Monday, September 30, 2013

Writer Pay Options

In searching for contests and publications taking submissions, I come across a lot of different ways a writer can be paid (or not). The most common types are:

1. Per word payment
Author is paid per word in their piece, sometimes varying per length (as in, one rate for short stories, one rate for poetry, one rate for novellas). Duotrope breaks it down into token (<$ .01/word), semi-pro ($.01-.049/word), and pro (>$.05/word).

2. Flat payment
One flat monetary payment per piece, no matter how many words. This flat payment usually varies per overall story length (i.e. short, flash, poetry, novella, etc.), but doesn't take into count exact word count. Example would be $25 per short story.

3. Royalty-based payment
Typically, you are promised a % share for the amount that comes in for the sale of the book or magazine. Some do a tier system, while others offer all authors in the piece an equal share. This is after costs of publication are met, and means you will only be paid if a profit is turned.

4. Charity
With this option, you submit with the understanding that your piece will make you no money, and that all proceeds go to a charity that has been pre-selected. If no charity is selected, and it just says that it will go to charity, I recommend avoiding it.

5. No payment
This is often found with upstart magazines that are trying to gain a foothold in the market. They may promise exposure, free advertising, your name on their website, etc., but you will not receive money. Some may state that they will revisit lack of payment should they bring in enough money.

There are many other options and mish-mashes of the above (for instance, I recently found one that paid a small flat rate to start, followed by royalties should any be received). So far, my personal experience has been with a charity anthology, a per-word magazine, and flat-rate per article payments. I haven't submitted to anyone saying they pay by royalties yet.

I'm seeking opinions and experiences with the various types of pay. If you've worked for royalties, how has that gone? Do you prefer one of the above methods of payment? Which one, and why? What way(s) would you never consider submitting to?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Don't Tell Schrodinger & Links

A fun one today. You want to keep both kids and cats occupied? Get an empty box. Simple and straight forward. Just don't tell Schrodinger.

And because I showed her all mean and vicious looking (she was stalking a toy), here's her bookish side, taken as I was FINALLY unpacking my office this week!! (Note, there are boxes involved in this, too. Cats just really like boxes.)

And now for some links!

Please note: I have not personally vetted any of these publications or contests, etc. I merely pass along information I've found. Please always research and check out publications before submitting to them.

Accepting Submissions:

Pulp Empire and Metahuman Press have announced a set of ongoing anthologies accepting submissions. They're open until filled, except the Doc Claus Christmas anthology, which has a deadline of October 15. 10-15% of profits go to authors as royalties.

Vagabundo Magazine is seeking bloggers/columnists to write about adventure travel. You will not be paid as a blogger, but you will get dibs on writing columns, which do pay. They also expect photos with your stories.

Long Count Press is putting together an anthology with the subject of dying earth sword and sorcery fantasy. Deadline is October 31. Pays $20, plus e-book copy, plus royalties.

Kraken Press is seeking submissions for their 50's themed horror and dark fantasy anthology, American Nightmare. Short stories only. Deadline October 31. Pays in pro rata share of 15% of list price, plus one contributor copy.


Cease, Cows is holding a flash fiction contest. Guest judge is Stephen Graham Jones. Cost is $5 to enter. 1000 words or less. Prizes will be awarded as a percentage of the money brought in for the contest (details on the website). I don't usually pass along contests that have an entry fee these days, but I know the judge and he's an honest guy. Deadline October 15.

Kazka Press holds a monthly flash fiction contest entitled 713 Flash. The October deadline is October 20, with a theme of Out of Time. Pays $15 per accepted story.

Bad Day Books is holding their 2013 Assent Publishing Rogue Writing Contest. Novella and novel submissions in horror, thriller, suspense, and apocalyptic. Deadline October 31. The prize pack is pretty phenomenal, including a publishing contract, marketing, author marketing coaching, etc. Aside from the contest, they are also open for regular submissions for publication in those same genres.

Anything catch your fancy? Do your cats read? Anything you want to share with us? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Collaborative Writing

Months ago, someone I know decided to put together a collaborative writing challenge. Those of us who were interested signed up, and we were split into two groups. One was an urban fantasy group, one epic fantasy. I ended up in the epic fantasy group, in which exactly none of us were writers of epic fantasy (though that was part of the draw - to try something new).

Unfortunately, summer ended up being crazy busy. At first, I was able to make the weekly meet-ups, despite about a billion other meetings each week and my husband being out of country for work (my poor children were dragged all over the place). But when I started the CNA class, I was out for five weeks at least. And I went on my trip to Oregon the following week. So on and so forth. Point being, I was forced to drop the ball and stop going to the collaborative writing meetings.

It wasn't just me who was busy, though, and the group ended up folding. We got as far as fleshing out our characters and outlining the majority of the book.

The good news is that we re-formed, this time with an urban fantasy novel idea, something much more up our collective alleys. And this time we took into account that we were all busy people, moving our gatherings out to every other week and working out a way to do most of our collaboration online.

Collaborative writing has good aspects and bad aspects. On the positive side, if you can't come up with an idea, a character trait, a next step in the plotting process, etc., there's someone else who can. You have other people to bounce ideas off of, and valuable feedback to hone the ideas you're trying to form. Plus, other people may come up with things you wouldn't have necessarily thought up yourself. Each of us brings a different piece of knowledge, a different history, and so on, to the collaboration. What one of us doesn't know, surely another does.

It's fun, but it's also a learning process. It's quite different from sitting down at your own computer, wrapped up in your own world, and throwing those words out. You have to have a consensus, make a case for whatever you're pushing for, and be willing to drop something everyone else isn't fond of. There's the chance of artistic disagreement and the tension that might bring with it. And for me, plotting isn't something I typically do, so thinking ahead through the story when I'm not actively writing it to do so is a bit of a challenge for me.

That said, I'm enjoying the process. If you have an opportunity to collaborate with someone, consider giving it a try, just to give something new to you a go.

Successful collaborations:

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Stephen King and Peter Straub
And, of course, Bryan and Brandon over at A Beer for the Shower.

Here's a piece on 10 Famous Ghostwriting Collaborations (though I'm not talking about ghostwriting or anthologies here, both of which are separate topics).

There are legal considerations in writing collaborations that you might want to look into should you want to try it, so do please research that if needed.

Also, Happy Banned Books Week!

Have you ever collaborated on a novel? Would you consider doing so? Why or why not?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Good With the Bad, CassaStorm & Links

Maybe you're looking at this photo right now and thinking, "Big deal. A muddy pond." But the reason I'm posting this photo is because there's not usually a pond here. This is a photo taken at Garden of the Gods, a place I've posted many photos of in the past. The recent torrential downpours around the state have left a lot of devastation in their wake, especially in Boulder, Estes Park, Lyons, and other cities close to that area. We've seen damage in areas of Colorado Springs, as well, and Manitou Springs has been hit hard with multiple rainstorms even before this last series of storms. But here, in this area that binds Manitou to Colorado Springs, we see a touch of the amazing. A pond at Garden of the Gods, fed by Camp Creek, which is usually a dry creek bed. This is the first I've ever seen its like at Garden of the Gods, though I'm sure it's not the first time it's happened.

Another thing about this photo? Blue skies. That's something to celebrate, at least for the time being.

My thoughts go out to all those suffering the after effects of the storms, and especially to those who have lost loved ones or who are waiting to hear from those missing.


Guess what hit the shelves yesterday...go ahead, guess! Okay, okay, I'll tell you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStorm!

Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.”
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries
“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews
“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Now for some links!

Accepting Submissions:

Mystery and Horror, LLC is seeking short stories for two different anthologies. Horror short stories set in the winter for the anthology Undead of Winter. Submissions period is currently open and ends October 1. Mystery short stories set during Mardi Gras for their anthology Mardi Gras Murder. Open submission period is October 21 to January 5. Pays a contributor copy, $5 advance on royalties, and discount on additional book purchases.

Contrary Magazine's winter issue deadline is December 1. They accept fiction, poetry, commentary, etc. Pays $20 per piece.

Pseudopod takes horror submissions of short stories for their podcasts. They also take flash, but prefer short. They pay $100 per story and your story is performed in audio format for their podcast. Flash fiction pays $20. They're always open for submissions.

PodCastle is the same as above, but takes fantasy stories. Same pay and open submission period.


Quirk Books is holding their Looking for Love Fiction Contest. Entries should be novel-length unconventional romance. First prize is $10,000 and publication.

Human Echoes Podcast is holding their Eaters of Earth flash fiction contest focused on geophagy (eating earthly matter). Deadline October 4. Winner gets $10 and your story produced in audio form and presented on the Human Echoes Podcast.


Rachel at When a Lion Sleeps, Let it Sleep has asked bloggers to join her October 9 in posting an anti-bullying message. October 9 is Unity Day, and October is Bullying Awareness Month. Send her a link to your post and she'll include it in her recap post later that week.

Anything of interest to you? Anything to add? Good publishing news to share? Are you excited about Alex's last book in the series? Have you dealt with bullying? Plan to participate in Rachel's event?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 16, 2013

To Contest or Not to Contest

That is the question.

I haven't entered a writing contest in a couple years and I've got a new novel that might be worthwhile to enter, but I'm not sure it's at the point where I should enter it or whether I actually want to. There are various reasons for and against it.

So how about a Top Ten?

Top Ten Reasons to Enter Writing Contests:

10. To get your arse in gear and get that manuscript polished
9. Practice for submitting things
8. Something to put in a query letter/bio/reference
7. Money
6. Acclaim
5. Writing experience
4. Feedback (general, plus scores)
3. Critique (formal critique)
2. To get an agent/editor offer from a judge
1. To win (duh)

I was tempted to arrange it in a much different order, because I don't think winning is the most important part of a contest. When I first entered a writing contest, I did it to win. Plain and simple. The second time I entered a contest I did it for the critique. At this time, I think the most important aspects are the feedback, critique, and experience. Each writing contest you enter means practice writing and practice submitting something. However, I don't think I'd enter another contest unless I felt I actually had a winner. A story isn't a winner until YOU think it is.

So what should a person look at before entering a contest?

1. That the contest fits with what you write/enjoy writing/your personality
2. The organization running it is respected and honest
3. The cost - Is it reasonable? is it worth it?
4. The cost versus the prize money
5. The status of your manuscript (for novel contests) - Is it ready? Polished?
6. An explanation of the entry fee - If there's a cash prize, it's reasonable to figure much of the entry fee is going to that. If there are "celebrity" judges, you can likely assume they are being paid some amount, which would come out of the entry fee. Is it being donated? Are they a non-profit? If they're a non-profit, they hope to have some portion of the fee to keep for funds to run the non-profit once they've met costs.
7. Will the winning entries be published in some way?
8. The judges - Are they known? Do they have publishing experience?
9. Is this their first contest or has this contest been around for awhile? If it hasn't been around for awhile, has the organization running it?
10. What do YOU want out of entering this contest? What's your main goal? Will this contest help you to achieve what you want from it?

I guess that's sort of a top ten, too, eh? But it's in no particular order.

Just a gathering of thoughts. I'm leaning toward not entering right now, but I've got some time to decide.

So what are your thoughts? Do you enter contests? Do you want to? Have you in the past? Why do or don't you?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Dumbest Bunny Alive & Links

Last month, we took the kids to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, northeast of Denver. This is a place that takes in large animals who've been abused, such as tigers, lions, grizzlies, black bears, etc. The big draw for me was that they have two black leopards (the closest I'll get to "black panthers," as there's no such thing, really, just leopards and jaguars). Sadly, I didn't get to see the black leopards, as it was hot out and they were hiding.

Unlike a zoo, this place provides large chunks of land for the animals. A mile long catwalk goes over the different areas so you can view the animals without a cage in the way, yet you're completely safe.

The lioness who features in the following photos (three of the four, anyway) had just laid down for a bit of a rest on a set of platforms provided in her pen when a rabbit came running right up to her. I couldn't believe it would be so dumb, so watched in horror and fascination as it ran to directly below the lioness, stopped, and stared directly up at her.  For a moment, it looked like the lioness was going to let this transgression go, but then she leapt up and shot off after the rabbit. If you look at the first two photos, you'll see the rabbit is also in each photo, running for its life (top right of each photo).

Notice the dust cloud at her feet.
Now, the thing about this lioness was that she had just eaten. That, plus it was super hot out. She wasn't chasing the rabbit to eat it, rather to play. Partway across the field she did the lioness version of flapping her hands at the bunny and saying, "Forget it."
Only she didn't forget it after all, because then the dumb bunny ran straight into her den, which consisted of a buried concrete pipe. Seeing this, she took off, diving straight into the pipe. A moment later two rabbits burst out of the top of the other end of the pipe, making a run for it.
Talk about multiplying like bunnies!

The lioness sauntered out of the den, ignoring the rabbits on the other end of the field, and wandered back to the platforms to rest.

So tired, her tongue is hanging out.
The last photo is a different lioness, at least I think so. I couldn't help sharing her, though, due to her level of zonked-ness. She was OUT. Sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions

Crossed Genres Magazine has monthly themed editions, and they're seeking short stories. The September theme they're accepting submissions for is Second Contact. Pays $.05 cents per issue. Deadline September 30 (future themes and deadlines are posted on the website). Science fiction and fantasy.

Pinknantucket Press has a twice a year journal called Materiality, with deadlines in March and September each year. They pay $AUS 10-20. Fiction, essay, images, and poetry focusing on the physical and material. Current deadline is September 30.

Bundoran Press is seeking political science fiction short stories for an anthology. Pays 5.5 cents per word, Canadian. Deadline September 30.

Fringeworks has a call out for short stories for Terror Tree's Pun Book of Horror. Deadline September 30. Pays in royalties. Looking for horror stories with a solid pun involved.

Buttontapper Press seeks "literature that presses buttons in three distinct genres: humorous erotica, ninja novellas, and cheeky haiku." Pay unknown. Deadlines begin September 30.


The Puritan Magazine is holding The Second Annual Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence. Deadline for entry is September 30. Best story gets $900, best poem gets $600. Each also get a set of books with their prize. $10 submission fee.

Glimmer Train accepts both standard submissions for the magazine and entries via their four contests per year. Regularly submitted items pay $700 on acceptance. The contest prizes vary. There is a contest and a regular reading closing September 30: Open Fiction, 1st place pays $2500. The Standard submission pays the usual $700. There is a fee to enter the contest, but not for the standard reading.

Lee & Low Books is offering the New Voices Writers Award. This award will be offered for the best children's picture book by a writer of color. First prize is $1000 and publication.

Have you ever known a dumber bunny? Anything to share? Publishing news? Any of these catch your attention?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Jessica Bell Guest Post - Release of Indiestructible

In support of a whole troop (passel? gaggle?) of friends who appear in this book, here's Jessica Bell on the release of Indiestructible:


by Jessica Bell

The day I realized I’d been obsessing over my sales figures way too much was the day I closed my eyes and tried to think about the real reason I am an indie author.

Is my primary goal to make money? No. So why do I keep obsessing over my sales stats? I realized it’s because more sales means more people reading my work. What I really really want is to be read. I want to share the one thing in this world I would cut my fingers off for. I know. If I didn’t have any fingers, I wouldn’t be able to physically write, but you know what I mean.

My passion for writing comes with a perpetual replacement button, attached to my side seam, just in case it becomes unraveled, and falls off, after a day gallivanting through the publishing jungle. It can be tough in there, but in the end, being an indie author is OH SO WORTH IT.

This made me wonder …  what’s everybody else’s story?

Then Indiestructible was born.

Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

Not only is this anthology packed full of interesting, unique, and genuinely helpful information, and totally worth the 99c (only 99c!!!), 100% of proceeds will be donated to, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Pretty amazing, huh?

What are you waiting for?

Buy Indiestructible—support the indie author and an amazing charity—TODAY!

eBook: $0.99 USD
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
ISBN 10: 0987593102
ISBN 13: 9780987593108
Language: English

Edited & Compiled: by Jessica Bell

Contributing authors:

About Jessica Bell:

The Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet, and singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

Connect with Jessica online:


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Watch for Snowmobilers & Links

Just a quick one from my Oregon trip. I don't know why I find these signs amusing, but I do. If there's enough snow for snowmobilers to be crossing the road or on it, or whatever, how many cars are traveling at high speeds on those same roads, anyway?

Given, I'm probably just showing my ignorance of how much snow is needed to snowmobile. I actually have a fondness for these signs, because they have them up around Sisters, Oregon, where my grandma used to live (and she and my grandpa were, in fact, snowmobilers). This one is from Crater Lake, though.

Okay, links!

Accepting Submissions:

The Hugo-winning Clarkesworld Magazine is currently seeking submissions of short stories, non-fiction, and art. Pays 10 cents per word for the first 4000 words, 5 cents for each word over that. Science fiction and fantasy.

Highlights Magazine for children is seeking a variety of pieces for their magazine. Each type pays a different amount. Examples include $150 for short fiction and non-fiction articles, and $25 for crafts. They also seek verse and various puzzles and games.

Storm Cellar is a literary arts magazine seeking submissions year-round. They're eclectic, and want to receive varied submissions. They want art and writing of all creative kinds, including creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction, etc. Pays in a contributor copy.


Four Chambers Press is looking for submissions for the inaugural edition of their literary magazine, so they're holding a contest. They want good work of any kind in any form. $100 first prize.

Kazka Press holds a monthly themed flash fiction contest, 713 Flash. Their theme this month is Outsiders. Submission window is September 1-20. Pays $10 per accepted story.

Blog Hop:

Cassie Mae is hosting the How to Date a Nerd Blog Hop. She wants to know what the nerdiest thing about you is. September 24-26. One blogger gets a nerd swag pack.

Just for Fun:

Buzz Feed featured 24 Photos of Famous Authors When They Were Coming of Age, by Summer Anne Burton.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Returned, Refreshed, and Setting Some Goals

Hi, all! I'm back from Oregon, where I had a lovely time, though I must say that I am officially too old, broken, and sleepy to sit in a car for 21 hours straight. I routinely made that drive years ago, but I'm thinking this was my last straight-through shot.

I got to act like a twenty-something, enjoy some time with my mom and my two youngest siblings, who were 4 and 5 1/2 when I moved out to get married, see friends and family I often go years without seeing, sight-see and take tons of photos (over 800 by the time I got home--yes, I'm a photo slut). We extended our time at the beach and cut time out from later in the trip to do so. I got a short story written, got a few ideas for others, and best of all, I got to forget my troubles for a little while, pretend they didn't exist. It was nice.

Though I did miss my hubby and my babies. And my bed. And my laptop. And you guys, of course!

Now I'm back, refreshed (after a couple days recovering from the drive), and eager to jump back into my writing. Unfortunately, I have a whole lotta' work to catch up on, seeing as how I was gone for a week after just having come off five weeks of school and investing all of my attention into that class. I came back to find my test date waiting for me. It's not until October. Ugh. I'm a fan of just getting things over with, but hey, now I've got over a month to study (and obsess, and worry, and forget details, and, and, and...)

Back to that eagerness to get back to writing. Did you guys see the results of the Hugo Awards last night? I'll be honest. I had forgotten they were going on, but then an acquaintance posted a picture of his shiny new Hugo Award, so I went to check it out. Reading through that list of names, all the categories, I was inspired. I've been letting work, volunteer work at that, take the place of my writing time. I can't let that happen anymore. Yes, I'll still do my jobs, and I'll do them well, but I will also set aside time to write. My kids started school, and I can now create a schedule for myself.

So here's a little non-New Year's goal setting: I will create a schedule that provides for time to write and time to exercise. I've gotten out of shape while battling depression and doing an awful lot of sitting at my computer, sitting in meetings, sitting in the car, sitting, sitting, sitting. Work the body, work the mind. Once a week I will go somewhere other than home to write. I will make time to go on hikes when I can, because I enjoy them, and because I always find inspiration while out hiking and/or walking. I will finish Wendigo Nights. I will submit short stories for publication. I will take my writing seriously.

What about you? How are you feeling? Where's your inspiration level right now? Have you looked at your goals for the year, examined them, adjusted them for your current needs? What's looming over your head? Work deadlines, writing deadlines, test deadlines? Are you making time for yourself? For your writing? 

May you find your Muse.