Tag Archives: Publishing

War Journal 72: F&SF

What up small yet loyal fanbase and random passersby!  I’ve been behind-the-scenesing it, subbing my stuff, fine tuning other stuff, playing PlayStation VR to increase my pedigree for otherworldly accuracy, and a bunch of ad nauseums y’all probably don’t care about or can look in the mirror and see yourself doing.  We caught up?  Let’s get to the news!

Cat ate my name in headlines

Cat ate my name in headlines

I’m in the current issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  My story “The Rhythm Man” is about a bluesman, a train, mojo spirit juju, pitching woo and a horn that needs tuning, all set to a beat.  You’ll see what I mean  when you read it.  So go ahead and cop the issue.  You don’t have a subscription to F&SF, you say?  Try it free for 30 days I retort!

Although that’s my biggest news because it’s a brand new story you guys couldn’t have possibly read yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a reprint that recently got rereleased.  What am I saying?  I’m already remiss… this thing’s been out for like two months now!  Any of you remember “A Lack of Charity”, a story about this demon powered, vengeance hungry, buick driving badass that got published with Triangulation?  If that all sounds foreign, you can check it out in the rerelease with Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith.  The did a great job editing, and I think the Mysterion version reads a bit tighter and tauter.  Excuse me while I insert a tantalizing pic.

Gate guardian ate my name in headlines

Gate guardian ate my name in headlines

That’s about all I got. F&SF is a personal milestone in terms of sidequests… I’ve always wanted to get published with these cats. I aim to do it again because I had a blast working with their editor, C.C. Finlay.  Again, check it out (no reason not to for at least a month) and let me know how you dug it.

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UFO 2 Looms!

The second Unidentified Funny Objects is getting closer and closer to its release date, a date I still don’t know for certain but it is definitely drawing nigh.  Of all the projects going on in fiction, this is the thing I get excited about.  You guys have seen me rant on the state of humorous SpecFic, and the first UFO exceeded expectations in its glorious task of bringing funny to the forefront.  I believe UFO 2 is the book that establishes humorous SpecFic as more than a passing fancy and will be the book that cements the UFO anthology series as the premiere place that leading humorists appear and/or debut.

But enough visionary talk!  Check out the cover art.

ufo2coverweb

Awesome right?!  That’ll make you wanna get it even if I didn’t have a story inside.  Stay tuned, folks… I ‘ll let you know when it drops.

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Intelligence Report: Duotrope Revisited

The idea may look pretty on the surface…

Just in case you only subscribe to my site as a writer resource and have been so engrossed in your current story that you haven’t heard… Duotrope is going away.  Not out of business, at least not yet, but the Duotrope I swore by is changing.  Come January 1st the site is going to charge $50 bucks a year or $5 a month for virtually all its services.

I’m fairly new as a semi-pro writer, but I have never seen the writer community as ablaze as it is now.  Go to any writing site with forums and watch the fireworks.

I got wind of The Ferrett’s Journal (big shot to Keffy Kehrli for hooking me up!) which I think covers the proposition of the business model and some of the user reaction eloquently.  It’s a very divisive thing, this new Duotrope, and I’ve seen a lot of writer angst about it for a couple reasons.  One for what most folks feel is an exorbitant price for use, the other because of Duotrope’s abysmal PR about it.

I work in government.  And in IT.  And in Afghanistan.  I think it’s pretty safe to say I’ve seen bad customer service/public relations.  That doesn’t bother me so much.  They’re new at this; for their seven years on the web they haven’t had “customers” so much as “users”, most of them lecherous as The Ferrett points out.  Maybe they’ll learn how to be more Kitty Softpaws with customers once everybody’s shilling out for services.  I know I’m not inherently mad about their going to pay initiative; it’s their right, just like everyone else, to be about their paper.

My post is more for the current users of Duotrope, who are kind of on the fence about whether or not to pay up come the first.  This really depends on what you use it for.

If you were using it solely for market response time statistics, then a giant NO.  Duotrope expects as many as 90% of their current users to go away come January.  With only a fraction of writers reporting stats to their database (many of them assumed to be newish writers), the statistical “average” report time may not realistically reflect the reality.  Besides, generally most markets clearly state their “query by” time on their websites, so knowing if they’re traditionally below or above this stated query time is really just a gee whiz anyway.  There’s no point in paying to get a warm fuzzy on when a market’s going to get back to you, especially when the math makes the number less warm and less fuzzy than it could be.  Just wait out the market’s query by time and if you haven’t heard from them, send them a reminder.

If you’re like me, then you may want to consider forking over some dough.  I use Duotrope for the market search database, which is hands down the  most robust and useful one out there for writers.  Not only would their engine sort by genre, pay scale, and electronic vs. postal subs, but it would eliminate ineligible markets by word count and also markets that had previously rejected the story, so a search would only yield pertinent markets.  No other web service has this level of functionality.  An added bonus for me was the centralized repository, as I don’t exactly jet-set but chopper-hop, so where ever I go in Afghanistan my market tracking follows, independent of potential hardware failures that a local hard drive could suffer.

I chose my words carefully; when I say consider forking over “some” dough that’s what I mean.  5 bucks for January, 5 for March, maybe May, accessing it at times when you’ve got new stories and a few old stories back from market that you’re looking to shop around.  I’m wholly opposed to dropping the 50 because my spidey-business sense is tingling like crazy.  They expect to lose 90% of their market.  Most writers have day jobs.  Some of those jobs include database and software development.  There’s a lot of people out there not getting services met, and where there’s a need for services, new competition arises.

Imagine what happens if someone stands up a database that takes the same publicly available information Duotrope takes and packages it into a clean searchable database.  It’s not like any of Duotrope’s services are proprietary or unreplicable.  Say new website charges 25 bucks for the year.  Not only do they stand to appeal to those 90% out there with nothing but Excel spreadsheets and moxy to guide them, but also to those 10% who are on Duotrope and want to pay less for the same service.  Again, everyone’s about their paper.

If anyone out there thinks Duotrope’s going to last to 2014, I’d love to hear from you.

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War Journal 46: The Crom Cover Letter

Conan never had to fight for 5 cents a word.

Ok, so back in June or July or so I got a bit bored.  And restless.  I especially got tired of sending out the standard cover letter of “Dear Editor, please find attached story X.  I have been published in A, B and C.  Thank you for your consideration.”

Gah.  Boring.  Couple this with the fact that half the sites you sub to openly admit they either don’t care or don’t check the cover letter until after they read the story.  And by that time they’ve pretty much decided on the fate of your story and are probably just checking the cover letter to make sure they’re not dissing a big name in the field that somehow slipped past their radar.  Whatever.  My restless soul had had enough.  I decided to switch it up.

The following is a real cover letter that I sent to pro paying site Buzzy Mag.

Editor,

I have never prayed to you before.  I have no tongue for it.  No one, not even you, will remember whether we were good writers or bad, why we subbed, or why we got rejected.  No, all that matters is that one story stood against many, that’s what’s important.  I know valor pleases you, Editor, so grant me one request, grant me PUBLICATION!  And if you do not listen, then the hell with you!

I have been published in Daily Science Fiction and Penumbra.  Thank you for your consideration.

James Beamon

I figure anyone who’s steeped in speculative genres like fantasy would know this right off the bat.  If they didn’t get it, it didn’t matter… it was supremely therapeutic telling a publisher to basically kiss my ass if they don’t buy.  I just got their response.  This is it:

Dear Mr. Beamon,

We at Buzzy thank you for your short fiction submission.  After thoughtful consideration, however, we have concluded that unfortunately it didn’t work for us, so we’ll have to say no.  Please understand that this No most likely means “Not Quite the Right Fit,” not “No Good.”

Reading the unpublished work of so many talented writers is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we feel privileged that you
chose to place your writing in our hands.  We hope you will consider submitting to Buzzy again in the future as a possible home for your work.

Sincerely,
The Editorial Staff
Buzzy Multimedia

PS We also appreciated your creative cover letter.

I only have two words for their rejection.

Mission Accomplished.

Didn’t I say “the HELL with you!”

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