Dear You and You and You

It takes a long time to love yourself. You won’t ever love all of yourself, trust me. You’ll always wish you were more social, less loud, more of this, less of that, better at this, not so good at that. You’ll wish you had a more stable job, an apartment with newer floors, a laptop that’s less than 5 years old, a better roommate, easier classes, an easier life. But, in the dirty, toothpaste-stained mirror is still you. And the world won’t bend for you. Not now. Not ever. That you in the mirror, the one with all those insecurities, is meant to bend the world. You’re alive and you have a job to do. I’m not talking about your job. I’m talking about your job.

The news is supposed to make you mad sometimes. Let yourself be mad. The trick is, figure out what you can do about it. Don’t let jargon fool you - hate and intolerance are hate and intolerance no matter how they’re dressed or what forum they’re on. If something makes you pissed, the best thing you can do is learn every single thing about it. Intelligent conversations between informed people are far more valuable than most other things. Be tolerant, no matter where you’re from or how you were brought up. You don’t have to believe what your parents believe. You’re you. They’re them. To that end, you don’t have to be afraid of a dialogue, yes, even with your family, even on holidays. If your uncle says something racist, and all the adults are laughing, you don’t have to laugh along. You can get up and leave the room. Wait. You should get up and leave the room.

Technology gives you a voice. Go on Facebook. Scroll through your newsfeed. Are people you know using their very permanent, very in-pen, voice for good? Maybe not. Probably not. What you say, tweet, leave in the comments section, write to a girl or guy on a dating app, that stuff is yours. You own it. I know it doesn’t look or feel like face-to-face communication … it’s a lot closer to face-to-face than you think. That’s another human behind that corgi avatar.

I’m amazed by how many women are just looking at the ground all the time because of how often they’re disrespected, harassed, everything. Not even eye-contact, but just looking up in general has become a reason to ogle a woman like a maniac creep. It’s even worse when it’s accompanied by misogynist dialogue. It’s okay to be a feminist. We need more feminists. That’s how this thing is going to change. I’m a man and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, in bars, at diners, at shows, have been with feminist friends. The best people have no lines. They won’t approach you in a Starbucks while you’re there trying to read. They won’t try to talk to you on the train, in the gym, at Chipotle. They won’t bully you into a conversation. You don’t owe anyone a conversation, or your phone number, or anything. The people meant to be in your life … they have this way of showing up. They show up too soon, too late, but sometimes, right when you need them.

Everyone experiences loss differently. If your friend loses a parent, grandparent, sister, brother, dog, I guarantee you it’s different than when you lost someone. Do the little things, the behind the scenes things, to help. Healthy people experience emotions in a spectrum, and that spectrum is huge. The more life you live, the more you lose. That’s the human condition, and, somehow, that’s okay … because we gained each other. Don’t force it.

Smoke pot sometimes. Use a vaporizer when you do. Watch shitty movies, trash TV, but read as much as you can. Write lyrics and listen to songs you wish you wrote. Type the first few lines of your favorite book out … walk in that writer’s shoes for a second. Be outspoken, look outspoken. If you make your voice count for something, notoriety will come. You’ll have more worst moments than best moments. Those few best ones? They make up for everything.


Agents, Curtis Russell and Carly Watters answered over 100 of your writing & publishing questions during Friday’s #askPSLA Twitter Event! Incase you missed it, we’re rounding up everything you missed in a series of posts. Check back tomorrow for part 7!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Five Reasons to Self-Publish
If you've written a book, chances are you have at least considered self-publishing. There are many excellent reasons to self-publish, even if you have the chance to publish traditionally. Where self-publishing was once seen as the last recourse of the desperate, it has fast become valid method of publishing.

“Self-publishing is not a quick fix. You can churn out books in a weekend, edit the following week, have a friend proofread, and publish on Kindle with a badly photoshopped cover, but these books are the reason self-publishing gets a bad rep. Doing it properly takes time, but not nearly as much as the alternative. When you consider you can have a book professionally edited, proofread, and designed, in the time it takes to hear back from just one agent or publisher, you begin to see my point.”

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.


  • 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.
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?

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When it comes to happiness we are all searching for it. Searching for something to heal us, something to provide us with joy and warmth. Looking for a small piece of reassurance in a world that quite frankly longs to tear us down. We search in objects, materialistic items, and our exterior. We buy things we believe will heal us and never consider what is actually inside us. As humans, we fail to look inside ourselves, question what our souls needs, our hearts desire and our minds crave. Maybe that is where our faults lie. In order to find this ‘happiness’ we need to consider what we believe in, how we view happiness and how happiness belongs in our lives.

Extract from a book I am writing by Amy Kennedy


“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe’s “The Raven” was published on this day (29 January) in 1845 in the New York Evening Mirror.

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’T is some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door;
   Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore,
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore:
   Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door:
   This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"—here I opened wide the door:—
   Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore:”
   Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore;
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore:
   ’T is the wind and nothing more.”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door,
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door:
   Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,—
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore:
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
   Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
   With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered,
Till I scarcely more than muttered,—"Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.“
   Then the bird said, "Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore:
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
   Of ‘Never—nevermore.’
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore,
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
   Meant in croaking "Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
   She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!”
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore.“
   Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore:
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
   Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us, by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore:
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore!”
   Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting:
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
   Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor:
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
   Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Now What? How to Deepen Your Manuscript Before Publishing

During the second month of our “Now What?” Months, we’re shifting our focus to publishing in all its myriad forms. Today, Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors kicks things off and focuses on helping you make sure your manuscript is ready for the publishing process:

This is the first in a series of four blog posts in association with The Alliance of Independent Authors, leading novelists through the process of self-publishing, from first draft to reaching readers. Over the coming weeks, we will cover

Today, we’re talking about deepening and editing the first drafts you completed during NaNoWriMo.

Writing a book (indeed any creative project) has seven stages:

Keep reading
How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
by Glen C. Strathy

To sell your novel, you may need to know how to write a synopsis, even if you are a pantser-type novelist who can write a whole novel without making an outline first. Agents and publishers will often ask for a synopsis along with sample chapters before they request a complete manuscript.

The biggest mistake most people make when they try to write a synopsis for the first time is to create a bare bones plot summary, along the lines of “First this happens, then this happens, then this happens…” Synopses written this way tend to be so dry and boring even the author would have trouble understanding why anyone would want to read the full novel.

Imagine, for example, if a sports writer described a hockey game as “First one team scored. Then the other team scored. Then the first team scored twice. Then the game ended.” Pretty boring, yes?

- See more at:

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Now What? How to Self-Publish a Well-Designed Book

During the second month of our “Now What?” Months, we’re shifting our focus to publishing in all its myriad forms. Today, Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors continues a series on independent publishing, focusing today on design and formatting:

This the second in a series of four blog posts that will lead authors through the design and formatting phases of the writing and self-publishing journey. You’ve completed your first draft in 30 days, and completed the deepening, self-editing and editorial phases. Now what?

Once you have a fully edited manuscript, consider turning it into a digital book and publishing it.

Why digital? Digital levels the playing field for self-publishers. When readers search for, find, and buy books on the Internet, how the book was published becomes irrelevant. A self-published book has a page on Amazon or Kobo or iBooks that’s just as much a selling opportunity as the pages for books from the big trade publishers; if your book is well written, edited, and designed, the reader won’t know the difference.

Keep reading
6 Steps for Writing a Book Synopsis
by Marissa Meyer

Confession: I enjoy writing query letters. I know that most writers loathe them, but I always thought the query letter was kind of a fun challenge. The challenge of trying to distill your novel down to its essence, giving just enough information to draw the agent or editor in to the story, but without giving away so much that the manuscript loses all sense of mystery.

However, I feel quite differently about the second-most dreaded item of many submission packages: the Synopsis.

The book synopsis is that three- or four-page snapshot of the book, that essentially tells your story from beginning to end, while seemingly stripping it of any intrigue, humor, or emotional resonance. To me, writing a synopsis that could leave a reader still wanting to read the actual manuscript always seemed like a much bigger challenge than the query letter.

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