Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Submission Call: Redstone Science Fiction zine

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010


  • Mag: Redstone Science Fiction
  • Editor(s): Michael Ray and Co-Editor Paul Clemmons
  • Pay Rate: 5¢ / word
  • Response Time: expect 1 month, query after two
  • Deadline: Temp closed since 4/4/10, will reopen in a few weeks
  • Description: Redstone Science Fiction will publish quality stories from across the science fiction spectrum. We are interested in everything from post-cyberpunk to new space opera.
  • Submission Guidelines:

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit Three

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Hello again! I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!

So far, we’ve talked about two habits for highly effective authors: 1. Writing Every Day and 2. Learning about the Industry/Business side of publishing

Are you ready for habit number three?

3. Highly effective authors learn how to handle criticism.

I’ve been a member of many critique groups over the years, and there are always one or two (or more) members who expect everyone to love their work. Any “negative” (meaning, less than glowing) comment is met with a defensive (or hostile) rebuttal. This works against them in the long run, and puts them at a huge disadvantage later. How?

A. Because critique partners will sooner or later either learn to dance around the truth or give up critiquing altogether. That robs the writer of an opportunity to learn.


B. Because a writer with very thin skin will often have a hard time accepting edits if she/he sells. That will put a strain on his/her relationships with future agents and editors.

Highly effective authors know they’ll be criticized on many fronts if their work is ever published. Critique partners. Editors. Agents. Readers. Reviewers. They have no choice but to develop a thick skin. They quickly learn the value of honest and constructive feedback, particularly when it’s coming from a reliable source…and before the book is in print, when it’s not too late to make changes.

Now, my personal critique partner horror story: I have to admit, I was clueless when I started writing. I was sure EVERYONE would love everything I’d written when I first started. But, thanks to a (now defunct) site called iPublish, which was somewhat similar to Gather’s First Chapter contests, my delusions were quickly squelched. Not everyone loved my work. Some did, yes. But others didn’t “get” it. And some hated it. “Why do you need demons in a romance story?” “Your scenes are overwritten.” and there was the “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Go back to kindergarten and learn how to write.”

Did those criticisms hurt? You bet! And (of course) I often felt they were dead wrong. But I learned, after selling and reading my first bad review, that it was better to hear about the bad BEFORE the book was in print, rather than after.

I now embrace the critic. Are they sometimes wrong? Maybe. But I tend to see some truth in every bit of criticism I read of my work. And I take those grains of truth and apply them, hoping the next book will be better.

Remember, it might take one editor to love a story for your book to be published. But it’s going to take thousands of readers to love a story for you to sell your next book.
Learn from the criticism you receive. Grow. Challenge yourself. Resist the urge to post any kind of defense of your work…and be a Highly Effective Author.

Anyone care to share their critique partner horror stories? Post them in the comments.

Writing Contest: The Golden Claddagh (Romance Fiction)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Forwarded with permission:

Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh! Don’t let our chapter name dissuade you, your entry does not have to be Celtic based to enter, unless you enter our Celtic Category. We have six categories, Historical, FF & P, Romantic Suspense, Celtic, Contemporary & Erotic Romance.

Final Round Judges
FF&P: Leis Pederson – Berkley/Jove
Contemporary: Lois Winston – Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense: Laura Bradford – Bradford Literary Agency
Historical: Barbara Poelle – Irene Goodman Agency
Celtic: Deb Werksman – Sourcebooks
Erotic: Kate Seaver – Berkley

Our contest due date has been extended to June 1, 2010. Finalists will be notified by July 1, 2010 and winners notified by September 1, 2010.

Visit: to register!
Or Email our Chair, Eliza Knight for information: writer@elizaknight. com

25 Ways to NOT Get Published: Post 2

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Happy Wednesday! I thought I’d go ahead and post the second way to not get published today. To remind you, the first was: Demand no less than a six-figure advance in your query letter. Your book is brilliant and if Big Publishing House isn’t willing to pay, then there’s no need to submit a single page.

The second way to not get published:

Ask friends/critique partners or fellow authors for feedback on your project, and then dismiss their concerns. Everyone is wrong! Head-hopping is okay. Plenty of authors do it. And who cares if you start every paragraph with the same word (“Then…”)? That’s the way you want it. Your baby is perfect and if they can’t see that, then they’re blind.

Repeat after me–No one’s work is perfect. You can expect people to be pointing out imperfections from the beginning. Critique partners. Agents. Editors. Copy editors. Reviewers. Readers. Believe me, having a book published can be a very humbling experience. Do yourself a favor, if you can’t handle criticism, keep your writing locked up on your computer, in a desk drawer, wherever. Don’t show it to another human being until you’re prepared to hear it isn’t perfect.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit Two

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Before we dig into the second habit of Highly Effective Authors, I thought I’d remind you that last week we talked about Habit 1: Writing Daily.

Habit 2. Published authors learn about/understand the business side of publishing.

Highly effective authors aren’t shocked when they get their first (or their tenth) rejection. They realize publishing is highly subjective. They have realistic expectations regarding submissions and rejections (unlike me when I first started). And they are determined to keep trying, even when they have collected enough “Dear Author” rejection letters to wallpaper their entire home.

Highly effective authors know how to professionally submit their work. They are able to generate a well-written query letter and synopsis. They use correct manuscript formatting and are well aware of both the do’s and don’ts of submitting. (Side note, for a humorous look at the do’s and don’ts read my How to Not Get Published).

Highly effective authors not only know why they must research publishers and agents (identifying scams, locating submission guidelines, etc.), but how to find what they need on the internet. When they need information, they turn to accurate and reliable sources, such as Writer Beware, Piers Anthony and Predators and Editors, rather than gossip blogs.

And finally, highly effective authors know how publishing works. They know and respect the differences between epublishing and print. They have some understanding of print runs and marketing. Branding and creating buzz. Google Ranking. They understand that writing is a craft but publishing is a business, and they realize that in today’s market they have to be both craftsman (craftswoman) and entrepreneur.

Overwhelmed yet? I hope not.

Yes, all this stuff requires reading, research…and yes, time. But again, time spent learning about the industry never interferes with Habit Number One–writing.

Next time, a habit that’s painful to a lot of writers…

Editor Pitch: Harlequin American

Monday, May 24th, 2010


We’re at it again! And this time, we’ve got another of your favorite lines for you to send your heartwarming romances with strong family elements too! Harlequin American Romance is looking for YOUR manuscript and Senior Editor, Kathleen Scheibling will be on hand to take your pitch!

To enter, send a logline AND a one-page synopsis of your manuscript ( in the body of the email ) to Hosty Rae by June 28th

Five entries will be chosen by Kathleen Scheibling and those will be announced no later than July 5th.

Pitches will happen July 8th, at 2 pm edt. But read the rules below to ensure your entry can be accepted.

There will also be a one-hour editor Q & A prior to the pitch.

•NO currently published works to include self-publishing. Original, non-published works ONLY please!

• You MUST be able to enter and post inside the chat room. If you are unable to use the chat room and your submission is chosen, we will be unable to offer you another venue option and it will be unfair to an entrant who is able.

• You MUST have a completed manuscript that is targeted to Harlequin American Romance. Editors have the option to request partials or fulls.

• You MUST be available at the given chat time. As stated above, we will be unable to offer another venue or time option.

• Please include your member name, your full name along with your submission.

Harlequin American Guidelines
Editor Pitch FAQs

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit One

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Before I sold my first book, I was desperately searching for the magic formula that would catapult me from unpublished wannabe to published author status. Yes, I was one of those writers, the kind who wanted to be published so bad I could taste it. And I admit I was looking for shortcuts.

Did I find any shortcuts? Sorry, nope. But I did find some things that could help move me in the right direction. Ready? I think I’ll post one “habit” a week, for seven weeks. That way, I won’t have this uber-long treatise that no one wants to read, lol.

So what’s today’s habit?

1. Published authors spend their time writing. Books. Not blogs. Not emails. Not chit-chatty messages on forums or yahoo groups.

They write every day (well, except for holidays and maybe weekends if writing is your full time job).

I can’t tell you how many writers I see waste valuable time playing on forums, blogs and yahoo groups. Yes, this kind of activity could be seen as networking, developing a market for future books (a readership) and researching the industry. But the time should be limited and never interfere with time spent actually writing.

In order to keep priorities straight, I recommend a writer set a specific word count/page count goal for every day.

What’s a realistic goal? That depends upon your situation. Do you have small children at home? Do you work a full time job? Do you have other time consuming daily obligations? Then maybe your goal will be to write one page a day. That’ll get you a book a year.

If you’re writing full time, you might be able to tackle a much more aggressive goal. Ten to twenty pages a day is common for some authors, particularly epublished who rely upon frequent ebook releases to generate buzz and steady income.

Whatever that goal might be–one page or twenty–be tough on yourself. No “play time” allowed until your daily goal is met. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with some fun time on Romance Divas, Facebook or Twitter AFTER your pages are done 🙂

Do this, and before long it’ll become routine and you’ll be cranky if you don’t get your pages done for the day.

Okay, so that’s it. Habit number one. I’ll give you a little hint about next week’s habit…it has to do with something that most authors don’t want to know about.

(this series was previously published on

25 Ways to NOT Get Published: Post 1

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

New authors are often looking for that “magic formula”, a surefire way to land that first deal. The bad news: I haven’t discovered that yet. But I do have a little bit of good news. I have discovered a few surefire ways to NOT get published. I thought I’d share them in descending order, posting one at a time. I hope this series will provide you with a few chuckles,and some thought-provoking truths.

Okay, so here we go. The twenty-fifth way to NOT get published, and the lesson you can learn from it:

25. Demand no less than a six-figure advance in your query letter. Your book is brilliant and if the Big Publishing House isn’t willing to pay, then there’s no need to submit a single page.

The reality:

There’s no need to talk about advances until after an editor has made an offer. Any talk of money in the query stage is like slapping a big, ugly sign on your forehead that says IGNORANT NEWBIE. That’s not to say your query is guaranteed to immediately go in the circular file if you mention money in a query letter, but there’s a good chance it will. Why stack the odds against you–which are already towering–even higher?

(This series was previously published on

Sharing the info: A grant for young unpublished writers

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Grant For Talented Youth

We would like to announce the official launch of the C.A.Milson Award For Talented Youth.

The first Grant by C.A.Milson will see three talented youth receive funding which can be used to help with research costs, purchase equipment or help with financial aid.

“I see people who have real talent never get a break, whether it is in writing, music, or acting.” C.A. Milson stated, “In the last year I have seen several people almost give up on their dreams because they lack the resources or funding to get to the next level. I know how much of a challenge it can be to get a break. So this is just one way I can give back to those who have supported me.”

The Grant is open to individuals up to the age of 25 who are pursuing a career in the Arts, Literature or Entertainment Industries.

HOW TO APPLY: Application is made by Email and attach documents as requested.
Please include the following:

Brief information about yourself including photo;
Outline of your financial position, specifying the sum needed, and what funds will be used for;
Details of any grants you have received in the last three years;
For Authors: Copies of a few reviews of your work if available.
For Musicians: Demos of your work in Mpeg format.
For Actors: Demo reel of your work or online portfolio

Deadline for the first Grant close 31st January 2011.

There will be three grant levels.
A: First Place Grant of $700 USD
B: Second Place Grant of $200 USD
C: Third Place Grant of $100 USD

* If first place is awarded to an Author, he/she will have their work critiqued by C.A.Milson’s Literary Agent, Grammar Chic Inc.
* All entrants must not have any work previously published either by a publisher, self-published, or paid magazine article.

Applications can be emailed to: Include in Subject line: “Grant 2011”


Looking into my crystal ball

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

What will the future of publishing look like? Some folks have theorized that the end of an era is upon us. There’s talk of publishing’s evolution, from a world dominated by a handful of large publishing houses to one in which smaller houses are able to compete. Much of the change is due to the Kindle and to the growing demand for ebooks.

Things were looking pretty darn good in my crystal ball. As an author, I saw opportunities opening to me, opportunities that I–as an epublished author–have been waiting, hoping for.

And then something happens, like JA Konrath signing with AmazonEncore, to make me second-guess my rosy vision for the future. Could Amazon become a powerful super-corporation, a monopoly, handling all aspects of book publishing, from concept to distribution? It seems it’s already on its way to doing just that. I’m sure this is why publishers fought so hard for control of product pricing. But they may be fighting a losing battle. As more authors go to Kindle and AmazonEncore, and the average ebook price drops, traditional publishers’ products will be priced out of the market. They’ll be forced to make painful decisions. And I’m not familiar enough with publishing to know what the potential fallout of those decisions might be, but I have a vague feeling it won’t be pretty.

I’m not going to pull a Chicken Little and start shrieking, “The sky is falling!” But I will say, it’s an interesting time to be part of the publishing world right now.Things are changing, and quickly.

So, what’s an author–who has absolutely no control over the changes taking place–supposed to do, as the world beneath her feet shifts and tips?

Stay informed. Listen closely. Make decisions carefully, based upon facts, not rumors.

A few publishing industry blogs to help you do just that:


Nathan Bransford

Business Exchange


Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog