Shock Totem has produced some amazing looking magazines (have a look when you click through to the guidelines):
We consider original, unpublished stories within the confines of dark fantasy and horror—mystery, suspense, supernatural, morbid humor, fantasy, etc
They accept fiction up to 5,000 words, but also flash and micro fiction, and pay a healthy 5 cents per word, up to a cap of $250. They’re also looking for poetry and will sometimes grab reprints at a reduced rate.
Non-fiction about real-world horrors up to 2,500 words is also accepted.
Shock Totem has two reading periods during the year, From February to May, and from August to November.
Check it out here: http://www.shocktotem.com/guidelines/
I picked on Dan Brown yesterday, so to create some balance I’m linking to this article which defends his writing in the style of his writing (hint: actually, I’m just picking on him twice in a row, but three lefts make a right, so I’ll need to find one more article for next week perhaps).
The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.
Read it here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10049454/Dont-make-fun-of-renowned-Dan-Brown.html
I don’t want to just pick on the immensely successful Dan Brown. It’s a bit gauche. However, someone else did some criticism of some bad writing, which just happened to be in Dan Brown’s new book, and it’s an entertaining read.
It’s important to remember that all of us will write terrible sentences, and occasionally it’s heartening to see that even those of us who sell many many many books are not immune.
And yes, they’re not all single sentences, and no, I haven’t confirmed these are really from the book…in truth, some of them are just too terrible to see print. Take for example the description of this watery cave:
Emerging from the darkness, a scene began to take shape … the interior of a cave … or a giant chamber of some sort. The floor of the cavern was water, like an underground lake.
Read them all here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100216857/dan-browns-eight-worst-sentences-in-inferno/
Sometimes I get to be lazy, by writing a post elsewhere and simply linking to it! Twice the exposure, once the work, right?
I was asked by the eminent David McDonald, winner of the 2013 Ditmar award for Best New Talent, to contribute a post to his Wednesday Writers column. I decided to compare the submit/$ ratio of a top-notch genre magazine and literary competitions.
I’m going to suggest that you write outside your comfort zone and submit to literary competitions, for fun and profit.
It’s only short, so check it out. http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/2013/05/wednesday-writers-tom-dullemond/
Mark Coker from Smashwords has collated the results of a Smashwords author survey, and there’s a whole bunch of fancy graphs and juicy data in there.
I’ll just post the headers for each section, to give you an idea. It’s really great information, and if you want to optimise your strategy for selling books you certainly can’t go wrong with some Cold, Hard Survey Result Facts.
- Ebook Sales Conform to a Power Curve
- Viva Long Form Reading: Longer Books Sell Better
- Shorter Book Titles Appear to Have Slight Sales Advantage
- How Indie Authors are Pricing Their Books: $2.99 (USD) is the Most Common Price Point
- How Price Impacts Unit Sales Volume: Lower Priced Books (usually) Sell More Copies
- The Yield Graph: Is $3.99 the New $2.99?
- A Closer Look at the Yield Graph Reveals Why Indie Ebook Authors Have a Competitive Advantage over Traditionally Published Authors
There really is too much for me to post without spoilering the lot (yes, spoilering is a word now*), but I found this an interesting comment from Mark:
Already, many successful indies, borrowing from the playbook of publishers, are assembling freelance teams of editors, cover designers, formatters and distributors. Tell me again, what can a publisher do for the ebook author that the author already do for themselves faster, cheaper and more profitability?
In general I’m in the camp of ‘assemble a team of freelance professionals to produce a book’. I realise that some authors are capable of being the person who does that assembling, and that other authors are more than capable of doing all those tasks themselves, and I’m also aware that this approach is quite expensive. I think it produces the best books though. Not that I have any evidence of this.
Anyway, read the survey results and Mark analysis. It’s very interesting: http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html
(*send your hate mail to Shakespeare)
This sounds like a great anthology, and the recently revealed cover art is gorgeous.
This October, we will have a special themed issue and we need your submissions. The theme is “Wings.” Why wings? “Pigeons from Hell.””The Birds”. “The Raven.” These are only a few tales that have included disquieting winged entities. We want to continue the tradition.
From birds to bats, and Mi-Go to the Mothman, we are looking for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry that flaps and terrifies. Stories should adhere to the general guidelines set by Innsmouth Magazine (See here for word count max, pay rates and the like). We want Weird fiction, we want odd and disquieting tales, we want beauty and grotesqueries.
They pay 1c CAD for short stories from 1,300 to 5,000 words. This issue will also accept unsolicited poetry at $10 a poem.
More details here: http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/blog/?p=21029
OMG, this changes my entire perception of everything I’ve ever known about my keyboard layout:
The first time I heard the lie, I was in fifth grade. Mr. Ward took me aside (or maybe he told the whole class, it was a long time ago) to tell me about the wonders of Dvorak, a different keyboard layout that was scientifically designed to be more efficient than the standard layout. That layout was called QWERTY, he explained, and it had been created to slow typists down. You see, in the olden days, mechanical typewriters could jammed if people hit the keys too quickly, so they had to put the common letters far apart from each other. The modern keyboard, I was told, was a holdover of the mechanical age.
Read the truth that they’ve been trying to conceal from you here: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/the-lies-youve-been-told-about-the-origin-of-the-qwerty-keyboard/275537/
This is a great little service:
Slick Write is a free tool that checks your writing for potential stylistic mistakes and other features of interest. Whether you’re a blogger, novelist, or student writing an essay for school, Slick Write can help take your writing to the next level. Curious? Try a quick demo, or enter your own text in the editor tab. After submitting, four more tabs will appear at the top of the screen:
I had a play around, and it broke my text into stats, critique, sentence flow and a whole bunch of funky little bits of information. It seemed to detect the style of the submitted text (ie. whether it was prose or an essay), and I assume it applies different rules to the text accordingly.
Certainly worth having a look at!
There’s a limit of around 200,000 characters, or around 28,000 words. So the service reminds you to submit individual chapters if you are planning on smashing through your novel manuscript.
Try it out here: http://www.slickwrite.com/
I was going to present this without comment, but any of you who know me realise that was a lofty goal indeed.
I … I don’t want to put the boot into Ted Heller for writing his article. But…well…he actually has an agent, and some books that the NYT has actually looked at. Despite the woes detailed in the story I think he’s actually not got it so bad… Ted does acknowledge that towards the end of the article, though:
Now, I happen to know a few people at magazines and newspapers; I’ve had novels published and I have an agent. But what is this experience like for Jane and John Q. Self-Publishing Author way out there in South Podunk, who don’t know anybody at all and who have zero connections? My heart goes out to them. I know why I do it (I enjoy the piss out of writing, I believe I might be good at it, I don’t know how to do anything else, and I was laid off from my last job). I cannot explain how I do it, but I really don’t know how those other people — the 99 Percent of Writerdom — can do this. Where do they find the time and the stomach?
Read it in full here: http://www.salon.com/2013/05/03/the_future_is_no_fun_self_publishing_is_the_worst/
This is a steampunk-y anthology is coming up in the next two months:
Imagine a world where the Robotic Age came early, riding a wave of steam power and Babbage analytical machines. This is the world we want you to explore. The brave new world of steam powered Artificial Intelligence. What are the implications of this in the alternative Victorian Worlds? Robotic servants displacing an entire class of people? The effects the rise of robotic blood sports would have on the Victorian ethos and decorum. Or even how warfare would change with the birth of robotic warriors fighting mighty battles for their human overlords? How would the lives of famous people affect or be affected by these new automatons?
They’re after 1,000-7,000 word short stories, and paying token amounts in several (publicly listed) tiers, from $60 to $10 USD, so nothing amazing but still of interest.
Check it out here: http://bairdpresents.wordpress.com/i-automaton-a-steampunk-collection/