly have friends at major publishing houses, and when you need help, they’re only a phone call away. Only pursue if you’re interested, but if you are, you have a wide variety of options to choose from.

You can consider a publishing course—usually a time commitment of one to several months—like the publishing courses at Columbia, Denver, and NYU. You could consider a copyediting certificate (usually made up of several courses, often offered online) from places like Editcetera or UC Berkeley Extension. And finally, you could consider an advanced degree, like a masters in publishing at NYU or Emerson, or a Children’s Literature masters at Simmons College, and many more.

Read the rest of the post here!

electricliterature.com
How Do You Know If Your Writing Is Any Good?
The Blunt Instrument is a monthly advice column for writers. If you need tough advice for a writing problem, send your question to blunt@electricliterature.com. Dear Blunt Instrument, My questions …

We get asked this. A lot. Here is one clear perspective, as well as a few tips for when you’re starting to think about publishing.

superheronation.com
Eight Facts About Writing That Surprise Prospective Novelists
by B. McKenzie

1. Even if you get published, you will get paid much, much less than you can imagine. A 75,000 word manuscript takes 2000+ hours and typically sells for around $5000. That’s not even closeto minimum wage, particularly when you consider the work you put in after getting published. If you plan on eating food more expensive than Kibbles and Bits, get a day job.

2. Most novelists don’t get their first novels published. According to a Tobias Buckell survey, only 35% of published authors broke out with their first novel.  This shouldn’t be too surprising–look at what you were writing 2-3 years ago. You’ve gotten a lot better, right? You’ll probably feel the same way about what you’re writing now in 2-3 years. It may take a novel manuscript or two to develop professional-grade writing skills.  (Keep practicing and you’ll get there!)

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