Archive for March, 2015

SPRING ARRIVES

West Chester, Pennsylvania welcomes spring.Jpeg Jpeg

March 21, 2015 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

STRUGGLING TO GET IT PUBLISHED: THE SMALL PRESS

Between major houses and self-publishing there lies an alternative which is the subject of this piece.

As far as the major publishing houses are concerned, most cannot be approached unless you have an agent and the agent makes the contact. But acquisition of an agent is not an easy task. An aside, for those writing in my genre, science fiction and horror, the major house, TOR, does accept unsolicited manuscripts. I read an article not long ago in which writers talked about obtaining an agent. In almost every case it was ‘I know someone, or I have an agent. Let me talk to them.’ You get the idea. Yet I’m still naïve enough to feel if your work is good, something good will happen. I could be labeled either a dreamer or an idiot, been called both by those who know me.

The far-end of the spectrum from the top houses is self-publishing. I’ve dealt with this topic in past posts, and will surely again in the future. What typifies my thoughts on self-publishing is an ad I see constantly in Writer’s Digest. In the photo accompanying the ad is a middle-aged woman with short gray hair sitting cross-legged on a mound of earth in the middle of the great outdoors, I can only assume there must be a Starbucks within Wi-Fi distance. She has her arms raised triumphantly while gazing at her laptop nestled in her lap. The ad proclaims, ‘Write anything. Publish everything.’

Really?

I don’t know if this woman is supposed to have just finished writing a classic, or just sent off the classic to be published. ‘Write anything’ I have no problem with, but ‘Publish everything’, give me a break. Does everything written need to be published, especially by someone unencumbered by the process of discovering if what they write is publishable? If you feel everything you write, that is not exposed to scrutiny, is publishable, you can stop reading now.

If you are still reading and feel the product of your mind should be self-published, please, please, please have someone other than your mother or your spouse read your work with a critical eye and who will be gentle, yet honest, with their opinion. Join a writer’s group or seek an online critique. I’ll these options in future pieces.

The purpose of this article is to discuss small presses, and now I will focus on that topic. There are a multitude of small, legitimate presses you are able to approach directly. I was fortunate enough to be accepted as an author by Melange Books. They provided help in editing, designing a book cover and distributing my book to online sellers, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, all free of charge. There are a host of publishers out there that want to publish good work, but do your homework. As with any industry, there are those that are less than honest.

My favorite source of publishing opportunities, Duotrope, https://duotrope.com/, is one place to begin your research. There are many other resources, but I find Duotrope the most complete and easiest to use.

At the same time, I must caution you that all small presses may not have the best interest of the writer in mind. As with any business, there are the unscrupulous and the scams abound.

Do your homework!

In past articles I have discussed Preditors & Editors, http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.ht, and Absolute Write Water Cooler, http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/. Both are fantastic and constantly update their information. Preditors & Editors provides information on publishers, along with agents. This is a site you must use if you want to publish your work and do not want to be taken due to an ego trip. The site provides recommendations and warnings of the unscrupulous.

Absolute Write Water Cooler offers writers’ experiences with publishers and agents. This site is a must if you plan to publish. If you search the internet for a specific publisher or agent, often some of the first references will be from Absolute Writer. Always check these comments by writers who have used these sites and provide first-hand information on their experiences. Both Preditors & Editors and Absolute Write Water Cooler and places you should investigate while seeking to publish your work, and they are FREE.

Good luck fellow writers.

March 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE: THE SCIENCE FICTION LANDSCAPE

I write from southeastern Pennsylvania, approximately ten miles from Valley Forge, 100 miles from Gettysburg and, perhaps, thousands of years into the future. I am a science fiction writer living in a land of history. In my area, people hold firmly to the past, tenaciously some might say. Preserving houses built hundreds of years ago and land once walked by soldiers in long ago wars.

Yet I, a writer of science fiction, deal in a future denied of the past, where structures gleam of metal and glass and little of the past kept sacred. Perhaps it is time for a reality check. Often, science fiction book covers depict futuristic cities gleaming in their modernism. Yet the reality does not conform to this image, the present truth. The year is 2015, yet how many of us readers of science fiction, the timeline has already past. Think of the years 1984, 2001, 2010, to name but a few of the significant dates in science fiction. Now, look around you and compare the story to the reality.

Nineteen eighty-four is one date which rings most true. In our ever-increasing need for technology and connection to the communication grid, we have given up our freedom as an individual.   Barely a day goes by without the revelation of immense security breaches, all our personal information gone. What I find frightening is that we live in a world where we don’t know who ‘big brother’ is. Is he a computer genius youth, a foreign government, or some criminal out to make a buck? In the end, except for monetary loss, what difference does it make? The difference is, our life is revealed.

Sorry, my mind wondered, back on topic, the futuristic element of science fiction and the fact that some of that future is already here.

As mentioned earlier, the area where I live is steeped in history and clings to the past. How does the need to hold onto the past meld with science fiction? I think that connection of the past and science fiction is kept alive in the relatively new genre of steampunk, a sub-genre of science fiction which I will not attempt. My mind does not twist in that direction. However, steampunk is alive and growing and I’ve included a link to further your understanding of the genre.

Interestingly, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are referred to in this article as authors writing in the imagery of steampunk.

This piece is just my thinking of the world of science fiction, keeping the past alive, and what direction reality is taking.

 

http://www.ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com/what-is-steampunk/

 

March 10, 2015 at 7:33 pm 1 comment


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