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!

Scrivener Tutorials: Keywords and Compiling

It’s really been a crazy week for me at the day job, and I just didn’t have the time to post my video on Scrivener keywords. So this Saturday you get a two tutorials in one post!

Keywords are perhaps the most powerful feature of Scrivener, and Compiling a manuscript is perhaps one of the most challenging ones. These two videos close out my tutorial series, but I’m now looking at other websites and software that I’ve used that might be helpful for other authors.

Take a look at the end of Part 7 to see some that I’m looking at tackling. If you have one you’re curious about, leave me a comment below!

Scrivener Tutorial: Part 5: Keywords

I love finding tools or features that make my writing life easier.

When I was in junior high, we had to use notecards to keep everything organized. We created a code for our organization system, and that’s what we used for any kind of research paper. It was drilled into our heads how to keep track of references and quotes. In the creative writing world, however, we have to keep track of characters and themes.

That’s where Keywords come into play, one of the most powerful features of Scrivener that I’ve found, simply because it is so flexible and can be used for so many different things. It can help keep track of characters, locations, themes, missing scenes, and even a murder weapon for your mystery novel.

Watch my latest tutorial on Keywords to see how useful this organization tool can be.

Scrivener Tutorial Part 4: Using the Inspector

It’s been a busy year so far, y’all. I’m glad to get back to continuing my Scrivener tutorial series for fiction authors. I was really pleased to see how many people enjoyed the first three videos in my Scrivener playlist, so now that festival season has gotten a little bit quieter, I’m jumping back in with it.

In this video I tackle the Inspector and show features like labels, statuses, notes, an document references. I also show how to add color to your Binder to help organize scenes, chapters, and books.

Scrivener Tutorial Series

If you didn’t already know, I post new videos every Friday on my new YouTube account: Marlena Frank, Author.

This week I started doing something I probably should have done a while ago, started a tutorial series on Scrivener. Now I’m not doing this series because I’m being paid to do it or anything, I just love the software so much that I want to share it with other authors! (This is something that you actually see quite often in Scrivener circles haha)

I’ve been working in IT for over 10 years, and I’ve been helping people figure out software for even longer than that. When you’re getting a degree in Computer Science, you tend to have people ask you how to do things with computers a lot. So I realized recently that I could share my love of Scrivener in a way that would help other people. I get to show off features and methods that I use and love, and then hopefully I get to hear how other people use those same features. Which is pretty darn amazing.

So here we have Part 1, giving a basic introduction to Scrivener and where to get it. I also briefly give an overview of the Binder and how I use it to store several books in my current book series.

I hope you enjoy it!