How to make the Time to Write (via: @RosBaxter, HT: @altait)

Ros Baxter gives some advice on finding time to write. I need this, because I suck at time management:

I once read that Capote would write lying casually on a couch (probably a chaise lounge), with a glass of sherry in one hand and a pencil in another. TS Elliot had a hideaway above Chatto & Windus, a publishing house on St Martin’s Lane. Edgar Allen Poe could only write in black; Mark Twain in white.

I suspect if they had a smartphone with a constantly scrolling newsfeed and/or Angry Birds it might have had some impact on their productivity.

Ros gives us 7 things to help get that time in. I’ve used 5 quite effectively, with just a low ‘300 word’ requirement.

  1. Become a voyeur.
  2. Staple a notebook to your arse.
  3. Set goals.
  4. Make time to write every day.
  5. Set yourself a daily word count.
  6. Not feeling creative?
  7. Finally, be grateful

Details and explanations at the original article if you’re keen: http://www.allisontait.com/2013/03/starting-out-10-how-to-make-the-time-to-write/

Library Book Dumping Signals a New Dark Age (OH NOES! – Ed) (via @smh)

Well of course it doesn’t, but it is interesting:

In May, Sydney University announced its library “restructure”.  This magnificent library, among the country’s finest, had already, a decade earlier, deacquisitioned some 60,000 books and theses. More recently there were further, unquantified and undeclared cloak-and-dagger dumpings to make space for the wifi and lounge-chairs that have given the once magical Fisher stack the look and feel of a church playgroup.

I’m posting this more as a thinking/discussion piece. I don’t necessarily agree with the doom-and-gloom of this piece, because the notion of a place where you go to pick up an deposit paper books is a little old and impractical, and notions like having a ‘who’s who’ is ridiculous in the age of the Internet.

Which is true? And what exactly is a library with no books, beside a website, a database, a cloud? Why, in the age of mobile mini-tech and ubiquitous wifi does such a library even exist? Couldn’t it just be a basement server with a million e-books on remote access?

With all due respect, I think the author is missing the point. A modern library is not a place where you go to get books. It’s a communal space celebrating books, art and the literary community. I go to libraries to be in the space, not to get books. Just like I go to a bookstore for the community, not for books I could buy cheaper online. Just like I go to a pub to be in a social space, not to buy overpriced beer.

Nonetheless, this article is worthy of a read, as an insight into how the idea of a library is transforming in the modern age. Maybe it will spark a story idea?

Read it all here: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/library-book-dumping-signals-a-new-dark-age-20140903-10bspm.html

Monday Market – Apex Magazine Steal the Spotlight Micro fiction Contest – 15 Oct 2014 (via @jodicleghorn)

Apex Magazine is running another micro fiction contest. It’s pretty cool and good exercise for your micro-fiction writing skills. From the site:

  1. There will be five categories: sea monsters, black dog/Hellhounds, banshees, science experiments gone wrong, and demons (this can include wendigos, succubus, be creative). Write a story to fit one of these five categories, then submit it to apexwritingcontest@gmail.com with the subject line formatted as Title, Author, Category.

  2. This is a micro fiction contest. Stories must be 250 words or less. If a story is more than 250 words, it will be deleted unread.

  3. You can submit one story per category, five stories total. If you submit two banshee stories, we will consider the first story your submission.

Prizes are great, folks:

6 cents per word, receive a free 12-month subscription to Apex Magazine and a short story critique from an Apex editor. Stories for critique can be up to 5,000 words long

You can find the submission guidelines here: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blogs/frontpage/15271873-steal-the-spotlight-micro-fiction-contest

Monday Markets – The Canary Press – The Genre Issue – Oct 20, 2014 (via @thecanarypress)

The Canary Press is looking for short fiction for their special Genre issue:

In recent years, literary realism has come to dominate the short story world. Some of it is wonderful, of course, but we want to dedicate an issue to stories that are defiantly not literary realism.

Don’t just revisit tired tropes — learn the conventions and karate chop those suckers, push a genre as far as it can go.

Many of our favourite writers have cheerfully (or drunkenly) straddled the lines between genres. Be bold. Be inventive. Come at us like a pirate ship in 3D.

Grip us with a story and don’t let go.

Finer details:

We’re interested in short stories of any length. We’re also interested in very short stories (under 1500 words)

Their general guidelines say that ‘any length’ tops out at about 7,000 words. Payment is variable (ie. I believe it depends on their funds but they do pay) and the magazines look great!

Guidelines here:http://thecanarypress.com/about/submit/

The Truth About Publishing (via @ianirvineauthor, HT: @rachelhills)

This is an old article by Ian Irvine (2005! How the industry has changed!) but still a solid read in 2014. It flew past my twitter feed. It really is super long. I’ve only included the section headers below so you get a taste for it. Note, I don’t really agree with the final lesson so much, although I do understand the sentiment: Writing isn’t a pathway to fame and wealth, do it because you can’t not do.

  • Part 1: Getting There
  • Lesson 1: Got Expectations? Lower Them
  • Lesson 2: Anyone can do it, hah!
  • Lesson 3: Skiing across the slush pile
  • Lesson 4: What to do when you’re rejected
  • Lesson 4a: Why most writers will never get published
  • Lesson 5: Wow, you’ve actually been offered a contract
  • Lesson 6: Understanding your advance
  • Lesson 7: Why you don’t want a huge advance
  • Lesson 8. Why you don’t want a tiny advance either
  • Lesson 9: Your editor is wise and you are foolish
  • Lesson 10: The book production line
  • Lesson 10A: You’re not published until you’re in print (and sometimes not even then)
  • Lesson 10B: Putting your money where your manuscript is
  • Part 2: Surviving Publication
  • Lesson 11: Is that all you’re printing?
  • Lesson 12: It’s just been printed and you can’t bear to look at it
  • Lesson 13. But I thought you were going to promote my book?
  • Lesson 14. Do it yourself promotion
  • Lesson 15: How come my books never get reviewed?
  • Lesson 16: What’s a good sale, anyway?
  • Lesson 17: I have to wait how long for the money?
  • Lesson 18: Sales you don’t get much for
  • Lesson 19: Check your royalty statements against your contract
  • Lesson 20: Other income from your books
  • Lesson 21: Help, I won an award and now I’m being remaindered
  • Part 3: Coping with Success
  • Lesson 22: It takes years to become an overnight success
  • Lesson 23: The perils of success 1 – being typecast
  • Lesson 24: The perils of success 2 – staying successful
  • Lesson 25: What’s a bestseller anyway?
  • Lesson 26: Foreign Rights
  • Lesson 27: Sold some foreign rights and think you’ve struck it rich? Oh dear
  • Lesson 28: Movie rights and other fantasies
  • Lesson 29: Other subsidiary rights
  • Lesson 30: Is that all I get?
  • Lesson 30A: Writing as a business?
  • Lesson 31: Changing publishers
  • Lesson 32: Foreign and Local Taxes
  • Final lesson: Anyone who can be discouraged from writing should be

Read the whole thing here: http://www.ian-irvine.com/publishing.html

Monday Markets – Penumbra eZine – Arthurian Legend – October 1, 2014 (via @Penumbra_eMag, HT: @staceysarasvati)

Penumbra eZine is a professional rates paying publisher with multiple overlapping themed calls for submission:

[I]t is imperative that you include the issue theme in the subject line of your email. Submissions that do not include this information risk getting lost in our queue and not read before the deadline.

Their ‘Aliens’ theme is closing in a few days, but they are open to receiving Arthurian legend stories until the end of September:

What ho! (No, we don’t mean Guinevere.)  For centuries, the magic and mystery of King Arthur and Camelot have enthralled readers.  Thanks to great authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley and T.H. White, there’s a strong tradition of Arthurian books on the fantasy bookshelf.  So add your own myths to the Round Table; send Lancelot out on one more quest.  Let’s play in Camelot and Avalon until the mists gently cloak us from the modern world.

They’re after stories to 3,500 words and pay 5c/word, and will also consider poetry and reprints.

Check it out here: http://penumbraezine.blogspot.com.au/p/submissions.html

Why I Canceled My Amazon Prime Account (Following Amazon’s Spamming of My Inbox) (via @HuffPostBooks, HT: @katengh)

I almost don’t have to add any commentary to this, because I also have cranky-faced opinions about Amazon, mostly revolving around their DRM and author-exclusivity contracts, neither of which are of any benefit to anyone except Amazon’s attempts to become a publishing monopsony.

Brooke Warner says:

For those of you who follow publishing news, or who are KDP authors, you know that on August 9, Amazon sent a very bizarre email to all of its KDP customers, which has been dissected best, in my opinion, here and here.

You can read the full email here, but this post is really about why I canceled my Amazon Prime account the next day.

Read her account and reasoning here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brooke-warner/why-i-canceled-my-amazon-_b_5690083.html