Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cruising

Hello from the Pacific coast, somewhere between San Francisco and Astoria, Oregon. It's a sea day, so we're just sort of cruising along here without much to do. It's actually my favorite kind of day at sea; I like being on the ship, moreso than going ashore most of the time.

We've had some weather so far; it's a good thing Jim and I are both good sailors. Note that when a British captain comes over the loudspeaker to say that you're heading into "a bit of a breeze," it's time to tie yourself to your bunk. :) That was the night we were approaching San Francisco. It was rough last night too, although not quite so much.

Our first stop was Santa Barbara. Jim got off there and just walked around for a while, but there's not much to see near the dock. All the places interesting to tourists are some ways away, a bus or cab ride, and he didn't feel like doing either. I stayed aboard and read a book and was happy just hanging out.

We got off in San Francisco and went to Yank Sing for dim sum for lunch. Awesome place, over in the old Post Office building. It's not cheap, but the food is excellent. We tried some new things this time, including an ocean bass in a light honey sauce that was very yummy, and some small patties made with chicken and lotus root. I'd never had lotus root before; it doesn't have much flavor but it added a slightly crunchy (vegetable-type crunchy) texture to the patty. And we had the ltitle dumplings filled with soup; that's my favorite thing to get there, as much for the coolness of soup-filled dumplings as for the fact that they taste good. :)

After that, we wanted to go to the Cartoon Art Museum, up on Mission. We'd passed it on the way to the Museum of the African Diaspora back in September, and meant to get back there but never did, so yesterday seemed like a good day for it. So we walked and walked and commented on how it was farther than we'd remembered and walked some more, only to get there and find out it's closed on Mondays. :/ Massive bummer.

One good thing about this ship -- the Sapphire Princess -- is that it's new enough that they have wireless internet in the cabins. It's great not to have to pack everything up and trek out to one of the public areas to find an internet signal. It's not an incredibly fast connection, since satellite connections aren't and the ship's official traffic has priority, but it's still cool to be able to sit here in my room and get online. Not that I've been doing it much, because it's still expensive, and in fact I'm typing this offline; I'll do a copy/paste to post it in a bit.

One bad thing is that my back loathes these mattresses. [sigh] I have a very fussy back, and I have this problem a lot, although that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I can sleep for a few hours, maybe three or four, then I wake up hurting, and it's turn-doze-turn-doze-turn-doze, never comfortable again but trying to collect enough dozing periods to add up to a non-zombie state when I finally give up and get out of bed. Repeat about half a day later when I run out of gas. I'm probably going to collapse and sleep round the clock when we get home to our own bed.

Jim's going to see a fort in Astoria tomorrow, and I'm staying on the ship again. The next stop after that is Seattle, which I can see whenever I want. :) Jim's planning to go on a tour of the Boeing factory, which is cool for him 'cause he's massively into planes. Then we'll be in Victoria, where we're going to the Butchart Gardens, to look around and then have tea. We did the same exact tour a few years ago when we did our Alaska cruise, although that was in September. The garden (which was gorgeous enough that late in the season) should be pretty spectacular in May, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it. And the tea was very good last time too, once we found the right building. :)

After that is Vancouver on Saturday and we get off the ship; we'll be taking a bus home.

I'm way behind on blogs and such, and probably will be until we get home. The combination of the cost and the slow connection makes it frustrating to do much on my blog list, so I'll be back visiting folks next week. [wave]

Angie

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Publishers and Agents and Business

On E-book Costs, from FutureBook, thanks to Passive Voice for the link.

It does rather leap from the page that "Simon & Schuster's operating income before debt and amortisation (OIBDA) more than doubled to $7m", which the publisher said "was driven by lower shipping, production and returns costs because of the increase in digital sales".

Despite recent attempts to distract us all with talk of piracy and other costs associated with e-books this clearly indicates that is a massive red herring. There are costs associated with e-books, but they are clearly insignificant compared to the benefits.

At one major publishing company that I know of, when editors draw up a profit and loss projection when they are considering acquiring a book there is no column for e-book costs because they are regarded as being functionally zero and are simply dumped on to the hard back costs.


[Note -- I inserted the Bookseller link; Futurebook had it earlier in their post.]

So at least one of the big publishers considers the costs of e-books to be negligible and doesn't even project for them. Yet the big publishers are still moaning and wringing their hands and trying to convince us all that they HAVE to charge $15.95 for an e-book because they're expensive too and if they lower the prices on e-books they'll be losing money, oh noes!

Sure. If the costs were that high, they'd show up in the P&L projections. In actuality, they have to be pretty tiny to be completely disregarded in the preliminary estimates.

Give it up, guys. You show up to make your public speeches wearing a barrel, but we all see the servant waiting behind you with your suit ready to put back on.

On bad contracts, check out Don't Sign Dumb Contracts by Passive Voice, who used to be a lawyer. Lots of good advice there; I particularly like this bit:

2. Every contract is negotiable, so negotiate what you don’t like. “This is our standard contract” is the oldest scam in the world. Standard contracts are for banks who print them by the million. Publishers and agents may want “standard contracts,” but they probably also want world peace. You don’t have to accept their standard contracts. If a publisher or agent is interested enough in your book to want a contract with you, they’ll be willing to change some things. Negotiation is the process by which each side to a potential contract discovers how much they want the contract.

Authors are in a terrible psychic spot in negotiating their first contract with an agent or publisher. They sent out a million queries before they got an agent. Ten publishers turned down their manuscript before one became interested. Authors are inclined to think, “I’ll sign anything. Just don’t tell me no again.” Don’t get into that mode. Your old buddy, Passive Guy, will guarantee that you’ll be in a worse psychic spot if you and your manuscript are treated like trash under the terms of a bad contract. You must be ready to walk away from a bad deal.


Sometimes the contract they hand you will be fine -- I'm happy with my publisher's standard contract. But I read the whole thing, nodding all the way, before I signed the first one, and I look over subsequent contracts to make sure they're the same, or contain only changes that've been discussed beforehand.

Read the whole thing -- this is good stuff.

Then read Advocates, Addendums, and Sneaks, oh my! by Kris Rusch, which Passive Voice links to in the post above. I've linked to Kris before; she's worth subscribing to.

Here she's talking about the potentially adversarial relationship between authors and publishers, and how an agent used to be the author's advocate with the publisher, but isn't any longer. Publishers are tightening up so much that even top agents don't have the clout to get advantages for their clients in contract negotiation anymore, and many agents are more concerned with protecting themselves and their agency than with protecting the interests of any individual client.

Dean Wesley Smith (Kris's husband, and another long-time pro writer who supports himself on his fiction income, as Kris does) has been advising writers not to bother with agents for a while now. Kris hasn't completely agreed with him before, but now she does. Read the whole post to find out what new information and developments made her change her mind.

Angie, who's in Long Beach at the hotel, enjoying free internet before boarding the ship :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Anthology Markets

[A few days early this month -- the husband and I are flying to Long Beach later today, and getting on a ship tomorrow. I'll be at sea on the tenth, where the internet connect charges approach a dollar per MINUTE. O_O I love you all, but not enough to spend several hours online updating my list at those prices, LOL! Hopefully nothing new and urgent will pop up in the next four days.]

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out Night Terrors 2, The Mothman Files, Warrior Wisewoman, Horror Library, Mortis Operandi and the Fantastic Stories Anthology.

***

31 May 2011 -- Night Terrors 2 -- ed. Marc Ciccarone & Joseph Spagnola, Blood Bound Books

Like volume I, this second volume will be an open themed anthology of horror. Meaning we want stories from all topics and subcategories of horror. Including, but not limited to: psychological, creatures, paranormal, and gore. Remember, evil has no boundaries and neither do we! Nothing is off limits, so take advantage of the freedom. Science fiction and dark fantasy* will be considered as long as it has a strong element of horror. Try to avoid classic horror conventions/monsters (vampires, werewolves, and zombies), unless you incorporate a unique twist.

Third person stories are preferred but we’ll read first person stories as long as they are well done or integral to the plot.

Stories can range from 750 - 4500 words firm and must be rooted in the realms of horror/dark fiction.

Stories must be formatted in the following manner:
-- 12 point font
-- Times New Roman or Courier New
-- Double-Spaced
-- Contact information in the upper left(name, address, phone number, email)
-- Word Count Upper Right
-- 1 Space after a punctuation
-- Underline everything you would like to italicize at publication
-- Attach as a .doc file

Submission: Starts March 1st and closes May 31st (2011). Selections will not be made until after the submission period.

We'll accept stories in any setting or time period, as long as it's well written, powerful and original. Most importantly, scare us. We want to be haunted by your story long after we put it down. Gore and sex are acceptable, as long as it serves a purpose.

Payment: 1st place- 5¢/word; 2nd place 3¢/word; 3rd place 2.5¢/word. All other stories will receive 2¢/word.

Send submissions to submissions@bloodboundbooks.net. Subject should read:
Night Terrors II: story title/author last name

* Fantasy is always a gray area. Dark fantasy to us is more H.P. Lovecraft than J.R.R. Tolkien. We’d like to see a creepy world you created or a flipside image of humanity rather than Middle Earth type realms featuring wizards and dwarfs.

***

30 June 2011 -- Taken By Force II -- ed. Christopher Pierce, STARbooks Press

Return to the cutting edge of danger and desire! In this second volume of Taken by Force: Erotic Stories of Abduction and Captivity, I am asking writers to delve even deeper into their dark imaginations and come back with their hottest stories of men kidnapping other men!

Have you ever wanted a guy so badly that you'd do anything to have him, including abducting him? Have you ever seen a big bruiser and wished he'd just tie you up, throw you over his shoulder and kidnap you away from your dull, boring life? Have you ever plotted revenge against a guy that rejected you and wanted to rip him out of his safe, comfortable world and into one where you call the shots and his very survival depends on you?

Let these scenarios stir your imagination and start writing!

All characters must be men (gay or straight) over 18 years old. Stories can be from the point-of-view of the kidnapper or the kidnapped. Stories can have any setting and be any genre (regular stroke fiction, bondage/SM, comedy, romantic, action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror) so follow your imagination into your darkest and raunchiest fantasies…and be sure to bring your pen or your laptop!

Original work is preferred. There is no limit to the number of stories a single author can submit.

On the first page of your story include all contact information: Your name, your pen name (if using), your e-mail address, your physical address and your phone number. Also include a short bio.

Make sure your story has been edited and proofread. Stories that do not adhere to the guidelines will not be considered.

Send submissions as .doc files to: pierce@starbookspress.com with TBF2 and your STORY TITLE in the subject line.

Write to me with any questions: pierce@starbookspress.com

***

1 July 2011 -- The Mothman Files -- ed. Michael Knost, Woodland Press

Format: Trade Paperback.

Payment: five-cents per word (upon publication) plus contributor copy. No reprints.

Story length: Up to 3000 words. No multiple or simultaneous subs.

E-mail submissions to: themothmanfiles at yahoo dot com. We will accept .doc attachments only.

I am looking for fictional mothman stories. The setting is not limited to West Virginia or any other regional area known as mothman territory.

I want tales with a solid plot and good character development. Stories should grab the reader's attention quickly and hold it until the end. I want powerful and emotional tales that are creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody.

Although stories will mainly target an adult/young adult audience, we DO NOT want stories containing language or content unsuitable for children.

Formatting your manuscript:

Double-space. Use Times New Roman (12). Italicize what you want italicized. Single space after sentence-ending punctuation.

Be sure to include your name, address, email on manuscript.

***

1 July 2011 -- The Touch of the Sea: Mermen & Selkies -- ed. Steve Berman, Lethe Press

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace." — Kate Chopin

For The Touch of the the Sea, Lethe Press is seeking fantastical stories that feature mermen or selkies, doomed sailors, underwater ruins, the taste of salt on the lips and in the blood.

Have an idea? Written such a tale? The book will be editing by multiple Lambda Literary Award finalist Steve Berman.

-- All submissions should feature gay male protagonists.
-- Stories should be between 1,500 and 10,000 words in length.
-- While some sexual situations are fine for inclusion, this is not an erotica anthology.

We have already accepted stories from such well-known writers as Jeff Mann and Adam Lowe.

Payment is 2 cents / word upon publication plus a contributor copy.

Email us at editor@lethepressbooks.com. Stories should be sent as RTF files.

***

31 July 2011 -- At Second Glance: Gay City Anthology Vol. 4 -- ed. Eric Andrews-Katz & Vincent Kovar

Gay City’s Mission is to promote the health of gay/bisexual men and prevent HIV transmission by building community, fostering communication, and nurturing self-esteem. This year, our anthology series continues with volume 4: At Second Glance.

There are always at least two viewpoints of every story and yet, we usually only hear one side. In the tradition of WICKED, The Red Tent and The Mists of Avalon, a different perspective can provide an entirely different story than the commonly known tale; the other side of the looking glass, so to speak. You are encouraged to experiment with sexual and cultural norms, technology and historical events. Sensuality is fine, but please no erotica.

Examples:
== How could gay influences have changed the outcome of the Russian revolution?
== Was Mrs. Anna really there to tutor the King of Siam’s children, or was she a lesbian secret agent?
== Did ‘Jack’ kill the giant out of self-defense, or was their relationship somehow more complex?

At Second Glance is seeking previously unpublished stories that tell a tale from another viewpoint. Either historical or fictional characters are acceptable and feel free to take creative liberties. Be serious, funny, romantic, scary… just be original and unique. Submissions are open to ALL genders and orientations but must appeal to a gay male audience. Multiple submissions accepted, but please let the editors know.

All submissions must be postmarked by July 31, 2011
No electronic submissions

GUIDELINES FOR WRITERS:

Plotlines, time periods and settings are all up to you. Genres (such as steampunk, horror, science fiction, western…) are completely open, just please, no erotica.

== Word count: maximum 7K
== Double space, standard font in .doc, .rtf or compatible format.
== Include title, author’s name, and address on cover only.
== Title and page number must appear on all pages.
== Include a SASE.

Payment for accepted work includes two printed copies and $75 at time of publication. A $50.00 prize for Editor’s pick will be awarded in each category. Winners of Editor’s pick will be announced after the work is formally launched.

Send submissions to:

GC Anthologies
511 East Pike,
Seattle WA 98122-3617
For questions: anthology@gaycity.org

***

31 July 2011 -- Warrior Wisewoman 4 -- ed. Roby James, Norilana Press

Warrior Wisewoman is an annual anthology series of science fiction featuring powerful and remarkable women, edited by Roby James.

The first volume was published by Norilana Books in June 2008, the second volume in June 2009, and the third volume in August 2010.

The anthology was conceived as a sister volume to the classic Sword and Sorceress fantasy series originally edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley, with the main difference being that the story themes will involve science fiction instead of fantasy, and they will be intended for a more mature audience, allowing a mixture of serious contemporary issues and reasonable sexual content (but no erotica) in addition to action and adventure. The stories will have a stronger focus on the interface between scientific exploration and our sense of wonder.

Editor Roby James says:

"I am looking for stories that shed light on the truth of what it means to be female, that illuminate the wisdom and the strength of a woman, but not in clich� 'goddess' stories. I love action and adventure, grand space opera, thrilling discovery, and intelligent protagonists. Make the story thoughtful, wise, and surprising. In addition, the stories in the anthology should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. The science can be part of the background and the characters foremost, or the science can be central to the story, as long as the characters are realistic and appealing. It is strongly recommended you read the previous volumes to get an idea of what kind of material we're looking for.

"This is science fiction, but I also welcome stories of spiritual exploration, looking at the bond between the scientific and the divine. I want to see how a woman survives tragedy and disaster, overcomes impossible odds, achieves her true potential, or goes on to thrive in a marvelous universe of so many possibilities, using what is inside her, as well as what she finds in the laboratory, the alien planet, or space itself.

"The stories should contain the question of 'what if' on some level. And they should have a woman answer it."

Read the editorial Introduction to Volume One.

Guidelines for Volume #4 of the Anthology:

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books in a trade paperback edition in June 2012, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.
PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance, and a pro rata share of royalties, plus a contributor copy.
WORD LENGTH: Up to 10,000 words, with longer stories having to be exceptional.
DEADLINE: July 31, 2011.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story as a Word (.doc or .rtf) attachment to your e-mail. The subject line of your e-mail should say "Submission: Story Title, last name of author." Also, include a brief cover letter. It should have your full name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike.
EDITORIAL ADDRESS: roby dot james at comcast dot net

We look forward to reading your most inspired work.

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Horror Library, Vol. 5 -- Cutting Block Press

Cutting Block Press is pleased to announce an open submissions period for the 4th Volume of its Horror Anthology Series, +Horror Library+, to be published in trade paperback during 2011.

We're looking for the highest quality examples of all forms of Dark Fiction, running the gamut from traditional horror, supernatural, speculative, psychological thriller, dark satire, including every point between and especially beyond. No Fantasy or Sci-fi unless the horror elements are dominant. Read +Horror Library+ Volumes 1-3 to see what's already pleased us. Special consideration will be given those pieces that we find profoundly disturbing, though blood and violence on their own won't cut it. While we will consider tales of vampires, ghosts and zombies, we tend to roll our eyes at ordinary ones. They're just too plentiful. Your best bet is to surprise us with something that is different, while well conceived and tightly executed.

Guidelines: Stories will range between 1,000 and 6,000 words, though we'll look at longer works of exceptional merit. In that case, query before submission. Buying 1st worldwide anthology rights. No reprints. Paying 1.5 cents per word, plus one contributors copy. For established authors, rates may be negotiable. Response time: six months or sooner. Deadline: We will accept submissions until filled. All Queries to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

Manuscript format: 12 point courier font, standard margins, left side of header: name, contact info, right side of header: word count, top of first page: title, author

Variances from traditional manuscript format: single space, NO INDENTS, ONE EXTRA space between paragraphs, use bold, italics and underline as they are to appear in story

Subject box: Short Story submission - title of story

Attach story in MS Word Document or RTF (only). Please paste your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Send submissions to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

[See the web page for a special offer on copies of Horror Library Vol. 1 for writers doing market research.]

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Mortis Operandi -- ed. Kfir Luzzatto and Dru Pagliassotti, The Harrow Press

MORTIS OPERANDI is looking for stories that revolve around the investigation of a crime and in which the supernatural plays a central role. While we’re expecting a fair share of murders, we strongly encourage stories that revolve around OTHER kinds of crime — for example, arson, assault, blackmail, bullying, burglary, dowry death, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, larceny, libel, piracy, product liability, slavery, smuggling, terrorism, treason, and toxic pollution are all fair game.

By "supernatural" we mean magic, monsters, and/or miracles, but we don’t consider psychic abilities (although the inclusion of a minor character possessing them will not in itself disqualify a story), extraterrestrial life, or UFOs to be supernatural.

Types of stories may include whodunits, police procedurals, hardboiled fiction, and courtroom dramas. All genres and treatments are welcome, including ecclesiastic, fantasy, humor, horror, historical, military, romance, and parody. Settings outside the U.S. and U.K. are welcome. Settings on other worlds aren’t.

We want well-written stories that demonstrate originality of concept and plot. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves will be a hard sell, and romantically inclined vampires will be staked on sight. Think outside of the coffin.

Stories will be judged exclusively on the basis of their literary merit; a history of prior publication is not necessary.

Get more information about our thoughts on this antho at Market Scoop.
Submissions & Queries: anthology [[ at ]] theharrowpress.com
==No simultaneous submissions. One submission at a time.
==Please attach your stories to your email in Microsoft Word, RTF, or text-only format. Stories pasted in the body of an email will not be read.
==Please include the words “Submission: Mortis Operandi” in the Subject line of your e-mail.
Length: 3,000-6,000 words. Please include an approximate word count in your e-mail submission.
Reprints: No
Language: English
Payment: US $50/story, upon publication, and a free copy of the book
Rights: Exclusive English anthology print and electronic (e-book) rights. Please read our Sample Contract (pdf) for full details.
Submission period: Opens 1.1.11 -- Closes when filled.
Publication Date: 2012

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Fantastic Stories Anthology -- ed. Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is a yearly anthology. Edited by Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications Box 10641, Blacksburg, VA 24063

I’m looking for stories that cover the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum. I love magic realism (think Tim Powers and Neil Gaiman) and hard sf. I want a story to surprise me and to take me to unexpected places. I love word play, and would like to see stories with a literary bent, though decidedly not a pretentious bent. I could spend some time telling you what I don’t want, but I’ve found that good stories can make me buy them regardless of how many of my rules they violate. Let your imagination run wild, push and blur the limits of genre, or send me something traditional. I want it to see it all. My experience as an editor tells me that over time I’ll develop preferences and that the anthology will take on its own personality. When that happens I’ll change the guidelines to be more specific, but for now I’m going to explore what’s out there before I decide what direction to go in.

Payment: 10 cents per word on acceptance for original stories (maximum of $250.00) or 2 cents per word for reprints (maximum of $100.00). A check will accompany the contract so no simultaneous submissions please. I am purchasing First English Language Book Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights.

Story length, I have no limit on story length but the longer the story is the better it will have to be.

Sorry no e-mail submissions. Why is this? Don’t you know that e-mail submissions is the future? Yes I do know that, but it’s not the way I want to do this. For me the best part of being an editor is having people over to have slush parties and interacting with them during the reading process. Editing on a screen is a thing devoid of fun or joy, I edit for the fun and joy of it.

[Note: definitely click through on this one; there's some very useful info in the comments.]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Stuff

Submissions 6 = 6 pts
Writing 8096 = 3 pts
TOTAL = 9 pts

Koala Challenge 9

Massive suck in the writing, balanced by a nice number of submissions. In fact, I don't think I've ever done more submissions in any one month before, ever. So that's something. :/

The story I submitted to Sword and Sorceress is being held, so two of my fingers are occupied in a perpetually crossed state until after the mid-May deadline. :) Hopefully good news next month.

You know, I was saying last night in e-mail to a writer friend that I very often find myself scrambling in the last day or two of the month to do enough writing (or occasionally a last minute submission, if I have a story that needs to go out that hasn't already been sent) to make it up to Koala Approves, to get that ninth point. (Or eighth and ninth. Or sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. [cough]) So I'm pushing myself for that last day or two, but it's not like I'm pushing myself that hard the previous twenty-eight days in the month. :P I have a feeling that if it took twelve or fifteen points to get to Approves, I'd push hard to do that, and would probably get more writing done.

Of course, if I suggested to McKoala that she increase the requirements for Approval, all the other writers in the challenge would carpool to my house and bludgeon me to death. [hides under keyboard]

Angie