A Hundred Ways In

There’s a pretty neat writing contest going on in association with Paul Malmont’s new book, “The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown.” I haven’t read any of Malmont’s work, but I’m throwing my tags down for just about anything right now, so guess what? I entered. I wrote a story and submitted it. You can read it and vote for it here.

It looks like my spacing didn’t get preserved; these online entry forms are kind of wonky sometimes.

It’s not the most amazing story, but what the hell – I’d rather save that for situations that don’t involve perpetual rights/no-royalty situations.

In other news, I finished two other stories this past week, and am readying my “manuscripts” for submission at a few venerable publications. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the SFWA website, which has some good resources for manuscript form and related stuff. It’s not always the most navigable site, but if you dig, there’s good material to be found.

Over the past few months, I’ve become quite familiar with the guidelines, styles, and response times of a number of SF publications. Now that I have actual stories to submit, I’m trying to piece together a plan for submissions. It’s a balance of various factors: How much I want to be in the particular publication, how quick their response times are, how much they pay, and what I think my chances are of getting accepted. For instance, Tor pays 25 cents per word – unheard of in SF short-format publishing – but they have a six-to-eight month response time.

My top choice right now, strange as it may sound, is Clarkesworld. I love their whole thing. The website is the primary format, with “chapbooks” published in smaller numbers for each edition. The cover art is generally above and beyond most others. They do audio recordings of most stories, which is great, though they seem to have one person read them all, which is a little disappointing.*  And they have around a two day response time, which means I’d be able to turn around rejected material quickly.

If anyone has any experience in this area, or knows any inside info about any of the major SF short-story markets, I’d love to hear it. Personal research only goes so far.

The York Emporium, hands down my favorite bookstore – hell, my favorite business – on earth, is holding their annual “Sci-Fi Saturday” event this weekend. I plan to attend, carrying my little folder full of tales like the hardworking hustler that I am [Note: the website doesn’t appear to have any info on the event;I know some details are available on their FB page]. Jim Lewin, the owner, is notable for (among other things) working on the restoration of some of Heinlein’s complete works in association with the Virginia Project. I expect that the inestimable Chuck Miller will be in attendance; Chuck is not only an absolutely wonderful guy, he also used to be one-half of the small publishing venture known as Underwood Miller. Chuck put out “In Pursuit of Valis,” the complete PKD short story collection, works by Harlan Ellison, and a lot more. If he is there, I may try to convince him to do an interview, which I would then publish here.

It’s a pretty awesome time to be writing SF.

*[One of the things I really want to do is produce my own audio versions of stories, complete with my own original soundtrack work. A barrier-breaking pipe-dream of mine is to publish some “major work” with the audio format being the primary version.]

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