Short Story Series 3: Finding Publishers [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

As part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop this month, I’m picking up on my Short Story series. It fizzled out a while back, but it’s something I’ve wanted to get back to but just hadn’t found the time. Well this Blog Hop was the perfect excuse! Check out all the posts in this month’s hop!

This is Part 3 of a series on publishing Short Stories. If you find these helpful, please leave a comment or share with your friends!

So you’ve written your short story, had someone else look at it, and gotten it as good as you can make it. The next step is finding a publisher for it! There are plenty of free blog posts that authors work to keep up to date for interested authors, but there are some sites that work to compile these publishers. And a few that publishers seek out to ensure they’re listed as a potential option. Some of these require a monthly payment and others don’t. Some are for particular genres and others are for all types of writing. I’ve tried to keep this list short and to only mention ones that I’ve personally used.

  • Duotrope ($5/month or $50/year)
    • https://duotrope.com/
    • Years ago Duotrope was a free site. It was run by volunteers and it ran an annual donation drive. However over the years the donations just didn’t meet up with the server/data demands. So back in 2012 they went to pay.

      I would argue they’re one of the best places to find publishers and to get ideas for writing prompts for short stories. Check out their calendar of theme deadlines for plenty of ideas. They let you keep track of your acceptances & rejections for years and if you have to skip a few months and come back due to your budget, your data will still be waiting for you. I highly recommend them.
  • The Grinder (Free)
    • https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com
    • One of the very first submission tracker available for free for authors was The Grinder. You can dig all sorts of information out of their site. Going to the homepage you can see all the recent rejections and acceptances that have been reported to the system. While I don’t think it’s as fully featured as Duotrope is, I find that it’s frequently recommended when the budget isn’t available for Duotrope’s fancier user interface and designs. It’s also not as personalized, but the information is up to date and you may find publishers here that aren’t in Duotrope and vica versa.
    • The Grinder runs on donations through the Paypal Donate button on their page. If you rely on their services please consider donating either monthly or annually to them through their site.
      https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/Home/Donate
  • The Horror Tree (Free – Horror/Dark Fantasy)
    • https://horrortree.com/
    • I’ve found a lot of unique calls for submissions and opportunities over at The Horror Tree. I can’t really say when they started out, but they’re fairly new, and their dedication to finding all sorts of horror and dark themed calls for submission are impressive. They also post occasional original shorts and do author interviews as well. (I did an interview with them last year, and will probably reach out to them again when The Seeking comes out!)
    • The Horror Tree runs on donations through their Patreon site. If you use this service, please consider becoming one of their Patrons!
      The Horror Tree Patreon
  • Facebook Groups for Writing Associations
    • Look for Facebook writing groups that will post up opportunities on a regular basis. For example, the Horror Writers Association Atlanta Chapter has a public group open to anyone with an interest in what’s going on with the Atlanta Chapter. Announcements happen there and so do discussions. Sometimes opportunities are posted too.
    • The Horror Writers Association also has a public group and it is super active. Sometimes opportunities get posted too.
  • Facebook Groups
    • There are a TON of Facebook groups available for finding publishers. I honestly can’t list them all, but a few searches will bring up several options. From fantasy to science fiction to horror, there are all sorts of areas where publishers get listed. Make friends with authors in real life, befriend them on Facebook, find out what groups they’re in, and check them out yourself. Not all groups are equal and not all publishers are the same.

With that said, regardless of what publishers you find, before you send off your precious story, make sure you vet them to ensure they aren’t trying to scam authors. Duotrope screens their publishers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the same. Look for warning signs:

  • Never pay to have your story published.
  • Never pay for editing services.
  • Never pay for publication services.
  • The money should always flow toward the author.
  • Look at other books they’ve had come out. How do their ratings look? How are their sales? Are there complaints about editing or quality?
  • Check out authors from their existing groups. Find their websites and see what kind of feedback you can find. Don’t be afraid to reach out, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back right away.
  • See if they’re listed on the Writer Beware website. These folks investigate claims of scamming and keep an active list of publishers and agents doing shady things.
  • Writer Beware has an excellent write-up of what to look for when evaluating a small press. Please don’t let this list intimidate you, but it’s good to do your research so you’re aware of what to look for in publishers, contracts, and how to speak up and negotiate for yourself. Usually short story contracts are pretty cut and dry and you don’t usually negotiate with those, but get used to evaluating them and reviewing them because you might one day want to read over one for a novel or collection of your short stories.

To find more useful tools, check out my page on Writing Resources. And make sure you check out the other posts this month on the Author Toolbox Blog Hop!

Looking Back with Positivity

It’s the end of January and I’m back with another We Are The World Blogfest post! On the last Friday of the month we post up positive stories that we’ve found to share with our readers.

Around the turn of the new year, everyone talked about how glad they were that 2019 was finished and that they were looking forward to 2020. Many were willing to put the past year behind them and move on. Well I found a fantastic post where illustrator the_happy_broadcast created graphics for some of the positive things that happened last year!

I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News, So I Illustrated 50 Of The Best Ones from 2019

Here is one of my favorites!

How Long Did It Take?

Image of cactus and typewriter from Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

“How long did it take you to write that book?”

This is something I hear from people often. They ask how long a book took to write, and regardless of what you tell them, there’s usually a nod and an unspoken understanding. What they take away from the answer depends on what they’re really asking. Sometimes they ask out of curiosity, but sometimes it’s because they’re trying to decide if their work is worth trying to complete. Sometimes they’re judging themselves for writing too quickly or too slowly for what they see as a standard speed.

Let me just take a moment to say: it doesn’t matter.

The speed of your first draft does not determine how good it is or whether it’s worth publishing. You can take thirty days or thirty years to write it, and it will still need to be edited, proofread, and formatted. It will still need to be shopped around to publishers, reviewed, and marketed.

One of the things I love as a reader and as an author is that every book has its own story from inception to landing in your hands. Sometimes its been written in fits and starts over decades. Sometimes it was trunked, or buried away somewhere and abandoned, before being dusted off and given new life. Sometimes it’s written in a month and given a few months of editing before being published. All of these methods are completely valid and absolutely normal. There is no right speed for crafting a book.

Do you know what every book has in common? It was finished.

Now, I don’t mean it’s perfect because there is no perfect book, but it is pushed as close as it can be before being allowed to fly on its own. Art is all about striving for that impossibility, for making the story match the pictures you have in your head, but it will never completely match up, and that’s okay. As long as you can create a similar story in the heads of your readers, that’s the real win.

So to all those people working on a book slowly over time, or to those hopping from one partially finished manuscript to the next, remember that finishing it is the only real requirement. Even thirty minutes a day, or even a week, is all it takes.

You can finish it, I promise.

Give Me More Monsters

I don’t usually talk about movies on this site. I mostly focus on writing, books, and comic books, but sometimes I see films that I just have to talk about. In this case, I watched the trailer for A Quiet Place 2.

I loved the first film. It was so exciting to see an original, threatening monster introduced in a big budget film. I feel like we haven’t had those in a long time, though they were a staple in many horror movies in the 1990s. Mimic and The Relic are two that immediately come to mind.

Often created with practical effects instead of flimsy CGI, the unique monsters that used to creep people out in theaters dwindled away in the box office. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of incredible horror films. Get Out, Us, Midsommar, all of these have been incredible films in their own right. The horror genre in film has led to a horror renaissance.

So what happened to all the monsters?

Then A Quiet Place came out in 2018 and when I saw the first trailer, I was SO excited. This was a unique monster that didn’t hide details in the shadows like Lights Out, or be a human monster like in Don’t Breathe. These monsters were a constant threat, a true danger, and their strengths and weaknesses were well explained within the world. The characters had to modify everything they did to avoid them, and that’s honestly the kind of horror film I love.

Similar to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, the world had to change to fit the monsters in it, and I feel like that’s a piece that is daunting to many writers. It’s difficult understanding how people would live differently, what choices they would make, what unique challenges they would have. I love that about those books, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the first film despite its flaws.

The only question I had was how did the world get that way. That’s always the fantasy lover in me, that I seek answers to unanswered questions. I always want to know more about the world, though I admit that sometimes it’s fun to not know the answer too. I didn’t expect that explanation to be explored in A Quiet Place 2, and I certainly didn’t expect one of my favorite actors, Cillian Murphy, to pick up a major role in the film.

I’m looking forward to this resurgence of monster movies, of seeing unique monsters showing up in big hit movies, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Just based on the trailer it looks like practical effects are still favored just like it was in the first movie, and that’s the kind of film I love.

If you haven’t seen A Quiet Place yet, I highly recommend it. And I personally plan to go opening weekend to see the sequel!

Review: Veiled by Desire

Finished: 1/16/2020

Tavarra is a beautiful sea dweller cursed for life, forced to be a beast when the moon is bright. Rhona is a girl with the ability to control water, and her friend, Perin, is a warrior who bears a dark secret. Quil is boy with an easy laugh and a penchant for music. Finally Eza rounds out the main cast of characters as a bat-like creature with a sharp wit and a bit heart.

Together they must seek out the dark pyramid to rescue their village and find the mercurial Stone of Desire who may or may not grant a wish. This tale is filled with action, love, heartache, and mystery with a flair for the surreal and fantastic that I’ve come to love in Robinson’s work. The characters in this story are so lovable and flawed that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

But first, I have a confession to make.

I have a weak spot for werewolves. They show up a LOT in my books, even when I try not to let them appear. Tavarra is one of the most original werewolves I’ve read about. Her desire to go on land and leave behind the sea, staying out too long and bearing a horrible curse, and forced to roam the land with only her friend, Eza, at her side. Even her description with her bright orange hair and orange fur down her arms makes her unique.

The magic in this story is really fascinating too, mixing science with the fantastic in a way that had me very intrigued. I loved the dark forest, and how even when everything seemed safe, nothing really was.

I really loved this one because it felt so horrific, and it was refreshing to be in a completely fantastic world. Robinson knows how to keep you reading too, and at the end I had trouble putting it down! I honestly can’t wait to read Book 3 in her Laith series!

My Overall Rating: 5/5